Adult Learner Characteristics

It is important to understand the characteristics of adult learners to provide the most effective PD programs, just as teachers must understand their students' learning styles, strengths and weaknesses in order to provide the most effective classroom instruction.
Some of these characteristics include:
  • Prefer focus on application& specifics - teachers are interested in learning specific methods to improve instruction in the classroom
  • Anti-authority - teachers must be a part of the PD process or they become unwilling participants less likely to gain from PD
  • Busy & not willing to waste time - PD must be focused and friendly to the busy schedules of teachers
  • Apply experiences & skills - effective PD helps teachers tap into their own wealth of experiences & skills to gain professional knowledge
  • Clear expectations - teachers and PD leaders must have clear expectations for the programs
  • Need to be physically comfortable - teachers require a physically comfortable learning environment, including comfortable chairs, frequent breaks and food & drink (preferably coffee!)