LEARNING ENVIRONMENTfor the PLUS 50 Learner Tracy Reilly Kelly, MST Program Director and Manager Corporate & Continuing Education Plus 50 Initiative Clark College, Washington
PEDAGOGY and ANDRAGOGY: Application of Principles • We move from theory to application. • How can we prepare instructors to teach adults over age 50? • What is different about teaching to adults above age 65? .
IDEAS TO USE FOR PLUS 50 LEARNERS • Research is well supported that by age 65, over 70% of persons have hearing loss. • Presbyopia (need for reading glasses) begins in the early 40s. • Avoid asking people to identify their handicaps - do not assume because one’s audience is under 65 that they hear or see as well as you do. • Do know that it is highly embarrassing to identify yourself as having a handicap associated with aging, so most do not. Thus, “handicaps” appear earlier than cultural acceptance does.
IDEAS TO USE FOR ALL LEARNERS OVER 50 • Use more handouts to give visual support of what you are saying – especially if you have poor sound. • Use #14 font for handouts for persons over the age of 40. Use #12 if you cannot use #14. Never use a lower font – what is the value of a handout that persons cannot read?
IDEAS TO USE FOR “BABY BOOMER” LEARNERS Promote email contact and other ways for students to contact instructors to ask questions. For the instructor, this contact aids them to tailor their existing curriculum to 50+ learning styles – a current need in program development. • Course online chat rooms offer opportunities to share experiences and create ongoing support networks among students. This also promotes repeat enrollments as Boomers are busy, yet they are seeking intellectual friendships & meaning.
IDEAS TO USE FOR LEARNERS OVER 65 • Learners over 65 are rewarding to teach. They are in awe of you and your credentials. Sometimes they act like they accept without questioning because of this, but actually they hold many opinions. • They like “The sage on the stage” didactic learning more than group projects. If you probe, their critical thinking abilities are deep and wise.
CLASSROOM ACCOMODATION: Create Access - Observe Instructors • Always use amplification whenever one has access to it! Avoid asking this common, labeling question- “I have a loud voice- does anybody here really need me to use the mic?”- followed by the statement- “Good!” – when no one in the audience identified themselves as being hard of hearing. Train every instructor to use sound support. • Monitor the body as one speaks - does the instructor turn their head down at the end of a sentence or turn to the board? This makes them harder to hear. Add these questions about habits to the evaluations.
IDEAS TO USE FOR LEARNERS OVER 65 • Repetition is valuable to all learners, but especially older learners. Begin sessions with a review of the content of the last session. • While short term memory may be impaired with aging, intellect, wisdom, sophistication and experience are not. Avoid associating age with impaired intellect.
WEBSITE DESIGN • VISUAL: Less cluttered , avoid moving images – but create complexity of content. • AVOID: Red, blue & green - color blind people see blue poorly, no one sees red. • CONTENT: For interest, include historical references, (think of NPR & PBS) 60’s pop culture, social justice. • SOUND: Can be distracting and out of proportion for older learners.
SYLLABUS AND HANDOUTS • Create a syllabus that includes a class schedule with dates for each day of class: offering dates will help them to see your schedule in order to plan their own. • Begin each class with a quick synopsis of the last week’s content. • Plan to distribute approximately 3-10 handouts over the course of the quarter. The syllabus and handouts make a major difference to how students learn. • Include more detail than for younger learners – include reading lists and other learning enrichment.
WHY LEARNING OUTCOMES? Learning outcomes help instructors more precisely to tell students what is expected of them. By doing this, educators assert that they: • help students learn more effectively. They know where they stand and the curriculum is made more open to them. • make it clear what students can hope to gain from a particular course or lecture. • help instructors to design their materials more effectively by acting as a template. • help instructors select the appropriate teaching strategy, for example lecture, seminar, student self-paced, or laboratory class. • ensure that appropriate assessment strategies are employed.
LEARNING OUTCOMES • Require instructors to rewrite their Learning Outcomes for 50+. • If you are not yet requiring a formal set of Learning Outcomes, this is a good time to utilize this tool. • Offer a worksheet and models to each instructor and persist in this as a requirement for teaching.
learning outcome categories outcome #1- Knowledge: The student recalls or recognizes information; the student gets the facts straight. • Collect examples of __; Define; Label; Fill in__. • Identify and name; Identify results; Identify variables; Identify situations that __. • List materials; Locate and list; Locate and state; Locate sources.
outcome #2 – Comprehension: The student is able to understand the information and put it into a context or meaning. • Define; Describe; Differentiate; Evaluate; Discuss; Paraphrase; Predict. • Distinguish between facts; Distinguish between ideas. • Draw conclusions; Estimate; Express; Identify; Interpret; Locate; Match.
outcome #3 – Application: • The student solves a problem using the knowledge. The student is able to use learned knowledge in a new contrived situation. • Apply principles; Apply the idea to our classroom situation. • Calculate; Construct; Dramatize; Demonstrate; Find solutions; Illustrate • Design procedures for __; Employ knowledge of everyday events in making inference about __.