15 Active Learning Activities for Adults


Unlock engagement with 15 dynamic active learning activities for adults! Elevate your learning experience and embrace interactive, hands-on strategies.

Active learning is an important component of education for learners of all ages, but especially for adult learners. Unlike traditional passive learning where the instructor lectures and students listen, active learning engages students in the learning process through activities, discussion, problem-solving, and reflection.

Earlier, we wrote about “Top 11 Active Learning Strategies for High Retention“. In this article, we will explore 15 active learning activities for adults to help create a dynamic learning experience.

For adults in particular, active learning is key to retaining information, developing skills, and achieving learning objectives. Adults bring a wealth of prior knowledge and real-world experience to the classroom, which can be leveraged through active learning.

Activities that tap into their expertise and allow them to collaborate, experiment, and find solutions prepare them for continuous learning and growth.

The 15 activities covered in this article range from group-based collaborative activities to individual reflective exercises. They incorporate technology, experiential learning, creativity, and physical movement. The goal is to provide a diverse mix of engaging options that speak to different learning styles and interests.

Whether you are an instructor developing curriculum for adult students or a lifelong learner pursuing professional development, you are sure to discover new techniques to energize your next educational experience.

Top 15 Active Learning Activities for Adults

These active learning activities for adults are organized into categories for easy reference based on the type of activity, skill built, and optimal group size. Get ready to discover active learning strategies that will bring education for adults to life!

Group Activities

Difference Between Cooperative and Collaborative Learning

Group-based active learning provides opportunities for adults to collaborate, communicate, and learn from their peers. These activities are optimal for developing teamwork and interpersonal skills.

  • Team-building Exercises
    Team-building exercises allow groups to bond and establish trust and rapport. This fosters a positive learning environment for vulnerable sharing and constructive feedback.
    1. Icebreaker Games
      Quick, lively icebreaker games help break the ice and introduce group members. Creative games encourage participants to share interesting facts, talents, or stories about themselves.
    2. Trust-building Activities
      More in-depth group challenges focus on building trust through vulnerability, communication, and relying on others. These lay the groundwork for productive group dynamics.
  • Collaborative Problem Solving
    Tackling problems as a group provides opportunities to leverage diverse perspectives. Critical thinking and decision-making skills are honed through collaboration.
    1. Case Studies
      Real-world case studies are discussed in groups to analyze issues and devise solutions. Multiple views are shared to enrich the learning experience.
    2. Group Discussions
      Open discussions prompt students to think critically about a topic, listen actively, and articulate their points of view. Perspective-taking is developed.

Individual Activities

The Benefits of Scheduling

While group learning is impactful, solitary activities allow for self-reflection, skill-building, and personal growth at one’s own pace.

  • Reflective Journaling
    Journaling encourages adults to process insights, document progress, and clarify thoughts.
    1. Guided Prompts
      Writing in response to thought-provoking prompts deepens understanding of course material.
    2. Goal Setting
      Establishing goals through journaling helps adults organize development plans.
    • Simulations and Role-Playing
      Realistic scenarios allow safe practice in applying skills in a simulated environment.
      1. Real-world Scenarios
        Immersive simulations of workplace situations reinforce practical skills.
      2. Professional Role-Playing
        Practicing conversations and interviews as a professional builds confidence.

    Check out this article we wrote earlier about “314 Active Learning Techniques for Teachers and Learners PDF Download“. This will help you know more ways to learn.

      Interactive Technology-Based Activities

      15 Active Learning Activities for Adults

      Leveraging education technology tools engages adult learners through familiar digital interfaces and gamified content.

      • Online Quizzes and Polls
        Web-based assessments interactively check comprehension.
        1. Platforms and Tools
          Poll and quiz apps like Kahoot and Mentimeter add engagement.
        2. Incorporating Technology into Learning
          Well-designed edtech activities reinforce course objectives.
      • Gamified Learning
        Gaming elements boost motivation and satisfaction.
        1. Educational Games
          Role-playing games, puzzles, and simulations immerse learners.
        2. Gamification Strategies
          Points, badges, leaderboards, etc. increase participation.

      Experiential Learning

      15 Active Learning Activities for Adults - Hands on experience

      Immersive real-world experiences reinforce classroom lessons through direct observation and hands-on practice.

      • Field Trips and Site Visits
        On-location experiences link concepts to real environments.
        1. Planning and Execution
          Coordinating relevant site visits tied to course objectives.
        2. Learning from Real-world Experiences
          Contextualizing theories and absorbing details through first-hand encounters.
      • Hands-on Workshops
        Practical sessions allow adults to build direct competencies.
        1. Practical Application of Skills
          Guided training to hone tangible vocational abilities.
        2. DIY Learning Projects
          Creating finished products like art, food, or technology.

      Physical Activities

      15 Active Learning Activities for Adults - Physical activities

      Kinesthetic learning activities cater to tactile adult learners through interactive movement.

      • Kinesthetic Learning
        Physical learning experiences optimize engagement for bodily-kinesthetic intelligences.
        1. Learning Through Movement
          Lessons that incorporate movement, gestures, and arena positioning.
        2. Incorporating Physical Activity into Learning
          Standing, stretching, using fidget tools, and taking brain breaks.
        • Active Field Trips
          Tours, nature walks, and active on-site exploration.
        • Hands-On Demonstrations
          Allowing students to manipulate objects to understand concepts.
        • Dramatic Reenactments
          Role-playing historical or literary scenes.
        • Team Physical Challenges
          Collaborative games or competitions that require strategy and activity.

        Creative Expression

        Artistic active learning develops creativity, communication skills, and emotional intelligence.

        • Art and Creativity Workshops
          Hands-on art-making allows learners to expand their imaginations.
          1. Painting, Drawing, Sculpting
            Guided fine art sessions in various mediums.
          2. Creative Writing Exercises
            Crafting poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction through prompts.
          • Performing Arts
            Theater, improv, and public speaking build confidence.
            1. Drama and Improve
              Theater games and reenactments teach spontaneity.
            2. Public Speaking Workshops
              Practice presentations and speaking activities.

            Artistic expression provides an emotional outlet and allows adults to practice creative risk-taking.

            Continuous Learning Opportunities

            Beyond one-off classes, adults can pursue perpetual active learning through diverse digital channels and communities.

            • Webinars and Online Courses
              Remote learning provides flexible skill-building.
              1. Accessing Knowledge Remotely
                Online classes make learning convenient across time zones.
              2. Lifelong Learning Platforms
                MOOCs and virtual learning hubs offer extensive programming.
              • Professional Organizations
                Joining a network or association stimulates ongoing education through conferences, events, and members-only content.
              • Lecture Series
                Universities and community centers host guest speakers and topical talks.
              • Meetup Groups
                In-person and virtual meetups unite enthusiasts around hobbies, causes, and careers.

              Adults have countless opportunities to continue active learning and connect with communities of lifelong learners.

              To cement this section for you, read an earlier article we wrote about “The Difference Between Cooperative vs Collaborative Learning“. You will eventually understand the benefits of groups in education.


              Active learning is a research-backed way to engage adults and optimize retention and skills development. This article explored 15 activities spanning collaborative team building, reflective journaling, role play, educational technology, experiential learning, physical movement, creative expression, and more.

              The benefits of active learning include increased motivation, improved critical thinking, and deeper information processing compared to passive learning. By participating, adults take agency over their education and leverage their considerable real-world experience within the classroom.

              Whether you are an adult learner ready to level up your skills or an educator developing curriculum, purposefully incorporating active learning will lead to improved outcomes. Consider your audience, objectives, and resources to thoughtfully implement a mix of the techniques covered. Tap into adults’ innate curiosity and thirst for continual growth.

              Hopefully, this article sparked ideas to energize your next educational program, course, or personal development experience. Active learning not only engages students but instructors as well, creating a dynamic environment that brings education to life.


              Have a Question? Let's Answer You

              Discover more from EduHintzUS

              Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

              Continue reading