Adult Learning Theory and Technology

It is critical when applying the Adult Learning Theory in any instructional design and technology integration to address a variety of approaches including Behavior, Cognitive, Constructive, and Multiple Intelligences.


  1. The behaviorist approach is based on punishment and rewards, however, the three other theories provide learners with similar reward feelings when the student accomplishes their goal.
  1. The cognitivist approach helps to develop problem-solving skills, as not limited to just that theory.  Many of the multiple intelligences, as well as the constructivist approach also aid in the development of problem solving skills.  One may also argue the behaviorist approach may also develop problem-solving skills when a student works to avoid negative punishment.


  1. The multiple intelligence theory recognizes that students have different strengths and weaknesses and recognizes that you cannot teach every student the same way.  The other three theories approach students as all equal.

A combination of all four theories can be useful in education and contingent on the subject matter; but the theory of multiple intelligence is the only theory that can be the dominating theory throughout a person’s educational life. Students from very early age develop their strengths and weaknesses. Utilizing the MI theory enforces the instructor to encourage their students to utilize their strengths.

Cognitivism is a theory that can most useful when used in middle school and high school level. Cognitivism as well as constructivism can be overwhelming in grade school, but can be very motivational for older students and adults. It allows students the ability to think critically and make their own discoveries in a very structured program which is still essential at that age.

Constructivism is a theory that allows a student to learn the greatest, however, due to its nature and the nature of children, may not be an effective teaching style until college and the workforce. Students are exposed to all of these theories throughout their life in and out of the classroom which also provides a smooth transition from one teaching theory to another as a student graduates from grade to grade and moves into the workforce.

At Higher Power Training, we develop our instructional programs with the appropriate Adult Learning Theory to meet the needs of each individual client.

By Higher Power Training: Providing Instructional Design and Training Services since 2000


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