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Andragogy VS Heutagogy

Before we work specifically on instructional strategies, we’d better get some understandings about teaching approaches related to adult learning. In her article, “Heutagogy and Lifelong Learning: A Review of Heutagogical Practice and Self-Determined Learning”, Lisa Marie Blachke gives us some clear ideas about andragogy and heutagogy, and their relationship. Reading this article, I have gained new insights about adult education in this new age.

heutagogy and lifelong learning

http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1076/2113

 

 

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starting a new PIDP course 3250

Just like the theme of my blog, I am enjoying every aspect of the new life here. My son is already a secondary school student enjoying his school life, and my mum is visiting us and enjoying the fresh air and beautiful environment here. I have just got a part-time job working as support worker in a preschool, which I enjoy so much as I love kids. They are all so sweet! Thank God, as a member of PPAC choir, I also enjoy the great music and singing so much! Now do you see how lucky I am and how much I enjoy my life here?

I created this blog as a requirement of PIDP course 3210. Up to now I have already completed five PIDP courses and am now starting a new course: 3250. Reflections on this course will be posted and shared with anyone interested. Hope you will like it. Thanks!

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Lesson Plan Component

Instructional Strategies

As adult instructors, we know how important our instructional strategies are in deciding how successful our instructions are. This Carnegie Mellon University website provides us with some key strategies mainly used in instruction. Of course, just as mentioned in this part, what kinds of strategies are suitable for us depends on what kinds of learners we are teaching and also on what kinds of teaching contents we are handling. Instructional strategies should be flexible. But at least this website gives us some idea about these useful strategies.

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Lesson Plan Component

Motivational Techniques

If you have ever been an instructor, you will know how important to get your learners motivated to learn. The learners’ interest and enthusiasm to learn and their motivation to focus their attention on the learning content sometimes determine your teaching outcome. So getting to know some motivational techniques is undoubtedly a good idea for an instructor.  This website “Adults in modern society are on a lifelong educational journey” provide adult instructors with ideas concerning why and how can we motivate adult learners.

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Lesson Plan Component

Creating Positive Learning Environment

Creating Positive Learning Environment is a part presented by Center for Teaching & Assessment of Learning on the website of University of Delaware. In this part you can find neatly listed six positive climate skills, with each explained clearly and illustrated with examples. These skills are very useful in helpful in the instructor create positive classroom learning environment and achieve desirable teaching outcome.

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Lesson Plan Component

Learning-styles-and-learning-spaces

“Learning Styles and Learning Spaces: Enhancing Experiential Learning in Higher Education” is a very good article introducing Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory and its application to higher education. The new concept “learning space” put forward in it is especially impressive. The authors of the article lists several principles in creating learning spaces for enhancement of experiential learning, like “Begin learning with the learner’s experience of the subject matter”, “Making space for conversational learning”, “Making spaces for feeling and thinking”, “Making spaces for acting and reflecting” and “Making space for learners to take charge of their own learning” all make a lot of sense in adult education.

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Lesson Plan Component

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains is a wonderful part of Donald Clark’s Website: Big Dog & Little Dog’s Performance Juxtaposition. It is under the title “Learning”. The contents of this part is very well organized. With the help of some graphs, charts and tables, and illustrated with explanations, key words and examples,  it presents a comprehensive picture of the three domains of learning: cognitive, affective and psychomotor. Just take a look, you will get a general idea about Bloom’s Taxonomy theory. With more time digging into the details, you will find it very helpful in your lesson planning. 

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Reflection on the Web-Conference Experience

Online learning is nothing new nowadays. This is already the second experience I had with an online course. But it is the first time I had a web-conference with a learning partner. And this experience proves very interesting and meaningful to me. My learning partner Lori shares similar understandings with me about life and education. But she is much more sensitive to new development, especially new trends in adult education. And she is more efficient in searching for information and learning new technologies like blogs. It is through her that I began to know MOOCs and through MOOCs I have gained a lot more insights about adult education and about the new roles an adult educator should and can play. As a matter of fact, after doing research about MOOCs, we both got some ideas about future trends in the field of adult education, but with quite different perspectives. While I was much attracted by the prospect offered by MOOCs, Lori was more concerned with some specific problems and challenges MOOCs have to face. Through the web-conference with her, I began to pay more attention to future development of MOOCs, the prospect they promise, challenges they have to take and the problems they need to address. From this web-conference I learned at least one thing: as different people have different family, education and even cultural backgrounds and different personal experiences, which will certainly lead to different perspectives and viewpoints, interactions not only between the instructor and the learners but also among the learners will be very meaningful and fruitful. It will greatly enhance all the participants’ understanding of the learning process and optimize the learning outcome. This web-conference experience also reminds me of something I cherish so much in my memory about earlier schooling. I remember in my secondary school I hated the subject of history very much because I found it so boring to memorize those so-called historical facts and figures. Then I came up with an idea. That is to discuss those historical events with my classmates, which really made my history learning more fun and meaningful. With that I began to love this subject and became interested in reading historical books. That’s one of the reasons why I attached great importance in my teaching to and arranged much time on interactive class activities, including pair work, group work and whole class discussions about the reading we worked on and about the insights it poses on our current daily life. I think in this way the learners can have better understandings of their readings and can improve their communication skills, and most important of all, enhance their ability to accept and value the diversity of perspectives, diversity of views and diversity of outcomes. Thanks to the development of new technologies and its application in the education field, learners living in different places with different cultural and education backgrounds can talk to each other “face-to-face” through Skype. Thanks to Glenn and thanks to Lori, I enjoyed and benefited much from this web-conference experience. Thanks!

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New insights Concerning the Variety of Roles that Adult Educators Play

As a practitioner in the field of adult education for over 20 years, I have always adored the work and formed my own understanding of the role of an instructor. In my vocabulary, educator is a broad and sacred word in the sense that an educator’s role is not only to impart knowledge and help students with their study problems, but also to instruct, supervise, and even learn and grow together with students. It’s nothing rare nowadays that a professor needs to learn from his or her students how to make his or her teaching presentation more desirable and satisfying. Quite a few times during my lectures I had to ask the students for help when encountering troubles in managing the multimedia devices in the classroom. Sometimes I even would invite a student for a drink after class just to learn some new computer skills to make my lesson presentation more attractive. This would not only get the teacher closer to students but also shows students the importance of lifelong learning and that one can learn from anyone else if you want. Now through rise and development of MOOCs, I gained more and new insights concerning the variety of roles an adult educator can and should play. Besides lesson planning, organizing and lecture delivering, an adult educator also needs to be a skillful and efficient user of new digital and communication technologies so that he/she can manage online courses without difficulty. With the explosion of information and knowledge in the published books and on the internet, the ability to discern and decipher credible resources of information and make use of it has become imperative. This naturally calls for adult educators playing the role of content guide. The educator’s role of mentorship guiding      students in the use of the most effective forums and tools is also very important. Last but not least important of course quality an adult educator needs to have is a profound understanding of human nature and education in a broadest possible sense. The educator needs to realize that the learners are diverse in terms of cultural background, character and personal experience, and they have different needs for learning and different access to materials and expertise, so differentiated instructing methods need to be applied to different learners to support them to maximum success.

Nowadays with new technologies occurring so fast, they will certainly change our way of communicating, getting information, connecting with our friends and colleagues, and change our approaches of learning and instructing. Therefore, adult educators will always need to keep up with the new trends of development and adjust their role as an instructor to make their work most fruitful.

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Trends in Adult Education

Adult education is a field which responds quickly to the changes happening in the world. The past several decades has seen a great unending trend of globalization, which has left and is still leaving great impact on the development of adult education. With the broadening and deepening of globalization, having an international education background is becoming more and more necessary and important in the job market. The dizzyingly rapid development of the internet and digital technology offers greater convenience for better experience in distance communication and distance learning. The research and study of various learning theories over the years has provided us with theoretical foundations for diverse teaching approaches and learning styles to coexist to meet different kinds of learning demands. With all these factors at work, the appearance and quick development of MOOCs, Massive Open Online Courses, is nothing surprising or hard to understand. Although it may not become mainstreamed very soon, it certainly represents a great trend nobody in the field of adult education can afford to overlook in this digital era. As practitioners in adult higher education, we surely need to get well prepared to welcome this developing trend. Of course well-laid solid foundation of professional knowledge will always come first. Without that no one can survive in this fiercely competitive field. Second, whatever specific field you focus on, lifelong liberal education is always necessary for an adult education instructor as those grand classic works can certainly help one gain great insight into and better understanding of humanism, which is very important in understanding learners’ needs and in properly communicating with learners. It can also help us keep an open and broad mind to cooperate with other colleagues and even professors from other universities or institutions as in my understanding MOOCs will surely call for collaboration among instructors to achieve a win-win situation. Third, searching for information by digital means and discerning useful from trash information is also essential for post-secondary instructors. Therefore, a MOOCs instructor needs to keep up with and make good use of internet development and digital communication skills. All in all, in order not to fall behind in this new trend, we adult educators need to be lifelong learners ourselves and keep updating our own knowledge.

While probably MOOCs will evolve into a very important part of adult education, it will not be the only dominance in the field. In my opinion, adult education has always been and will stay a field of great diversity of teaching and learning patterns. With the advancement of science and technology and the development of globalization, more and more people around the world are realizing the importance of lifelong study and are becoming lifelong learners though with quite different learning needs and different approaches to meet these needs. As practitioners in the adult education field, we are supposed to get well prepared and try our best to serve those needs. Hard as it is, we are going to take that challenge, aren’t we?

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