You Found the Deficiency in Your Adult Learner: Now What?

Posted by on October 22nd, 2015

Pre-assessments and other test prep evaluations allow you to identify areas of strength and weakness for your students. In areas of weakness, there are a number of strategies and activities you can implement to support your adult learners’ improvement. Among these ideas are grouping, pairing, targeted assignments, progress tracking and more.

Create Groups

In some cases, assessments reveal multiple students in your classroom with matching needs. This is a perfect opportunity to create groups based on their needs. Set up opportunities for them to receive instruction and work together on the necessary concepts. This homogeneous grouping allows students to feel less intimidated by the students that already know the information. Instead, the grouping allows students to share and overcome similar struggles. Change groups regularly as their needs change and improve.

Use Pairing

Help individual students turn weaknesses into strengths by pairing them with a peer that is strong in that particular area. Peers can offer a strategy or suggestion as to how they achieve success in a manner that is easily understandable. Pairing also works for students of similar learning needs. This type of pairing allows students to share a learning path and improve together.

Design Targeted Assignments

In many cases deficiencies can be tracked to a specific skill. Authentic assignments that target the skill can be extremely effective. Your targeted assignments may use repetition of information and repeated practice for the students. You may also create a variety of assignments addressing the skill. In this way, the students can see the same information multiple ways while understanding the skill approach remains the same.

Track & Share Progress

Progress tracking is an accurate way for you to see if your instructional methods are working, as well as a way for students to see their hard work pay off. As instruction and assessment are ongoing, the tracking should be as well. With your students: 1) Set and communicate clear goals; 2) Track and share progress regularly; 3) Celebrate successes together!

Employ Other Tools & Strategies

Mnemonic Devices & Memory Aides

For some concepts there are mnemonic devices and other memory aides to assist students. Share these with students where appropriate.


Start with what students already know and build from there. Divide concepts into chunks and introduce the next level as each skill is mastered. Track the progress and skills mastery.

Idea Mapping

Use graphic organizers, charts and pictures to reinforce learning ideas. This gives students visuals to associate with the concepts that are more difficult for them.

Flash Cards & Games

Employ the use of flash cards, games and other interactive activities for the reinforcement of concepts. This approach removes some of the stress and pressure that can be present when a student is already frustrated struggling with a concept.

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