Maintain a constant level of frequency


Maintain a constant level of frequency

The Learning Challenge – Narative
One of the most common problems in adult education is to maintain a high and constant level of participation and interest in the learning process. To do this a starting point is to consider the needs of adults in training. The needs that are most commonly identified are (e.g.): to be considered as adults; to be made aware of knowledge needs; consider that the adult learns best from his or her own experience and from the analysis of the real, i.e. the real problems with respect to their profession and/or experience. In addition, adult education must be focused on the problems rather than the subjects and must use as much as possible non-formal education tools also in digital. From these needs derive a series of methodological suggestions for the trainer/trainer/teacher, which consist in preferring an inductive cognitive approach, making extensive use of active techniques and group work, and putting learned notions into practice immediately.

Solving the Problem: Activities for Learning Groups

Activity 1

Title of activity


Working on the activity – Suggestions

1. Define “Think-Pair-Share.” Explain to students that a Think-Pair-Share allows them to activate their prior knowledge and share ideas about content or beliefs with peers. This structure gives students a chance to organize their ideas—first in their own minds, then in a smaller group setting before sharing with the entire group. In a Think-Pair-Share, students Think individually about the question or idea(s) put forth, Pair up with someone to discuss their thinking, and then Share their conversation with their table group, and then finally with the whole group.

2. Display Think-Pair-Share prompts about a concept or topic. Give students 1-2 minutes to think about the prompt on their own. Then discuss with a partner for another few minutes.

3. Facilitate a whole group discussion.

Listen to their responses.
Ask students to elaborate on their thinking by providing explanations, evidence, or clarifications.

Suggested probing questions:
What makes you think that?

Please give an example from your experience.
What do you mean?

Try to stay neutral in your reaction to students’ comments.

Invite others to react and respond to ideas by providing alternative viewpoints, agreements or disagreements. Suggested probing questions:

  • Can anyone add something to that comment?
  • Who would like to share an alternative opinion?
Activity 2

Title of activity


Working on the activity – Suggestions

A fish bowl allows a small group of students to engage in a discussion about ideas or concepts that have alternative explanations while the rest of the class observes and takes notes. An inner circle of students engages in the discussion, while the rest of the class either sits in an outer circle, or remains in their regular seats and observes. If you have your class organized into small groups, then the members of each group can tap their respective teammate and replace them in the inner circle to expand on or provide additional evidence to support an explanation. Optional: the entire class needs to take part in the inner circle conversation by the end of the class period.
Activity 3

Title of activity

Pausing in lecture

Working on the activity – Suggestions

These strategies work towards inserting wait time in lectures for students to reflect on, discuss and apply ideas just presented and to encourage them to engage actively in the lecture rather than passively taking notes. These strategies also help students to understand what they do and don’t understand about the lecture.

Ask students to not take notes as you work through a problem on the board with the class,followed by 5 minutes for them to copy down board and discuss the problem/chemical reaction/process with peers

Pause 6-10 seconds after asking a question before calling on a student to respond have students do a quick write about a concept just covered in lecture (e.g. their understanding, two questions they have about the concept as presented, what they would like to know more about etc.); optional, collect the quick write to help you better understand what they understood from the lecture and the questions they have and to keep them engaged

Turn and talks – ask peers to talk to each other about what they do and don’t understand and/or share with each other what they wrote down in their notes about a particular concept just covered in lecture. Encourage students to add to their notes from the discussion

Have students apply their understanding of a concept just covered by working with a small group around a huddle board. Optional, have a few groups share their work and elicit reactions and reviews from other students. Summarize findings and scientific normative explanations.

Have students do think-pair-shares, polling to keep their mind engaged in the topic and to share their ideas with their peers for greater meaning-making opportunities.

Solving the Problem: Self-reflection (educator’s reflection)

Reflecting on the Problem Sloving measures taken to overcome the challenge
The planned activities put the adult student in a position to activate himself, drawing on the heritage of his knowledge and experience and making him the protagonist of the lesson. In doing so, the educator/teacher can understand who they are dealing with, their knowledge, their transversal skills (e.g. effective communication, team working, etc.) and what they should deepen.
Reflecting on the changes in the group dynamics
The group in “Active Learning” activities can be a fundamental factor in motivating adult learners to participate in the training activity in a constant and continuous way. The group can be understood as the facilitator of participation, where no one has to expose himself or herself but everyone, in fact, is activated; moreover, the group favours the exchange between peers understood as a fundamental element of knowledge and skills transfer in order to attract and keep people in the training path.
Reflecting on personal change
Active Learning activities also allow individuals to expose themselves but in a ” playing ” and therefore less judgemental environment. This allows the educator to observe all the participants as well as to foresee at certain moments that each of them will become more protagonist of an activity. In this regard, it is possible both to structure specific activities in which the participants in turn express themselves individually, thus gathering their point of view and/or self-perception.

Points for Discussion with your Organisation

The organisation, both public and private, should reflect on the importance of the active methodologies to be used with such adult learners, in order to transmit “knowledge”, the “know how to do”, “know how to be” and “know how to know”, dimensions that must all be experienced as part of a training course. In the work of adult education, therefore, one must make use of methodologies and devices that help the student to know disciplinary contents, but also itself. In this sense the methods and tools of non-formal education can offer a large “toolbox” available to educators and teachers.

Suggested Training Course available online