Focus on These 12 Traits for Effective Adult Learning


Instructing adults in the classroom is different from when they were children. Malcolm Knowles defined the unique needs of teaching adult students with his theory “Andragogy.” Take a look at the factors that make teaching adults different than children and how you can use this information to create effective adult learning scenarios in your next course.

Profile of an Adult Learner


From the infographic

Profile of an Adult Learner 

Put adult learning theory to work in your next course! Create an effective learning environment by understanding Malcolm Knowles’ concept of Andragogy and the unique needs of teaching adults.


an·dra·go·gy noun: andragogy; plural noun: andragogies

the method and practice of teaching adult learners; adult education.

Profile of Adult Learner

Adults Bring

  • Prior experience and knowledge to the classroom
  • Preferences and prejudices that may need to be overcome

Adults Enjoy

  • Solving problems
  • Active learning
  • Small group exercises
  • Moving around the room

Adults Expect To

  • Use the concepts they learn immediately
  • Be respected in the classroom

Adults Need To

  • Know why a concept is important
  • Feel like an active part of the learning process
  • Learn at their own speed
  • Receive feedback and constructive criticism

Strategies for Effective Adult Learning

Action Learning

Allow participants to work in small groups on a real project. Diversity of the group is critical to the learning process.

Experiential Learning

Give attendees the opportunity to set goals, plan and turn decisions into action. Follow up with time to review and reflect on the outcomes.

Project Based Learning

Create real-life scenarios for learners to solve that relate to their actual work environment. Promote teamwork by encouraging students to work in groups.

Self-Directed Learning

Encourage students to integrate learning into their daily routine. Teach learners to determine their own learning needs and identify positive outcomes.

Omnipress has the tools, tips and best practices to help you deliver effective educational sessions. Let’s talk about creating educational materials tailor-made for your adult learners. Start the conversation today!


Professional Development Spending: Are Corporations and Associations Spending More or Less?

It’s one of the most common things we hear from clients and prospects alike. “What are other organizations doing and how much are they investing in professional development?” A lot of the time, the organization asking that question seems to assume that most organizations are spending about the same each year, or even spending less. This assumption seems to be because of the awareness of the industries recognizing a very conservative approach to “non-essential” spending. We would argue that professional development isn’t “non-essential” for an organization, but that’s a completely different discussion and blog post.

We wanted to get down to the numbers of it all. Have organizations (corporations and associations alike) been spending more or less on professional development over the past several years? To do this, we studied ATD’s State of the Industry reports from the last few years and used data we collected as part of our own State of the Industry Report. Here’s what we found.


The Big Takeaway

For the past three consecutive years, the average direct learning expenditure per employee for professional development has increased. That’s right, increased! In fact, in 2014, the average direct learning expenditure was up nearly 2% over the previous year. Organizations are continuing to realize the extreme value that professional development can hold for them and they are investing in it more and more with the economy being stronger. Just like the ATD 2015 State of the Industry report, we did our own to get a pulse association spending. Our 2016 State of the Industry report supported ATD’s data, with an astounding 86% of our respondents saying their training budget would stay the same or increase over 2015.

Professional Development & Training are Cool Again

It’s incredibly interesting to us that such a large majority of organizations report maintaining or increasing their budgets in this area. The increase in direct learning expenditure is a sign of a strong economy and the value corporations place on having a well-educated workforce. For associations, a consistent or increasing budget will allow them to focus on program development, which is an area that nearly 40% of associations we polled stated was the highest priority for 2016 as it related to their CE programs. Investing in the development of more continuing education programs and content will only strengthen the membership value for associations.

As the data shows, professional development and training are cool again. With the economy doing better, organizations are finding room in their budgets to invest in their largest and most expensive asset. This is why it only makes sense to continue to develop the talent they have within their organizations to help everyone grow.

Are you doing the same and increasing your association’s or organization’s expenditure on professional development and training? Tell us why you are or are not doing so and what you’re seeing in your industry!

To access ATD’s entire 2015 State of the Industry Report, click here.

Skip to content Top