Meeting the Needs of Adult Learners in AET/ABET

General research on learners has shown that adults obviously learn differently from younger learners. Adults have specific needs as learners and these needs should be taken into consideration when planning Adult Education and Training (AET/ABET). Triple E Training Holdings (Pty) Ltd’s facilitators are encouraged in meeting the needs of learners in AET/ABET. These guidelines covered in the Facilitator training sessions, ensure that adult learners retain what they have learned and apply it in their workplaces: ABET AET Facilitators Application

The Need to Know

Adult learners want to know why they need to learn something before undertaking the learning programme. Facilitators must therefore help learners become aware of the need and its value and make the value of such learning clear to adult learners. In the case of ABET/AET, learners should know why AET/ABET is such an important foundation and what can be done after AET/ABET.

Readiness to Learn

Adult learners are ready to learn what they can apply in the present. ABET/AET facilitators should focus their training on current affairs, current work trends, the learners’ environment both at work and on the home front. What is “now” makes the best sense and

Learners’ Accountability

Adult learners believe they are responsible for their lives and they therefore need to be seen and treated as capable and accountable. Facilitators should create environments where adults develop their underlying and sometimes hidden through self-direction. Allow adult learners to make decisions in the AET/ABET environment. “The best and most important part of every man’s education is that which he gives himself.”(Edward Gibbon)

Orientation to Learning

Adult learners want to learn what will help them deal with daily problems and tasks. AET/ABET facilitators and training programmes that focus on experiential techniques, using the experience of adult learners, such as group discussion, problem-solving, case studies, simulations and games, and role play, instead of plane lectures, produce far better results.


Adults are receptive to external motivation like finding a job, finding a better job or more remuneration etc. However, the most powerful motivation is internal. Examples of this are the need for more job satisfaction, more recognition at work or in the community and basically increased self-esteem. AET/ABET facilitators can enhance the effectiveness of AET/ABET by highlighting the need for this motivation and how the programme can fulfill this need. Motivation can be seriously restricted by AET/ABET training and education that ignores adult learning principles. Using these guidelines, AET/ABET facilitators can create AET and ABET experiences that will enhance the adult learners’ opportunities in further education and training. When adult learners participate in a positive learning experience they are more likely to retain what they have learned and apply it in their work environment. AET – Adult Education and Training and ABET – Adult Basic Education and Training are one and the same.
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