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Certificate Program
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Adult Learning Certificate

The foundational course for those who teach and develop lifelong learners.

Gain foundational knowledge of the theories and cognitive science principles underlying adult learning in the workplace to design, build, and facilitate learning with greater impact.

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Credits: CEU 1.4 MORE
Level: Capable
Role(s): Trainer/Facilitator More
Language(s): English
Capability Area(s): Learning Sciences More


Course Info

Practices for successful adult learning differ greatly from those used for teaching children. By understanding the science behind how adults learn, as talent development and education professionals, we should optimize our learning and development initiatives to better meet outcomes and drive behavior change. To put it simply, this course will change the way you work and increase your impact.

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Practices for successful adult learning differ greatly from those used for teaching children. By understanding the science behind how adults learn, as talent development and education professionals, we should optimize our learning and development initiatives to better meet outcomes and drive behavior change. To put it simply, this course will change the way you work and increase your impact.

This comprehensive certificate program introduces the key adult learning and cognitive science theories and demonstrates how instructional designers, facilitators, subject matter experts who train, and other practitioners can put them into practice to maximize learning impact. With this critical knowledge at your fingertips, you will be able to use adult learning principles to inform all aspects of your education and training initiatives, from needs assessments to developing learning content to engaging and motivating participants in and outside of the classroom. You will explore how the adult brain works, including information processing, cognitive load, and communication theories and how these can be deployed in a learning setting.

Why You Should Attend:

  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of applying adult learning and cognitive science theory to help you improve your talent development efforts.
  • See adult learning principles in action through ATD expert facilitation and course design and activities.
  • Apply your learning through case studies, reflections, peer collaboration, and a personalized project.
  • Earn an industry-recognized certificate, continuing education credits, and an ATD digital badge to share with your networks.

ATD's Adult Learning Certificate is unique in that it is based upon multiple capabilities within the Talent Development Capability Model™, including the learning sciences, instructional design, training delivery, technology application, and evaluating impact capabilities. The concepts covered in the course are reflected in the Talent Development Body of Knowledge (TDBoK™), the definitive resource for the talent development profession, covering 23 capability areas. Read Less

What You Will Learn
  • Apply adult learning and cognitive science principles to real settings.
  • Employ templates and tools to assess learning needs
  • Evaluate learning content for adult learning and cognitive science principles.
  • Implement methods that engage and motivate adult learners.
  • Apply strategies for extending the classroom learning environment.
  • Produce plans for supporting the transfer of learning.
  • Create a plan to measure learning with the use of an evaluation model.
  • Choose an appropriate technology to meet a particular need.
  • Communicate learning concepts in alignment with communication principles.
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Theory to Practice
  • Core Concepts of Adult Learning
  • Adult Learning Theory and Principles
  • Moving from Theory to Practice
Assessing Learning Needs
  • How Do We Assess Learning Needs?
  • Supporting Individual Learners
Measuring Learning Results
  • Evaluation and Feedback Exchange
  • Commonly Used Evaluation Models
Developing Learning Content
  • Learning Content Considerations
  • Principles and Presentation
Motivating and Engaging Learners
  • Engage Adult Learners
  • Influencing Motivation
Extending the Classroom
  • Options for Learning Beyond the Traditional Classroom
  • Selecting Learning Options Based on Learning Needs
  • Connecting and Engaging Beyond the Classroom
Applying Learning in the Workplace
  • The Relationship Between Learning and Application
  • What Are the Tools and Strategies for Promoting the Application of Learning?
Who Should Attend

This program is designed for workplace learning and talent development professionals in roles such as trainer/facilitator, instructional designer, learning technologist, training coordinator/manager, or learning consultant who need a foundation in the principles of adult learning and learning sciences.

Roles outside of the talent development profession with responsibility for educating others will also benefit from this foundational course, including subject matter experts who train others and those who work in customer education, career and technical education, higher education, community education, adult basic education, and other learning environments geared toward adults.

Level: Capable
Roles: Trainer/Facilitator, Instructional Designer, Training/Talent Development Coordinator, Talent Development Manager, Independent Consultant, Professor/Educator
Language: English
What Our Participants Are Saying
Cindy Lam

"ATD is an organization dedicated to talent development - with their research and expertise, I trust that their programs can give me what I am looking for to implement within my organization."

Ruth de Zayas

"ATD is a leader in the industry and their credential and certificate programs are a valuable asset to have on your resume."

Annie Myers

"ATD has a strong reputation in the training and development community. Having an ATD endorsement is a globally recognized "feather-in-your-cap."

Dates & Locations
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Things to Know


For full-day face-to-face and live online programs, participation in all originally scheduled days of the program, including both face-to-face and live online formats, is mandatory in order to receive the certificate of completion and CEUs. Participants who miss more than two hours of the entire program will not be eligible to receive the certificate. Participants who fulfill the attendance requirement will receive a certificate at the end of the program.

For multi-week, live online programs with five or more sessions, one missed live session can be made up by listening to the session recording in full. Participants who miss more than one live session will not be eligible to receive the certificate. To be marked complete for that one session, please email [email protected]. For programs with four or fewer sessions, attendance at all live sessions is required to receive a certificate. All sessions will be recorded and available for participants to review throughout the program for your reference.

ATD requires active participation throughout the program to receive credit. Active participation in live online sessions includes, but is not limited to, participating in virtual classroom activities, discussions, breakout sessions, and intersession work. Please note that using a tablet or mobile device significantly limits your ability to fully and actively participate.

If you meet the eligibility requirements, a certificate will be issued to you through the ATD Learning Platform at the end of the program.


14.0 learning hours

1.4 CEUs awarded

This program is eligible for 14.0 professional development hours or recertification points from the ATD Certification Institute (ATD CI) for the APTD or CPTD credential.

This program has been approved for 14.0 (General) recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR, and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute.

This program is valid for 14.0 PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit


A laptop computer with Wi-Fi capability is required for both face-to-face and online programs. Please do not bring mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc.) in lieu of a laptop. There will be no computers available on-site for participants. Note: You might not have an optimal experience if you are using Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge to access your courses. Chrome is the recommended browser.


Enrolled in a program? Sign in to the ATD Learning Portal with your ATD account credentials two weeks before the first day of class to:

  • Engage with your facilitator and peers.
  • Access pre-work assignments.
  • View any technical requirements.
  • Review logistical information.


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