ERIC Number: ED395136
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Sep
Teaching Adult Students. IDEA Paper No. 29.
Polson, Cheryl J.
Although adult learners are similar to their younger classmates in many ways, they have some particular characteristics that have implications for teaching them. For example, adults have multiple roles, and classes sometimes cannot be their first priority. Adults also have more life experiences, which can provide foundations for learning or create barriers to learning, and they may be at transition points in their lives. Other characteristics of adults are as follows: most are "off-campus" directed, they have no experience or no recent experience with higher education, they have clearer educational goals, and they are more likely to be paying for their education. The following are implications of these characteristics for teaching adults: (1) courses must meet adult students' specific needs; (2) knowing the backgrounds of students is important; (3) adult students are very task oriented, expecting to apply their learning immediately; (4) it is important to help students integrate new information with information they may already have; (5) adults may react defensively if their belief systems are challenged; (6) students need transition time to focus on and absorb new information; (7) the aging process may rob students of some of their short-term memory and reaction time--teaching strategies should take into account learning styles and progress at a speed at which students can master the material; and (8) adult students need more opportunities for success--therefore, information should be broken into manageable units, various techniques should be used, and a positive learning environment of which adults feel a part must be created. (Contains 31 references.) (KC)
Descriptors: Adult Learning, Adult Students, Classroom Techniques, College Students, Higher Education, Student Characteristics, Student Motivation, Teaching Methods
Center for Faculty Evaluation and Development, Kansas State University, 1615 Anderson Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502-4073 (For current prices call 1-800-255-2757).
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Kansas State Univ., Manhattan. Center for Faculty Evaluation and Development in Higher Education.