Working With Adult Learners

Real estate educator and president of the Association of Illinois Real Estate Educators, Marilyn D. Glazer, CRB, discusses some of the techniques she uses to impart knowledge to adult learners.

What are some of the techniques you use to help adults absorb information?

Glazer: Because adult learners have a different frame of reference than younger students, using real-life examples are essential for them to value the information you provide. Generally, adult learners are externally motivated; they want to see the long-term benefits for themselves or they won’t bother learning something. I incorporate a lot of real-life real estate situations and stories to reinforce training ideas. People tell me when they take tests or want to use something they’ve learned as they negotiate a real estate transaction, they recall “Marilyn stories” to help them to focus and remember the ideas they were taught. I try to personalize the material, stories, and case studies in a way that relates to the students’ professional interests.

What other teaching techniques are particularly effective with adult learners?

Glazer: Adults learn by participation and involvement. I use games and videos and group discussions because they keep students involved. And of course, the longer the training session, the more variety you need. I’m not big on role-playing, though, because a lot of people feel uncomfortable participating in it. On a one-on-one basis, it’s fine because there’s not an audience analyzing them.

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