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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Effective TB Interviewing for Contact Investigation: Facilitator Led Training Guide


3.  Adult Learning Principles

The importance of adult learning plays a key role in healthcare professional training.  To conduct an effective training program, facilitators need to be aware of the unique needs of the adult learner.  Adults, unlike children, base their learning on past experiences and relevance to current or future experiences.  The outcome of a training program is important to the adult learner.  This places a value on the learning activities.  Therefore, understanding how a training experience applies to real-life scenarios is vital.

Whenever possible, application of knowledge through exercises and activities is important.  The training materials contained in this manual, and the approaches described, are geared toward practical, not theoretical, education.  The information provided is specific to the interviewer’s occupational needs.  Any presentation using the materials provided in this manual must be relevant to the interviewer’s past and present experiences and job-related tasks.

Some effective teaching methods with adult learners include the use of examples and practice.  Because learners also bring with them life and job experiences related to the discussion topics, participants should be allowed to actively participate in training by asking questions related to specific and realistic situations.  Brainstorming with colleagues about solutions to challenging situations should be allowed to occur as well.  Training should also allow time to absorb ideas, which may be a change to the participants’ current thinking.  In turn, the facilitator should also respect differing opinions and exceptions to what may be taught. 

Facilitators can learn from the course participants in many ways.  The participants may have innovative ways of solving problems or different viewpoints.  Adult learners are a unique learning resource for both the facilitator and one another.


Released October 2008
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Division of Tuberculosis Elimination -

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