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Doctor of Education (EdD) Insight: Tips for Motivating Adult Learners

To successfully educate adults, you need teaching strategies that keep your students motivated.

When working in higher education, learning is usually your students’ most important responsibility. But when it comes to teaching adults, the situation can be quite different.

For most adults, going to school is only one of many conflicting responsibilities. This makes adult learners prone to putting their education on hold or giving it limited attention. If you currently teach adult learners or plan to in the future, you need to have a good understanding of their needs and know how to keep your students motivated so you can better help them reach their goals. Here are some teaching strategies you can use, as described in a recommended resource found in Walden University’s course, Understanding the Adult Learner.1

Doctor of Education (EdD) Insight: Tips for Motivating Adult Learners

  • Create useful and relevant learning experiences based on the age group and interests of your learners. It’s important to design a course that provides immediate relevancy, as adult learners want practical knowledge.
  • Facilitate exploration. It’s not only children who are curious. By having all sorts of materials, references, infographics, short videos, lectures, podcasts, and other free resources available, your students are more likely to find something that inspires them to learn more.
  • Build community and integrate social media. If you make it easy for your students to stay connected, they’re more likely to be engaged.
  • Add a personal touch. Make yourself available to your students.
  • Challenge through games. Come up with different problem-solving exercises and case studies. Make your learners look for and find solutions.
  • Use humor. When you are funny, your students will be more eager to listen.
  • Chunk information. By dividing information into small bits, you can help students remember and assimilate the information.
  • Add suspense. Don’t reveal everything your course is about in the beginning. No one likes to read a book if they know what’s about to happen.
  • Accommodate individual interests and career goals. Empower learners to work on these goals and individualize the training to suit their needs.
  • Stimulate your learners. Ask thought-provoking questions and provide brain-teasers.
  • Let learning occur through mistakes. We learn best by repeating tasks until we perfect them.
  • Make it visually compelling. Over 80% of learning occurs visually.
  • Get emotional. Show you’re engaged in the materials and get your students engaged too by bringing in controversial statements, tapping into memories, and/or adding real-life stories.
  • Get examples of student workplaces. Push students to associate what they’re learning with their job.
  • Be respectful.
  • Ask for feedback.
  • Continue to present the benefits of undertaking the course.

How Can You Learn More?

If you want to further your career as an educator and be able to motivate learners of all age groups, one of the best choices you can make is to earn an advanced education degree, such as a Doctor of Education, also known as an EdD degree. In fact, the information in this article comes directly from Walden University’s EdD degree coursework. Walden University offers a number of specializations for anyone specifically wanting to focus on higher education. Through Walden’s EdD degree program, you can gain valuable teaching skills designed to help you excel in the classroom and qualify for promotions and a higher teacher’s salary.

Walden also lets you earn your Doctor of Education degree online, which can be an incredible advantage if you too are an adult learner. That’s because Walden’s online EdD program lets you earn your degree from home or from anywhere else you have internet access. Plus, when you earn an online education degree, you have the power to choose when in the day you attend class—a level of flexibility that makes it possible for you to fit your education into your day-to-day life.

Educating students of all ages requires having the right knowledge and teaching strategies. When you take advantage of Walden University’s online learning format, you can gain the credentials and skills you need to succeed in your career.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Doctor of Education (EdD) degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,

Walden offers both state-approved educator licensure programs as well as programs and courses that do not lead to licensure or endorsements. Prospective students must review their state licensure requirements prior to enrolling. For more information, please refer to

Prospective Alabama students: Contact the Educator Certification Section of the Alabama State Department of Education at 1-334-353-8567 or to verify that these programs qualify for teacher certification, endorsement, and/or salary benefits.

Note to all Washington residents: This program is not intended to lead to teacher certification. Teachers are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.