Tag Archives: Learning Journal

Journal Entry – PIDP 3100 Category 2

“adults are problem-centered, not subject-centered, and desire immediate, not postponed application of the knowledge learned.” (Merriam & Bierema, 2014, p 53)

Objective:

This quote summarizes the fourth assumption of Knowles’ work on andragogy – immediacy. Knowles posed that people as they mature become more self-directed, build on a reservoir of experience, develop a need to learn instead of being told they need to learn, and seek immediate application of their knowledge (Knowles, 1980). This also reinforces the idea that with a problem at hand, we are more motivated to seek out an answer (Merriam & Bierema, 2014) What really caught my attention was how Knowles further linked rapid cultural change (both social and technological) to an observation that rings truer every day and foreshadowed the challenges we see in the 21st century, namely “knowledge gained at any point in time is largely obsolete within a matter of years, and skills that made people productive in their twenties become out-of-date in their thirties.” (p.41)

Reflective

As a result, we have to look at teaching that which students can apply immediately, and giving them opportunities to do so. With this comes a responsibility to adapt and update our material and lesson planning on a much more frequent basis, and failure to do so will put us at risk of irrelevance. I think about what I learned when I went to cooking school, and although the fundamental concepts are the same, I see students, some even in high school, regularly demonstrating techniques I didn’t learn until much later into my career, and re-interpreting ideas that I still think of as being new. Our students have immediate access to information from around the globe and if we are not prepared to at least keep up with them, we can’t be successful at helping them learn.

Interpretive

Not only are we tending to seek immediate application of the knowledge we gain, we have moved to a just-in-time learning model. When I read the quote, I immediately thought that not only do we as adults want to apply new knowledge right away, we can seek out information immediately for a task at hand. With technology, we have moved into a space where we no longer even need necessarily to learn how to do something before we attempt it. In many cases we can learn it as we do it, which has a fundamentally huge implication in how we might approach teaching in the future. Not long ago, we decided to upgrade the stereo in my older car. In a previous era (perhaps only 5 years ago) I would never have just assumed that we could go out to the store and purchase the stereo, drive home, take out a smartphone, and watch a YouTube video on how to install a stereo on my exact model and year of car while we put it in. Less than an hour later, we had a new stereo installed and a fine sense of accomplishment. What does this mean for us as teachers? Are we at risk of becoming obsolete, or do we have to embrace the reality and come up with creative ways to include this change into our classrooms.

Decisional

One tech school in France, Ecole 42, had 70,000 applications for just 900 spaces last year. They have no books, no teachers, no tuition, and offer no degrees, yet they propose to turn out highly qualified software engineers who will spend 2-3 years solving increasingly difficult problems with their classmates, and finding all of their own resources to do so (venturebeat.com, 2014).

I don’t think this means that we will see droves of teachers showing up with no lesson plans or learning resources, assuming that they and their students will be able to find whatever they need through their phones, but certainly there are aspects of this that can be applied in every classroom. Consider setting out a task and seeing who can find the best online resource in the moment, or offering more experiential activities integrated with a theory lesson to build on that need for immediacy. For me, embracing the change is an exciting challenge, that also offers opportunity to learn myself.

References

Knowles, M.S. (1980). The modern practice of adult education: From pedagogy to andragogy. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall/Cambridge.

Merriam, S.B., Bierema, L.L. (2014) Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Venturebeat.com. (2014) This French tech school has no teacher no books no tuition and it could change everything (June 13, 2014) Retrieved from: http://venturebeat.com/2014/06/13/this-french-tech-school-has-no-teachers-no-books-no-tuition-and-it-could-change-everything/

Journal Entry – PIDP 3100 Category 1

“There are few educators who would disagree with the principle that lifelong learning is a good thing but the important questions are about the types of learning that the concept promotes, the life that it encourages us to lead, who benefits from this and the nature of the society that it upholds.” (Crowther, 2012, p.801)

Objective:

This quote asks us to explore the social aspects and impacts of education. As a result, we must, as educators, look at lifelong learning in a broader context. By adding social context to the discussion, we can understand how a dedication to lifelong learning, reflection, and analysis can impact the social fabric of a society and effect real social change. But how does that change transpire? Does a society committed to lifelong learning look at education as a means for social change, or is social change a result of educated and actively engaged citizens who are committed to actively improve their world and the world around them? Crowther’s debate explores whether or not lifelong learning whose purpose is to create individuals who are self-sufficient in many ways – self directed, self interested, and self-funded (Crowther, 2012), will ultimately result in changes to a system that was built on the concept of providing free and accessible education and other services to its citizens.

Reflective

As a result, as teachers we have to look at how we see the impact of learning on the outside world. Is our role to guide our students to adapt to the world that is or to give them the tools and skills to create the world that will be? Much depends on the students themselves, their stages of life, and the learning itself. Increasingly, we see multi-generational and multicultural workplaces and classrooms, and cohorts that include individuals who have yet to embark on a working career and those who are just winding down from one. This dynamic requires the instructor to adapt and an opportunity to use the variety of experiences and points of view the learners bring to enrich the context of the course beyond the curriculum.

Interpretive

Critical to the examination of the net beneficiary of lifelong learning as a concept is the realization that social change and a critically thinking society are deeply connected. Without continual learning and adapting, society is condemned to an endless status quo, which benefits only those who have little to gain from any meaningful change and creates a climate of apathy. In an age where Yong Zhou states, “education has been preparing our students for an economy that no longer exists” (2014) change, both within and outside the formal education system seems inevitable. This can be evidenced by the increased focus on personalized learning and a different set of skills such as adaptability and thinking outside the box as being seen as keys to success in today’s world.

Decisional

In looking at how to adapt this to the training I have a hand in delivering, I have realized that learning, regardless of the subject matter can have a net impact on society as a whole. Whether it be from teaching sustainability to a culinary student or presenting reflective exercises that offer students the opportunity to explore how they view a problem from many angles, including the social context can lead to students approaching what they have learned with a slightly different perspective than perhaps we as teachers did when presenting. In addition, the concept that society benefits from an educated population seems not to be in question, but rather that what the benefits are vary as greatly as those we encounter in our classrooms and workplaces.

References

Crowther, J. (2012) ‘Really Useful Knowledge’ or ‘Merely Useful’ Lifelong Learning’. In Aspin, D., Chapman, J., Evans, K., & Bagnall, R. (Eds.) (2012). Second International Handbook of Lifelong Learning: Part 1 and Part 2. (Springer International Handbooks of Education; Vol. 26). Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London, New York: Springer.

Zhao, Y (2014, July 2) College Ready or Out-of-Basement Ready: Shifting the Education Paradigm. In Education in the Age of Globalization. Retrieved from: http://zhaolearning.com/2014/07/02/college-ready-vs-out-of-basement-ready-shifting-the-education-paradigm/