Lauren Shroyer by Lauren Shroyer

For nearly 35 years, ACE has been providing adult education to support professionals in their search for understanding exercise science and behavior change coaching with a level of depth and complexity that allows them to be exceptional practitioners. Throughout the years, ACE has been an early adopter in implementing new technology to aid adult education – from adding accompanying cassette tapes and later DVDs to our manuals in the 1980s and 1990s to our current online learning management systems. And in addition, ACE has also kept a keen eye to ensure our education materials meet the needs of our adult learners.

As many know, adults and children learn differently. Understanding that adults differ from children in their set of experiences, emotional and intellectual development, and drivers for learning, Malcolm Knowles popularized the Five Principles of Andragogy in the 1980’s. These include the assumptions that an adult:

  1. Is self-directed and can direct their own learning;
  2. Draws on their accumulated reservoir of life experiences to aid learning;
  3. Is ready to learn when they assume new social or life roles;
  4. Is problem-centered and wants to apply new learning immediately; and
  5. Is motivated to learn by internal, rather than external, factors.

ACE recognizes that adults are autonomous, independent decision makers and addresses them as such through our learning material. More than anything, we understand that the intrinsic motivation of an adult seeking education is specifically related to a problem set or new responsibility, and the emphasis must be on delivering skills-heavy content that is immediately applicable in a real-world setting.

By regularly connecting with our exercise professionals and health coaches through survey and focus groups, we understand their specific needs and interests, where they feel a need for deeper knowledge and where they feel a need for stronger skills. From there, ACE applies our knowledge of what our exercise professionals and health coaches desire with adult learning best practices. For instance, in our live and in-person education, we leverage the benefit that each individual brings unique experiences to the room by encouraging sharing of relevant life experience for the purpose of example and application.

Our online, self-paced courses are designed with the self-directed learner in mind, who is driven by internal motivation to understand the material and allows for trial and error in learning. ACE believes that by developing courses that are engaging, inspiring and innovative, we are lighting the fire for our professionals to become life-long learners and live the ACE mission to get people moving. We are honored to continue to provide them with that kind of education opportunity.