Motivating and inspiring adult learners

You can’t force adults to learn. They will decide what they want to learn and only take in what they feel is important. With that in mind, the role of the facilitator is to support each adult’s learning journey by ensuring the content is relevant and problem-centred.

About the course

When leading a group of learners, often the only example we have to draw from is our experience in the education system as children or young adults. However as we grow into adults, our learning needs and preferences change naturally.

In this course, you will explore motivations and obstacles for adult learners as well as strategies to maximize participation and engagement. This course introduces adult learning styles and gives you the chance to practice adapting content for different types of learners.


Adult learning motivations

Learn the common characteristics of adult learners and dive into the major take-aways from Malcolm Knowles’ Adult Learning Theory. Explore learning in the context of the participation ladder and reflect together in small groups about how these concepts can be applied in your everyday work.

Learning styles and strategies

You will complete a questionnaire that highlights the various ways that people process and use information and reflect on what you learn. You will explore some of the most common obstacles faced by adult participants as well as tangible strategies to overcome these obstacles.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you will more deeply understand the needs of adult learners. With this awareness, you will be empowered to create the most impactful experiences, whether it be a one-on-one conversation, team meeting, strategy session, or training.

What you will learn:

  • Empathy: building awareness for how adult learners take in information 
  • Gratitude: foster an environment of trust, respect and inclusion 
  • Impact:  embracing participant life experiences as a basis for deep learning and retention
  • Session design: how to structure any session and bring adults together in a way that meets all learning styles
  • Overlap Associates Inc. | Creative Problem Solving School

    “Overlap’s approach help take the fear outta learning while you insert fun. I have had this sick feeling every time I had to engage with technology–but your attitude and approach take away the scariness.”

    Intro to HCD Participant

  • Overlap Associates Inc. | Creative Problem Solving School

    “Overlap was able to explain concepts and engage people effectively and emotionally in the learning process. From concept thinking to design, they brought an element of a new Human feelings approach that gave me a new perspective of incorporating an end-user approach to a problem versus a global approach.”

    H. B. Com, CPA, CGA, Director of Finance and Administration, KW Habilitation

  • Overlap Associates Inc. | Creative Problem Solving School

    “Taking (Intro to HCD) rejuvenated my enthusiasm for work at a time when I was starting to feel disconnected. Not only was it refreshing to work through Launch activities with an interdisciplinary group, it gave me ideas for engaging my own team differently. I immediately applied what I learned with noted success!”

    Educational Developer | Curriculum Development and Program Improvement Centre for Teaching & Learning | Queen’s University

  • Overlap Associates Inc. | Creative Problem Solving School

    “...Overlap training introduced me to a process and a wealth of tools that will take our planning to the next level. Moving to virtual training did not dampen Ryan and Nicole's enthusiasm, and their insights helped me understand how to apply these tools in my own organization. I cannot wait for my next planning session!”

    Head of Public Services Law Library, Dalhousie University

  • Overlap Associates Inc. | Creative Problem Solving School

    “The training at Overlap encouraged me to fall in love with the problem and understand it deeply. The iterative design process teaches that failure is valued as a necessary step to designing the best solutions. This relieves the pressure of trying to 'get it right the first time.' Using this approach in our organization has promoted a new sense of engagement in our staff team, as people feel their voices are valued in the process.”


    Extend-a-Family Waterloo Region

Upcoming Courses

How People Learn 

Creative Problem Solving: 307

(Live Online Cohort)

September 14 & 16, 2022

9am-12pm EST

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