Adult Learner

Systems Change



When preparing for and executing a debate, learners analyze, form, and express verbal arguments, fostering their critical thinking skills, an essential component of Problem Solving. When learners present their arguments and claims in these engaging formats, they practice their Oral Communication Skills and strengthen their vocabulary through authentic speaking which is especially important for English language learners. In preparation for a debate learners gain experience with the research process. Through this process, learners practice critically analyzing multiple perspectives which can bolster Argumentative Reasoning and increase Background Knowledge. This strategy can be especially effective in increasing Motivation in adult learners as it incorporates relevant real-world application and enhances learner autonomy. Research has shown debate to enhance Disciplinary Literacy in career training by increasing absorption of content through practical application.

Use It In Your Learning Environment

When using debate, instructors should ensure adequate preparation and planning time to allow learners to fully immerse in the research process. This includes establishing debate procedures such as norms and etiquette. Instructors can incorporate various debate formats, including the fishbowl technique, to have learners practice developing claims and counterclaims. These debate activities can still include the key components of a debate but with varying levels of competition and social engagement. In terms of evaluation, providing checklists or rubrics reinforce what a good argument looks like and can help guide learner behavior when preparing.

Technology can support debate for learners in various online settings. Online platforms can incorporate typical debate components, such as presenting claims and offering rebuttals, into message boards that allow for interaction between learners. Developers can use debate simulations to encourage students to practice these skills individually, which can be particularly effective for those who struggle to speak up in groups. Programs should also include collaborative features like marking the relevance of the argument or asking for clarification, so learners can learn to improve their arguments through evaluation.