A reflection about our training course and principles of adult learning

I think our training sessions this week went fairly well considering the timeline we had to work with and the limited number of responses to our needs assessment survey.  I was able to stay in contact with the team over the weekend and up until the training through emails about my training module and materials and using Google Drive to collaborate and share training prep documents.  My main task was to complete the Givercraft Guide for Teachers and to prepare an agenda for the second training session focused mostly on reviewing the guide and discussing teacher responsibilities.

Our first training session was facilitated by Amanda and covered MinecraftEdu Teacher Tools.  Although we had tested the Collaborate tool through our course Blackboard site, it did not work very well and teachers had difficulty “finding” us because of the extra steps required to join the meeting.  We decided that we would move to Hangouts and in doing that we ended up creating confusion with those that arrived late to the training and were still trying to find us in Blackboard.  Because Amanda had sent the invite as the trainer, teachers were communicating with her and she was trying to get the training started.  Amanda did a great job reviewing the Teacher Tools and following her training module/plan and the handout that she had created.  We then switched over to MinecraftEdu but kept the Hangout going so we could talk while demonstrating tools in the game.  I was the misbehaving student and was tasked with demonstrating bad game etiquette so that teachers could practice “managing” me with the Teacher Tools.

We only had one teacher attend training but another Diffi-Mooc team member was there and she was able to practice using the tools as well.  I thought this first training went well and we successfully recorded it to be viewed by teachers who had missed the training.  Then Matthew, Ali, and I facilitated the second training on the Givercraft Guide, Teacher responsibilities, using Wikispaces, and learning about the Difii-Mooc tools.  I had created an agenda with approximate times for each topic that I would discuss.  We only had one teacher so I tried to incorporate her into discussions and allow her to give us her input and feedback about the various topics.  I reviewed the major aspects of the Givercraft Guide and spent time discussing the timeline for scenarios and the teacher responsibilities.  After my part, I passed it off to Matthew who explained the Wikispaces infrastructure and how we wanted to see teachers and students use the space.  He was able to screenshare his browser and walked us through editing Wikispaces pages and showed us the sample pages created from last semester.  Ali then reviewed the diffi-tools that she had received up until that point and that was the conclusion of our training.

I had recorded the training which lasted about an hour in total.  I posted that link to the Google Group for the teachers who had missed the training and then our team worked on an evaluation survey to get feedback about our training.  As we discussed the trainings and the questions we wanted to ask, it became clear that we wanted feedback on so much more than just the content and whether the teachers met the learning objectives.  We also wanted feedback on our process, course design, tools, and training methods.  Now that we have had a chance to conduct a set of trainings for this Givercraft experience, we need to reflect on what worked and what we need to improve for the next session.  Combined with the pending results from the “client satisfaction” survey that we sent to teachers, we can share our own feedback about the methods and tools we used in our course design.

As I was reading this week about adult learners and what their needs are in a distance course, it became clear to me that  we need to incorporate Knowles’ principles of adult learning:

  1. Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction.

  2. Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for the learning activities.

  3. Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance and impact to their job or personal life.

  4. Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented. (Kearsley, 2010)

From <http://elearningindustry.com/the-adult-learning-theory-andragogy-of-malcolm-knowles>

I’d like to encourage our team to consider these principles as we re-design our course for the next group.  We have some tools in place for pre and post assessment and can make changes as well before sending it out to the next group of teachers.  We also have several teachers who previously participated in Givercraft so I think their experience will be a good resource for us to incorporate into training activities that allow them to share their knowledge with others.  With our team members each taking a topic for training, I felt that I was able to focus more on my tasks and creating the Givercraft Guide for Teachers.  I would be interested in all of us switching roles for the next training so that we can try designing for a different topic.  I am also looking forward to seeing the results of our training evaluation survey from all of the teachers and hopefully being able to use that to inform our next planning steps.  Onward and upward!

One thought on “A reflection about our training course and principles of adult learning

  1. Every time I read your blog, I learn something new about our course. I didn’t discuss about the adults’ aspect of learning; however, I did the students’ aspect of learning online. During my reading about how to support students in being successful in our online course, I compared and contrast how to support students and how to support adults. With this in mind, Moore and Kearsley (2012) discussed the similarities and differences in the “teacher’s role” in the perspective of young students and the “facilitator’s role” in the perspective of adults. The role of the teachers/facilitators are the same. For instance, Hozweiss et al. (2014) and Moore & Kearsley (2012) discuss about the importance that teachers/facilitators help learners (young students and adults) guide and mentor through the online courses. Yet, the one main differences is the individual rewards. Young students may need external motivation to make them learn; adults who usually [are ] intrinsic motivation (Moore & Kearsley, 2012).

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