LBS Practitioner Training

Professional development support for Literacy and Basic Skills educators in Ontario

2. Working with Adult Learners

  • PDF

Course Overview

Working with Adult Learners introduces you to the kinds of learners that come into LBS programs, the diverse issues that they bring along with them, and the impact these issues have on the learners’ success.

You will also review and learn more about:

  • the principles of adult learning,
  • positive learning environments,
  • making changes to the learning environment in order to help learners move closer to becoming self-directed learners.

This course is organized into seven units of study. In each unit you will find course notes, hotlinks to file documents for related readings, links to online information and resources, and opportunities for self-reflection. Guided self-reflection through journaling will help you step back from the materials and think about the impact these materials have on your own thinking, and what implications follow for your teaching practice.

Objectives and Outcomes

The purpose of this training is to help you develop stronger connections and relationships with learners that will support more effective learning in the teaching-learning exchange. The assumption is that:
as you learn more about adult literacy learners, you will:

  • deepen your understanding of their challenges and their best ways of learning,
  • see your role more clearly in terms of what you can provide,
  • be better equipped to help the learners achieve their goals. The outcomes for this module of training focus on increased knowledge as well as skill development.

Upon completing this course, you can expect to be able to demonstrate the following:

  • an understanding of adult learners and the diversity issues that affect their learning,
  • practical ways for accepting and affirming different social groups in their settings,
  • strategies for fostering tolerance, understanding and unity within a diverse learner population,
  • ways to facilitate learning that are appropriate for learners at various stages of becoming self-directed learners,
  • accommodations to make for various individual learning styles, and behaviours,
  • strategies for promoting an atmosphere of mutual trust and partnership in the classroom.
  • strategies that promote retention in LBS programs and encourage active participation in learning.

Course Content

2.0 Introduction

2.1 Working with Adult Learners: Who are adult literacy learners?
  • What LBS learners are like
  • Challenges low literacy learners face in daily life – (Literacy Ontario Fact Sheets)
  • Why learners choose School Board programs.
  • Safe learning environments
  • Learners with goals; learners not ready to set goals yet
  • Determining how much help to give learners during goal-setting
2.2 Principles of Adult Learning
  • What are the distinct characteristics of adults?
  • What do those characteristics mean to adults as learners?
  • What principles of adult learning can we draw from this information?
2.3  Diversity Issues
  • Issues that set individual learners apart, and have a negative affect on learning
  • Past experiences, present conditions and life circumstances that create barriers to learning
  • What an instructor can do and not do about these barriers to learning
  • Becoming aware of day-to-day realities for LBS learners.
2.4  The Learning Environment
  • Diversity issues that adversely affect learning in groups
  • What makes matters worse?
  • Preventive measures to avoid disruptions that stem from diversity issues
  • Responding to diversity issues that are having a negative impact on learning within the group.
2.5  About Learning Styles
  • Introduction to learning disabilities
  • Three most common learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic
  • The connection between preferred learning styles and successful learning
  • Tools for identifying the learner’s preferred learning style
  • Instructional strategies for each preferred learning style
  • Example of a lesson that addresses three learning styles at one time
  • Rationale for teaching to a learner’s strength.
2.6   Self-directed Learning
  • What it means to be a self-directed learner
  • The connection between becoming a self directed learner and the domain of SMSD
  • Four stages of self-direction requiring four instructional approaches and four different levels of support
2.7  Motivation and Retention
  • Four reasons for early drop-out from LBS
  • Ways to identify learners who are at-risk for leaving the program early
  • Research findings on how to promote retention in adult literacy programs
  • What learners say about dropping out
  • Strategies instructors can use to increase motivation and commitment to learning
  • Matching motivational strategies to the four stages of self-directed learning.
2.8   Final Assignment
  • A final review of course objectives.
  • A practical self-check exercise.
2.9 Sources & Links
  • List of all internal and external links throughout this course

Professional development can be guided by leaders, tied to standards and learning goals, and built around...
improvement plans, but, ultimately, the engine that drives it all is each individual's commitment to self-reflection and self-improvement.

(Journal of Staff Development, Spring 2002)




















JOURNAL REFLECTIONS: What do you think?

An important part of this training involves stopping at various points throughout to reflect upon what you have read, and to consider what implications there may be for your work and practice. We suggest you keep a journal for this purpose.

You could either

1) keep a notebook handy, or
2) create a Word file and keep it open on your toolbar for easy access.

As you come across each Journal Reflection in the Course Notes and Readings, take some time to respond to the prompt questions, write your ideas, or pose a few questions of your own. If you are working with a mentor, the Journal Reflections might help you get started on some interesting dialogue...



Copyright © 2013 LBS Practitioner Training. All rights reserved.