Small Group Learning with Senior Adult Residents

  • June 5, 2018

Research has shown us that as we get older it is more and more difficult to track a college level lecture so providing a subject matter expert isn’t always the answer to offering more stimulating programs. Here’s hoping that your lifelong learning program includes a variety of topics and a variety of today’s positive classroom strategies.  

The senior adults sitting in your audience have a lifetime of experience & knowledge in lots of different things. They are a group of people who are eager to contribute. Let’s see how we can use that experience and knowledge to create a lifelong learning program that is as inspiring as it is meaningful.

Today’s classroom teachers are utilizing more creative ways to help students learn. One of those strategies is ‘small group learning.’ In our case we are not concerned with residents learning facts but instead enjoying a positive experience. Dividing a large group into smaller groups provides the opportunity for everyone to be heard.

Here a few suggestions for using small group learning:

1. Following a class presentation divide the large group into smaller groups (four – five people per group is a good working number).

2. Give each group a different set of questions (two or three per group) and allow time for discussion and note taking. Use the list of “Questions for Discussion” that is included with each ALLE Learning™ class.

3. Ask each group to select a presenter that will deliver the group’s findings.

The benefits of using small group learning have incredible value for the community:

  • The small group members are the primary focus, not the facilitator
  • Everyone gets a chance to contribute; even those residents who may not offer an opinion to the large group
  • The frequent talkers are minimized thereby giving other residents an opportunity to be heard
  • Residents are interacting with each other on a more personal level
  • A majority of residents report that small groups are fun and enjoyable

Give small group learning a try and let us know what you discover.