Malcolm Knowles’ Adult Learning Theory – Principle 4 – Readiness to Learn

Malcolm Knowles’ Adult Learning Theory – Principle 4 – Readiness to Learn

In this post, you will read about the fourth of six adult learning principles proposed by Malcolm Knowles in his Adult Learning Theory.

Readiness to Learn.

Adults become ready to learn in order to perform more effectively and satisfyingly when they experience a need to know or are able to do so.

As an old adage goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” When adults feel the pain of not being able to perform well enough in their job or they receive negative performance feedback on the job, they often rush (or are rushed) off to training to “fix” their deficits. Unfortunately, this approach often masks organizational issues that are causing the performance breakdown.

For example, poor supervision or management skills on the part of their boss, policies that inhibit effective job performance, or an environment that does not adequately prepare and support employees. Still, when such learners show up in your session, your task as a trainer or facilitator is to try to enhance their knowledge, skills, and attitude (KSA).

Malcolm Knowles’ Adult Learning Theory – Principle 4  by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author, and Blogger

By focusing on this core adult learning principle, you can tap into your adult learner’s desire to expand their knowledge or skills. To accomplish these things, you might actively engage them in the learning process in order to allow the maximum transfer of knowledge. For example, you may have learners whose organization has shifted to a team environment and in which some employees are having trouble working effectively with others, participate in a workshop on effective interpersonal communication, or on teambuilding to address employee roles, expectations, and skills for building better work relationships.

For more information about the Adult Learning Theory, brain-based learning strategies and other important research and strategies for helping propel adult learners to more fruitful learning experiences, get copies of Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing and Delivering Learning Events That Get Results, Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage People, and The Creative Training Idea Books: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning.



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