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Characteristics of the Adult Learner | Origin: ED208

This is a general discussion forum for the following learning topic:

Adult Learning Theories --> Characteristics of the Adult Learner

Post what you've learned about this topic and how you intend to apply it. Feel free to post questions and comments too.

evrybidy learns different reasons

Individuals have various abilities,experiences, motivations and barriers to the education process.

The motivation of adult learner is different, because of their prior knowledge and experience and their strong sense of self-direction!

Adults learners are different because they are approaching education from a different perspective. In many cases, their educational pursuits are instigated by a life event, a desire to change fields, or a chance to advance in their current position. In addition, they may also have outside complications that child and teenaged learners do not have, such as a full-time job or a family that they need to care for. Because of this, it is important to try to remove as many barriers to learning as possible.

Adult learners bring more to the table than younger learners because of their experiance in the working world, and major life events that they may have experianced. They have a better understanding of how things work, boosting their determanation to succeed with their learning ability.


We have to determine how students learn to ensure that we can reach everyone.

Every student has different motivating factors to improve their career. Adult leaners with family seem to have more urgency in completing their training. Younger adults seem to lack motivation to come to class daily. 

Adult learners are quite hard to manage because their minds are set for goals that they want to meet in their lives. 


The blocks to motivation in adult education were covered well here.  It is often that I find resistance in the classroom when students feel like they "know the material already" or that the current topic is not something that they are interested in or see as valuble...  I also run into many students who struggle with time, transportation, money, and childcare issues.


Adult learners have many reasons to pursue new learning opportunites and have life experience to bring with them. They are not like child learners.


I find that because adult learners have a clear sense of why they are taking the class, and prior experience and knowledge in how to successfully pass a college-level course, they are motivated learners, hard working, and well-engaged in course content.  They do, however, require some additional flexibility at times, because they have outside obligations like work and family that also require their time and attention.

The motivation of continuous education as an adult can vary.  This can be initiated by the need for personal achievement or simply by necesity, in regards to forward a career or income.


Different developmental stages affect learning and the interest in learning.

Adult learners may process information more slowly but thei rlong term  memory capacity does not diminish.

I have seen with my experience that adult learners can bring life experience to the classroom which has helped many.  They are more determined to complete the courses that are needed to take them to the next step for job advancement.

As a post-secondary educator, much of what is covered is true of my adult students. Particularly the experience and self-employed sections. I notice a sense of purpose in most of my students, young and old, and it was informative to learn about the motivations and purpose behind adult learners' pursuit of educational goals.

I need to be more cogniznt of the life events that interact with my student;s motivation, and teach to those events


Adult learners have different reasons behind continuing their education and we have to look at these reasons to be able to encourage them and help with the remove the barriers.


Adults have differnt reasons for seeking education, bujt they generally come with experience in both education and life that needs to be taken into consideration in the classroom. In addition, the educator must be aware of barriers in the indivuduals life that may be preventing them from investing in the education proces and attempt to mitigate them. 


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