Self-Directed learning is an old concept of learning and there have been lots of research and articles published on it. Such type of learning can be challenging for many students, even for intelligent and motivated students. I have seen multiple websites and articles over it and the common thing I found is that they all talk about independent learning which involves being ready to learn, setting learning goal, engaging in the learning process and evaluating the learning.
As per my understanding about self-directed learning, I would define it as follows: “Self-directed learning is a type of learning which can take place in the group or individually, where students take ownership of their learning by knowing the why and how factors of involvement in learning.”
University of Waterloo has defined self-directed learning as a 4 steps process and shared some teaching and learning tips. First step is about readiness to learn which includes analyzing the current situation of the student. Signs of readiness for self-directed learning include being: autonomous, organized, self-disciplined, able to communicate effectively, and able to accept constructive feedback and engage in self-evaluation and self-reflection.
Second step is setting learning goal which can include goals for the unit of study, structure and flow of activities, completion deadline of activities, details about research material for each goal, details about grading system, feedback and evaluation techniques after completion of each goal.
Third step is engaging and involving in the learning process and to do so, students should be able to understand their approach to learning whether it’s deep approach, surface approach, or strategic approach. Also student should answer the following questions.
- What are my needs: instructional methods?
- Who was my favorite teacher? Why?
- What did they do that was different from other teachers? Students should reflect on these questions throughout their program and substitute “teacher” with “advising faculty member”.
Fourth step is evaluating the learning in which students must be able to engage in self-reflection and self-evaluation of learning goals and progress. They should have the motivation to seek feedback on progress and ideas from the advising faculty. Self-evaluation can involves following:
- How do I know I’ve learned?
- Am I flexible in adapting and applying knowledge?
- Do I have confidence in explaining material?
- When do I know, I’ve learned enough?
- When is it time for self-reflection and when is it time for consultation with the advising faculty member?
To encourage the self-directed learning in the adult classrooms, an instructor should be able to build a positive and co-operative learning environment, facilitates the initiatives of learning, motivate the students about it.
There is an article given by K. Ramnarayan and Shyamalan Hande titled as “Thoughts on Self-Directed Learning in Medical Schools: Making Students More Responsible”. I found it very helpful to me as it clears me with all the basic concepts of self-directed learning. This article includes a lot of research on self-directed learning (SDL) and its a worth reading. It describes what is SDL, why this type of learning is important, what are the characteristics and benefits of SDL. It also talks about SDL strategies to follow for the learner and the teacher or facilitator of learning, how to develop self-directed learners and what are some optional strategies to use, two SDL exercises, a comparison of self-directed learning and teacher-directed learning.
Ramnarayan, K. and Hande, Shyamala. (2005). Thoughts on Self-Directed Learning in Medical Schools: Making Students More Responsible. Retrieved from: http://education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/lifelonglearning/higher-education/medical-schools/
University of Waterloo- Centre for Teaching Excellence. (n.d.) Self-Directed Learning: A Four-Step Process. Retrieved from: https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-for-teaching-excellence/teaching-resources/teaching-tips/tips-students/self-directed-learning/self-directed-learning-four-step-process
Garland, Wendy A. (n.d.). Self-Directed Learning: Definition & Strategies. Retrieved from: http://study.com/academy/lesson/self-direct-learning-definition-strategies.html
Skiff, Dana. (2009). Self-Directed Learning- Be your own CLO…Chief Learning Officer. Retrieved from: http://www.selfdirectedlearning.org/what-is-self-directed-learning
Cognitive Science has taught us a lot about how human learn, think and memorize. There are hundreds of books, journals, and reports prepared by government which talks about the cognitive science. I went through few of them and found a very simple and clear definition of it which says “Cognitive Science has to deal with intelligence and behavior of an individual, with a focus on how nervous systems represent, process, and transform information.”
Adults’ skills tend to be more uneven than children’s. While we do not expect a second-grade child’s reading and math scores to be very far apart, this is common in adults. One reason may be that adults have had more time to improve the skills they are good at, while the skills they are not good at have stagnated. For example, people who read a lot continue to improve their vocabulary and knowledge of the world even after school; those who do not read do not improve those skills.
There is an article written by Arthur C. Graesser “Improving Learning” which talks about seven cognitive principles of learning identified in the IES report by Pashler et al. (2007). While going through this article you will also get a chance to understand about what the computerized and intelligent learning environments are, and how they play an important role in effective learning. According to this article, principles of learning are:
- Space learning over time
- Interleave worked example solutions with problem-solving exercises
- Combine graphics with verbal descriptions
- Connect and integrate abstract and concrete representations of concepts
- Use quizzing to promote learning
- Help students allocate study time effectively
- Ask deep explanatory questions
Computerized learning environments can be categorized as traditional computer-assessed instruction, multimedia, interactive simulation, hypertext and hypermedia, intelligent tutoring systems, inquiry-based information retrieval, animated pedagogical agents, virtual environments, serious games and computer-supported collaborative learning. Traditional computer-assisted instruction is a mature technology that improves learning over and above traditional classroom teaching (Dodds & Fletcher, 2004).
Advantages of using computerized learning and tests are: the capacity to evaluate multiple cognitive functions, greater global consistency and sensitivity, standardization of evaluations, precisely recording the response speed, a more accessible cost, the possibility of issuing an automatic report, and less need for professional training for test application, in which some of the test batteries are self-applicable. Nevertheless, in applying this form of evaluation, the behavior of the one evaluated is not analyzed, with his/her reactions or verbalizations, which differs from the neuropsychological assessment traditionally used.
Intelligent learning environments go a giant step further by enhancing the adaptability, grain-size and power of computer-based training. Unlike traditional computer-assisted instruction, every intelligent learning environment offers unique tutorial interaction, and possible interactions are infinite.
some of the more recent intelligent learning environments are: Animated conversational agents and automated talking heads. Both agents act like human tutors and peers. The agents may take on different roles: mentors, tutors, peers, players in multiparty games or avatars in virtual worlds. The students communicate with the agents through speech or keyboard, whereas the agents express themselves with speech, facial expression, gesture, posture and other embodied actions.
Arthur C, Graesser. (2011). Improving learning. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/07-08/ce-learning.aspx
Cromley, Jennifer. National Institute for Literacy. (1998-99). Learning to Think, Learning to Learn: What the Science of Thinking and Learning Has To Offer the Adult Education. Retrieved from: http://literacynet.org/lincs/resources/cromley_report.pdf
Strengths and Weaknesses of Motivation in Adult Learning:
Strengths: Adult learners generally know their goals, needs, and values. They are also typically highly motivated, self-directed, relevancy-oriented, and learn best from experience. This knowledge and these qualities make them easier to motivate.
Weaknesses: Many adult learners were taught in traditional classrooms and may be unfamiliar and uncomfortable with the new technology and methods for instructing and learning. They may also have obligations that can interfere with their motivation to learn.
The factors that influence motivation are as diverse as the theories presented by psychologists over the years.
Table: Motivation theories
|Sigmund Freud||Unconscious forces|
|Carl Jung and Alfred Adler||Future goals|
|Karen Horney||Feelings of anxiety|
|B. F. Skinner||Environmental stimuli|
|Abraham Maslow||Emerging dominant needs|
These theories fall into two groups as to motivation origins: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation originates inside a person, such as from unconscious forces, anxiety, drives, instincts, and basic needs. Extrinsic motivation arises outside the person, from sources that include future goals, environmental stimuli, and tangible rewards. Banks (2005, p.270) explains that extrinsic motivation is the idea that all behaviour is the result of some type of external reinforcement. On the other hand, intrinsic motivation applies to adult where they develop high ‘self-esteem’ (Biech, 2004). For adults who have an intrinsic motivation to learn, the task of learning becomes a joyful and exciting experience.
Intrinsically motivated students are bound to do much better in classroom activities, because they are willing and eager to learn new material. Their learning experience is more meaningful, and they go deeper into the subject to fully understand it. On the other hand, extrinsically motivated students may have to be bribed to perform the same tasks.
How can we motivate students intrinsically?
Abraham Maslow, has concluded that before we can be intrinsically motivated we must first satisfy some more basic human needs. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs tells us that an individual will not be motivated to strive for higher level goals such as education, until lower level needs have been met (Maslow, 1970). Maslow’s model suggests that by understanding the priority of human needs we as managers and trainers can tailor our planning responses to achieve the maximum result.
According to Maslow, we can define five basic types of motivations—or needs—that guide human behavior. These five are arranged in a hierarchy so that the lowest level needs take priority over higher level needs.
- Physiological needs. We are motivated to satisfy needs that ensure our physical survival. Needs in this group include food, water, air, shelter, clothing and sex. Most people have satisfied their physiological needs allowing them to concentrate on higher level needs. For some though, physiological needs are dominant and are the biggest needs in their lives.
- Safety needs. Once physiological needs are met one can concentrate on bringing safety and security to our lives. Safety and security needs include, order, stability, routine, familiarity, control over one’s life and environment, certainty and health.
- Social needs or love and belonging needs. These needs include love, affection, belonging and acceptance. People look for these needs in relationships with other people and are motivated for these needs by the love from their families.
- Esteem needs. All people have a need for stable, firmly based, usually high evaluation of themselves for self-respect or self-esteem and for the esteem of others. These needs may therefore be classified into two subsidiary sets. These are, first, the desire for strength, achievement, adequacy, mastery of competence, confidence, independence and freedom. Second, we have what we call the desire for reputation or prestige (defining it as respect from other people), status, fame, glory, dominance, importance, recognition, dignity or appreciation.
- Need for self-actualization. This level of hierarchy is concentrated on an individual being able to reach their full potential a human being. Once someone has satisfied the first four levels of needs then they have the ability to concentrate on functioning to their highest potential. But even if all these needs are satisfied, we may often still expect that a new discontent and restlessness will soon develop, unless the individual is doing what they are fitted for. Musicians must play music, artists must paint if they are to be at peace with themselves. What humans can be, they must be. They must be true to their own nature.
Some studies have demonstrated that offering excessive external rewards for an already internally rewarding behavior can lead to a reduction in intrinsic motivation, a phenomenon known as the over justification effect. If someone isn’t interested in doing the task before a reward, their interest won’t decrease after being given a reward. psychologists aren’t completely sure why the overjustification effect occurs, there are some theories. One theory is that when people engage in a behavior, they justify their actions to themselves. If they don’t get rewards, they decide that they must like doing it, but if they get rewards, they might decide that they only do it for the rewards. Thus they convince themselves that they don’t really like to do it. This is called self-perception theory.
Researchers have arrived at three primary conclusions with regards to extrinsic rewards and their influence on intrinsic motivation:
- Unexpected external rewards typically do not decrease intrinsic motivation.
- Praise can help increase internal motivation.
- Intrinsic motivation will decrease, however, when external rewards are given for completing a particular task or only doing minimal work.
McDaniel, D., & Brown, D. (2001). United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Manual for media trainers: A learner-centred approach. Retrieved from Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development website: http://www.unesco.org/webworld/training/mymediatrainer/Program/Downloads/AIBDMANUAL.pdf.
Fisher, C. (2006). Asynchronous learning and adult motivation: catching fog in a gauze bag. Retrieved from Learning Solutions Magazine website: http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/233/asynchronous-learning-and-adult-motivation-catching-fog-in-a-gauze-bag.
Motivational Theories- University of Tennessee Knoxville. (n.d.). Motivation in Adult Education Theory. Retrieved from: http://mightymustangsutk.weebly.com/motivation-in-adult-education-theory.html
Cherry, K. (2016). Differences Between Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation. Retrieved from: https://www.verywell.com/differences-between-extrinsic-and-intrinsic-motivation-2795384
Boyd, N. (n.d.). Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation in Education: Definition & Examples. Retrieved from: http://study.com/academy/lesson/intrinsic-and-extrinsic-motivation-in-education-definition-examples.html
Gom, O. (2009). Motivation and Adult Learning. Contemporary PNG Studies: DWU Research Journal Vol., pp. 18. Retrieved from: http://www.dwu.ac.pg/en/images/Research_Journal/2009_Vol_10/2_Gom_17-25_Motivation__Adult_Learning.pdf
The Google is loaded with lots of various theories, articles, blogs and opinions about creating positive adult learning environments. I have been through many articles and I found a perfect definition of positive learning environment which says “An ideal positive adult learning climate has a non-threatening, non-judgemental atmosphere in which adults have permission for and are expected to share in the responsibility for their learning.”
A positive learning environment is the direct result of actions taken by instructors who understand adult learners. Hallmarks of a positive learning environment are trust, open communication and shared learning experiences. Instructors who maintain the positive nature of the environment make use of the existing knowledge and skill of their students. Fundamental aspects of the environment include:
- A recognition of the differences between androgogy and pedagogy
- A deep understand of how the adult student functions in the classroom
- A willingness and commitment to communicate with adult students in a way that fosters open exchanges
Effective adult education or androgogy employs a model that incorporates the tremendous knowledge and experience that adults bring to the classroom and uses it to facilitate the learning process of all the students. Instructors should create an environment of clear expectations, open dialogue, and professional feedback. Leveraging the powerful features of androgogy will improve class interaction and maintain a positive learning environment. Instructors help adult students identify their own mistakes and facilitate improved understanding and performance. Some basic guidelines that instructors should follow to create and maintain a positive learning environment include:
- Treat students as adults and recognize their existing skill and experience
- Set clear and meaningful expectations for adult students
- Avoid creating an environment that results in hostility
- Address errors privately and respectfully
I found an article “Creating An Effective Adult Learning Environment” which listed all the suggestions needed to create positive and motivational learning environment in one page. Reading this article will help us as an instructor in creating a positive environment and foster a sense of support and partnership in adult learners. It talks about why to capitalize on the first session, incorporate group work, break the traditional classroom routine, use humor, support opportunities for individual problem solving. Take your time to go through as it worth.
Hegland, Gary. (n.d.). Techniques for Creating Positive Learning Environment Training. Retrieved from: http://www.dakotatransit.org/conference/2008/downloads/20080923_0800_Techniques.pdf
LBS Practitioner Training- Professional Development Support for Literacy And Basic Skills Educators in Ontario. (n.d.). Creating an Effective Adult Learning Environment. Retrieved from: http://www.lbspractitionertraining.com/pd-courses/practitioners/working-with-adult-learners/117-27-creating-an-effective-adult-learning-environment
Ballou, James. Bright Hub. (2011). Creating a Positive Learning Environment for Adults. Retrieved from: http://www.brighthub.com/education/online-learning/articles/41064.aspx
This week I had the opportunity to talk with my learning partner Tim. It was a really nice experience talking to him over the Skype call. First, we shared our qualifications and work experience background. He is an experienced professional with more than 15 years’ working in food industry. Currently, he is working as a Culinary Arts instructor at Vancouver Community College. Whereas I worked in IT industry for 2 years as a VoIP Network Engineer. At present, I am at the stage of a career change and looking forward to starting my career in teaching industry. Both of us are from a very different background with a common goal of learning adult education.
We briefly touched the articles we posted in our blogs. We discussed latest emerging trends in our fields. My partner talked about the trends in the culinary industry. He said trends are changing in every industry and it’s not same always. In the food industry trends are evolving, repeating and changing with time and it’s hard to stick with any specific trend. It’s not always necessary that every student in your classroom will be comfortable in using computers and technical stuff, so an instructor always needs to keep these points in mind and teach accordingly. Also, we discussed trends in IT industry for example Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud Computing.
We shared our research about adult education and reflective writing. We talked about how different personalities have different ideas about the same point and reflect that in different ways in their life. He shared his work experience in food industry and why he decided to be an instructor in Culinary Arts. He really had a hard time when he was working as a chef in restaurants. He worked for 16 hours a day and couldn’t get the time for his family. Therefore, he started working as an instructor and now he is able to do the work life balance and can give equal amount of time to his family and work.
I liked his reflective personality and the way he described reflection. He likes reflecting the good change in his life and understands that there are other options too to solve a problem, therefore we should never stick to one and close our self to other options.
Dusan Savicevic, a Yugoslavian educator, made Knowles aware of the term “Andragogy” in 1967 (Knowles 1990). Andragogy refers to the art and science of helping adults learn, meaning leader of man (‘andr’ is Latin for “man” and ‘agogy’ is Latin for “leader of”). Knowles developed an andragogical model based on 6 assumptions that are different from pedagogical model. These assumptions include: 1.need to know, 2.learner’s self-concept, 3.role of learner’s experience, 4.readiness to learn, 5.orientation to learning, 6.motivation. It is important to note that as children, we learn either through natural experience, or because we are told we must learn. As adults, it is important that we understand why we are learning and how it applies. I think that all educational experiences have more value when students of any age understand why the learning task is relevant to personal growth.
There are multiple definitions of an adult learner described in an article “Andragogy-Malcom Knowles” submitted by Stevan R. Crawford.
Biological Definition: The age at which an individual can reproduce.
Legal Definition: The age that an individual can vote, drive, marry, etc.
Social Definition: When an individual begins to perform adult roles such as full-time worker, participating citizen, spouse, parent, etc.
Psychological Definition: When and individual develops a self-concept of being responsible for their own life.
Adult learning characteristics comprises the emotional, psychological and intellectual aspect of an individual and includes various traits and behaviors. Adults response best to learning that is experience based, active, recognizing them as experts, independent, real-life centered, task- centered, problem- centered, solution-driven, skill-seeking, self-directing, internally and externally motivated. I found a helpful PDF resource written by Dr. Gary Kuhne for “ADTED 460 -Introduction to Adult Education,” a course offered through Penn State’s World Campus. It describes ten characteristics of adult learners and teaching implications for each specific characteristic. Any training or education program must understand these characteristics of adult learners to ensure the program is structured around their needs. Four key words to remember and refer to when teaching adults are: Readiness, Experience, Autonomy, Action.
CAL identified learner’s complexity using 2 characteristics: Personal and Situational. Personal characteristics include physiological/ aging, sociocultural/ life phases, psychological/ developmental stages and situational characteristics include part-time learning versus full-time learning, voluntary learning versus compulsory learning.
Liana Adult Education Package for Drylands of East Africa. (n.d.). Characteristic of Adult Learning. Retrieved from: http://www.liana-ry.org/edumaterials/characteristics%20of%20adult%20learning.pdf
Kuhne, G. (n.d.). ADTED 460 -Introduction to Adult Education-10 Characteristics of Adults as Learners. Retrieved from: http://ctle.hccs.edu/facultyportal/tlp/seminars/tl1071SupportiveResources/Ten_Characteristics_Adults-Learners.pdf
Johnson, M. (n.d.). Adult Learners and Technology: How to Deliver Effective Instruction and Overcome Barriers to Learning. Retrieved from: http://www.umsl.edu/~henschkej/andragogy_articles_added_03_06/ballard_et_al__Adut_learning_theories.pdf
Fredrick, D. P., Rosanne, D. M., Joseph, M. P. J. (n.d.). Learning as an Adult and Cognitive Factors in Learning. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, LLC. Retrieved from: http://samples.jbpub.com/9780763757687/57687_CH02_DiZazzo.pdf
Crawford, S. R. (n.d.). Andragogy-Malcolm Knowles. Retrieved from: http://academic.regis.edu/ed205/knowles.pdf
The online learning methods in today’s globalized world has replaced the traditional way of learning in an efficient time saving manner. The Learning Management System is changing quickly, Just between 2013 and 2014, the learning industry experienced 21% growth. The use of written material in education has become boring to today’s digital users. Neurological studies have proven that memories are reinforced when an emotion was attached to memory. New learning platforms are enabling new ways of doing things, leading to less complicated and more engaging learning tools. Some of the latest emerging trends in adult education for 2016 and beyond are Videos, Gamification, Mobile Learning, Big Data, Cloud, Competency based learning.
As the learning industry moving ahead, Video has emerged as one of the most effective tool in the market. If people want to learn how to do something, then they first go to the YouTube and search for the video of their interest. Key to the online video-based learning is flexibility. Videos in education make it possible to overcome practical real world constraints and explore the far greater possibilities provided by digital spaces. They promote student centered learning either within the classroom or at home. Companies that make learning videos tend to focus on them being entertaining and engaging. Often, they are paired with gamification efforts for maximum effect.
Gamification is another major trend of 2016 in adult education that most of us are still waiting to explode.It is the use of game-thinking and game mechanics in a non-game context in order to engage user and solve problems. Experts agree that applying game dynamics onto non-gaming contexts brings great results in motivating people to achieve their goals. This feature can be easily applied to learning and e-Learning environments. Gamification offers a potential strategy for improving user engagement with learning materials – some experts claim that the technique can boost learner’s motivation to a smashing 90% recall rate. Once learners assume an active role in knowledge reception, they will automatically improve their chances at remembering it.
However, I found an article on “The Growth of Online Video Based Learning” which provides an easy to understand overview of video based learning and gamification in adult education.
Giannakos, M. N., Chorianopoulos, K., Ronchetti, M., Szeged, P., Teasley, S. D. (2014). Video-Based Learning and Open Online Courses. iJET ‒Volume 9, Issue 1, 2014. Retrieved from: http://users.ionio.gr/~choko/publications/Video-Based%20Learning%20and%20Open%20Online%20Courses.pdf
Wiliams, I. (2015). Key e Learning Trends For 2016. Retrieved from: https://www.elearningindustry.com/7-key-elearning-trends-for-2016
Moody, K. (2016). The top learning trends for 2016 and beyond. Retrieved from: http://www.hrdive.com/news/the-top-learning-trends-for-2016-and-beyond/408175/
Calderone, L. (2016). The Growth of Online Video-Based Learning. Retrieved from: http://www.hometoys.com/article/2016/09/the-growth-of-online-video-based-learning-/35083
Think for a second about an organization not using cloud computing to help improve business efficiency. It’s harder to identify, isn’t it? Riding the technology wave can be a challenge but understanding latest trends and how they will impact your organization after few years from now is critical. Today I will talk about some latest trends in IT industry and before moving forward, look for an article shared below.
This article will give you a brief idea about symbiotic relationship between Virtualization, IoT (Internet of Things) and Cloud computing platform. More importantly, it will give you an overview and details about IoT market predictions, how it intersects with cloud and virtualization.
Please go through the list below to understand what are those latest trends in the market and why they are so important for us?
Internet of Things (IoT): The IoT links data to the Internet, enabling data and insights never available before. It is more than philosophy and technology, it is something when everything seems connected to everything else.
Now a day, billions of objects that means every object that you can think of such as Laptop, Desktop, TV, Refrigerator, Smart Phone, Video Game, Media Player, sensors, etc. is connected to Internet. All connected devices become an intelligent system of systems, these intelligent systems of systems can share data and analyze it and they can transform our business, world, life in countless ways. This is the future and remember this is just a tip of an iceberg. To know more about it, check for the original link of the video shared below.
Virtualization: Virtualization is the process of creating a virtual or software-based representation of something rather than a physical one. It can apply to applications, servers, storage, and networks and is the single most effective way to minimize IT expenses, operating costs, downtime, resources while increasing IT efficiency, productivity, agility and responsiveness.
A virtual computer system is known as a “virtual machine” (VM): a tightly isolated software container with an operating system and application inside. Each self-contained VM is completely independent. Putting multiple VMs on a single computer enables several operating systems and applications to run on just one physical server. A thin layer of software called a hyper-visor separates the virtual machines from the host and dynamically allocates computing resources to each virtual machine. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtualization
There is various type of virtualization: Desktop Virtualization, Server Virtualization, Network Virtualization etc. This concept allows 100% utilization of resources.
In Cloud computing is computing based on the internet and sharing computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. Where in past people used to download the applications and programs on their physical computer or server to use them. http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/C/cloud_computing.html
There are multiple benefits of using cloud computing and any 3 of them are more than enough to convince many businesses to move their business into the cloud. Most important of them are: Flexibility, Disaster Recovery, Automatic Software Updates, Increased Collaboration, Work from anywhere, Document control, Security, Competitiveness, Environmentally friendly.
Connecting wireless to the cloud through any device mean access to any stored data is no longer confined to a single desktop. It allows businesses to stay online all the time. Loss of data should never be an issue as all important documents are stored remotely in a secure data center where regular backups are made. The cloud is inherently less prone to disaster than local storage.