Welcome back. Here we are into the second week of our Ed 610 class.
It was nice to hear from many of 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.
For Today: Work in Progress Ideas
In today’s class, I wanted to give you the time and opportunity to look through a number of themes that might interest you for your final Work In Progress project. I tried to provide some resources to themes you might not have thought of. A few of the themes are themes that some classmates have or had indicated an interest in pursuing. Please use your class time to explore ideas, and to begin to get a sense of what you might want to explore as your ‘Work In Progress’. Hopefully, but the end of this week you will be ready to start your explorations. The choice, as far as I am concerned, is completely yours. If, however, you want to run your ideas by me, please do so.
************* Note ********************
A work in progress is just that, a work in progress. This is your opportunity to seriously explore an area of adult learning that interests you. It does not have to be a finished product. It does not have to have APA references. It does not have to be 20 pages double spaced with one-inch margins. But it does have to bring you joy, increase your capacity to learn, increase your confidence in some area, develop your ability to inquire and wonder, speak to your own uniqueness as a learner, and ultimately draw you closer to other people in some way.
I have created multiple themes that you might find interesting or valuable for your own educational development. As I pointed out last day, you are not required to choose one of these themes. You might have something already in mind that you would like to pursue. That is up to you.
But, for those of you looking for some ideas, you might find something here. I have tried to provide you with a good deal of material already prepared.
After the list of themes, I provide you with the names of some books on adult learning that might interest you in the event you would like to use your project time reading and sharing some sort of book analysis and review with me.
First I will share a number of themes. Then I will share some possible book ideas.
As we consider the depth of background experiences adults have, and the ability they have to deal with technologies, creating environments that utilize ‘the visual’ become attractive. Thus I have created two themes around the idea of photography and visual expertise. Photography is clearly something we have access to right now as a ready resource. While the videos and documentaries don’t specifically speak to andragogical methodology, your understanding of andragogy will lend itself to the incorporation of photographs and photography into an adult learning environment.
I happen to find these themes particularly interesting, so perhaps they might interest you. They might even nudge you in a similar but different direction that incorporates visual understanding. You might want to explore painting, sculpture, or some other aspect of the visual arts. I hope these ideas spark your interest.
This second theme has more to do with visual literacy. For those thinking of incorporating photographs into the learning environment, this theme will supplement your understanding of the ways in which photographs can be used to evoke meaning and emotion and how photographers use particular techniques to get the desired response from the viewers. I include, also, in this theme a couple of articles that speak to andragogy and media literacy.
Where Pedagogy and Andragogy Meet
One of the recurring interests has been where we might incorporate andragogical practices into the younger student classroom. Most classrooms have already worked on freeing up some of the pedagogical constraints. So the question is asked, how do we continue to draw on adragogical practices that would seem to be of value for younger students. Differentiation is certainly one way. The following theme on differentiation might offer some of you some new ways of comparing child and youth learning with adult learning.
I have included some documentaries on differentiation here. Now, if you are teaching you are already very well versed in differentiation — it has been a big component of your Education Degree training. The thing that you might find interesting now is questioning how one might understand differentiation from the perspective of andragogy and components of Knowles’ theory and consider how that might play into, or enrich, the younger student.
Inclusion, Anti Racism and Poverty
Inclusion and Anti Racism is another theme of interest.
A number of students in the past have expressed interest in technology in one form or another. I started three themes that will address technological interests in some way.
Photography and Film Making
Programming and Coding
Heutagogy and Technoheutagogy
Business, Entrepreneurship and Workshops
Some students have an interest in creating businesses that will address adult audiences. While the topic of business is one that might be best addressed in a business class, the fact that we are creating business for adult learners makes andragogy very relevant. It reminds us that a teaching/learning model based on pedagogy might not be the best teaching business for adults.
Pedagogy / Andragogy / Technology
Two of the earlier themes I addressed had to do with andragogical methods incorporated into traditionally pedagogical environments as well as the way new technologies are shifting traditional teaching practices in schools. The first article: Pedagogy Redifined: Frameworks of Learning Approaches Prevalent in the Current Digital Information Age, weave pedagogical and technological issues together with andragogical practices. The second: A Compendium of Material on the Pedagogy-Andragogy Issue is another comparison of youngster/adult learning.
The Hidden Brain: Frictionless Learning
Not long ago I came across something that I found interesting that might interest you as well. It is the idea of how habit plays into our actions. The term in the podcast that I found particularly interesting is the use of “frictionless.” This is the idea that if we can create environments with the least amount of friction, disruption, or required effort, people are more likely to take advantage of the environment. That has long been the case when introducing technological innovations to teachers for example. I have heard many times what great changes new technology will have when teachers adopt some technology hardware or software. However, it is often easy to predict that the implementation won’t be successful because it means more work rather than less. If something has a lot of friction to it, who would adopt it? I think there is something here worth thinking about when we consider adult learning. If we are creating a program to teach adults, especially for busy adults, we have to try to make things easier than harder. Habit and friction might be something we should be keeping in mind.
The following link will take you to the Hidden Brain Podcast page where you can also read the transcript.
Here are two articles from one of the interviewees.
Virtual Reality and Virtual Learning
I wanted to include this theme to encourage you to start thinking about how newer virtual reality (VR) technologies might impact the way that we think of teaching adults. There are plenty of documentaries, most of the connections to adult learning you will have to make yourself. But now with the frameworks you have, it will be easy to pick out specific ideas that would help, or hinder, the adult learner.
Aging and the Elderly
I have put together a theme that deals with andragogy and the elderly. This is an important consideration for the educator now more than ever. We have the largest, and arguably the most vibrant, population of seniors to date. For you, as someone well versed in andragogy, this is probably an important area for you to consider. If you are developing your expertise in training, business opportunities, technology access and education, and compassionate interactions, it is difficult to avoid addressing some of the andragogical issues related to the elderly.
The first theme, The Elderly, is a theme that has a number of research articles and a couple of documentaries.
This next theme, How To Stay Young is very important for those who are leaning about andragogy. The following theme speaks to the need to redefine aging as well as understanding how seniors are thinking about their own care and abilities. This is especially important as we consider how we address andragogical practices for an aging population.
I hope you enjoyed looking through these themes. Perhaps they gave you some ideas that you hadn’t even considered before. Keep in mind, this is “YOUR” work in progress. Try something unique, creative, interesting. See where it takes you. See what sorts of new ideas you can come up with. And always try to find joy and wonder in your explorations 🙂
Books, Books, Books
If you are interested in reading and sharing what you learn from your reading in some way with me for your final project, I do have a few suggestions.
Louder than Words by Benjamin Bergen.
The Brain From Inside Out by György Buzsáki
The Neuroscience of Intelligence by Richard J. Haier
Metaphors We Live By, by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson
Where Mathematics Come From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being, by George Lakoff and Rafael Nuñez
From Brain to Mind: Using Neuroscience to Guide Change in Education, by James E. Zull
Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes our Thoughts, by Stanislas Dehaene
Why Brains Learn Better Than Any Machine, by Stanislas Dehaene
Dimensions of Adult Learning: Adult Education and Training in a Global Era, edited by Griff Foley
Teaching and Learning For Adult Skill Acquisition: Applying the Dreyfus and Dreyful Model in Different Fields (Adult Learning in Professional, Organizational, and Community Settings, by Elaine M. Silva
The Power of Critical Thinking for Adult Learning And Teaching, by Stephen Brookfield
These are a few of the books that have interested me. Of course, something quite different might attract you. I know you are quite capable of finding interesting books so I won’t list any more here.
But, one more thing. One other place to look, if you want to see what is available to you for free is ebook central on our WOU Library website. Simply click on the link that says Articles and Research Databases, click on the letter E and make your way to ebook central. You will be able to find many books on adult learning here free to you.
First Response Set (continue):
Question: well, as you can see, I didn’t ask any questions for you to respond to today. This was a day of taking your time and figuring out what you might like to do for your Work In Progress Project.
A Reiteration of what we are submitting as coursework
Given that we have the freedom to explore different themes let me reiterate what I ask of you regarding submissions.
We have two strands:
Content-Question Strand: the weekly questions relating to the course content (due sometime during the week of October 18th and sometime during the week of November 22nd).
Project “Work in Progress” strand.
The “Work in Progress’ strand is your own pursuit of adult learning. You connect your work to adult learning in some way, and I support your choice in developing that in any way you see fit.
There we have it. Two strands. One required content strand, and a second ‘work in progress’ strand.
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.
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!