Adult Learning 101

Across the network, it’s common for refugee employment service providers to find themselves responsible for conducting job readiness training for clients without any formal training or teaching experience.  Even with proper training and experience, designing instruction and conducting trainings can be challenging.  It can also be fun and rewarding to see clients learn and grow from each other as they learn about life in the U.S.

Job readiness training can take many forms, such as one-on-one or in a classroom setting.  However your job readiness training is structured, a majority of students in job readiness classrooms are adult learners.  Understanding how adults learn will help you conduct more effective job readiness trainings.

There are 4 important things to remember when you’re creating training for adults:

  1. Adult learners need to be involved in the instruction.
  2. Adult learning is based on personal experience.
  3. Adult learners want to see immediate, relevant impact.
  4. Adult learning needs to be problem-centered.

We have an infographic that provides some background into adult learning theory. American educator, Malcolm Knowles, studied the art and science of adult learning. He developed the 4 Principles of Andragogy and 5 Assumptions of Adult Learners. Both are explained in the infographic below.

The Adult Learning Theory Infographic
Find more education infographics on e-Learning Infographics


  1. Julia Araida Martinez says:

    This page has very good information on how adult learns. It also breaks down the information in section makes it easier to read and understand. I enjoy read it.

    • Sarah Vail says:

      Thanks, Julia! I like how the infographic makes it easier to understand too. I’ll try to incorporate more visuals like this going forward. Thanks for reading!

  2. Ana Gonzalez says:

    Great information!

    • Sarah Vail says:

      Thanks, Ana! I thought that this infographic was too good to keep to myself. Thanks for reading!

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