I have been refreshing some train the trainer style courses recently, which leads me to ponder about how we learn. There is research at both ends of the spectrum that present convincing arguments about how adults learn differently than children, and then how adults learn in the same way as children. I’ve pretty much decided, after digesting a lot of it, that adults and children really do learn in very similar ways. Adults have a lot more experience at things than children, naturally, and that has implications for training in that adults want to know how their experience relates to what they are learning, and how it will apply. A natural extension of the adult experience is that they often want to know where and how the training will apply to their work or personal lives. Children may not think about the application piece, but they are still important for kids. If they are going to remember what they’ve learned, they need to apply what they’ve learned, and to use the information frequently. Think about learning a second language in school, and how within a short time of graduating, if you don’t use that language it is quickly gone from your lexicon. Forgotten.
If the idea of education is for adults and children to learn, to grow, to do things differently, then we teachers and trainers out there muse present in ways that appeal. I love the way Sir Ken Robinson contemplates education. You can see him here.