How to Train Adult Learners

Designing Digitally


How to Train Adult Learners

The ongoing pandemic has deeply affected companies across the globe, regardless of the industry they activate in. As such, many have hustled to break into the online space only to find that their employees lack the skills and knowledge to tackle such a fundamental change.

Organizations have shifted from a business-first mentality to an employee-first mentality. From encouraging a work-life balance to focusing on wellbeing in a holistic way. Having a Learning and Development (L&D) department is no longer just a luxury, it is a necessity for the growth and development of your business, overall.

Employees that are progressing in their personal and professional development are happier, more motivated, and willfully engaged with their job roles and your business as a whole. Thus, creating effective training for adults in the workforce has become synonymous with business growth. 

Contrary to popular belief, delivering efficient adult learning is not that different from teaching kids. Sure, there are some developmental differences we need to keep in mind when designing training for adults vs designing for a younger audience. But, the most important and powerful factor that influences both adult learning and child learning is the fun factor. The concept of learning through play is a serious and highly effective tool to use when looking to develop good adult learning programs.

Read also: The Top Learning and Development Trends in 2022

Elements for Creating Effective Adult Training

There are many elements that make up a healthy eLearning ecosystem at work. Each element is interdependent with the next. With that in mind, we've narrowed the list down to 10 decisive components that can make or break your adult learning initiative.

  1. Enable learning through play

Children learn easiest when lessons are delivered in a fun, game-like format. Most adults also benefit from learning through play. Use gamification, game-based learning, and virtual reality (VR) to increase employee learner engagement with the course content. This will help you deliver an interesting and immersive learning experience.

  1. Deliver specific content

The content you or your instructional designer choose to include in the training program needs to be specific. Make sure the information you provide solves for the day to day issues employees come up against. The more relevant the course content is to their daily tasks, the easier it will be for them to retain useful information.

  1. Allow anytime-anywhere accessibility

Mobile and handheld devices are particularly popular today. Make your employee training cross-platform and accessible anytime-from-anywhere. This will allow employees to learn in their own time, from the device of their choice, and from any location.

  1. Survey employee skills and knowledge

Take the initiative to get to know where your employees are in their professional development. You can send out a survey or ask team managers to talk to your employees to figure out their level of skill and knowledge. You'll be able to identify skill and knowledge gaps that you can then address throughout the training.

  1. Outline clear learning outcomes

Desired learning outcomes have everything to do with motivating your employee learners. Clearly outlining what you expect employees to get out of the course will set clear objectives in their minds. It also lets them know how the course content is supposed to help them be more productive and efficient at work.

  1. Enable learning through teaching/socialization

Create forums, chat rooms, and use social media channels to allow employees to share their learning experiences. Talking about the course, teaching others, and exchanging impressions will help learners retain valuable information.

  1. Create a feedback loop

Feedback is important whether you're giving or receiving it. Empower your employee learners to safely and anonymously give you feedback about their experience with the training course and material. This will give you real insight about what works well, what needs tweaking, and what needs taking out all together.

Provide feedback to your employees about their performance within the course. Aside from the various in-course quizzes and end of module testing, it is important to periodically discuss employee experience with the training. You'll get valuable insights about the efficiency of the training. This will also enable you to quickly adjust the course content and make changes on the fly. 

  1. Use storytelling and encourage exploration

Learners need to care about what you're trying to teach them. Creating an engaging story around the course content where an avatar takes the learner through each module will help employees create an emotional connection to the program.

Ensure you include assignments and group activities that spark your employee learner's sense of exploration. You can pose a single question or include a puzzle for solving and ask employees to get creative with the answer or solution. An interactive and collaborative employee training program is more efficient in maintaining learner interest and motivation.

Read also: Six Tips on How to Motivate Adult Learners 

  1. Inject purpose into each eLearning module

You can also motivate employee learners to succeed in their eLearning training by showing them the benefits of completing the course. Include a snippet here and there that explains how a particular skill or chunk of knowledge will aid them in solving real-world problems. You can exemplify both hard and soft skills and elucidate their transferability.

  1. Combine the aesthetic with the practical

Create a balance between the practical and aesthetic elements of your course throught the learning experience. Stimulate your employees to interact with the course by providing them with eLearning modules that are visually pleasing. Also, use repetition to make sure that learners can assimilate information more easily. Practice tests and reminders of key points to keep in mind will help learners stay engaged and more readily remember the theory.


Corporate training for adults can be a simple but complex process. All the elements of your adult training course need to work well together and provide engagement, motivation, and real-world benefits to employees. A professional instructional designer or full-stack training course vendor will be able to outline, design, and develop the right course for your specific needs.

If you would like to improve the training experiences for your adult learners, get in touch with our team. We identify your challenges and objectives before designing custom training courses that ensure you reach your goals.