20 Ways To Engage Adult Learners

by admin on July 28, 2015

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You look at your participants during your training – eyes glaze over, heads nod with sleep. You wonder if anyone is listening… We all relate to this experience! Research shows that adults need experiential, “hands-on” activities to make learning meaningful. Here are 20 ideas to engage adult learners and help them get the most out of your training:

  • unnamedExperiential Learning Games – Create a learning game to help participants discover key ideas/concepts.
  • Drama & Role Playing – Invite students to act out a Bible story or role-play a situation.
  • Practicum – Give time for participants to practice what they have learned.
  • Partner Share – Turn to a partner to answer a question or share an experience.
  • Problem Solve – Divide participants into groups. Give them a problem they need to solve together. Then share together as a whole group.
  • Brainstorm – Introduce a topic and have participants brainstorm ideas.
  • Corner Questions – Place a different question in each corner of the room. Divide participants into small groups and have them move from corner to corner, answering each question together.
  • Read and Discuss Scripture – Divide into small groups for Scripture reading and discussion.
  • Summarize – Pause and ask participants to summarize the most important thing they heard.
  • Hand Motions – Add hand motions or actions to a key teaching point; better yet, invite participants to create their own hand motions.
  • Speed Sharing – Form two lines facing each other. Each pair has 30-60 seconds to answer a given question. After time is up, one of the lines moves down one person and the activity is repeated.
  • Objects – Place several different random objects on the floor.  Ask participants to pick an object which reminds them of an experience or story. Share those stories together.
  • Scenarios – Give groups a different scenario and have them discuss how they would respond.
  • Ice-breakers – Play games that require quick responses and which allow participants to move around and get to know one another.
  • Art – Give participants time to draw pictures/ symbols to answer questions and communicate ideas.
  • Video Clips – Show a video clip. Prepare follow-up questions for group discussion.
  • Agree/Disagree – Invite participants to form a circle or a line. Say a statement. If they agree with your statement, they turn to their right. If they disagree, they turn to the left. If at any point they are facing someone, give them a few moments to discuss.
  • Answer Questions – Leave time and space for participants to ask questions. Allow participants to answer each other’s questions.
  • Stories – Tell a story. Invite participants to interact with you in the story. Or have participants tell a story.
  • Prayer – Spend time praying together.

Download a copy of these suggestions for training Adult Learners

Damaris July 28, 2015 at 4:01 pm

Good tips Mike, Many leaders don’t think adult would love to be engage in the development of a teaching. They like to be challenge and motivated.

Mike Collins July 29, 2015 at 2:49 pm

Credit goes to Sylvia, Damaris – I merely posted it. How are you keeping – it’s been a few years since we last met.

Damaris July 29, 2015 at 5:32 pm

Hi Mike,
Yes, it’s been a while since we last met. Hope Esther and Susy are doing fine. I have been working with the translation team and with other ministries. I have given a couple of workshops on how to teach and reach adults lately. So the article is good to share with other leaders. Regards to the team of CGF.

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