Many businesses believe that some form of on-going training is an essential requirement to keep employees happy, loyal, and current.  However, many trainings are offered in a group setting where employees are invited to pass through a “101” training course.  Does this type of training ensure professional improvement? Does this type of training meet the needs of the adult learner?

Malcolm Knowles (1980), the pioneer of adult learning offers the following considerations when looking at the needs of the adult learner and corporate trainings:

1.    Adults need to be free to direct their own learning. Leaders of training sessions have to act as facilitators, guiding participants to their own knowledge rather than supplying them with facts.

2.    Adults bring to a training an accumulation of life experiences and knowledge.  For training to be meaningful, the sessions need to connect learning to this knowledge/experience base.

3.    When adults agree to take part in a training, they usually have some idea of what they want to get from the training. Therefore, adults appreciate a learning experience that is organized and has defined elements.

4.    Adults must see a reason for learning something. For a training to be of value, the learning has to be applicable to their work or to their other responsibilities.

5.    Adults will focus on the aspects of a training that are most useful to them. They may not be interested in knowledge for its own sake.

6.    Adults have many responsibilities that they must balance against the demands of learning.  Because of these responsibilities, adults may have barriers against participating in group learning experiences. Some of these barriers may include:  a perceived lack of time; low level of self-confidence; ‘red tape’ hassles; etcetera.

Corporate trainings need to focus on material that reflects the way employees live, work and learn. Microlearning trainings offer a flexible and dynamic alternative to tradition trainings.  Microlearning trainings are a type of training that deals with small learning chunks accompanied by short-term learning activities.  The format for the trainings makes it possible to engage in the training anywhere at any time.  Microlearning trainings support self-discovery, allowing the employee to focus on useful information not already possessed.

All men who have turned out worth anything
have had the chief hand in their own education. – Sir Walter Scott