3250 – Positive Learning Environment

There is posting from earlier in this course regarding creating a positive learning environment but I think it’s still worthy to include a few points from my colleague, John in this blog.


Having a positive learning environment is critical to setting a place where adult learners feel safe and are able to learn.   John who leads our discussion forum in this area has done a great job of summarizing various aspects of this topic. I am going to copy the two main areas here as to highlight them.  John posted these helpful hints for teachers:

“Guide and support the learner throughout the learning process. (TEAL Center Metacognitive Processes Fact Sheet)

Offer evidence of successful learning outcomes (TEAL Center Universal Design for Learning Fact Sheet)

Provide a co-operative learning climate in the classroom; (Knowles 1984)

Assess the learner’s specific needs and interests;

Develop learning objectives based on the learner’s needs, interests, and skill levels;

Logically design activities to achieve the objectives;

Work collaboratively with the learner to select methods, materials, and resources for instruction; and

Evaluate the quality of and make adjustments, as needed, to the learning experience, while assessing future learning; (Knowles 1984)

Be aware of diversity, as each barrier is an opportunity for the teacher’s skill development

Continuously improve”

As for the learner, John pointed out that their role is:

“Draw upon life experiences to aid learning;

·       Be ready to learn when assuming new roles;

·       Want to apply new learning immediately;

·       Be motivated internally, rather than externally “As a person matures the motivation to learn is internal” (Knowles 1984:12);

·       Become increasingly responsible for learning and constructing their own understanding (Glasersfeld, 1989);

·       Be punctual and courteous in the classroom”


Knowles, M. (1980) The Modern Practice of Adult Education. From pedagogy to andragogy (2nd edition). Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall/Cambridge. 400 pages.

Merriam& Bierma (2014)  Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice (1st edition) Jossey-Bass – 302 pages

Barkley (2010) – Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty (1st edition) Jossey-Bass – 398 pages

James Bryson (2003) “Engaging Adult Learners: Philosophy, Principles and Practices” http://northernc.on.ca/leid/docs/engagingadultlearners.pdf



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