Skip links

Teaching Adult Learners


Teaching Adult Learners

How do you tailor education to the learning needs of adults? Do they learn differently from children? How does their life experience inform their learning processes? These were the questions at the heart of the pioneering theory of andragogy which transformed education theory. The resulting principles of a self-directed, experiential, problem-centered approach to learning have been hugely influential and are still the basis of the learning practices we use today. If you are an educator, administrator, researcher, practitioner, or student in education, an adult learning practitioner, training manager, or involved in human resource development, this course will prepare you to create effective and engaging material for adult learners.



Access Length

12 Months





Course Overview

As a student in this course you will:

  • Explore the unique needs and motivations of adult students and use andragogical techniques to assess your learners’ needs.
  • Examine the different learning styles of adult students and create learning activities which cater to your learners’ strengths.
  • Learn how to keep learner engagement high by making life-centered learning material that appeals to adult learner’s sense of self-concept.
  • Learn the multiple nuances of teaching adults—whether in traditional educational settings, in the workplace, and even autonomous, self-directed learning.
  • Understand the strengths of technology and how to integrate them into your instruction material and plan administration.
  • Gain understanding of the multiple stages of learning and how to leverage each stage to engage your learners and increase retention.
  • Develop learning objectives that appeal to adult learners and create reliable assessments.
  • Use measurement instruments to assess learner and instructor attitudes towards learning.
  • Create learning contracts to increase self-directedness of adult learning.
  • Create inclusive and accessible learning for a diverse adult learner population through andragogical approaches.

“Once I was settled, the school administrators enrolled me in the Teaching Adult Learners course to obtain certification to teach as a technical educator. The overall course was very easy to navigate. I was able to complete the material at my own pace, and learning was completely self-directed. I appreciated having the freedom to pick up right where I left off whenever I had the time, and the opportunity to take as long a break as was necessary for my busy life.”

Course Outline:

Lesson 1: Introduction to Adult Learning

This lesson introduces to you to terms and concepts you will encounter throughout this course. It offers a both an introduction to the theories of adult learning and the organization of the material presented in the course eBook.

Lesson 2: Exploring the World of Learning Theory

This lesson helps you understand the concepts which underlie the field of adult education broadly in addition to the principles and frameworks of andragogical practice.

Lesson 3: Andragogy: A Theory of Adult Learning

This lesson explores the different streams of inquiry (i.e. scientific, reflective) which have shaped the practices of andragogy and teaching adult learners.

Lesson 4: The Andragogical Process Model for Learning

This lesson covers the andragogical process model and how this model shapes the role of the learner, the learning material, and the instructor within the context of teaching adult learners.

Lesson 5: Andragogy in Practice: Expanding the Usefulness of the Andragogical Model

This lesson covers the expansion of the andragogical model to develop goals and purposes of learning which account for the unique individual situation of your students.

Lesson 6: Theories of Learning

This lesson dives deeper in the various learning theories which influence the instruction of adult learners today. Historical perspectives and universal themes are discussed in the context of modern andragogical practice.

Lesson 7: Theories of Teaching

Theories of teaching deal with the ways on person influences other to learn. You examine things like stimulus-response and cognitive theories to increase your effectiveness as an educator of adult learners.

Lesson 8: Adult Learning Within Human Resource Development

This lesson explores the similarities and differences between adult education and human resource development (HRD). You will look closely at HRD, the role of adult learning within HRD, and incorporation of organizational goals into your learning activities.

Lesson 9: New Perspectives on Andragogy

This lesson discusses new perspectives on andragogy that have emerged from research and theory in a variety of disciplines.

Lesson 10: Beyond Andragogy

The student is the center of andragogy practice and processes. In this lesson you learn how to account for the individual differences in adult learners, theories of multiple intelligences, and learning styles.

Lesson 11: Diversity and Inclusion in the Adult Education Classroom

This lesson covers the components of creating an inclusive classroom which creates accessible education for traditionally underserved populations.

Lesson 12: Neuroscience and Andragogy

The advances being made through neuroscience research are revolutionizing our understanding of how people learn. The purpose of this lesson is to review the support emerging from neuroscience research for andragogy.

Lesson 13: Andragogy and Adult Online Learning

In this lesson you address issues such as adult learner characteristics, characteristics of the online learning environment, and practical ways to design instruction online using the principles of andragogy as the framework for design.

Lesson 14: Effective Computer-Based Instruction for Adults

Computer-based instruction (CBI) is fast becoming a routine part of learners’ lives. In this lesson you will learn how to leverage the many benefits of CBI to create effective and engaging learning content for your students.

Lesson 15: European Perspectives on Adult Learning

This lesson explores international perspectives and studies of adult learning theories and practice. Historical antecedents which have shaped the concept of andragogy internationally are explored and give you greater perspective on their field of adult education.

Lesson 16: Andragogy: History, Meaning, Context, and Function

This lesson explores the ways in which societies have used and evolved the core principles of andragogy and adult education in historical literature.

Lesson 17: The Future of Andragogy

This lesson examines some key issues in the development of the concept and philosophy of andragogy, future research needs, and developing applications in practice. You will identify the key issues that will shape the research and practice of andragogy in the coming years.

Lesson 18: Andragogical Learner Analysis Using the Andragogy in Practice Framework

You will use the andrological learner analysis in presented in this lesson to assess how andragogical processes fit learning activity situations. You will apply the learner analysis across case studies to practice real-life applications.

Lesson 19: Andragogy in Practice Inventory

This lesson covers psychometrically valid instruments to measure key andragogical constructs. You will use the Andragogy in Practice Inventory (API) and scoring key to conduct assessments of your learners’ experiences.

Lesson 20: Guidelines for Using Learning Contracts

Learning contracts are a way to engage learners to take charge of their learning and to communicate their plan to the facilitator. In this lesson you will learn how to leverage learning contracts to increase your students’ motivation to learn.

Lesson 21: Competency Diagnostic and Planning Guide for Adult Educators/Trainers

Using self-assessments provide important opportunities for you to improve your skills as an adult educator. This lesson gives you the chance to use the Self-Diagnostic Rating Scale Competencies for Adult Educator/Trainer assessment as a learning facilitator, program developer, and administrator.

Lesson 22: Personal Adult Learning Style Inventory

This lesson allows you to use the Personal Adult Learning Style Inventory to give you some insight into your general orientation to adult learning, program development, learning methods, and program administration.

All course materials are included.

System Requirements.

View the general hardware, internet, and software needs you'll want to have covered before enrolling

Get Trained. Get Hired.

This program includes unparalleled training, career support, and coaching. It’s a faster, cheaper alternative to traditional schooling.

Begin your training right now.

Complete your training on your own terms.

Prepare to take certification exams.

Program Support

Focus and target your audience through the right channels.

Career Resources

Focus and target your audience through the right channels.

Payment Plans

Focus and target your audience through the right channels.

MyCAA Grants

Focus and target your audience through the right channels.