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close this bookFunctional Adult Literacy (FAL) - Training Manual (DVV, UNICEF; 1996; 106 pages)
View the documentAcknowledgment
View the documentForeword
Open this folder and view contentsIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsUnit One: Functional Adult Literacy and Its Implications
close this folderUnit Two: Facilitating Adult Learning
View the document2.1 Characteristics of Adult Learners and Qualities of a Good Instructor
View the document2.2 Methods of Facilitating Adult Learning
View the document2.3 Communication Skills to Help Adults Learn
Open this folder and view contentsUnit Three: Facilitating FAL Classes
Open this folder and view contentsUnit Four: Organising and Managing FAL Programmes
Open this folder and view contentsUnit Five: Integrating Functional Adult Literacy in other Development Programmes
Open this folder and view contentsUnit Six: Monitoring and Evaluating Functional Adult Literacy Programmes
View the documentAnnex 1 - Sample Lesson Plan for Luganda Learners
View the documentAnnex 2 - Sample Lesson Plan for Runyankore/Rukiga
View the documentAnnex 3 - Sample Lesson Plan for Lusoga

2.2 Methods of Facilitating Adult Learning

a) Introduction:

A facilitator makes a choice of a method to use in a given situation depending on a number of factors that determine which method is suitable and which is not. It is useful for a facilitator to be able to use a variety of methods so as to make an appropriate choice for every situation. This topic will for this reason introduce a number of methods suitable for adult learners, taking into account factors affecting the selection of each method.

b) Objectives:

By the end of this topic, the participants should be able to:


• Describe the various methods of helping adults learn.
• Identify the advantages and disadvantages of each method.

c) Time: 2 hours 10 minutes.

d) Learning Aids: Newsprint, markers, blackboard, chalk, diagram showing how participatory different methods are.

e) Procedure and Learning Points:

1. [20 min.] Brainstorm on the methods known to the participants. Then facilitator presents the other methods not mentioned by the participants followed by a short discussion.

Learning Points: Some of the likely methods of instruction are:
Lecture method, Group discussion, Case study, Demonstration, Role play, Study visit, Brainstorms, Buzzes, Story-telling, Simulation.

2. [40 min.] Participants go in groups of 5 - 7 to work on the following task: “What are the advantages and disadvantages of facilitating adults to learn?”

Learning Points:

(i) Lecture Method:

A straight talk without much interruption. Often used when introducing new subject matter or when the audience in large enough. A lecture should be of 30 minutes or less and it should be followed by any of the other techniques listed below.




- Less time consuming.

- Less participatory.

- Covers large audience.

- Can be boring if long.

- Good for introducing new subject.

- Does not lead to discovery.

(ii) Group Discussion:

A face-to-face conversation or deliberation on a subject of mutual interest among two to 15 people who know one another. Sharing or exchange of ideas and information is encouraged among the members under the guidance of a leader. This technique emphasises participation of the members - who should be given adequate time and guidance during the discussion. Groups help to digest the ideas introduced through the lecture technique.




- Participatory

- Time consuming.

- Learning interesting.

- Requires more preparation.

- Generates ideas.

- More resources/materials used.

- Promotes interaction.


(iii) Case Study:

Is a written or verbal presentation which is used to illustrate or make clearer theoretical points which are introduced to the learners during a lecture.




- Stimulates more examples.

- Difficult to prepare cases.

- Guides in a discussion.

- May offend some participants unknowingly.

(iv) Demonstration:

Is a technique that is applied by an instructor to explain how skills in handling certain materials and equipment are acquired. It involves a pre-demonstration when materials are prepared. It is followed by a post-demonstration when the trainees attempt to practice the skills acquired.




- Very practical.

- Difficult to prepare.

- Appeals to all senses of a person.

- Time consuming.

- Brings participants nearer to reality.

- Demands a lot of resources.

- More rewarding.


(v) Role Play:

Is used in training when learners are given specific roles to play which depict a certain character that is important in behaviour changes.




- Very practical.

- May offend the shy.

- Creates awareness.

- Messages may be distorted.

- Stimulates learners.

- Not easy to prepare.

(vi) Study Visit:

Is used when participants are taken out for observation to live cases. For example, farmers from one village are taken to a harm Institute. The visit is followed by a discussion.



- Stimulates learning.

- Expensive.

- Brings out challenges.

- Time consuming.

- Very practical.


- Breaks monotony of classroom.


(vii) Simulation:

Is used when participants are due for practice. Participants are asked to try out any or all the other methods under the guidance of a trainer.



- Most practical of all methods.

- Time consuming.

- Strengths and weaknesses are identified.

- More materials used.

- Easy to correct weaknesses.


3. [40 min.] In plenary, groups present their work.

4. [5 min.] Wrap up. Choice of a method to use depends upon its advantages and disadvantages that have been identified.

f) [20 min.] Assessment:

Present the following diagram and participants complete it.

Participatory Learning

Note: The Lecture is the least participatory (least learning) and Simulation is the most participatory (most learning) to the learner.

g) Follow-up:

Ask participants to design an assessment form which they will use to assess how participatory a given method is.






















Buzz Group




Study visit





Group discussion




Case study










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