Hotel Online
News for the Hospitality Executive



I'm Not a Kid Anymore - So, Stop Training Me Like One!

by Jim Hartigan
August 16, 2011

Last week, we introduced the concept of andragogy, or the theory of adult learning.  Based upon the overwhelming response we received – we hit a nerve!  Therefore, I’m going to take the time to explore each of the principals of adult learning in greater detail – starting with the first three.  I’ll describe each principle and then explain the implications to trainers—in other words, what you might do as a trainer to meet the principle.

1.  First, adults have a need to know why they are being asked to learn something new.  Children are satisfied by your simply asking them to learn something, but adults need a sufficient enough reason for them to learn (read that – sufficient enough reason to THEM, not to YOU). The material adults are asked to learn must be relevant and applicable to their current tasks.  While children trust what they are learning to be useful sometime in the future (even when that learning is high school calculus or history of the French Revolution), adults expect what they are learning to be immediately useful – and in a meaningful way.
APPLICATION: Understanding that adult learners have a “need to know,” the trainer should look for every opportunity to explicitly link the actual training to the benefits of the training – early and often .  Explain to the participant what they will gain from the training, and the value it is to them.

2.  The second principle of adult learning is the role of the learner’s experience.  Adults bring a rich background of experience to their participation in a training program.  They tend to filter every learning activity through their own personal experiences and history – they are grading the training before being graded by the training.  Adults learn most efficiently if they can relate new information to their own experiences and bring them to bear upon the content of the instruction.  While children have little or no experience upon which to draw and are relatively “blank slates,” adults have substantial experience upon which to draw and likely have fixed viewpoints (political views not withstanding).
APPLICATION: Your students’ background of experience can be a rich source of examples from which to base examples and case studies.  You must connect the dots and show the parallel between the new and the familiar.  Discussions, problem-solving exercises, and case studies can be drawn directly from your participants’ experience to help build relevance.  New learning linked to prior experience makes the learning even more relevant to adult participants.  Reinforcing the learning by encouraging the participants to connect it to personal experiences improves retention too.

3.  The third principle of adult learning has to do with the learner’s self-concept.  Adults want to take charge of their lives—just like teenagers want to take charge of their lives – but the difference is that adults accept responsibility for what they do (and that’s what I tell my kids too)!  Allowing adults to be self-directed in how they learn increases their commitment to learning.  In other words, involve them directly in the learning experience.  While children rely on others to decide what is important to be learned, adults decide for themselves what is important to be learned
APPLICATION: Your challenge as a trainer is to encourage and empower them to learn—to create a shared responsibility for the learning. When adults enter a workshop, they tend to return to a learning style that is comfortable to them, the one they were taught as children—passive learning.  Don’t let them sit and attempt to learn passively.  Provide them feedback about how you see them learning and give them opportunities to explore their own learning styles.  Look for opportunities to help them participate in the learning experience by using their preferred learning styles.
That covers the first three principals and real life ideas on how to incorporate them.  Now, THAT’S a lot of value.  Of course, if you want to learn more, just contact us.  Next week, we’ll explore the other three principles of adult learning.  Until then, remember to take care of the customer, take care of each other, and take care of yourself!

About the Author:

Jim Hartigan, Chief Business Development Officer and Partner joined OrgWide Services, a Training/e-Learning, Communications, Surveys and Consulting firm in April 2010 after nearly 30 years experience in the hospitality industry, including the last 18 as a senior executive with Hilton Worldwide. Jim’s last position was that of Senior Vice President – Global Brand Services where he provided strategic leadership and business development and support to the $22B enterprise of 10 brands and more than 3,400 hotels in 80 countries around the world. His team was responsible for ensuring excellence in system product quality, customer satisfaction, market research, brand management, media planning, and sustainability.

Jim Hartigan
Chief Business Development Officer & Partner
OrgWide Services
165 N. Main Street, Suite 202
Collierville, TN 38017
office: 901.850.8190  Ext. 230
mobile: 901.628.6586

Receive Your Hospitality Industry Headlines via Email for Free! Subscribe Here  

To Learn More About Your News Being Published on Hotel-Online Inquire Here

Recent Articles:

Stop Treating Your Staff like Children and Start Training them like Adults! / Jim Hartigan / August 2011
Paper Anniversary for the Hartigan Files / Jim Hartigan / July 2011
Financial Pundits Predict Increase In Audits of Hotel Training Programs?!? / Jim Hartigan / July 2011
Hotel Problems Solved Once and For All (Part 3 of 3) Plan your work. Then work your plan. / Jim Hartigan / July 2011
Hotel Problems Solved Once and For All (Part 2 of 3) Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? - The Route to Root Cause / Jim Hartigan / July 2011
Hotel Problems Solved Once and For All (Part 1 of 3) / Jim Hartigan / June 2011
Trust - The Secret Sauce in Building Team Member Engagement / Jim Hartigan / June 2011
Stop Changing. Start "Doing It Differently" at Your Hotel! / Jim Hartigan / May 2011
You Can’t Win if You Don’t Play – Hotel Team Member Engagement takes Participation! / Jim Hartigan / May 2011
Employee-Engagement in Your Hotel; Communication Across the Generations / Jim Hartigan / May 2011
Hotel Team Member Engagement - Building Trust and Defeating the Robots / Jim Hartigan / April 2011
Have You Got What it Takes to be an "Over the Top" Hotel Leader? / Jim Hartigan / April 2011
Hotel Managers – Would you rather be Lucky or Good? The Orgwide Problem Solving Process beats a 4 leafed clover every time! / Jim Hartigan / March 2011
Hotel Management – What’s Love got to do with it? / Jim Hartigan / February 2011
Coaching Hotel Team Members the OSKAR Way - Not like training a dog! / Jim Hartigan / January 2011
Hospitality Employee Selection and the Venus Fly Trap – A Study in Floral Business Acumen / Jim Hartigan / December 2010
The Right Tool for the job makes all the difference in the world! / Jim Hartigan / October 2010
Restore Honor to Your Organization: Succession Planning…the Ninja Way / Jim Hartigan / October 2010
Measure to Manage – The importance of KPIs ... and vampires / Jim Hartigan / September 2010
For Everything There is a Season - Including Budgets / Jim Hartigan / August 2010
Say What? Listen, Learn, and Act–Why Guess, When You Can Know Redux / Jim Hartigan / August 2010
Why Guess When You Can Know - Maximizing the Effectiveness of Your Workplace Surveys / Jim Hartigan / August 2010
Team Member Segmentation in the Workplace…or “If everyone brought potato salad to the picnic – it wouldn’t be much of a picnic!” / Jim Hartigan / July 2010
The Power of Effective Communication in the Workplace (and our Founding Fathers’ unrivaled Tweeting abilities) / Jim Hartigan / July 2010

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.OnlineSearch

Home | Welcome | Hospitality News
| Industry Resources

Please contact Hotel.Online with your comments and suggestions.