Elements of Successful Adult Learning

  • Lap Ki ChanEmail author
  • Miriam Uhlmann


Most adult learners are self-directed, attach high value to learning through experience, prefer learning that helps them to deal with real-life situations or problems, are more interested in immediate, problem-centered approaches, and are more motivated to learn by internal drivers than by external drivers. To promote successful adult learning, faculty needs to understand the needs of learners and to motivate them by enabling them to perceive any gaps that exist between their present level of ability (what is) and their desired level (what ought to be). Motivation and learning can be improved by informing learners about the intended outcomes of learning activities and how achieving these outcomes will help them to bridge the gap between their present and desired levels of ability. Teaching and learning activities and assessment methods and standards should all be designed to help learners to achieve these outcomes. Learners should be actively engaged in the learning process, instead of passively receiving information. They should be given frequent, accurate, and specific feedback at the appropriate time and should be given time and opportunities for reflection.


Active Learning Small Group Discussion Cognitive Framework Adult Learning Theory Internal Driver 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Medical and Health Sciences Education, Department of Anatomy, Li Ka Shing Faculty of MedicineThe University of Hong KongHong Kong SARChina
  2. 2.Faculty Development, AO Foundation, AO Education InstituteDavosSwitzerland

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