Using the Principles of Adult Learning to Enhance Health Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Programming 

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Year Published
Author (Individual)
Alamillo, J., Person A.E. 
Author (Organization)
Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 
Resource Type
Journal Article
Resource Format

Many healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood (HMRF) programs that serve adults find it challenging to keep participants engaged in voluntary workshop sessions and help them achieve their desired outcomes. “Adult learning theory” identifies key principles that matter most for adults to learn successfully. In this way, adult learning theory might help HMRF practitioners strengthen adults’ engagement in learning experiences and mastery of program content. This brief highlights five strategies based on adult learning theory that HMRF program developers and facilitators can use to support participants’ engagement and learning. These include: 1) adults learn best when they understand the immediate value of program content to their lives, 2) they like to be in control of the learning process, 3) practice and application are critical for comprehension, 4) reflection is a skill that can help adults better understand previous experiences and beliefs and generate new understanding as part of the learning process, and 5) adults are more likely to remember information if it resonates with them on an emotional level. The authors also explore specific ways programs can implement these strategies, and provide concrete tips and examples.  

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