When introducing learning strategies into the workplace, it is important to base these strategies on a good understanding of adult learning. Kolb and Fry (see Links and Resources below) developed a way of looking at the adult learning process called the Experiential Learning Cycle. To put it simply, first the learner must experience something directly - concrete experience. You decide that as part of your employee training program you are going to offer coaching on handling angry clients. You could present some content on the steps in handling angry people, followed by a demonstration. The learners could be asked to discuss the information provided - what did they observe in the demonstration, how do the steps in handling an angry client compare to their current way of coping with such situations.

The learners then might be asked to think about how they can use the information provided to improve the way they deal with angry clients. You want to teach an employee how to research and write a report - something she has never done before. Show the employee some other examples of report writing styles and guidelines to use in deciding upon the organization of her report. Learning strategies that allow all your employees to learn using their preferred sensory mode will improve their learning.
Designing learning activity using adult learning principles will help your employees make the most of the learning opportunity provided.
Others will prefer to observe what is going on and reflect on information - reflective observation.

Knowles' work and that of many other researchers has led to a lengthy list of adult learning principles. In addition, we provide job and competency profiling, team competency evaluations, gap analyses and needs assessments.

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