We have a good background in the history and development of andragogy. Now it will be enjoyable to hear how instructors experience andragogical methodology. As you read these two short chapters, you will get a chance to reflect on how the role of the teacher changes with andragogy. If, by chance, you have taken ED 632 with me you will recognize some of the driving forces that opposed or promoted andragogical thinking — such as Frederick Winslow Taylor’s scientific management, or Ben Zander’s narrative on giving everyone an ‘A’.
These are two short chapters taken from Knowles’ Book.
Each of you has been working on your own individual project chosen because of its relevance to you. Consider using this particular experience to consider the following idea: How would you develop your interest into a learning environment for adult learners? I know that some of you have already been doing this, but if you haven’t, it might be worth taking your particular interest and considering how you would turn this into something that other adult learners would engage in.
How would you set this up? Would you develop a structured curriculum? If so, how would you remain respectful of the adult learners’ needs? Would you be assessing your adult learners? Would you act as facilitator, mentor, teacher? Would you develop some sort of contract with your students?
Perhaps a Contract
The idea of a contract is what we will explore today. I know that some of you are already interacting with other adults in a variety of learning environments and trying to develop ways of organizing and articulating shared expectations already, but this might add to what you are already doing.
For this week’s Knowles’ reading, I leave you with two chapters that many of you will find particularly useful. The first discusses guidelines for the use of learning contracts. The second chapter has some useful information on planning guides. Both chapters will be found in the following document.
I have also picked out four articles that speak to learning contracts or planning in some way. I chose these because I know they are related to some of your specific project interests. These are here purely for your interest. Do not feel as though there is any expectation that you read them. I hope they might be of some assistance to your endeavors.
While many have noted the benefits of interaction and social exchange in online courses, the integration of tools associated with self-directed adult learning philosophies have been relatively ignored. . . What content framework is conducive for developing social, self-directed learning processes in an online course? An action plan was established and continually revised during three consecutive semesters in a master’s level course.
Closing the chasm reconciling contemporary understandings of learning with the need to formally assess and accredit learners through the assessment
This article argues that whilst there have been substantial advancements in the ways in which
learning is conceptualized, theoretical understandings of assessment, and practices that
contribute to meaningful statements of learners’ achievements, have not mirrored these
changes in certain learning contexts. The authors challenge contemporary methods of
educational assessment, particularly for marginalized groups of learners, specifically young
people and adults in informal, vocational and professional learning. They critique the
assessment and formal accreditation opportunities available to these groups of learners, and
emphasize a need for more authentic, learner-friendly methods to encourage their engagement
Teaching Courses on Managing Diversity Using Learning Contracts to Address Challenges and Model Behavior
Significant differences exist between the nondiscrimination, valuing difference, and managing diversity approaches (Gardenswartz and Rowe, 1998). Questions about whether the course should focus on traditional dimensions of diversity or address a multitude of individual differences, about whether the course should educate students about the contributions diverse groups have made to society or should get them to engage in social action, and about whether the course should inform students of demographic trends and current laws or about strategies for achieving enhanced “organizational efficiency and effectiveness…from the interaction of individuals who vary in their degree of heterogeneity” (Wise and Tschirhart, 2000, 387) can make the task of teaching a course on diversity seem overwhelming. It is in this context that I advocate for the use of learning contracts as an instructional strategy for teaching courses on about diversity.
When adult educators use learning covenants with their students, they should understand that the very term implies a spiritual dimension, because the emphasis is on the relationship rather than on the content of the agreement. Part of the difficulty that adult educators encounter today when using learning covenants with their students is misconceptions about the covenant concept and its meaning. Students often confuse the word covenant with the word contract, which has legal overtones that students often find frightening. In contrast, the covenant approach focuses on the spiritual connection, thereby minimizing the sense of a legal commitment. As we understand them today, covenants have come to our society through a complicated process of change and adaptation.
In a face-to-face classroom, the instructor can easily diagnose students’ motivational status by observing their facial expressions and postures, but such cues are absent in an online classroom. Therefore, online instructors often estimate students’ motivational level based on their online behavior such as the number of messages they post and look for effective strategies to help them actively participate in online dialogues. One such strategy is contract learning which facilitates self-directed behaviors through structuring an agreed learning process. This study reports a contract learning strategy in a graduate-level online class, examining whether a sample of 28 students’ motivation could indeed be predicted by their online behavior.
I was able to find a few different videos that might be interesting to some of you. But quite honestly, I think the readings are far more valuable.
Learning Contracts for College Students
Second Response Set:
Question Five: As you think about your own work in progress and the way you enjoy learning, would a learning contract have made you more likely to learn more? Notice I didn’t say ‘do more’ but rather ‘learn more.’
Questions Six: If you were to incorporate learning contracts into your something you were teaching to adults, what would those learning contracts look like?
I hope you have found some value in learning contracts.
And, I hope you are having fun with your own projects.
Next week we will spend some time on training. Until then, have a great week 🙂