Monday, September 6, 2010

Some Impressions of Wilson Textbook, Chapters 11, 12 & 13

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The Textbook Title: Human Resource Development...

[Re-posting from the internal Teachers College online system for my cohort, for whatever it's worth:]

This was a good chapter-trio, since chapters 11 and 12 talk about adult learners' characteristics, needs, learning styles and motivations and chapter 13, "Reflective Practice," speaks directly to us as practitioners, reminding us that being reflective of what we do in our practice is essential, just as encouraging the learners to be reflective is key to an optimal learning experience.

Perhaps I've said this in other adult learning courses, but as a learner myself, I've found that the incidental learning I've done (referred to on p. 202 as the unintentional part of Informal Learning) always has felt the most profound and memorable to me compared with the planned curriculum. As an adult educator, it could demoralize me if I thought that that was generally true, that the learning I designed was less effective than the learning they did by accident while enrolled in one of my interventions...however, chapter 13 (p. 241) redeems my mood:

If I design reflection into my interventions, then the learners might feel like it's incidental learning, but really, I know they'd not necessarily have had that learning if I hadn't set the stage for it.

On p. 240 of chapter 13, Wilson writes, "Most of the time, most practitioners do not question what they do." It's true that I was ready to barrel along and design a 60-minute Social Learning Enablement Workshop by pure intuition...well, and a theory based on historical observation of the learners, but had not really thought too hard about honing the learning objectives, creating a needs analysis and assessment, nor per se about the Learning Combination Lock model's elements on p. 207.

Now, since I'm conscious of the need to do all of that, thanks to the reading, I'm reflecting *pre*-action that I need to be aware of how adults will resist learning anything that threatens their identity (p. 211). Also, they will struggle, even if motivated to learn, if they feel it's beyond them -- of all things, a technophobia example was cited in that context (p. 213); I will try to counter the struggle and encourage the motivation through a Humanist approach of "...warmth, care and understanding (p. 213)

Now, too, I recognize that I'm facilitating their gain of domain-specific skills, including Cognitive and Psychomotors skills from Bloom's taxonony...and I know from having done a Honey-Mumford-produced self-assessment at work several years ago, my natural learning-style bias will be toward Activist-Theorist (p. 216), so I'll need to see if I can stretch and design elements that will also appeal to learners with Pragmatist and Reflector styles.

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