What characteristics of your adult learners most influence ‘how’ you develop and deliver a course?

Define and describe the key terms in the stem. What happened in the 3210 course that drew you to this stem? What elements of the 3210 course are addressed by this stem?

In developing or delivering of a course, it is vital to consider the characteristics of adult learners. By failing to acknowledge the characteristics of adult learners, will have negative consequences. Examples of negative consequences are; lack of applicants for the course or having a negative impact on the success of the learner. The negative impact on the learner could be due to lack of motivation, engagement and interest.

The characteristics of adult learners that have the most influence on how I develop or deliver a course are; creation of a positive learning environment, they are self-directed learners, come with prior knowledge and experience, have a need to know why they need to learn it and keeping them active and engaged.

While researching how to develop a course, I realized that you must take into consideration the characteristics of the adult learner. Any materials developed for the adult learner must focus on the characteristics of the adult learner.

This entire module of the Provincial Instructors Diploma acknowledged this stem.The characteristics of adult learners that influence my delivery of a course are, the learners come with prior knowledge and experience, are responsible and accountable for their learning, prefer to be actively involved in the learning process, are problem-solvers, autonomous and self-directed, and need to engage in self-reflection.

Why did you choose this stem? What caught your attention? What thoughts and/or feelings do you associate with this stem? How did the 3210 course help (or not) you learn
more about the material associated with this stem? What did you do to help yourself learn more about this material?

I chose this stem as a journal entry as it is essential as an adult educator to be knowledgeable on the characteristics of adult learners. And consider these characteristics into when developing curriculum, syllabus and lesson plans. This includes utilizing a variety of learning methods and learning activities in developing and in the delivery of course content. This will aid in facilitating the learner’s learning.

This module of the PIDP has not furthered my knowledge on the characteristics of adult learners. But I did learn that these characteristics must be reflected in development of the curriculum not just in the course syllabus or lesson plans.

To learn more about the influence of the characteristics of adult learners I engaged in on-line research, reviewed textbooks related to adult education, and collaborated with my colleagues.

What for you was a turning point in your understanding of this material? What key insight(s) have been generated for you as you reflected on this stem? Why are these insight(s) significant and/or relevant?

Upon reflecting on this stem the key turning point of understanding this stem was I was preparing to develop the DACUM chart, I had to develop the goals and performance objects. I was reflecting on what instructional delivery methods, assignments and evaluations that would be used for each session.

The key insight for me is that everything in relation to adult learning is based on the characteristics of adult learners. These insights are relevant for me as an adult educator, because if I don’t understand the characteristics of adult learners I will not be an effective facilitator which could have a negative impact on the learners.

This stem is relevant in all aspects of curriculum development for adult education. The characteristics of the adult learner must be considered in the curriculum development, course syllabus and the lesson plan.

How has this stem and the insights you have gained from this journal reflection influenced your ideas of teaching? How will this educational experience inform your professional practice? What are some related practices or activities you plan to introduce (or continue using) in your teaching?

As an adult educator I need to recognize that not all learners learn from the same method. Therefore I need to have the ability to adapt to the learners learning method and change the delivery method if needed. I must consider the previous knowledge and experience that each learner brings to the classroom and utilize their knowledge and experience to enhance the learning environment. I must consider that adult learners are mature and must be treated as equals. They are intrinsically motivated, learn by participating and doing, are goal orientated, and are autonomous and self-directed.

Upon reflecting on this journal stem I will continue to include a variety of learning a method in my classroom to suit the learner’s different learning styles. I plan to review all course related materials and make changes were necessary applying my learned knowledge from this module of the PIDP.


School of Instructor Education. April 2012, PIDP 3210 Curriculum Development Course Guide. Vancouver, BC: Vancouver Community College

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