An Overview of Adult Learning Processes

Sally S. Russell, MN, CMSRN, CPP


Urol Nurs. 2006;26(5):349-352, 370. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Part of being an effective instructor involves understanding how adults learn best. Theories of adult education are based on valuing the prior learning and experience of adults. Adult learners have different learning styles which must be assessed prior to initiating any educational session. Health care providers can maximize teaching moments by incorporating specific adult-learning principles and learning styles into their teaching strategies.


Health care providers and patients enter into a teaching-learning relationship when information important to the patient's well-being is necessary. For the teaching to be as effective as possible, knowledge about adult- learning principles is essential. Understanding why and how adults learn and incorporating the learner's preferred learning style will assist the health care provider in attaining the goals set for each patient and increase the chances of teaching success.


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