Do you know what makes the adult learner different? Do you have any idea of the principles involved in designing adult-friendly elearning? Do you know what informal learning and self-study are? Test your knowledge by answering the following five questions.
1. True or false? Ancient Greek philosophers were already asking questions about education after “youth”.
However, it was not until the first half of the 19th century that a term appeared to refer to the practice of adult education, “andragogy”. Introduced by the German pedagogue Alexander Kapp and translating as “leading man”, this term is no longer unanimously accepted today since it refers to the male human being. Some people, therefore, prefer the terms education, training or “adult” learning. Although this may seem questionable, the expression “adult education” is also used.
The first theory of adult education, launched by Malcolm Knowles, was born a century later. Knowles took up Kapp’s term and made it known, deeming it essential that adult learning be identified separately from that of children.
Find out more: The adult: a distinct learner
2. Knowles’ model includes five assumptions about the adult learner’s characteristics, from which four principles are derived that should be considered in any training aimed at adults. Which of the following principles is incorrect?
A) The adult must be involved in his or her learning.
B) Learning activities must be based on experience and the right to make mistakes.
C) The knowledge and skills taught must be related to and have a tangible, short-term impact on the adult’s professional or personal life.
D) Learning should be focused on memorising content rather than problem-solving.
It is the opposite; learning must be focused on problem-solving rather than memorising content.
Note that the five postulates of Knowles’ model of adult learner characteristics are:
- The concept of self
- The experience of the adult learner
- The will to learn
- The orientation of learning
- The motivation to learn
Find out more: The adult: a distinct learner
3. Which of the following statements is/are true about informal learning?
A) The most common notion of informal learning is that of experience or “self-directed” experience.
B) Informal learning is particularly relevant to the needs of today’s and tomorrow’s labour market.
C) Its advantages include flexibility, responsiveness to specific needs, and the ability to acquire knowledge quickly.
D) Its main weakness is that, although ubiquitous, it is paradoxically “invisible” since it is outside the institutional educational structures.
E) Another weakness is that it cannot be offered online.
A, B, C and D
Elearning tools, which are most often designed for formal learning, can provide a framework for informal learning to emerge. A company can use elearning tools to promote its culture as a learning organisation by, among other things, demystifying informal learning among its employees, showing them that it supports them spending time on it at work, and introducing them to the resources and initiatives it offers in this regard. In this sense, elearning can become a tool of choice to make informal learning more visible and thus counter its main weakness.
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4. Select the correct term to complete each of the following tips for adult-friendly online training.
Terms: the role of the trainer, social presence online, some control, quality
A) Provide choice: The learner likes to have ________ over his or her learning path. You can allow them to choose the order in which they can complete modules or lessons.
B) Act on extrinsic factors: Extrinsic factors are of great interest in elearning design because we can act directly on them. Among those that stand out the most are the teaching and learning process, ________ and the elearning environment.
C) Foster ________: The interaction individuals have with their social environment strongly influences their learning. And this doesn’t just apply to children!
D) Focus on ________: This is true for the content as well as the presentation of the training, and it is a point we cannot stress enough. Whether it’s in the choice of colour palette or the visual appeal of the graphics, animated video or filmed scenario, the visuals must be thoughtful and carefully executed.
Complete, correct statements are as follows:
A) Provide choice: The learner likes to have some control over his or her learning path. You can allow them to choose the order in which they can complete modules or lessons.
B) Act on extrinsic factors: Extrinsic factors are of great interest in e-learning design because we can act directly on them. Among those that stand out the most are the teaching and learning process, the role of the trainer and the elearning environment.
C) Foster social presence online: The interaction individuals have with their social environment strongly influences their learning. And this doesn’t just apply to children!
D) Focus on quality: This is true for the content as well as the presentation of the training, and it is a point we cannot stress enough. Whether it’s in the choice of colour palette or the visual appeal of the graphics, animated video or filmed scenario, the visuals must be thoughtful and carefully crafted.
Find out more: 12 Tips for Adult-Friendly Online Training
5. Which of the following statements about self-training is incorrect?
A) Educating oneself in one’s spare time is always self-training.
B) Researchers agree that self-training is an approach that leads to increased control by the individual over his or her learning and a variety of stages and components of learning.
C) Self-training is distinct from individualisation in education, experiential learning and distance learning.
D) Over time, the notions of autonomy, empowerment and project have been recognised as key concepts in the self-training process.
Educating oneself in one’s spare time is not necessarily self-training, any more than searching for information on the Web is!
The emergence of the concept of self-training is closely linked to the recognition of the adult as a distinct learner and the development of andragogy. Despite the terminological and conceptual cacophony that has resulted from the diversity of the theoretical currents of self-training, these different visions have made it possible to highlight its multiple potentialities. Thus, self-training has become not only a tool that can allow for self-development but also a learning process that can include and benefit from a relationship with the other or an approach that can find its relevance in a school context.
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