Strategies for Teaching Adult Learners

ACRL Online Learning logo

Thursday, May 11, 2023

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. Eastern
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Central
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Mountain
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Pacific

Adults are attending college in record numbers every year. These students, many with families and careers, may have been away from an academic environment for many years and have unique needs in developing lifelong learning skills.

This webinar will provide a broad overview of some of the theories that support active learning in adults, especially in an online environment, for academic teaching librarians. The webinar will review an example of determining a learning activity through collaboration with disciplinary faculty, creating learning outcomes, modeling the activity, students practicing the activity, and assessing through reflection and group discussion. Webinar participants will have the opportunity to briefly share what has, and has not, worked for them.

Now more than ever, online education curriculum and instructional design needs to incorporate motivation, learning, and cognitive science theories to ensure learners feel engaged and valued. Without a carefully designed curriculum that is mindful of adult learners’ varied experience, agency, and emotions, and that fosters a more inclusive learning experience, adults may become overwhelmed and lost and find it difficult to achieve their learning goals. This is especially true for academic teaching librarians, who may get only one chance to engage students during an information literacy instruction session during a semester. 

Learning Outcomes: 
  • Identify motivation and learning theories for successfully teaching adult learners in an online environment
  • Understand and apply effective motivation and learning theories in instructional design for online instruction
  • Assess, and update where needed, your own lesson plans for teaching adult learners in an online environment
Presenter: Dr. Melissa L. Miller is the Head of the USC Hoose Library of Philosophy, and a Humanities faculty librarian. Additionally, Dr. Miller is a teaching faculty member for the Marshall School of Business, Master of Management in Library and Information Science (M.M.L.I.S.) program. As an Assistant University Professor, she teaches research and professional leadership applications for the internship program. Prior to USC, she worked in the corporate sector for nearly two decades (1991-2009), where she held several organizational change and development leadership positions.

In 2021 Miller published her first monograph, Mind, Motivation, and Meaningful Learning: Strategies for Teaching Adult Learners, which focuses on learning and teaching in an online environment. Her current research intersects through the fields of Heritage Conservation and the Digital Humanities, with a focus in medieval manuscripts and rare books. She is an advocate for the advancement of knowledge, access, and diversity of cultural heritage material. 


Pricing is listed to the right on this page. To register, use the register button to checkout. You can register a group by specifying the number of people who will be accessing the webcast during checkout. If you are an ACRL member, you can purchase seats for yourself and your colleagues at the ACRL discount rate.

Number of SeatsDiscount
10+If you are registering 10 or more individuals for a webcast, please email for special discounted pricing. 
Tech Requirements
ACRL Webcasts are held in Zoom. Speakers or a headset for listening to the presentation are required. You may interact with the presenter and ask questions through text-based chat. Closed captioning is available in the Zoom platform. The webcast will be recorded and the link to the recording shared shortly after the live event.

If you have questions or need to make arrangements for additional assistance or accessibility, please contact Margot Conahan (