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Adult Learner > Factors > Oral Communication Skills

Oral Communication Skills

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How Oral Communication Skills connects to...

Communicating effectively requires the ability to to convey thoughts and goals and understand information presented by others. These skills allow adults to communicate with a variety of people, including within academic, workplace, personal, and peer contexts. Ineffective communication skills can cause frustration as misunderstandings may lead to conflicts between parties.

Main Ideas

Communication can include exchanges with instructors in classes, peers in collaborative settings, or managers and staff where adults must have the skills to communicate and to use the appropriate level of formality. Oral communication also includes public speaking. There are multiple component skills that contribute to producing and understanding oral communication:

  • Expressive vocabulary refers to those words individuals are able to use confidently and in the proper context, while receptive vocabulary refers to those words one can understand when heard or seen.
  • Speech production is the process of converting internal thoughts and ideas into spoken words. Appropriate grammar usage and sentence length are components of speech production that tend to decline in late adulthood. Verbal fluency is a cognitive component of speech production and refers to how well one can retrieve and use language from memory.
  • Listening comprehension is how well individuals can comprehend spoken language.

Those adults who struggle with Foundational Reading Skills also often struggle with some or all of the above Oral Communication Skills. Adult learners, through interacting with others over time, have likely developed processes for exchanging information, thoughts, and ideas with others. However, adult learners may still need additional support to develop advanced Vocabulary, Syntax, and Morphological Knowledge. Many cognitive functions decline over the lifespan which may in turn cause difficulty with Oral Communication Skills as one ages.

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