The CAMEX sessions are an integral part of the industry's educational process. As you prepare for your session, it is important that you recognize your audience will be comprised of adult learners. As learners, adults expect to assume some role in their education, desire to be active participants, and want to interact with others who may share in similar interests. They have made a choice to attend your session because the topic is of personal interest or importance, they desire to gain more expertise, and/or they wish to gain meaningful information that gives them new insight on how to address current issues and challenges. Therefore, to ensure that the overall education experience is positive, you should design your session with the intent of engaging the audience in discussion, and encouraging attendees to share some of their own professional experiences.
There are some widely accepted assumptions about the adult learner, which may be useful to you as you design your session. These include:
- Adults are motivated to learn as they develop needs and interests that learning will satisfy.
- Adult orientation to learning is centered on life or work.
- Experience is the richest resource for adult learning.
- Adults need to be self-directed.
- Individual differences among adult learners increase with age and experience.
So what does this mean?
The underlying conclusion is that the adult learner is in charge of his/her own learning. You can assist the learner in acquiring new knowledge and developing new skills, but you cannot do the learning for them.
Therefore, when planning your presentation, keep the adult learner in mind and plan accordingly. Given the assumptions listed, adults expect more from their learning environment than high school or college students.
Adult learners become actively involved in the learning process and expect to take solutions back to the job. Provide them with other resource materials, ideas, and solutions during the process of presenting the materials.