Category Archives: Adult Learning

How to Teach Research Learners

Research learners love to read and study to learn. They desire debate and always want the big picture before, during, and after learning.

They prefer to learn by studying about ideas and how things are related. They love problem solving that requires collecting, organizing, and evaluating data. They enjoy arguing or debating a point based on logical analysis, but only after they have had a chance to plan and carry out a project of their own making and interest.

Research learners learn best from lectures, reading, logical discussions and debates, and projects of personal interest. (Many professors going for tenure fall into this research learner category).

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How To Teach Create Learners

Teach the Word“Create” learners are the exact opposite of the Step learners.

Create learners love to synthesize to learn. They desire to generate something (create something) in order to really “get it.”

They prefer to learn by being creative and using their imaginations and creative ideas to plan and organize concepts. They prefer working on a number of tasks at one time, discussing real problems and looking for real solutions. They also enjoy searching for alternative solutions to problems, looking beyond those normally considered. (Some might call this divergent thinking.)

Create learners learn best with creative and artistic activities that are used along with open-ended discussions about personal and social values. They do best with activities that enlighten and enrich understanding, such as stories, dramas, etc.

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How to Teach Step Learners

Teach the WordStep learners (just like the name) love to follow steps to learn. They desire goals and practicality.

They prefer to learn by seeing tangible results through practicing what they have learned and following directions one step at a time. They like being active, rather than passive, learners and need to know exactly what is expected, how well the task must be done, and why.

Step learners learn best by drill and repetition, demonstration, direct instruction, and guided practice exercises.

They really like doing things that have an immediate and practical use. They appreciate being acknowledged for thoroughness and detail, and they enjoy praise for prompt and complete work. They are also into competitions when they learn along with immediate rewards, privileges, etc.

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The Big Difference Is Learning Styles

Teach the WordThis is the big difference . . .

The big difference between the disconnected teacher and the engaging teacher is . . .

knowing who you are.

There are four learning styles that individuals use to absorb new information.

Each teacher tends to be naturally good at learning and teaching in one or two of these styles.

The disconnected teachers don’t know their styles and aren’t connecting with ALL the styles of their audience members.

If this sounds like you . . . it’s not your fault.

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Motivated to Learn – Personal Application

Teach the WordBible study is always important. As we study, we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we study, the Holy Spirit strengthens our faith. But because our thinking still is influenced by sin, we are easily distracted by other issues and even allow those issues to take precedence in our lives. That can happen to those of us who handle God’s Word every day. It also can happen to those who come to study with us in our Bible classes.

As we continue our discussion of one of the principles of adult learning—that adults need to be motivated to learn—we are going to focus on the application. Putting effort into crafting application questions will pay dividends by helping the students recognize why the truth that was studied in God’s Word is important to their lives.

How does a pastor help people see why the lesson is valuable for their lives? Continue reading

Motivated to Learn What Is Useful

Teach the WordThink of a time when you were on the other side of the Bible class lectern. You were sitting in class, but were only marginally engaged. Bombarded with a cacophony of thoughts, worries, and concerns that kept drowning out the voice of the Bible class leader, you found it hard to keep focused. It wasn’t that the Bible class leader wasn’t prepared or that his teaching methods were particularly weak. It was just that, at the moment, the thoughts about life derailed your concentration.

Many of the people sitting in front of you as you teach God’s Word face similar challenges. Their thoughts are overshadowed by worries and concerns.  The challenges in their homes or places of work might seem to be more important or might simply distract them from focusing on, for example, a Bible study about Baptism, or the book of Romans, or on the subject of prayer.

One of the principles of adult learning is that adults need to be motivated to learn.  A strong motivator for learning is the clear understanding of how the learning will be useful to them. Continue reading

From Passive Listening to Active Learning

Teach the WordIn her article last month, Dr. Sue Holtz shared two techniques for involving a Bible study class in active learning. That elicited a question from one of our readers. If our Bible study participants are accustomed to listening passively, a dramatic change in teaching methods could put the learners well beyond their comfort level. What steps can we take to help our classes learn to be (and appreciate being) active learners? In our feature article this month, Rev. Dan Schroeder lays out a 12-week plan for moving the class from passive listening to active learning.

Weeks 1-2
Give the participants 30 seconds to write down their thoughts on a question you pose. Example: “Take 30 seconds and write down as many reasons as you can why it’s important that we have a seminary for training our pastors.” After 30 seconds, ask for volunteers to share what they wrote. After hearing a couple responses, ask if there are any new thoughts that haven’t been shared. This is a great activity for those who are introverts. It allows them to think and process. Continue reading

Help Them Learn and Retain

Teach the WordDr. Sue Holtz is the author of our feature article this month. Dr. Holtz serves as the Director of Technology Integration and Support at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, the seminary of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. She received her doctorate in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service from Cardinal Stritch University in 2004. The topic of her dissertation was Nurturing Cooperative Learning Online. Her background is in teaching business communications at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She has also taught technology courses at various colleges.

Even the most gifted presenter needs a break. The Psalmist says, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well (Psalm 139:14). Neuroscience research tells us that God made our brains to need a break after about 20 minutes of lecture. After 20 minutes of listening to you, it is time to change things up and give your learners a break to help them retain what they have learned.

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