Training Technology

3 Holistic Learning and Development Techniques for Adults

By | 3 min read | Published

Quickly discover the benefits of holistic learning for adults as well as three popular techniques.

Whether studying online or in-person, adult learners typically exist outside of the traditional academic bubble. Adult students often embark on self-driven educational activities without the support systems and social networks afforded to younger students matriculating at a school or university.

But, there’s a different approach to adult learning that accounts for adult students’ emotional and social needs in addition to academic ones—holistic learning. This learning method is an integrated approach to all aspects of a learner’s personality to facilitate more effective outcomes.

Here’s how you can develop a holistic learning and development process for adult learners.

The benefits of holistic learning for adults

Learning isn’t just about certifications and exams. Holistic learning and development encourages students to engage with every aspect of their personalities for psychological, social, and emotional growth. That could include using creative skills to overcome learning challenges or communicating with other students.

While holistic education is often associated with younger generations due to the immersive format of college experiences, there are measurable benefits to using this approach for older and/or non-traditional learners.

Holistic learning and development helps adult learners continue to improve their communication, self-awareness, critical thinking, and decision-making skills.

Choose the right holistic techniques

One notable positive of holistic education is its breadth, allowing adult learners to connect with their chosen subjects in a variety of ways.

Let’s take a look at three popular holistic educational techniques:

1. Experiential learning

This learning approach is where adult students explore different educational styles before choosing the method that is most effective for them.

Examples of experiential learning techniques include visiting an animal shelter as part of a veterinary program, discussing legislation with a group of attorneys, or a new hire shadowing a colleague in the workplace.

2. Self-guided learning

This technique enables adult learners to break free from a conventional classroom or lecture approach and learn at their own pace and style.

Self-guided learning might include hybrid programs that balance online and onsite learning or hands-on apprenticeships or training programs.

3. Independent research

Independent research allows adult learners to investigate a topic of interest. This approach can encourage self-motivation and enable students to explore their passions.

Examples of independent research are open-ended assignments that allow students to apply a learned skill or concept to a larger situation or a student seeking materials outside of a particular course to understand the subject better.

Technology can help with adult holistic learning and development

Whether you’re an educator looking to support inclusion or an institution that needs to foster collaboration, technology can help you provide the best holistic learning and development program for adult and non-traditional learners.

Here are a few examples of tools that can help you deliver this experience:

If none of these tools sounds quite right for your needs, explore other tools and read user reviews on Capterra to find the best fit.

Looking for Learning Management System software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Learning Management System software solutions.

About the Author



At Capterra, we believe that software makes the world a better place. Why? Because software can help every organization become a more efficient, effective version of itself.

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