According to one 1984 study, sound, light, temperature, and design are environmental characteristics that may hamper an adult's ability to learn (Denny). For example, a room's temperature can affect adults, especially elderly adults' ability to concentrate on new or difficult material, thus there are better learning results when the environmental surroundings are comfortable and relaxing (Denny). Other researchers have found that adults learn in one of two processing styles, global and analytic (Denny). Global learners learn through short stories, illustrations and graphics, and also need to know what is expected of them and why (Denny). Analytical learners focus on fact-by-fact accounts, and need the information to be presented in a step-by-step manner (Denny). .
Research also reveals that perceptual strengths, food intake, times of day or night, and mobility affect an adult's learning experience (Denny). While some adults prefer to learn new material by hearing the information, others may prefer kinesthetic involvement (Denny). Moreover, some adults may need to snack at regular intervals while studying, while others may not consume food or beverages for hours while learning (Denny). The time of day in which learning occurs also has an impact on an adult's ability to learn (Denny). Therefore, an adult may only be able to enroll in an evening class, but may prefer the morning to learn information (Denny). Furthermore, the ability to move around while learning may also play an important role in an adult's ability to learn (Denny).
Motivation, persistence, responsibility and a need for structure make up the emotional characteristics of R. Dunn's learning theory model (Denny). According to Dunn, emotional characteristics are different from other characteristics, in that these characteristics are internal, therefore, motivation correlates with achievement, thus, if the adult is not motivated, then it may be difficult to keep him or her in a learning environment (Denny).