Journal of Social Sciences

Moderators of the Effectiveness of Adult Learning Method Practices

Carl J. Dunst and Carol M. Trivette

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2012.143.148

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 8, Issue 2

Pages 143-148


Problem statement: The purpose of the analyses reported in this study was to identify the moderators of the effectiveness of evidence-based adult learning method practices. Approach: The particular practices that were found most effective in 58 randomized controlled design studies of four adult learning methods were examined to identify the conditions under which learner outcomes were optimized. Results: Thirteen different practices had moderate to large effects on learner outcomes. The particular practices that had positive learner benefits were ones that actively involved learners in acquiring new knowledge or skills. Further analysis showed that optimal learner benefits were realized when 4 or 5 different practices were used in combination with fewer than 40 participants in applied settings and the instruction or training lasted more than 20h and was conducted on multiple occasions. Conclusion: Implications for professional development are described in terms of taking the moderators of adult learning practices (number of adult learning practices, hours of instruction or training, real-life settings and number of learners) into consideration to ensure optimal learner benefits.


© 2012 Carl J. Dunst and Carol M. Trivette. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.