As a topic for study in emerging trends in education, Linda and I settled on self directed learning, and particularly how that relates to online and blended learning environments. This was a natural fit for us both, as we have been working on providing opportunities and guidance to individuals trying to achieve certification in the hospitality trades. Given that most of the people we deal with have been outside of the formal education system for a while, many are recent immigrants whose first language is not English, and that every individual has had a different set of workplace experiences forming their knowledge base, having a one size fits all strategy was never going to work.
We have been working for the last year and half on an approach to create individualized learning pathways using blended learning, and in doing so dove head first into the world of competency based learning, individualized learning plans, and wrestling with the challenges of leveraging existing learning resource material and content that was not designed specifically for that purpose.
So, back to the study on self-directed learning. Linda and I have the added benefit of working together every day, so a continual dialogue has emerged on the subject. From our first conversation and selecting the topic, we each went different ways in approaching the subject. Linda was able to bring forward a lot of background research on the the educational theory, particularly in the field of heutagogy, which has been extremely helpful as I have focused more on the application of self directed learning in relation to educational technology and online learning environments.
In the process, I have been able to share back some of the advances in adaptive technology that seem to be emerging, and we are both thinking about how we can use this newly discovered information to improve and adapt our approach to using technology to support our specific group of learners in their own individual journeys, as well as broader applications in the trades training system nationally.
This has been a great exercise, and provided a new context for us both to approach our work on a daily basis, as well as some new resources and ideas to incorporate as we move forward.
For more on our gap training pilot and progress to date have a look at the following links:
Professional Cook Gap Training Program: Status Report
Top 8 facts about our Professional Cook Gap Training pilot program