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  1. Welcome! Adult Learners: Principles, Barriers and Best Practices Presented by Dr. Mary Jo Self

  2. Format • Conditions an adult learner brings to class • “Graying of America” • Dispositional Barriers • Generational • Motivational • Institutional Barriers • Situational Barriers • Conditions an Instructor creates PRIOR to class for the adult learner • Needs Assessment • Learning Styles • Training outlines • The overall learning environment

  3. Conditions the instructor creates DURING instruction • Ten Proven Strategies you can use in your next training class • Needs Assessments • Icebreakers • Mix or Match Worksheets • Free writes • INSERT • Anticipation Guide • Graphic representations • CUBE • Feedback visual cues • 3-2-1

  4. Conditions an Adult Learner Brings to class Prior Knowledge

  5. Needs Assessments • Helping the facilitator or trainer get a better idea of what is already known by the participants • Learning Equation • Learning = New Information + Connection to Previously Known Information • Reminders: • Don’t single a student out • Use aggregate (group) data • Use it for planning • Use it for feedback and review at the end of instruction

  6. Definition of Adult Education • Practice of teaching and educating adults • “Graying of America” • Increased emphasis • Lifelong process over the entire human life span • Terms: • Extension • Lifelong learning centers • Professional development • Personal development • Andragogy • Self-directed learning

  7. What about adult students? • What might they bring to the learning environment? • How can you address those needs?

  8. Generational theory • Based on the theory that individuals born during a period of time experience unique cultural and societal events which form their view of the world including education.

  9. Vertical Timeline of Generations • The Silent Generation • The Baby Boomers • Generation X • Baby Boom Echo • Millennium Generation

  10. Usefulness of this theory • In combination with upbringing, education, affluence or lack of it and geography; can be a dependable benchmark. • Those born in the same generation share the historic events, economics, music, culture of their time.

  11. Principles • Adults are different; not overgrown adolescents. • Adults have accumulated knowledge during their lives. • Adults usually pursue education voluntarily. • Adults are generally better motivated.

  12. Principles • Adults seek to learn what they have identified as important. • Adults seek immediately applicable learning. • Adults are at various stages of autonomy. • Adults tend to focus on problem centered learning rather than subject centered learning.

  13. Why? • Means of comprehending their own lives such as aging process or retirement roles, • To understand sociocultural change, • To combat technological and sociocultural obsolescence, • As a second career, • Response to a life changing event or series of events.

  14. Why Not? • Situational barriers • Institutional barriers • Dispositional barriers

  15. Situational Barriers • Relating to a person’s situation at a given time • Lack of time (most often cited) • Cost • Personal problems • Child care • Age • Level of income • Home and/or job responsibilities

  16. Institutional Barriers • All those practices and procedures that exclude or discourage working adults from participating in educational activities • Scheduling • Location • Lack of interesting or practical courses • Procedural such as enrollment, red tape, etc.

  17. Dispositional (Social-Psychological) • Related to attitudes and self perceptions about one’s self as a learner • Low self esteem • Lack of confidence in their ability to be successful Darkenwald and Merriam added a fourth category of barrier: Informational Lack of awareness to what educational opportunities are available.

  18. 6 Things you should know about adult learners- motivation to learn: • Adults seek out learning experiences in response to specific life changing events. • Life changing events = Motivation to learn • Education directly related • Change is a certainty? Will engage to cope • Learning is a means to an end • Secondary motivators are self-esteem and pleasure.

  19. Conditions created PRIOR to class for the adult learner • Learning Styles • Curriculum Development including training outlines • Overall learning environment

  20. Learning Styles • 6 variables that affect learning: • Mobility while learning • Light (artificial or natural; bright or low) • Time of day (AM or PM) • Design of the learning process (formal or informal) • Processing style of the learner (global or analytical) • Perceptual or learning styles

  21. Learning Styles Consider you have three channels on your TV set; One channel comes in more clearly; You CAN watch on all three; But on one channel, it is much easier to follow the story line.

  22. 3 Major Learning Styles Visual Auditory Kinesthetic/Tactile Instructional Strategies used in any training session should incorporate all THREE learning styles.

  23. Visual Learning Style (SEE) • An eyeful • Appears to me • I see • Clear cut • Eye to eye • In light of • I just don’t see • In view of • Looks like • Get the picture • See to it

  24. Auditory (HEAR) • I hear you • Clear as a bell • Call on • Earful • Give me your ear • Hold your tongue • Loud and clear • Rings a bell • To tell the truth • Tuned in/tuned out

  25. Kinesthetic/Tactile (FEEL) • Boils down to • Come to grips with • Get a handle on • Get a load of this • I feel that • Hand in hand • Hold on! • Pain in the neck • Pull some strings • Sharp as a tack

  26. Your Perception or Mine? • If you don’t speak to me in my ‘language’, I may only hear 50% of your message. • Keep the message in front of the listener.

  27. How do I implement this knowledge of learning styles as an instructor? • Know your own learning style AND those of your participants . • Encourage participants to provide meaningful feedback such as “Did that work for you?” “Do I need to present that information in a different way?”

  28. Other ideas: • Don’t allow a participant to use their learning style as an excuse. • Give participants experience with problems before giving them the tools to solve them • Balance concrete information with conceptual information • Liberally use graphic representations such as mock-ups, examples, pictures, etc. • Make comparisons to physical objects • Show participants how concepts are connected within and between subjects and to everyday life experiences.

  29. Training Outlines • Many, many models exist • P-P-A-E model is simple and easily used • P = Preparation • P = Presentation • A = Application • E = Evaluation

  30. Overall Learning Environment

  31. Student Needs According to Maslow, human needs can be grouped in the shape of a pyramid. Unless the basic needs (bottom of the pyramid) are met, individuals can not move up the pyramid and seek opportunities for self-fulfillment.

  32. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Being Needs Deficiency Needs

  33. Basic things to do to create a successful learning environment Show participants that training is worthwhile Show the relevance of your subject Involve participants in their own learning and pique their interest Use the natural motives of curiosity, suspense, action as appropriate Teacher enthusiasm is DIRECTLY related to students’ need for achievement and motivation levels. Use focusing techniques and varied interaction styles.

  34. Additional concepts • Use effective attention getters including motivational hooks and bell ringers • Ask for student input. • Allow students to teach, present, and interact with each other often. • Model empathic listening and respect. • Provide acknowledgement, praise and acceptance. • Honor cultural diversity and incorporate diversity into learning. • Stay committed to totally positive interactions. • Use themes in training. • Minimize distractions and interruptions as much as possible. • Provide a sense of organization.

  35. Top 10 Checklist: • Did you complete a needs assessment and use the information in planning? • Did you have as much knowledge as possible prior to instruction and during instruction about the participants? • Did you identify the expectations of both you and the participants? • Did you provide immediate relevance to the participants? • Did you provide (as much as possible) for the physical comfort of the participants? • Did you show the applicability of the content? • Did you make every effort to engage the students?

  36. Did you provide a balance of activities? • Did you identify the best possible fit as an instructor? • Did you evaluate and assess the training to use in the future?

  37. Conditions the instructor creates DURING instruction • Ten Proven Strategies you can use in your next training class • Needs Assessments • Icebreakers • Mix or Match Worksheets • Free writes • INSERT • Anticipation Guide • Graphic representations • CUBE • Feedback visual cues • 3-2-1

  38. Strategy #1: Needs Assessments • Helping the facilitator or trainer get a better idea of what is already known by the participants • Learning Equation • Learning = New Information + Connection to Previously Known Information

  39. Remember • Don’t single out a participant • Use aggregate (group) data • Use it for planning • Use it for feedback and review at the end of instruction

  40. Strategy #2: Icebreakers • Example: “Getting to Know You” • Designed to break the ‘ice’ - So What's the "Ice"? • Used to encourage the participants to relax and engage in the learning process • Why use them: • Participants come from different backgrounds. • People need to bond quickly so as to work towards a common goal. • Your team is newly formed. • The topics you are discussing are new or unfamiliar to many people involved. • As facilitator you need to get to know participants and have them know you better.

  41. BTW: It is also a special-purpose ship or boat designed to move and navigate through ice covered waters. • Many, many great icebreakers exist • • •

  42. Strategy #3: Mix or Match Worksheet • Used to divide participants into groups in an objective manner • Can also use colored pencils; different types of candies; different colors of balloons

  43. Strategy #4 – Free Writes • Purpose: • Lifelong Learning Skills of being able to write and clarify thoughts and summarizing thoughts • How –To: • Provide the focus • Set the time limit • Make sure all are engaged • May not stop writing • Must write in complete sentences • Can model for them • Have students read if they would like • Collect free writes • Read several out loud (anonymously) and share your own

  44. Strategy #5 - INSERT • Interactive Notating System for Effective Reading and Thinking • Purpose: improve comprehension while reading; being able to synthesize and evaluate ideas during reading.

  45. How to use INSERT • Provide guide for symbols. • Give reading to be completed. • As students read, the symbols are used – can be completed lightly in pencil; using post-it notes; pieces of notebook paper.

  46. To begin: • Might use just a check mark and question mark. • Put the chart on the wall or easily viewed location. • Use symbols appropriate to your teaching content: • C = Cause; E = Effect • F = Fact; O = Opinion

  47. Next Steps: • After students have read and used INSERT; • Have small group or classroom discussion based on notations; • Large group discussion and/or writing activity such as Cubing.

  48. INSERT SYMBOL MEANING OF SYMBOL I Agree. This confirms what I already knew. I have a question about this. I totally don’t understand at all. I disagree. Wow! This is neat! This is important. X !

  49. Strategy #6 – Anticipation Guides • Used to help participants ‘anticipate’ instruction; • Easily constructed using the content of the training session • Each statement concerns the important concept of the lesson. • Each statement rephrases what the text says. • All statements are plausible. • Some statements are worded in such a way as to provoke critical thinking about the key concepts.

  50. Strategy #7 – Graphic Representations • Purpose: • Previewing; using prediction; reading critically; visually representing text and using key vocabulary terms to show important relationships • Sometimes called ‘mind mapping’ or ‘concept mapping’ • Great study tools for students (and for teachers too!)