Adults do not argue with their own data

When was the last time you learnt something new?

Think carefully! When was the last time you really learnt something new?

Have you ever wondered why life was so slow when you were a kid? It felt like an eternity by the time you blew out your 10th birthday candles, yet if you look back at the last 10 years of your life, you would wonder where the time has gone and how it went so fast.

One theory explains this phenomenon by pointing to the fact that when you were 4 years old, the last year of your life was a quarter of your whole lifespan! Whilst at 35 years old, the last year was 1/35 of your whole lifespan (a much smaller portion overall).

Throughout all that time you’ve built knowledge, skills and experiences that make you go through your life mostly on autopilot. In contrast, when you are 4, every moment counted because you are actively learning and experiencing something new and sponging in information from everywhere to make sense of this new world around you.

The point is this; it is this same advantage that adults have over children that is their detriment when they need to learn something new.

As learning and development professionals specialising in adult learning, we know that we cannot easily teach adults new concepts that do not match their own well established belief systems, values and experiences in life.

An effective adult learning strategy will have to establish adult buy-in by highlighting the fact that they already have all the knowledge and skills to do this. It is either they are not aware they have the knowledge and skills so we will bring it to their attention, or if their existing capability falls short, we’ll just fill in the gaps to enhance it.

Why is this effective?

Because adults do not argue with their own data!

About the author

Mazen Taleb

More from Mazen: