Understanding effective approaches to adult learning plays an essential role in the development and implementation of educational programs. Andragogy, which is the science of adult education, focuses on the range of learning processes and learners’ internalized needs, thus placing them at the forefront of the process instead of teachers’ outcomes. With the help of evidence-based practice, it is possible to develop instructional strategies to facilitate the effective learning of the target population. Evidence-based instruction and curricula are expected to use credible information from up-to-date research studies as well as a broad range of subjects in a variety of areas.
Evidence-based instructional strategies are such that are supported by evidence and research. When teachers use such strategies within their instructions, they can be confident that the teaching process is likely to facilitate and support students’ learning and achievement (McCall, Padron, & Andrews, 2018). In addition, evidence-based instruction calls for the implementation of formative assessments for monitoring the effectiveness of the teaching practice and make relevant modifications. The range of practices embedded in evidence-based instruction also includes collaboration, which is essential for learners to engage in the assigned tasks and base their learning on each others’ experiences.
Within evidence-based strategies, the role of the instructor has been given an important role. According to the instructor-focused framework, instructors are expected to act as proactive learning facilitators and mediators. The most benefit during adult learning could be seen when an instructor was in the role of a collaborative colleague who showed understanding and respect to students as well as empowered them during the learning process (McCall et al., 2018). It is also imperative that instructors acknowledge the life experiences of their students and prior knowledge. Instead of assuming, instructors should take time to get to know their students’ past experiences, needs, and expectations. Subsequently, it is possible to develop learner-centered instruction as an evidence-based instructional strategy that will offer flexibility for students in pursuing the subject areas of their choice and supply space for exploration and experimentation (Mishkind, 2016). Learner-based instruction is fundamental for involving adult learners into contributing to the course syllabus and engage in a productive peer-to-peer learning to share ideas and experiences.
Due to the fact evidence-based instruction considers learners’ past experiences, the guided design is a strategy that should be considered. The method implies decision-making and problem-solving processes that enable the use of procedures by using real-world problems to master learning content and using team processing for guidance and feedback (Dunst, Trivette and Hamby, 2010). This approach is beneficial for adult learners to develop an understanding of how to solve higher-order problems and develop meta-cognitive thinking. Active learning is an evidence-based instructional strategy in which learners are expected to actively participate in the educational processes, with the focus placed on skill development rather than transmitting information (Palis & Quiros, 2014).
Within the framework, learners are actively engaged in learning activities while instructors develop a focus on the exploration of learners’ values and attitudes. Finally, the use of technologies, such as virtual classrooms, is an approach to evidence-based instruction that allows learners to receive instructor feedback from qualified instructions with the help of different communication technologies (Woods and Rosenberg, 2016). Virtual classrooms allow adults to engage in a learning process on a flexible schedule. The use of the available software facilitates interactions in the broad range of classroom settings, creating opportunities for learners to engage with each other, with the instructor, as well as reflect on activities that correspond with the content that is being studied.
|Evidence-based instructional strategy||Expectations||Instructor’s role||Learner’s role|
|Instructor-focused framework||Establishing an environment of proactive learning facilitation and mediation.||The role of a collaborative colleague who showed understanding and respect to students as well as empowered them during the learning process.||Reflecting on life experiences and prior knowledge to facilitate learning.|
|Learner-centered instruction||Flexibility in learners’ pursuit of the subject areas of their choice and the supply of space for exploration and experimentation.||Involving adult learners into contributing to the course syllabus as well as active collaboration.||Engaging in productive peer-to-peer learning to share ideas and experiences.|
|Guided design||Decision-making and problem-solving processes that enable the use of procedures by using real-world problems to master learning content and using team processing for guidance and feedback.||Facilitating learner’s engagement in problem-solving and collaborative thinking.||Develop an understanding as to how to solve higher-order problems and develop meta-cognitive thinking.|
|Active learning||Focus placed on skill development rather than transmitting information.||Instructors develop a focus on the exploration of learners’ values and attitudes.||Learners are expected to participate in the educational processes actively.|
|Virtual classrooms (technology)||Creating opportunities for learners to engage with each other, with the instructor, as well as reflect on activities that correspond with the content that is being studied.||Facilitating the learning process by finding appropriate applications and technology solutions to fit the class goals and expectations.||Engage in a learning process on a flexible schedule.|
To conclude, evidence-based instructional strategies are varied and depend on the expectations for learning as well as the role played by instructors and students. In adult learning, special importance is placed on knowledge, skills, and experiences that can facilitate an effective acquisition of new information. Upon exploring evidence-based instructional strategies, the focus on the needs and expectations of learners is traced throughout all approaches. Therefore, when developing learning materials for adults, it is imperative to emphasize the individual and group expectations of learners and adjust instruction to their knowledge and experiences.
Dunst, C., Trivette, C., & Hamby, D. (2010). Meta-analysis of the effectiveness of four adult learning methods and strategies. International Journal of Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning, 3(1), 91-112.
McCall, R., Padron, K., & Adrews, C. (2018). Evidence-based instructional strategies for adult learners: A review of literature. Codex: The Journal of the Louisiana Chapter of the ACRL, 4(1), 29-47.
Mishkind, A. (2016). Adult education: What makes teaching effective? California Department of Education Research Brief. Web.
Palis, A., & Quiros, P. (2014). Adult learning principles and presentation pearls. Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology, 21(2), 114-122.
Woods, M., & Rosenberg, M. E. (2016). Educational tools: Thinking outside the box. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: CJASN, 11(3), 518-526.