Andragogy, Leading Edge Certification, Professional Development, Soft Skills

Adult Learners Are More Than Just “Big Kids”


Currently, I am participating in the Leading Edge Certification for Professional Learning Leaders through the Santa Clara County Office of Education. Our discussion this week focused on the unique qualities of adult learners. After reading our text and completing the sketchnotes above, I came to some clarity on the topic.

Based on the visual notes above, my biggest ah-hah about facilitating adult learning is focused on Malcolm Knowles’ notion of personalizing the learning in real-life scenarios that are meaningful and full of larger purpose for the teachers that are experiencing it. I need to get to know my adult students before walking into a PD.


How might technology help with this? Here are a few examples.

Build a Pre-Event Google Form Survey: This allows me to quickly and easily collect information about the learners related to both hard skills and self-perception.

Communicate the Agenda Ahead of Time: I can help the learners increase their comfort with the PD by posting an agenda ahead of time. Once I follow it in person, they will increase their trust in my planning and – indirectly – their time.

Check for Understanding During the Training: I like to build formative game breaks to take the pulse of the interest in the room and redirect the learning if the results tell me to do so.Kahoot and Plickers are 2 tools that I love to use in this way.

By prioritizing the adult learning experience as highly as the content, both the learners and I can start to really trust that our time together will be worth the sacrifices we’ve taken to get there. Technology plays an integral role in this process, and I love continuing to find new ways to personalize and adjust my PD road map along the way.

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