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Facilitating Adult Learning in Organizations

Facilitating Adult Learning in Organizations
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Item ID:ARTICLE-002
This article is about preparing and presenting learning experiences for adults. Working effectively with adults is quite different from most of the school, church, and organizational models to which we have become accustomed. One obvious weakness is that it fails to engage the participants. Not only is their experience and involvement not sought, the usual strategy is to deliver information and then hope that it is absorbed and acted upon. The participants are not asked to be active in the learning process, reflect on their experiences, or put the information to some practical use. It is easy to understand the apathy and restiveness of learners in this type of environment.

Defining human learning is difficult. If we accept the proposition, however, that all learning is based on experience, then Jarvis’ definition (1987, p.16), “… learning is the process of transforming experience into knowledge, skills, and attitudes,” can be a very useful starting point. The designer’s and the facilitator’s job then is to help the participants understand their experience and convert it to the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to solve work and organizational problems. The approach of this article is to suggest how this might be done using an experiential model of learning.

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