How adults learn – resources/research

 Meaningful learning.  Effective training stems from a basic plan* which addresses the following:

*Queensland Council of Adult Literacy

  Understanding how adults learn

The Public Library Services Adult Literacy collection has tutoring-advice books, audio kits and resources for tutors and learners, including English      speakers and those learning English as a second language.  They can be requested via  the adult literacy material bulk loan request form    at – explains critical reading & thinking. It helps to show a reader to what look for and how to  think about what they find   A useful site which  contains an overview of  adult learning theory, a list of books about how adults  learn, links to other websites about how adults learn, and a brief  list of  other key adult learning resources.  A range of practical strategies for helping adults learn,  set out in easy to follow  ‘worksheet’ format.  A discussion of the difference between pedagogy (child) and  andragogy (adult).  Provides a generalised overview of learning theories, how adults  learn and different learning  styles. Doesn’t address practical strategies for teaching adults.  A practical and concisely written reflection on teaching adults.

 Media – to find out more about Adult Literacy  

Adult Learning Youtube channel

Adult Learners’ Week radio interview ABC Radio National Bush Telegraph radio interview – Sally Thompson (CEO Adult Learning Australia) and  senior Australia Barbara Winter

What it is like being an older student. This article covers the benefits and challenges of being an older student, as well as tips for successful study.

Australian Learning Lectures

A decade-long project is designed to elevate the importance of learning in Australia for all Australians, and change the way Australia thinks about itself as a learning society. Australian Learning Lecture (ALL)  lecture series

  An effective-teacher’s repertoire

A teacher needs motivating skills, questioning skills, supporting skills (verbal praise being the most common),  information-giving skills(including  feedback) and listening skills (primarily non-verbal like eye contact and posture).

Techniques for better listening include: Listening, ignore distractions, summarise, tame emotions, eliminate hasty  judgements, never interrupt,  inspire openness, need to listen and generate conclusions. (SCRC 2012, ‘Develop Tutor  Strategies in Listening and Speaking’ p4).

  Question styles need to be wide ranging and include low-order convergent style (recall and memorisation with  answers as yes/no or quotes), high-  order convergent style (beyond recall, describe), low order divergent style (eg:  identify reasons) and high order divergent style  (make predictions,  solve lifelike problems, such as asking what their  favourite book is and why) (Wilen et al. 2000, p.181)

  Effective feedback  contains three components. These are a definition of correctness or standard of performance to  be met, evidence indicating  whether the standard was or was not achieved and corrective procedures as to what must  be re-learned and how (Wilen et al. 2000, p.45)

  Generating an academic climate promotes learning “Be task orientated and time aware, and to do this there are  four key points to keep in  mind.  keep student on task and involved with challenging activity, give limited and  purposeful homework and monitor progress for student success”    (Wilen et al. 2000, p.29)

  It is important to provide opportunities for success. “structure success experiences so that all students feel  positive about themselves as    learners” “Students need opportunities to succeed frequently on learning tasks”  (Wilen et  al. 2000, p.43)


Applegate, Applegate & Turner (2010, p 211)  suggest teachers develop flexible reading programs that encourage the  success of struggling readers  and suit the needs of individual students.

Embark on the use of the Language Experience Approach, using topics of great interest to the students and enabling  them to experience engaged  learning, they suggest, because the ideas and words included in the experience become the  vehicle through which skills can be developed.

“The job of the literacy leader is to help students achieve a healthy balance whereby they use all of their skills to arrive  at the ultimate goal: becoming  skilled and motivated readers who read thoughtfully and purposefully for an array of  purposes.”

So, the primary task of literacy leaders is to help  all of their colleagues keep their eyes on the prize and develop the  flexibility they need to adjust  their programs to achieve a solid match with all students. (Applegate , Applegate &  Turner 2010, p.212)

  “When thinking about language, remember that it is living, not dead. It continues to develop and change. To use     English well, you need to be aware  of how it is used in different situations and for different purposes.” (Seely, 1998,  p.157)

How children learn (research/resources below are from the Australian school system)

These readings, strategies and practical tips also provide insight into adult learning

The science of spelling: the explicit specifics that make great readers and writers (and spellers!)  (PDF, 755 KB) – a research article

Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences

Tools and strategies

Critical and Creative Thinking skills

Graphic Organisers Global Education templates

Reflecting: ideas for teaching and learning activities using graphic organisers and processes

 Multiple Intelligences units

Integrate educational thinking skills (Bloom) & learning styles (Gardner).


How to write your Capability Statement

A capability statement sets out the abilities and skills of your business. It’s a tool that presents your […]

Restore your screen-soaked mind

Our online connections are a comfort in these uncertain times. Social media posts have been a lifeline while […]

Six sure-fire ways to improve your written work

1. Read your work aloud. This may seem strange at first, but it works. It also helps shut out […]

Arguments can bring community together

Australians are very open about expressing opinions and feel entitled to do so. Differences-of-opinion make us human. But […]

Grant application success in a nutshell

If you’re after key tips about success with grant applications, here they are. Your brain will so honed […]

Doors open from a downer

I suspect many of you set the work-bar very high. So, you’ll be no stranger to the setbacks […]

Come on brain, bite my lip.

Milliseconds-of-time is all we have to choke back that glaring faux par. That’s a tribute the power and […]