The following twelve guiding principles will enable us to use FUN tools. The FUN guidelines are categorised into learner, content and approach issues.
- Review prior experience of the learners
The prior experiences of the learners provide a rich resource forlearning, most of the time.
- Consider individual learner differences
There is much evidence to link individual differences and the impact on adult education. And unless we are aware of these differences, we will not be able to tailor our programmes to meet the needs of our adult learners.
- Prepare the learner to receive the content
It is important for us to prepare the learners to receive the content and establish a conducive learning climate.
- Use moderate content
Most training programmes are loaded with excessive content, which the learners are unable to absorb. They are like freight trains, which move at their own pace with overloaded cargo. The lack of time to cover the syllabus does not justify the delivery of all the information as quickly as possible. It is wise not to dump content on learners as they may dump the content.
- Consider subject matter differences
Different subjects require different approaches. Not all subjects can be handled with either a lecture or a role-play. The nature of the training tool or technique should be influenced by the nature of the subject.
- Balance knowledge and skills coverage
Adults are motivated by real world applications. Knowledge inputs must be accompanied with opportunities for skills applications.
- Consider attention spans of adult learners
Adults have an attention span of 20 minutes, maybe even less with the generation Y or echo boomers. Sometimes, the nature of the subject and the learner profile may expand the attention span. It is very unlikely that the adult will be able to concentrate forever without any break or variation.
- Consider group and cultural norms
Group and cultural norms at the ground level may vary from one situation to another. The training strategy that is employed may need to be adapted to suit the group and cultural norms.
- Use a variety of learning tools
Variety is the spice of life. A variety of learning tools will erase boredom and monotony. FUN tools, when used purposefully; provide a variety as compared with a traditional lecture.
- Relate input to applications in the real world
An adult constantly looks for what is in it for me. Unless the content is related to the workplace, the whole training becomes an intellectual exercise in futility.
- Promote learning in small groups
Small groups allow for a risk-free environment. They allow for greater discussion and promote participation.
- Review learning, but don’t call it a review
Review is critical for retention and recall, but adults do not like the process of review all the time. It may seem patronising to some people. A variety of FUN tools with the purpose of review, without being called review, helps us promote retention and recall.