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Principles of Adult Learning

Posted on June 2, 2010 at 8:18 PM Comments comments (1)

Wow! I read an interesting blog article today – it set my mind racing and started me on a hunt for some more information. The blog summarises the differences in how adults and children learn – specifically the differences between andragogy and pedagogy as popularised by Malcolm Knowles. The blog explores five principles of adult learning:


1. Self-concept of the learner

2. Prior experience of the learner

3. Readiness to learn

4. Orientation to learning

5. Motivation to learn


And compares how these principles are addressed using an andragogical or pedagogical approach

You can read the blog in full here:


The blog made me realise that although I’ve been aware of KnowIe’s work I haven’t ever looked into the detail – I’d like to know more about him so I’m on mission to support my inner (often hidden) Theorist and find out more

For those of you also interested in reading more depth about Malcolm Knowles work the Journal of Interactive Online Learning published a great article which looks at Malcolm’s theory in greater detail and how they impact the design of online learning


What are your thoughts? How do you see the relevance of this to your own training? Personally, I think there’s a time and a place for both andragogy and pedagogy when training adults; it is one of the many considerations we need to make to develop balanced training programs that meet our learner’s needs. 

Top Ten Areas of Weakness in Organisational Training

Posted on April 26, 2009 at 11:31 PM Comments comments (1)

Earlier this year I approached friends and colleagues in training and HR as well as my clients and I asked them.  "In your opinion, what are the 3 greatest weaknesses in organisational training?" I also posted the same question on some web based forums.


The question obviously hit a chord because responses started flooding in from all over the world! The responses were varied and on the whole respondents were very passionate! I sorted the responses into ten broad headings



  1. Planning for and analyzing reasons for training
  2. Development and design
  3. Trainer/Delivery
  4. After Training
  5. Structure
  6. Environment
  7. Participants
  8. Content
  9. Management Mindset
  10. Time and Financial Constraints

As a trainer which of the areas above do you have direct control over, which you have indirect control over and which you have no control over?  Assuming we ourselves or the people who report to us write and deliver training then I think the key areas most of us have direct control over are:

  1. Planning for and analyzing reasons for training
  2. Development and design
  3. Trainer/Delivery
  4. Structure

  1.  Planning & analysis

  • No real analysis or TNA. Why are we running training?
  • Is training the best solution?
  • Not building on previous learning or training
  • Not linked to business goals
  • Participants don't perceive as relevant to job

  2.  Development / Design

  • Trainers/Registered Training Organisations' delivering what they deliver rather than what the customer wants/needs
  • Lack of cultural matching by external providers
  • Not relevant or specific
  • Badly developed training and materials
  • Lack of activities and exercises
  • Overuse of PowerPoint
  • Unclear learning outcomes

  3. Structure

  • Not enough thought given to structure - what is best delivery method, number of sessions, duration of sessions, learner + business needs
  • Balance between theory and practice
  • Too much work on the content, not enough on the process
  • E-Learning that doesn't engage the learner.

  4.  Trainer/Delivery

  • Facilitator fatigue - delivering same material again and again
  • Unable to be spontaneous, answer questions, move away from plan if it isn't working
  • Not developing rapport with participants.
  • Teaching to own learning style
  • Training from a manual not experience
  • Not engaging participants
  • Only TELLING


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Presenting At Work Survey

Posted on April 10, 2009 at 6:09 AM Comments comments (0)

As anyone with an interest in training and organisational learning and development will know,  finding the right presenter is so important.  Michelle Bowden Enterprises recently forwarded me a link to a survey on presenting at work. Click through if you'd like to complete the survey.  I?m really looking forward to seeing the results ? I think finding the right presenter is an integral part of delivering creative and innovative training. 


I recently completed a survey on perceptions of the top ten weaknesses in organisational learning.  You can download the results from the members section of my website.  I'll be looking at the impact these areas can have on developing and delivering really great training in future blogs ? let me know any areas you?d be interested  in exploring further or any particular questions you have.



All the best