HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsCustomised training — Think of the adult learner

Customised training — Think of the adult learner

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This week’s article is a continuation of last week’s instalment where I introduced the subject of customising the training plan.

HR Talk with Paul Nyausaru

In this instalment, the focus is on the need to possess expertise in training adult learners.

Every trainer must be cognisant of the fact that adults are self-directed learners. They always want the freedom to decide what they want to learn, when they want to learn and how they want the learning to proceed.

Adult learners have their own style of learning that includes four key elements discussed below. The following are the general principles that drive passion for learning in adults.

Motivation: In order to satisfy this principle, the trainer must motivate adult learners by setting a friendly or open tone to each session. As a trainer you need to create a feeling of concern, and set an appropriate level of difficulty in the material to be delivered. You may use among other motivators the following:

Social well-being — including opportunities for community work
External expectations — such as meeting the expectations of someone with formal authority
Social relationships — including opportunities to make new friends that satisfy people’s desire for association
Stimulation — that breaks the routine of work and provides contrast in employees’ lives
Interest in learning — which gives employees knowledge for the sake of knowledge and satisfies curious minds
Reinforcement — As a trainer you need to watch out on the use of both positive and negative reinforcement if you are to be successful in training adult learners. Positive reinforcement could be in the form of a verbal praise when teaching new skills in order to encourage progress and rewarding good results. On the other hand negative reinforcement could be in the form of comments on a performance review and stopping bad habits or performance.

Retention — Adults always look forward to retaining what they would have learnt in order to realise benefits at both personal and company-wide levels. This can be achieved by having trainees practice their newly acquired skills repeatedly until they are familiar and comfortable enough to ensure long-term success.
Transference — Adults always desire to transfer what they learn in training directly to the workplace. This positive transference occurs when adults are able to apply what they would have learnt in training to the workplace. Negative transference occurs when learners can’t—or don’t—apply the knowledge acquired in training to the workplace.

So it is imperative for the trainer to get some training in Adult training if they are to be successful in dealing with this unique group of learners.

Paul Nyausaru is Training & Development Practitioner. You can contact him on email pnyausaru@yahoo.co.uk pnyausaru@gmail.com, website www.cshrmanagement.com . Views contained in this article are personal

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