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Article Critique on Effective Training Delivery Methods for Adult Learners


Subject Article Analysis Pages 3 Style APA



Training adults requires different approaches compared to training young learners. Basically, the adults do not want to be taught but rather, they prefer taking active roles in the training process. In addition, they prefer engaging in training and learning sessions that individually impact them. These sentiments are seconded by Arraya and Porfírio (2017) who note that training impacts adult learners with dynamic capabilities that enable them to perform better. Because of the varied needs of adult and young learners, it is important to identify the most effective training delivery methods that specifically satisfy the needs of the adult learners. It is upon this basis that this paper presents an article review of Smith’s journal article titled: “Adult learners: effective training methods”. My point of view is that the article is informative and the proposed training delivery methods could help learners improve themselves and their productivity.

Article Critique

Smith expresses the idea that since adult learners prefer training and learning sessions that are involving and that improve them individually, it is elusive to narrow down the training methods. As such, he discusses varied training methods that would be suitable to different groups of learners in organizations. Some of these methods include in-person classroom sessions, self-paced e-learning, and virtual live sessions. Smith (2017) notes that most organizations prefer e-learning since it offers flexibility to the learner and equally attracts the lowest possible costs. On the other hand, he identifies that simulation-based training is preferred by some industries as opposed to others. These industries include nuclear energy and aviation industries where the learners prefer kinesthetic learning as opposed to purely audio and visual learning (Calvacante, 2014). Smith quotes Burke et al. (2006) who affirmed that engaging employees in training sessions is the one main factor that has a positive and direct impact on knowledge retention. This statement is backed by research showing that engaging methods of learning are three times more effective compared to the least engaging learning methods. Therefore, Smith (2017) concludes that when training adults, the most effective training method should consider the needs of the learners, key factors of the learners, and intensity of employee engagement.

                Based on the article by Smith, the one primary factor that has both positive and direct impact on knowledge retention is engaging employees in the training sessions. Engaging employees is an equivalent of involving the learners in the training process. It aligns with Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote which emphasizes that involving the learners in the learning process is much better as it helps in retention. On the other hand, learners tend to be forgetful when they are told, and remember when they are taught, but learn genuinely when involved and engaged in the learning process. In addition to the insightful words by Franklin, Burke et al (2006) explains that engaging methods of training employees of safety is likely to result into three times more effectiveness compared to the learning methods that require least engagement during skill and knowledge acquisition.

                Smith details that trainers have to continuously adapt the content of their training to suit the specific learning needs of the adult learners. Achieving this goal is pegged on the three-step process. The first step is developing the training development process. This step entails three elements which are; needs assessment, collecting employees’ feedback on their needs. The feedback helps in updating the training. The third element is selecting the best modality for delivering content meets employee competencies. The second step of the training process is the actual training delivery. It contains three elements, which are; dividing the learners into pedagogical-based small discussion groups to encourage teacher-student interface. Sthe second element is asking the groups to discuss the learning based on their experiences and third, including pictures and other visual tools in the training of employees. The third step is validation and assessing the effectiveness of the training. This step encases three elements. First, it contains visual performance review or short quizzes administered over a 30 days training to assess and measure the efficiency of the program. This review factors the intensity of retention among the learners. The second element of the third step is requesting employees to provide feedback on the efficiency of the perceived training.

                Employee-driven content involves integrating the learner into the process of developing the training content. The process involves calling upon the employees to discuss their training needs with their representatives. This process is done during the need’s assessment step. The important of employee-driven content is that is sets expectations on what the learners should expect. In addition, it enables the representatives to formulate training content that is site-specific and precise. Smith (2017) notes that appealing to adult learners requires the use of delivery methods that make them feel that they are using their time wisely and that they are gaining value that will improve them and their skills sets. The further need instructors who are available, and can answer their questions and concerns. This means using the learner-centric dynamics where the learners prefer to be trained by experts, yet want to learn on their own.

                This article review is guided by five main questions which set the scope for analysis and critique. The authors main idea is to identify effective delivery methods that will boost retention among adult learners. The three-step process directs the delivery of the training process. The three steps begin with the training development process, training delivery and validation of the effectiveness of the training. The review emphasizes the need for employee-driven content as it stipulates expectations and ensures clarity when identifying content to train.




Arraya, M. A. M., & Porfírio, J. A. (2017). Training delivery methods as source of dynamic capabilities: the case of sports’ organisations. European Journal of Training and Development.

Burke, M. J., Sarpy, S. A., Smith-Crowe, K., Chan-Serafin, S., Salvador, R. O., & Islam, G. (2006). Relative effectiveness of worker safety and health training methods. American journal of public health, 96(2), 315-324.

Calvacante, D. A. (2014). What you should know about types of learners and training delivery methods. Aircraft Maintenance Technology, 25(8), 40–41

Smith, S. P. (2017). Adult learners: Effective training methods. Professional safety, 62(12), 22-25.

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