Module 3 Who are the learners?

Last updated: May 6, 2021


Today’s adult learning environments are very much reflective of a multicultural society and this is particularly true when we consider the diversity of learners to be found in adult literacy classes. In this module, the aim is to explore with the participants the characteristics, learning styles and preferences of low-skilled and low-literacy adults that comprise the modern “classroom”. We will discuss  the challenges of teaching basic literacy in multicultural and diverse classrooms and open up the possibilities for the participants to share their experiences in terms of how they manage in this learning environment. Without delving too much into the role that technology can play in supporting language and literacy learning, it might be interesting here to begin to identify participants attitudes to the use of technology in the classroom particularly the use of personal mobile devices by learners.

Understanding who adult learners are is a very complex thing due to how varied and broad their backgrounds are. They vary in age, race, cultural background and even religion which affects each and every one of these learners in how they approach learning and their access to these literacies. As a trainer, being aware and sensitive to these disparities is key to get through and impact these learners positively.

The European Comission has published examples of inspirational practices for tomorrow’s inclusive digital world where adult learners into society and is described as one of the main priorities for the future decade. It highlights the need for more training of these learners in order to promote a democratic participation in society. Especificallyto digital literacy training, this module will consider the following target groups within the adult population for diverse reasons(why) in similar contents(what) but with different approaches(how): elder people, adult migrants, adults with disabilities and adults at risk of social exclusion.


Digital literacy trainers, new digital skills for trainers, teaching digital tools


Understanding adult learners might just be the key to a successful learning environment. If we, as trainers, can understand why and what these learners are experiencing and where this trainings and adapting need to have these basic digital skills comes from, the subsequent training, and adaptation to different scenarios will be easier. ICT will increase the opportunities of adult learners to access training and learning, participate in community of interest and find jobs.