Preparing your classroom for new adult learners

Kids aren’t the only ones heading back to class in a few weeks; many adults are as well! Here are some tips for preparing your classroom for new adult learners this fall.

Set Appropriate Goals

Use short-term and long-term goal setting to break down course material into a clear and organized manner. This type of teaching format can help learners better remember the information presented to them and encourages a deeper processing of meaning. Present the information in multiple formats and with different examples to help adult learners apply the knowledge across various tasks and situations.

Research shows that periodic testing encourages learning and slows down forgetting, so don’t be afraid to test learners. Plan your coursework with multiple assessments that are spaced out.

Plan Creative Programming

Adults come from a range of different life experiences and require varying teaching methods to suit their learning abilities. Offer learners the opportunity to explore a subject matter in a way that is meaningful to their independent learning style.

Create environments that encourage personal exploration and use creative and compelling resources, references, videos, podcasts and social media to achieve learning goals.

Create More than Just a Course

Just like your learners, you’re devoting a lot of time and energy to running this program. Why wouldn’t you want to make the course unforgettable – for both you and your adult students!

Consider using a theme throughout your course that not only encourages a fun learning environment, but also helps learners retain the information taught. For example, start day one with a dramatic presentation that concludes at the end of the program; use an unusual metaphor throughout your teaching; or incorporate compelling visuals to keep your audience motivated.

Keep it Fun

As much as you try as an adult literacy practitioner, some topics are simply less interesting to teach than others.

Before you lose your learners’ attention spans, prepare your course material in a way that keeps your learners engaged. Break up dry, comprehensive topics into shorter segments and integrate different types of learning activities such as online research, hands-on activities and worksheets.

Experiential learning such as discussion groups and simulations allows adult learners to make practical use of the learning material, adding value to their learning.

Get Your Inner-Teacher Ready

There are specific teacher traits that adult learners find beneficial to their learning, with one of the most common being the demonstration of practical knowledge. Adults want to focus on real-life knowledge and skills rather than on difficult-to-grasp theories and concepts.

As such, the learning materials you provide should be current, evidence-based and encourage active learning experiences over passive ones. Check out some of these free programs and initiatives that teach practical literacy knowledge, such as digital technology or personal finance.

The Final Preparation

Although there are plenty of practical things to complete while preparing your classroom for new adult learners, don’t forget about preparing yourself, too. Get ready to welcome your new adult learners with a happy, smiling face to start your program off on a relaxed tone!