Author: Kadri Kõiv, adult educator, DevelopDesign®

Adult learners value the exchange of experiences with fellow learners. In course feedback participants often express gratification over new contacts, exchanges of ideas and ideas from peers. 

However, the opposite has certainly happened as well. In a group there may be those who enjoy the attention, often take the floor, and fill the time talking about their own experiences. Such monopolists can be tiring, and more modest group members often become passive bystanders. There are also those who, by nature, learn best by asking critical questions thus wanting to make the core of the issue as clear as possible. Unfortunately, people of more lenient nature may perceive them as troublesome opponents and violators of the harmony of coexistence.

It is true that the group amplifies both positive and negative. The educator’s focus is mostly on planning and managing the learning process. However, when conducting group trainings the facilitator is also responsible for creating a supportive social environment for learning. For this, it is important that the educator knows and understands the dynamics of group development, is able to react appropriately to its phenomena, consciously prevents the impact of less productive group development stages to learning, and promotes the development of norms that support productivity in the group.

Read more at our Toolkit (click here). The full version of the learning material gives recommendations to adult educators to direct the dynamics of the group towards more productive phases, so that a social atmosphere that supports learning could develop within the learning group.