Thursday, December 03, 2009

Important Things Facilitators Should Know About Adults in a Group Settng

Does anyone doubt that a facilitated workshop of virtually any type involves learning? Hopefully not. So if you have a room full of adults who are learning as part of achiving a shared outcome, it is a good idea to have an understanding of the adult as a learner.

In the mid '80s when I joined a training company, the VP Education made it a point of ensuring that I had a good grounding in andragogy and adult education popularized by Malcom Knowles in the 1970s. Since then, and in a number of roles throughout my career, including management consulting, change management, facilitation training, developing e-learning strategies, marketing and communications, I've always tried to keep adult learning in mind, and have regularly refered back to 30 Things We Know for Sure About Adult Learning, written by Ron and Suzan Zemke, and publised in a number of trainining related magazines.

Many of these "things" should have a direct bearning on workshop design and the presentation of new learning content leading up to any analysis, cause analysis, decision making and planning etc..

Another good reference is The Adult Learner, Some Things We Know by Robin Fogharty and Brian M. Pete. They explore the adult learner in a change context.

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