Welcome back. Here we are into week two in our Ed 610 class.
It was nice to hear from you last week. As I read through your emails it struck me how we all have such different interests and reasons for taking a class like this. It was also a good reminder for me that my interests are not necessarily the same as yours. Of course we all have an interest in adult learning–but adult education is vast. And when we get into graduate-level work this vastness has each of us exploring very different aspects.
We might think of ourselves as archeologists exploring adult learning, but each of us is exploring different sites because of our different interests. One in Egypt, one in Mexico, one in Northern Canada, etc. Or, in terms of adult education, one might be exploring music for dementia patients, one might be interested in exploring online training courses for adults, another is interested in exploring the creation of second language learning programs for university students, and another might be interested in developing training programs for teacher educators. Just as we considered last week, adults (that means us) have very different reasons for learning. And furthermore, these interests should be honored.
Keeping in mind that the interests of the adult learner should be respected, I am doing something a bit different from what I normally do in online classes. I create multiple themes that you might find interesting or valuable for your own educational development. You can pick and choose what you look at. And the order or number of themes you explore is up to you. The reason is this: you might enter one theme, find something that is of value, and spend the rest of your time exploring that particular area. For example, I will show you where you can access Malcolm Knowles The Adult Learner: The Definitive Classic in Adult Education and Human Resource Development. I think the book is excellent and for anyone thinking of teaching adult learning in college, it is an important text. I had considered using this as a required text for the class. But, respecting the adult learning perspective, it would have been presumptuous of me to require a text that might only be partially relevant to your interests. Or, as we often find, content that is provided by the teacher might not be relevant at the moment, but something you will find of value later on. Each of us are ready for readings when the time is right. We have all read that perfect text (knowing that the text wouldn’t have been perfect at some other time). So, even though I don’t require you to read this text, I hope you will browse through it to see the contents and what the book has to offer in terms of your own understanding. You might find, as you work on your projects that there are sections or chapters in Knowles’ book that could be a great resource. On the other hand, you might find the the entire book is worth reading–I think it is.
A Reiteration of what we are submitting as course work
Given that we have the freedom to explore different themes let me reiterate what I ask of you regarding submissions.
We have two submission strands:
Content Strand: the weekly summary strand (a summary of what you are reading and examining each week that relates to the course content; and,
The weekly summary strand consists of summaries of Adult Learning course content. I will propose the readings and viewings for this content strand.
The project / theme strand offers you two different choices. If you have a project that you are working on and you want to simply pursue that on your own — making connections to adult learning in some way, I will support your choice in developing that in any way you see fit.
You may, on the other hand, be interested in checking out a broader variety of themes that I provide but doing so in less depth than a project might entail. In other words, if you do not have a particular project in mind, or you would like to explore the themes I provide, with the possibility of exploring one of these themes in greater depth if you find something particularly interesting or relevant, I propose that option for you to consider. You may even decide that one of the themes will be something you wish to develop into a project of some sort.
So, the project / theme strand consists of either the development of your own personal project or the exploration of any number of themes that I provide (or that you find on your own). This gives you the opportunity of going into depth on a particular topic, or exploring a variety of topics giving you a bit more breadth. In either case, you are providing me with a summary write-up of either the development of your project development or explorations into themes.
There we have it. Two strands. One required content strand, and a second project or theme strand.
I will leave it up to you to determine the appropriate length of your summaries.
Should we talk about trust? I think we should.
In a schooling (university) environment that continues to be based on pedagogical practice (i.e. teacher determines the content, tells students what to do, and students do it for a grade) it can feel a bit disconcerting being thrust into a class that is based on adragogical assumptions. Being a student, and having freedom, can feel a bit foreign at first. How can you know that what you are doing will get you a good grade? Herein lies one of the problems with andragogical frameworks in pedagogically-based environments. We have difficulty getting beyond doing things for the grade.This requires trust. You have to trust that I trust you and you have to trust me.
I trust that you are learning things that are important to you. I trust that you are pursing things that are relevant to you. And I trust that you have an interest in becoming more knowledgeable. You, on the other hand, have to trust that my interest is that you learn as much as you can and that you position yourself to succeed in your future endeavors. You have to trust that I won’t ever penalize you for doing what is important to you, for taking risks, or for being creative. You can trust that I will ensure you will do well.
Just as a note, I did my doctoral work within a British system of higher ed whereby grades and courses were secondary to the pursuit of understanding.
The Big Headings (Organization)
I will start out each lecture with the course content strand. I may also provide you with some possible questions that you might find helpful in producing your summary of the course content strand. I will label this section Course Content Strand.
I will label the second part Project / Themes section Themes Under Construction. Here I will provide a variety of relevant adult-learning themes that I think might be relevant for your own future endeavors.
Alright, let me begin.
Course Content Strand.
Last day we began to get a sense of where things stand right now in terms of andragogy. We considered some of the differences between pedagogy and andragogy. We touched on some of the principles supporting andragogical practices. And, we touched on working with adult learners.
Regardless of our specific line of inquiry or our future dealings with adult learners, to say that we have an academic background or expertise in adult learning would require that we have some knowledge of the history of adult learning.
There are many books on the history of andragogy. However, I have found an article where the author does a good job of laying this history out for us. If you have a particular interest in the history of adult learning you will find many references at the end of the article that will point you in the direction of additional reading and research if you so desire. I will provide you here with what I believe to be a minimum reading, knowing that this will level of understanding will be sufficient for many of you.
The article is called “Beginnings of the History and Philosophy of Andragogy 1833-2000.” It is only about 35 pages, excluding the references. So it is not very long. But after reading this, you will have a good sense of just how long adult learning has been considered a relevant field of study and some of the evolutionary aspects and how they played out historically.
Here is the link to the article:
Course Content Strand Responses
If you would, please provide a short summary of the article. Something I might suggest is this: rather than going into great detail or writing something that you are bound to forget in the near future, simply write your summary out as if you and I were having a chat and you were going to give me a bit of background as to the history and philosophy of andragogy. I am far more interested in you having a sense of how things developed in a way that you won’t forget by next term. If you are planning to teach in a university in the future, then you might want to spend more time on this. If you are going for a job interview where this information would be relevant, it would be worth thinking about this enough that you can talk about it.
If, however, you are taking this class because it is a requirement for your degree, then knowing the history won’t seem as important. In that case, I would put my effort into doing something else. But even if this is the case, having at least some background on this will be valuable so please do provide a brief summary. Thanks.
Project / Themes Strand
As you know, if you already have a project in mind that you are already pursuing, please feel free to carry on with your project. I do ask for a write up of what you are working on when you submit your first set of responses to me. This will allow me to offer any assistance if I am able. I might know of some resources or ideas that might help.
If you are not sure of a project, or would rather start looking into themes, I provide two themes for this week.
Theme one is reading (or skimming) Malcolm Knowles book The Adult Learner. Once again, for some of you this might be an important book to read, or at least know about. If, for example, you are working on a graduate project or master’s thesis that deals with adult learning, this would be an important reading to add to your literature review. If you are going to be teaching adults in a professional capacity, this would be an important book. If you are planning to create adult learning materials, this book will broaden your expertise.
Of course you won’t be able to read this book in a week. So it might be something you want to continue for a few weeks rather than launching into another theme next week. Please keep in mind that I often provide more than you can reasonably be expected to complete on a short timeline. You have to determine what is reasonable.
Theme two is an introduction to training.
Please don’t think that just because these two themes are listed in week two that you can’t come back to these at a later time. Some of you might be interested in both the Knowles book and in training. So in week four, for example, you might decide that you want to explore training. If that is the case, please go for it.
Once again, if you do choose one of these themes, I ask that you share with me a written summary of what you learned regarding the themes when you submit your first set of responses.
Theme One (Knowles)
You can get the full text for free online at our library
You have access to this textbook for free on our Library “ebook central” site. To access the text
Choose the “Articles & Research Databases” link.
Select “E” under “Find databases by name”
Click on the “ebook Central” link.
Search “The Adult Learner”
There you have it. You can read it online, or download parts to your computer for later off-line reading.
Theme Two (Training)
The second theme is one that I already know some of you are interested in because of your intention of doing training sessions. Training sessions might take place in any number of institutions or environments. These trainings might be in schools for teachers, in communities for adult learners, in business or industry settings, face-to-face, or online. Having some knowledge of training might be of importance. These videos will give you a great start in developing your understanding in this area. You might even decide to continue to develop a training session as a project.
As before, if you don’t see the video embedded in the page, or you would also like to read the transcripts of the video, please click on the video title and you will be taken to WOU’s Films On Demand.
While helping employees gain new skills and knowledge, workplace training also allows organizations to develop new and better processes to increase productivity. This insightful and instructive program is hosted by David Kay, owner of a successful training business with over 20 years of experience in workplace training worldwide. Viewers follow a trainer and manager as they create, organize, facilitate, and review a training plan. Full of simple tips and useful ideas, the video will give facilitators the knowledge and skills they need to deliver high-quality, relevant training services. Viewable/printable educational materials are available online. (17 minutes)
This program is designed for managers and supervisors who have to deliver short technical or informational training sessions to their team. The user-friendly and enjoyable format will help viewers discover how to use adult learning principles to design a session. (12 minutes)
Training is a task many people must do from time to time, even though they have little experience and may feel stressed at the prospect. The ten simple steps in this video can make a big difference to the success and smooth running of your session even before it has begun. Topics covered include logistics, refreshments, technology, training resources, advising attendees, making the introduction, personal presentation, positive visualization, environmental check, and greeting participants. Viewable/printable educational materials are available online. (16 minutes)
Differentiating between training and development, this program discusses forms of training, including on-the-job training, off-the-job training, coaching, and mentoring and considers the importance of conducting a training needs analysis.
Whether you run a small company or a team in a large organization, this program will show you where to start in developing a training plan. Learn how to analyze training needs, plan appropriate training sessions, and evaluate outcomes. (15 minutes)
Bob Riefstahl is the founder and managing partner of 2WIN! Global, a business training and consulting firm. In the 12 years since he left a successful career as vice president of sales for a large company to start his own venture, Bob has built his client base to profitability—a list that includes some of the most important software and technology companies in the world, including Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, HP, and IBM. In this program, Bob discusses how getting published adds to your credibility; how to get paid for your value, not simply for your time; how to work with domestic and international clientele; how to identify client needs; how to present to clients and close deals; secrets of perceived value and successful training; how to get contracts with big companies; and more. (78 minutes)
I hope I have explained myself well enough. Just as a reminder, in keeping with andragogical practice, I am passing a lot of the decisions on to you. Let’s try to keep this enjoyable and non stressful 🙂
Until next time, read, think, question, and enjoy!