Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pike's Laws of Adult Learning

Law 1: Adults are babies with big bodies.
It is accepted that babies enjoy learning through experience, because every exploration is a new experience. As children grow, educators traditionally reduce the amount of learning through experience to the point that few courses in secondary and higher education devote significant time to experiential education. It is now recognized that adult learning is enhanced by hands-on experience that involves adults in the learning process. In addition, adults bring a wealth of experience that must be acknowledged and respected.

Law 2: People do not argue with their own data.
Succinctly put, people are more likely to believe something fervently if they arrive at the idea themselves. Thus, when teaching adults, presenting structured activities that generate the students' ideas, concepts, or techniques will facilitate learning more effectively than simply giving adults information to remember.

Law 3: Learning is directly proportional to the amount of fun you are having!
Humor is an important tool for coping with stress and anxiety, and can be effective in promoting a comfortable learning environment. If you are involved in the learning process and understand how it will enable you to do your job or other chosen task better, you can experience the sheer joy of learning.

Law 4: Learning has not taken place until behavior has changed.
It is not what you know, but what you do that counts. The ability to apply new material is a good measure of whether learning has taken place. Experiences that provide an opportunity for successfully practicing a new skill will increase the likelihood of retention and application.