Learner Needs Analysis: Motivating Factors in Adult Learning

Adults have a range of different motivations for selecting a course/programme. Some reasons they may choose to take a course include:

For personal development purposes, e.g. communication or financial management skills

*For professional advancement, e.g. upgrading of skills to enhance employability or change careers
*To meet employment expectations, e.g. an employer may require that the person attend
*To bring additional skills to the workplace, e.g. presentation skills or information technology skills
* To develop skills which will benefit the local community
*To sample a topic which they might consider studying in greater depth
*To prepare for further study/full-time education
*To resolve personal problems, e.g. conflict resolution
* To facilitate/accommodate life changes, e.g. retirement or parenting
*To make or maintain social relationships
*For escape or stimulation
* For interest only

Tutors should be aware of the possible motivations behind their students’ enrollment in order to have a better understanding of how to shape/modify their teaching materials and classroom exercises. It is likely that any group of students will have a variety of motivations and all need to be considered.