How TMI Action Applies the Adult Learning Theory to our SMART® Workshops

At TMI Action we provide holistic training that addresses sexual misconduct and harassment at your workplace. By developing relevant and pertinent trainings using the Adult Learning Theory (ALT), we engage your employees at a real and practical level.

There are many types of ALTs, including: Andragogy, Neuroscience, Experiential Learning, Self-Directed Learning and Transformational Learning. What all ALTs have in common are techniques for creating effective and successful education for adults.

Malcolm Knowles is the father of Andragogy, one of the numerous ALTs utilized to create and implement education for adults. Andragogy in Greek means “man-leading,” in contrast to a more well-known term Pedagogy, which in Greek means “child-leading.” The difference between these two terms examines how adults and children learn differently. Knowles has four guiding principles covering practices for educating adults, noting that adult motivation for learning and strategies for teaching them are very different than children.

SMART®, Sexual Misconduct Awareness and Response Training, is based on the 4 principles of Andragogy suggested by Knowles:

  1.     Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction.

SMART®,  was created and developed by adults for adults. Knowles said “as individuals mature, they move from being dependent on others to taking ownership and becoming self-directed”. TMI Action considers the best way to activate participation from the audience is by allowing them to participate in their own learning outcomes.

  1.     Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for the learning activities.

As people grow and mature they gain experiences that can be used as resources for their learning. These experiences are equally as important to the training as the content itself. TMI Action's workshops utilize exercises, activities and group based discussions that allow participants to “get their hands dirty” and share their personal experiences helping others learn.

  1.     Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance and impact to their job or personal life.

When a training aligns with employee job-related issues, there will often be more interest to learn about the topic. Sexual harassment is currently a very hot topic in the news today; Fox News, Uber, or Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are examples of organizations, companies and agencies that are struggling with this issue. Organizations earn employee loyalty when they address these issues through training and discussion BEFORE they happen.  

  1.     Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented.

The best way for participants to learn is by providing motivation and encouraging personal drive. Adults need to understand why they are learning something before they will invest time and “buy into the experience.” If the adults understand how the training topics affect themselves and their surroundings they’ll be motivated to learn more, and educators are more likely to gain audience participation.

TMI Action applies the 4 Andragogy Principles to our trainings: focusing on developing skill-based learning that will grow competence, confidence, commitment in decision-making and solution-based thinking. We utilize these concepts from development to execution, increasing engagement and retention of information in a training to create an effective learning process for your employees.