Project Details

A project completed in 2013, undertaken by Bay of Plenty Polytechnic, to develop a professional develop resource designed to assist new tertiary teachers early in their new role, by providing a quick overview of some of the key principles and theories of adult learning.


To develop a series of one-page primers introducing the key theories and current understandings about adult learning to new tertiary teachers, with particular relevance to ITPs, PTEs and Wānanga with programmes from Levels 1-5.

Using the Goalposts resource will:

  • help new teachers design effective learning activities underpinned by theory
  • offer a resource for reflecting on their practice
  • provide a starting point for further reading and study about adult learning and teaching.


The methodology used for developing the Goalposts resource included:

  • a literature review
  • consultation within the professional community
  • drafting 10 one-page primers
  • piloting the primers with staff in three representative institutions
  • interviewing staff about the impact of the primers on teaching and learning, and then refining the resource.


toi ohomai

Dr Judith Honeyfield

Project leader

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology
cath fraser

Cath Fraser


Independent Contractor




$9,950.00 (excl GST)

$9,950.00 Regional Hub Project Fund

Key Findings

The Goalposts resourceis a series of one-page summaries of commonly agreed principles and theories of adult learning explained under the following general topics:

  • Principle #1: Prior knowledge and experience
  • Principle #2: The importance of culture
  • Principle #3: Respectful partnerships and relationships
  • Principle #4: Autonomous and independent
  • Principle #5: Goals and motivation
  • Principle #6: Relevant and practical
  • Principle #7: Learning styles and ways of thinking
  • Principle #8: Critical reflection
  • Principle #9: Environment for learning
  • Principle #10: Change and transformative learning

Key Recommendations

Communities of practice | The resource represents some recent and influential ideas on adult learning at the time of writing, however, it is recommended that new teachers engage with communities of practice through opportunities such as conferences, webinars and educational journals to keep abreast of developments in the area of adult learning.


Goalposts: A Professional Development Resource for New Tertiary Teachers in their First Year

A resource developed by Judith Honeyfield and Cath Fraser.

(PDF, 5.48 MB, 23-pages).

  • 13 September 2013
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