Tag Archives: PIDP 3100

Trends and Roles Reflection: Conference with my Learning Partner

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.

Resources:

NMC Horizon Report – 2015 Higher Education Edition

Education in the Digital Age

Heutagogy Community of Practice

A World at Risk: An Imperative for a Paradigm Shift to Cultivate 21st Century Learners

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

Trends and Roles Reflection: Trends – Self directed learning in the digital age

Trends coming to the world of adult education are all seeming to centre around technology and the need for post-secondary education to adapt the varying needs of learners.  In fact in the NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Higher Education Edition outlines the need for innovative and flexible learning environments as one of two key long term trends that their panel of experts agree on, and that technological advancements can potentially support those drivers of change (p. 1)

Most of my work in education is related to helping those who have gained most of their experience and knowledge in the workplace navigate a formal credentialing system that is:

a) based primarily on an assumption of formal training in the full scope of a trade, and

b) the reality that trades certification includes  a large must-pass multiple choice exam with no opportunity for the learner to express their knowledge and skills in other ways.

As there has been no readily accessible formal upgrading, we have been looking at the opportunity to use online and blended learning to address a group with a wide variety of individual needs when it comes to scope of training content.

This poses an interesting challenge. We are seeing  a transition to using online and blended learning environments to support training in the trades, but much of the material we have to draw from has been developed for traditional teacher-led training models, so therefore the temptation to build an online version of the face to face class room and lesson plan is prevalent. This is bound to fail, as we have to look at the online learning environment as an entirely new space and therefore build our content and teaching strategies around it.

One of the greatest challenges with online learning environments is building a link between a vast amount of available information (from a wide variety of sometimes inaccurate sources) and learners operating in a very much self-directed space. Traditional vocational education and instructional design flows around the respective roles of the learner and teacher, and a finite pool of information being used for content. In an increasingly changing world, we are able to put learning resources in the hands of the learner directly, or in many cases the learners are discovering their own resources. How do we make that environment an effective tool that doesn’t overwhelm, and create an effective environment that nurtures the learner experience without much intervention, or the need for the teacher to be accessible 24/7?

For me, this means a great deal of research, experimentation and analysis. I have always been a strong believer and supporter of taking a competency-based approach to the trades, as the industry always comes back to the premise that being able to perform on the job is more critical and valued  higher than having the certification, but I also an excited that there is a paradigm shift flowing through the education system today. That, as well as changes in educational technology, will bring us closer to a place where the two don’t have to be viewed as mutually exclusive.

Resources:

NMC Horizon Report – 2015 Higher Education Edition

Education in the Digital Age

A World at Risk: An Imperative for a Paradigm Shift to Cultivate 21st Century Learners

Trends and Roles Reflection: Insights – Heutagogy

The term heutagogy (Hase and Kenyon, 2000) was introduced to describe the theory and practice of self-determined learning. This took the work on the concept of  andragogy one step further and looked to “the future in which knowing how to learn will be a fundamental skill given the pace of innovation and the changing structure of communities and workplaces” (Hase and Kenyon, 2000, p. 1)’

While andragogy focused on many elements that would transform education, including elements of self-directed learning, heutagogy  poses that the role of the teacher, rather than being the facilitator, is to develop the capability of the learner to direct themselves through formative evaluation and reflection.

This resonated with me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I have always been drawn to figuring things out for myself, and preferred to dictate how I learn. Any struggles I have had in my life in relation to education in general have been in situations that were largely teacher -centric and didn’t offer flexibility.

I think back to my worst-ever mark in Math, in Grade 9. Math was always one of my strongest subjects, and something I grasped quite easily.  Unfortunately that year, I had a teacher who insisted that all of her students do pages and pages of repetitive exercises as homework. I refused to do so, as once I had mastered a concept, felt that the repetitive homework assignments were a worthless exercise. I would continue to score in the high 90’s on tests, but with the zeroes I continually received for failing to complete my homework, I ended up with a final mark in the mid 60’s.

Secondly, I have always approached my work from a continuous improvement model, where reflection and honest questioning are critical to moving forward effectively. The Japanese refer to this as “kaizen”, most often associated with the manufacturing sector.

This is increasingly important as we look at ways to adapt our education system to a world that can provide a rapidly changing and  overwhelming amount of information to the learner and teacher, in ways that are accessible and flexible enough to meet the needs of a wide variety of audiences. The days where one would go the the library to research the one or two books available on a subject are far behind us, and being able to develop the capability to sift through all of the noise to access the critical and most meaningful information are skills our teachers are going to have to assist the 21st century learner in developing.

As I examine my own role in education, particularly in the broad sense of creating pathways and opportunities for skill development to happen in the tourism and hospitality industry, as opposed to being a direct participant in an individual’s learning process, I see the  wide range of roles that teachers, mentors, and individuals themselves need to be able to adapt to in order to meet the needs of an ever evolving world.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Resources:

From Andragogy to Heutagogy (Hase and Kenyon, 2000)

Heutagogy Community of Practice

Education in the Digital Age