Adult Learner motivation

Adult Learner Motivation: How to Make Adults More Eager to Learn

Ongoing training has become a reality for just about every job today. Certified professionals must complete continuing education courses to maintain their credentials. Even big box chain store employees need to complete ongoing training to improve their skills. The problem for most adult learners is not access to courses, but rather access to interesting courses that keep them engaged and eager to learn more. Thankfully, there are various solutions to this problem. Adult learner motivation

Accessible Instructors for Adult Learner Motivation

Online course instructors can promote interest by being personable, approachable, and accessible. It is important to include an instructor introduction at the beginning of the course that includes basic personal details, background, experience, and professional achievements.

Encourage student/instructor communication by providing contact information such as an email address, website, or phone number. Allowing learners to get to know the instructor encourages meaningful interaction throughout the course.

Clear Goals

All too often, ongoing training is done “just because”, at least in the learner’s eyes. Adult learners need more motivation than that. Outline the goals of the course. Explain not only what will be learned, but the implications of that training for the specific learner.

How will they use it?

How will it impact their career now and in the future?

Simply put, learners need to know what’s in it for them. This can be illustrated in any number of ways, including lists of benefits, success stories, and testimonials.

Knowledge Application

While theoretical knowledge is necessary in some fields, the bulk of online training should be applicable to a learner’s everyday job responsibilities. Information needs to applicable to the user, and the sooner the better. Course content should be practical knowledge that offers real value to learners.

Shorter Sessions

One factor that discourages adult learners is the prospect of sitting through an hour-long module. Work schedules are busier than ever. Free time is highly valued by employees. Adult attention spans are shorter today than in the past.

Accommodate these needs by creating smaller chunks of content that can be completed in less time. An hour-long module could be broken up into six 10-minute sessions, for instance. Not only does that offer benefits for time-starved adult learners, but it also ensures that they are able to better retain knowledge presented in each module.

Visual Content

Text-based courses are boring. It’s as simple as that. To increase learner motivation for ongoing training, create visual content. Infographics, videos, and animation are all good options and can dramatically increase user enjoyment, as well as eagerness to complete the course.

The Fun Factor

Adult learners often view ongoing education as dull, dreary, and boring. That perception can be changed by upping the fun factor – unique facts, games, puzzles, and other engaging elements can break up the monotony of learning while still providing education and training. In fact, both learning games and gamification of learning material have proven to be immensely useful, not only for making adult learners more eager to complete training, but for increasing engagement during training and, ultimately, knowledge retention.

These are just a few ways to make adult learners more eager to complete required ongoing training. Employers who invest in programs that provide these elements will see an increase in learning motivation and interest.


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