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AUA Center for Teaching and Learning Holds Session on Adult Learning Principles

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YEREVAN, Armenia — On September 29, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at the American University of Armenia (AUA) held a special event on the topic “Adult Learning Principles”. Led by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS) Dean and Associate Professor Dr. Hagop Yacoubian, and Director of the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) Dr. Brent A. Anders, the presentation addressed the importance of knowing one’s students, using student-centered instruction, and understanding the adult learning principles. 

“I was really impressed with the high level of discussion and interaction regarding how to better understand our students. It’s great to see how instructors at AUA are working on developing their capabilities based on learning science,” remarked Dr. Anders.

The presenters elaborated on the concept of adult learning, considering various aspects that include a learner’s age, cognitive development, experiences, and responsibilities. They also emphasized that adult learners aren’t placed in one rigid spot on the learning continuum but fall within a range often correlated with their topic familiarity. The six key principles of adult learning presented were: learner’s need to know, self-concept, prior experience, readiness to learn, orientation to learning, and motivation to learning.

“This event was a timely reminder that our students learn differently and we need to adapt to create an effective and engaging lesson to meet their experience and knowledge needs. Adult learners pose an even greater challenge as more energy and planning is required to ensure their learning success,” noted Gregory Chahrozian, adjunct lecturer at the Akian College of Science and Engineering (CSE). 

The presentation also included a demonstration of how student-centered pedagogy could be used with adult learners. Dr. Yacoubian conducted a mock class on frequency: water-filled wine glasses served as demonstration tools. A detailed discussion on the class process to include pedagogical technique, assessment, interaction, and learning outcomes followed. 

Reflecting on the event, Suzan Sahakyan, OIRA assessment coordinator mentioned, “I thought the participants were absolutely indulged in the event. Dr. Yacoubian’s active learning component was very illustrative. I liked how Dr. Anders built the theoretical framework on Dr. Yacoubian’s hands-on activity. Such workshops are a good proof that when there is a will, there always is a way to involve active learning elements in all types of teaching environments.” 

Lilit Martirosyan, adjunct lecturer and compliance manager at AUA noted that the topic was very interesting and relative to targeted audiences of AUA courses. “As lecturers, we need to use the best practice methods in the delivery of various topics to ensure we reflect the quality of teaching that is expected from us.” 

Dr. Anders, who also manages the CTL, stated that more events tackling teaching and learning approaches will be held throughout the academic year. An upcoming event scheduled for October 11 at 11:00am at the Akian Art Gallery will cover classroom observations and will include professional, peer, and self-observation techniques aimed at self-improvement. Another event to be held on October 25 at 3:00pm will address the topic of memory and learning and will be presented by Dr. Rubina Danilova, neuroscience specialist and CSE operations manager. 

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) supports faculty to inspire, cultivate, and continuously enhance the educational process and student experience through research-based, creative, pedagogy and instructional design. More information can be found at