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The Brain and the Adult Learner

I am currently enrolled in a Learning Theories and Instruction course and this week’s focus is on the brain and how it processes information.  It is very enlightening to understand how brain functions directly affect a person’s ability to absorb and retain information.  I have worked in training and development for almost 10 years.  I have trained many learners from diverse backgrounds, experience levels, and age groups, so I am keenly aware of the need to adjust how I deliver information to meet the need of learners I teach.  However, reviewing the following articles on the brain and processing information, have disrupted my curriculum!

In Mind Your Brain: Why Lifelong Learning Matters, Lucas discusses how imperative it is for educators not forget the aging population.  He further suggests that trainers use their understanding of the key principles of adult learning to improve learning at work,” (Lucas, 2005).  He also discussed implementing the following during the educational process:

  1.  Allow more time for people to process experiences and learn new things
  2. Use older workers as mentors
  3. Provide for regular comfort stops

With this information in mind, I’m not sure I’ve done enough servicing older adult learners.  The working population is aging and many times they are shoved to the side and mistreated when they have the knowledge and experience companies need to grow business.

In “Teaching problem-solving skills to adults,” Jozwiak interviews representatives from the work force and higher education to discuss problem solving skills in the workplace.  The article focuses on college graduate who have the technical ability jobs require, but lack soft skills i.e. teamwork, communication, effective listening, paying attention to detail, and problem solving (Jozwiak, 2004).  Workers new to the field or recent graduates have to rely on the industry for these skills because these topics were not taught in college.  The representatives from higher education agreed they could do more to prepare students for the real world by teaching these soft skills.

From this week’s lesson, I have learned that the brain is more than an organ functioning in my skull.  It is a refined piece of machinery that can be expanded when it processes information.  As an educator I am responsible for teaching and expecting the learner to use what is imparted.

Jozwiak, J. (2004). Teaching problem-solving skills to adults. Journal of Adult (1), 19-34. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/204583669?accountid=14872

Stewart, B., & Waight, C. (2008). E-learning teams and their adult learning efforts in corporate settings: A cross analysis of four case studies. International Journal on ELearning, 7(2), 293-309. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/210328789?accountid=14872