For effective adult education don’t tell – show and share suggestions
To create effective adult education with adult learners, to impact behaviour positively (mentoring, coaching or training) – don’t tell them what to do, try demonstrate the desired behaviour and offer suggestions instead.
We believe what we see above that which we hear. Still the most powerful method to persuade or to positively change behaviour is to demonstrate the desired behaviour.
As adults we don’t like to be told what to do, it often brings out the inner stroppy child (“Don’t tell me what to do!”) which often includes a foot stomp or crossed arms. The tone we use is also important. If it is a commanding tone – we feel like we are back in school. A suggestion from an advisor (who walks their talk) is more readily accepted than a command.
Effective adult education works best when we offer suggestions for development and acknowledge the listener’s ability to choose. When we offer adult learners a choice, acknowledging their authority over their own development they are more likely to take our suggestions. When we tell them what to do the risk is greater their ego will interfere and they may not heed the advice even if it is the right thing to do.
Effective adult education in the workplace requires choice and humanity.
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