Curate tips and tools that promote high quality learning and engagement

Educator curates strategies and tools that promote high-quality learning and engagement for adult learners
Made by Hope Street Group and Learning Forward
Earn Graduate Credit
Graduate-level credit is available for this micro-credential. You can apply for credit through one of our university partners after successfully completing the micro-credential.
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About this Micro-credential

Key Method

Educator identifies and leverages the characteristics of adult learners to identify and incorporate tools and strategies that promote high-quality learning and engagement for adult learners.

Method Components

The educator chooses learning designs and incorporates strategies consistent with processes that promote engagement for adult learners. During design the educator considers the characteristics of adult learners.

The Characteristics of Adult Learners

  1. Autonomy: Adults typically prefer a sense of control and self-direction.
  2. Goal-oriented: Adults prefer to partake in learning activities that help them reach their personal and/or professional goals.
  3. Practical: Adults need personal/professional relevance in learning activities.
  4. Competence and mastery: Adults like to gain competence in workplace skills as it boosts confidence and improves self-esteem.
  5. Learning by experience: Many adults prefer to learn by doing rather than listening to lectures.
  6. Wealth of knowledge: Acknowledge the depth and breadth of prior knowledge adults bring to the learning situation.
  7. Purposeful: Adults want to know the purpose of training and the motivation underlying an organization’s training initiative.
  8. Emotional barriers: How an adult feels about a subject may evoke emotions that can interfere with the learning process.
  9. Results-oriented: Adults’ expectations for what they will get out of learning activities may impact their participation
  10. Outside responsibilities: Most adult learners have numerous responsibilities and commitments that influence their willingness to dedicate time for learning.
  11. Potential physical limitations: Adult learners may acquire psychomotor skills more slowly. Examples of these differences include: experiencing difficulty reading small fonts and identifying small images on the computer screen.
  12. Big picture: Adults often require a big-picture view of what they’re learning.
  13. Responsible for self: Adult learners often take responsibility for their own success or failure while learning.
  14. Need for community: Many self-directed adult learners prefer a learning community with whom they can interact and discuss questions and issues.

Suggested Implementation Strategies

  • Choose learning designs that embody the unique qualities of adult learners.
  • Establish norms for group interaction.
  • Integrate brain-based strategies for learning, such as incorporating timely breaks, movement, and process for grouping.
  • Tend to processes for adult socialization;
  • Use a variety of ways to report out information with adults.
  • Take the learning environment into account (including the physical setup of the environment).
  • Incorporate a variety of strategies (e.g., text as expert, jigsaw protocol, shoulder partners, four corners protocol)
  • Incorporate strategies to monitor time, such as online timers and signaling cups.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

  • Garmston, Robert J. The Adaptive School: A Sourcebook for Developing Collaborative Groups. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon, 2009. Print.

  • Garmston, Robert J., and Bruce M. Wellman. How to Make Presentations That Teach and Transform. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1992. Print.

  • Easton, Lois Brown. Powerful Designs for Professional Learning. 3rd ed. Oxford, OH: Learning Forward, 2015. Print.

  • MacKeracher, Dorothy. Making Sense of Adult Learning. U of Toronto, 2004. Print.

  • Malamed, Connie. “Characteristics of Adult Learners.” The eLearning Coach. 29 Sept. 2009. Web. 23 May 2016.

  • School Reform Initiative. SRI Resource and Protocol Book. Version 3.0 ed. Denver: School Reform Initiative, 2014. Print.


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

Following are the items you must submit to earn this micro-credential and the criteria by which they will be evaluated. To earn this micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3 as well as a “Yes” for each component in Part 2.

Part 1. Overview questions

(300-word limit)

  • Which characteristics of adult learners were supported through the tools and/or strategies that you chose to highlight/employ during your adult learning session?
  • How, specifically, were each of these characteristics supported by the tools and/or strategies you chose to highlight/employ during your adult learning session?

Part 2. Evidence/artifacts

Educator must demonstrate their promotion of high-quality learning and engagement for adult learners via video, audio, a sample PD plan, or annotated agenda with at least two tools and/or strategies.

Part 3. Reflection

(300-word Limit)

  • How did the inclusion of tools and/or strategies that leverage the characteristics of adult learners affect the outcome of your adult learning session?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


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