The number of adult learners entering college degree programs is now in the millions, according to some estimates. Working adults make up about 35% of all college students. It’s a situation that has made it imperative for educators to develop best practices for teaching adults.
Teaching adults proves a different challenge for educators in contrast to teaching children. This challenge is only amplified when those trusted by your convention & visitors bureau (CVB) or destination marketing organization (DMO) are not trained educators, instructional designers or business psychologists. For example, teachers traditionally view children as empty vessels into which they can pour knowledge. Adults no longer are empty vessels, and course designers & instructors have no control over whatever information they already have learned. Those trusted to train your people can't simply assert their expertise, throw up a bunch of content and expect your audience to have a transformative, engaging & accessible learning experience.
The Tourism Academy designs its online courses, customized curriculum, and live/in-person training to provide adult learners the flexibility they need to succeed in hospitality & tourism. And learning how to create, deliver and scale tourism products & service is part of what students can learn in our Tourism Ambassador or tour guide training programs.
Educators and researcher Malcolm Shepherd Knowles developed many of the ideas that have become the most popular best practices for teaching adults. The Institute on Aging also provides guidance on teaching adult learners.
Adult students have more interest in acquiring knowledge that will help them deal with real-world challenges they face at work or in their personal lives. They want education that is more problem-centered than content-centered. This idea compels educators to review their plans for a course and ensure that it provides knowledge adults will use in their day-to-day lives. At a higher level, those who design curriculum must keep this same issue in mind.
Adult learners have little patience for sitting and listening for longer periods of time. They want input and conversation around what is being taught. They may have fixed viewpoints that make them agree or disagree with what is being said. Whatever the case, it’s wise to involve adult learners in conversation at regular intervals during each class.
RELATED: Engagement - Empowering the Learner
Children truly are an empty vessel – they’ve had little experience in life to give them knowledge in any specific field of knowledge. Adult education attracts students with far more life experience. Coursework must reflect this and offer information that builds on what they already know, what they do daily in their jobs and what they want out of a college course.
Adult learners tend to enjoy exploring topics on their own. They like to participate in deciding what is to be learned and remembered from a class, and may view much of what they learn through an established point of view. Educators wisely allow adult learners to integrate personal experience into whatever topic is under discussion. Adult learners typically make excellent collaborators and work well with teams of students.
Adult learners along with those both new and experienced in the tourism industry will want the opportunity to speak with instructors about issues that come up with course material. This works the other way as well – most adult students have experience in getting feedback in their professional life and should be more open to constructive criticism and guidance from instructors.
Learning the best practices for teaching adults can open the door for educators who aspire to work in this important, and growing, area of the education system.
Want to learn more? Maybe you want to offer better training to your community? Give us a call at +1 954 289 4585 or Contact Us.
Productivity isn't just crucial to company bottom lines—it's vital for our economy as a whole. The higher it is, the more output that each person can generate using a given amount of input—something that ultimately drives higher living standards. If the product is software and the input is programmer time, then higher productivity would mean writing more software for a given amount of programmer time. IBM found that even though eLearning was costly, it led to substantial improvements in productivity. For every dollar spent, the company claims that it saw $30 in increased productivity . It wasn't just a function of workers being able to return to their desks faster, either. IBM showed that productivity gains came from the ability of employees to apply their newly acquired skills straight away. It's important to be able to apply newly-learned skills quickly in any role.
The notion that eLearning is a powerful learning tool is not widely contested. Most companies and educational establishments accept that it has a role to play. But what is less understood is just how powerful eLearning can be as an intervention. IBM is famous for its implementation of eLearning courses at its headquarters and across its global workforce. eLearning makes a lot of sense for a company like IBM that has to continually update and upskill its employees to deal with changes in the marketplace and technology. The company wanted to find out whether it was spending its money wisely or whether it should return to more traditional styles of training, such as face-to-face. To the shock of company execs, IBM found that those enrolled in eLearning courses learned more than five times as much material compared to traditional lessons, allowing the company to make significant cost savings . The reason for the success of eLearning appears to stem from how it presents materials. eLearners consume information in smaller, more digestible chunks, making it easier to consign things to memory and understand how concepts interact with each other. IBM employees could get back to their work faster, saving the computing giant money.
Deloitte, a professional services and research company, estimates that the average employee needs to dedicate around 1% of their time per week to training. Doing this, according to Deloitte, enables the worker to stay up to date with best practices and developments in their industry. 1% of the working week isn't much time at all. It translates to 24 minutes per week or 4.8 minutes per day, assuming a 5-day working week . Arranging 4.8 minutes of training per day face-to-face would be impractical. But thanks to "microlearning"— a popular buzzword in the eLearning industry—companies can now take this approach. What's more, microlearning may be even more effective than regular learning because people are better at absorbing lots of small chunks of information than they are a few larger ones. You can imagine a worker sitting down at their desk in the morning, taking a five-minute eLearning class, and then carrying on with the rest of their work for the day.
It should come as no surprise that eLearning is a far greener and more efficient method of training than face-to-face. Figures from an Open University study suggest that eLearning cuts energy consumption by 90% and slashes CO2 by more than 85% . eLearning courses are, therefore, an essential pillar in the global fight against climate change. The world needs a new generation of people with the intellectual and educational capacities to take on the challenges of tomorrow. Building that capacity takes energy, but it could be a lot less if there's greater use of eLearning courses, especially among educational institutions and companies. Cutting carbon dioxide emissions is a priority for companies and educational institutions. Companies, in particular, need to protect the environment to make sure that they have a functioning, wealthy customer base to buy their products in decades to come. Climate change puts that at risk.
The notion that a training program could lead to a threefold increase in the revenue per employee seems a little far-fetched. But this is no idle finding, it's the conclusion of the American Society for Training and Development after a study of more than 2,500 firms . It was a serious study. Companies that offered comprehensive training across a range of subjects experienced dramatically improved revenues compared to those that didn't. And it wasn't just revenues that were higher either. Data suggests that when employers spend $1,500 per employee per year on training, they achieve improvements in profit margins of around 24% . Furthermore, for every additional $680 a company spends, shareholder return rises by 6%. Investing in the knowledge capital of a company, therefore, is just as important as investing in the physical capital . Traditionally, companies have been reluctant to train their employees. Most managers know that investing in people yields positive returns, but few are aware of the fact that eLearning affects both the numerator and the denominator of the calculation of the performance. eLearning is more effective than most managers believe at boosting the revenue or profit per employee (the numerator) and it's also less costly than commonly perceived (the denominator), increasing the total return per unit spent.