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Effective Methods for Teaching Adults

As the twenty-first century begins, and technology advances at an ever-increasing rate, leaders in the Adult Education field have begun to recognize the need for a change in the educational models that directly effect adult learners.

As technology advances, and education is becoming more technologically oriented, more is becoming known about how people learn and the most effective methods for teaching.  Some trends have been noted in the methods adults use to learn.  

First, adults tend to expect to be taught as they were taught as children; which is the use of traditional classrooms complete with an authority figure who lectures during the course of the class on the topic of study.  Research has discovered that this is not the most effective method for adults to learn.  

Overcoming expectations is one of the first hurdles in educating adults. Once that is accomplished, adults tend to want to learn something so they can apply the knowledge right away.  Adults tend to want to learn new things in order to further their careers and instead of formal education, they tend to want to learn from mentors or superiors or others they judge to be authorities on the subject.   

Educators have a responsibility to utilize instructional methods that take advantage of each of these desires to be effective instructors. This paper will explore not only how and why adults seek education, but the best methods for teaching adults within the framework of their best learning methods. 

Adult education is in its teen years, not yet having reached full maturity.  This means that educators are looking at different educational models to find the one, or ones, that is the most effective in teaching adults. The adult education system does not have well-defined program models that are based on research and have strong evidence of effectiveness.  Too many times, trial and error has suggested the best educational course. 

As the twenty-first century begins, and technology advances at an ever-increasing rate, leaders in the Adult Education field have begun to recognize the need for a change in the educational models that directly effect adult learners.  The Baby Boomers are getting older and many of them are returning to college either to complete the education the began right out of high school, to change career directions, which is happening more and more frequently,  or to get ahead in their current careers.  With so many adults returning to the ivory halls, changes in the educational system has to follow.  

There are some concepts that need to be understood before attempting to create any learning model for adults.  Adults need to know why they are being taught a particular subject.  They need to know how that education will be beneficial to them in the future. 

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