Journal and Reflections – course 3100

As part of my Trends and Roles assignment in the 3100 course, I am posting the three following reflections:

1) New Insights

     Adult educators play an abundant variety of roles while in the classroom. At any given time they can be called upon to be an entertainer, a mediator, an administrator, a motivator, a tech wizard, a strategizer, a psychologist, a facilitator or a mentor – and all while remaining positive and encouraging and being extremely intuitive to each learner’s needs. My biggest insight of the role of the adult educator is realizing that each educator differs in their approach based on their own philosophy to adult education and their view of the learner. Understanding my personal philosophy is important in recognizing why I approach things a certain way and also will aid in identifying other approaches to adult education.  This alone is key in collaborating effectively. In my role as a facilitator, I am somewhat limited to the content that I can train.  Curriculum is decided by head office and is written for me.  Although this can be somewhat limiting in my choices, I am still able to base my approach to what I’m teaching according to my own philosophy and by doing so, will offer a more genuine and transparent training environment. As I am only in the early stages of the course, I expect to have many more insights and aha moments.

“An understanding of adult learners and the learning process is central to successful work in adult education…” Merriam S. B.; Brockett R.G. (2007). The profession and practice of adult education.San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

2) Trends

     Trends toward adult education in my field are leaning towards self directed e-learning. More and more learning nuggets are available through technology such as webinars, on-line assessments or tablets.  Our e-learning modules cover a broad range – from simple skills and product knowledge, to leadership behaviours and management activities. Training is slowly moving away from one on one, face to face or classroom experiences to the e-learning approach. Adapting to these changes and embracing the new culture is the first step in preparation. I am from the pre-tech era – the internet didn’t even exist when I was first in the working world – so I am doing my own e-learning nuggets to develop my understanding of the technology that is available. I am also working with our learning and development group to better understand how they are designing future training. As the facilitator of the material, I’m very concerned with offering consistent support to my customer so they can better understand the e-learning culture and the reasons behind this new trend in learning and training.  Success with e-learning and mobile device training in my environment will depend both on how comfortable the learner is with technology overall and how well the transition is facilitated. I already see this is as a huge area of opportunity in my environment.

     An article I stumbled across after I had my Skype call, explains how our everyday activities are shifting to mobile devices and how organizations are adopting this method for their employees. More and more tablets are being sold directly to businesses, in fact our company is currently piloting tablet use for training which is very exciting and progressive as well as concerning for many adults working in our organization.  How we address this is key to keeping good employees engaged, maintaining productivity and still offer great customer service.

Kaganer, E; Giordano, G.A; Brion, S. and Tortoriello, M. (2013). Media tablets for mobile learning. Communications of the ASCM, 56(11), 68-75. DOI: 10.1145/2500494 http://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2013/11/169034-media-tablets-for-mobile-learning/abstract

     Another great article I found (that I shared with my partner) focuses on trends of adult education and the influence of a knowledge society. Globalization through information technology is increasing. More and more adults are becoming life-long learners, whether through formal education programs or informal job-related training, leading to this new environment of a knowledge society. Author Carol Kasworm focuses on three key areas in this article – continuing workforce enhancement, digital media and reflective engagement.

Kasworm, C. (2011).The influence of the knowledge society: trends in adult higher education. The Journal of continuing Higher Education,59, 104-107. DOI:10.1080/07377363.2011.568830 http://carl-abrc.ca/uploads/h_ed_articles/Kasworm.pdf

     The next article I have cited below is an assessment on the effectiveness of e-learning.  The cost of e-learning verses traditional classroom teaching and how we measure knowledge transference and behaviour changes of e-learning is also discussed.  The article suggests there are 4 levels of measurement – a) reaction or feelings of the learner and instructor, b) learning itself – actual facts or skills and techniques and how they are understood by the learner, c) behaviour – measuring the transference of learning to job performance, d) results – measuring results of training against the company’s bottom line.  Even though this article is slightly dated, the questions are thought provoking and are the same questions being asked by corporations today.

Strother, J. B. (2002). An assessment of the effectiveness of e-learning in corporate training programs. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 3(1).  http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/83/161
 

3) Web-Conference

     The word webinar or web-conference tends to bring a hush to the room as quite often its reputation preceeds it.  The webinars that I have (reluctantly) sat through have neither been engaging nor particularily educational.  It seems quite often once it is over you still need to do investigating on your own or download the powerpoint to gain a deeper understanding of what was discussed.  In my web-conference experience for this course, I was pleasantly surprised as it turned out to be just the opposite.  The experience was easy and comforting. Comforting because I could be in sweatpants and it didn’t matter, that we could chose a time beneficial to both parties and more importantly, because I was in my own surroundings allowed me to have greater focus on the discussion itself.  It was comforting to know that there was someone else with the same concerns about the course that I had and having that face to face connection through Skype was very important to me.

     My learning partner, Kelly, chose a topic that was so interesting, I was hooked as soon as she told me.  Her topic was “Transformative Learning” and how to use the outdoor environment to enhance learning and create critical reflection to bring about either a change in behaviour or mindset.  Kelly’s topic and delivery of her message led to my own critical reflection of learning in general and how I can change my perspective and assumptions.  Kelly explained that reflectively thinking in an ourtdoor environment allows our 5 senses to come alive and our mind to become quiet, thus leading to a heightened ability to reflect. I also learned that outdoor learning or learning in a natural setting has existed for a long time and predominant in First Nation communities. Kelly’s second article looks at how the tech world is combining e- learning and nature – a very exciting notion.  For more information on Kelly’s topic, I have posted the link to her blog below and on my resources page.

http://kmablard.wordpress.com

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