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Barriers to Creating a More Adult Centered Learning Environment. Dr. Ingrid Crowther Athabasca University Nov. 3-6, 2003. Climate of Adult Learning Environment. Difficult to reconfigure large lecture halls or classrooms into small groupings for individual work and discussions

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Barriers to Creating a More Adult Centered Learning Environment


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barriers to creating a more adult centered learning environment

Barriers to Creating a More Adult Centered Learning Environment

Dr. Ingrid Crowther

Athabasca University

Nov. 3-6, 2003

climate of adult learning environment
Climate of Adult Learning Environment
  • Difficult to reconfigure large lecture halls or classrooms into small groupings for individual work and discussions
  • Lecture type-environments lead to more authority-oriented setting – lecturer at the front, students in rows in front
  • Lecturer initiates learning through presentation – overhead, board work, computer
  • Discussion centres around points raised by lecturer
  • Emphasis on students listening and asking questions
  • Student discussion limited to a few individuals
planning of program
Planning of Program
  • Content of program pre-set by educational institution – students fit into pre-planned program
  • Delivery of program responsibility of faculty – lectures pre-designed, course outlines developed by faculty to indicate expectations
  • Students required to follow course of study regardless of experience, knowledge, or individual differences
diagnosis of needs
Diagnosis of Needs
  • Diagnosis set by evaluative system of course
  • Set by faculty – marks, pass/fail
  • Students fit into pre-existing program of study that compares individuals within the program through marks
  • Limited opportunity to improve grades achieved
goal setting
Goal Setting
  • Students may set general goals to complete a specific program of study – ECE, DSW..
  • Goals of program pre-set by faculty and specified in program layout and on individual course outlines
  • Students work fits into pre-existing goals
designing learning
Designing Learning

Size of class dictates types of learning activities – the larger the class the more:

  • Lecture type of activities – content delivered by faculty
  • Greater degree of teacher-directed activity
  • More likely to multiple choice or short answer type of evaluation systems
  • More comparison of student competency /learning
learning activities
Learning Activities
  • Focus on testing knowledge, facts
  • Same for all students
  • The larger the class the less likely that all individuals will participate in discussions, asking of questions and fewer application type written assignments such as essays
  • Assignments such as presentations – focus on knowledge and facts and are presented in a teacher-directed method
evaluation
Evaluation
  • Emphasis of learning is competitive – percentages, grades, bell-curving of marks
  • Evaluation is set and evaluated by faculty
  • Evaluation product oriented – what has been learned
  • Evaluation based on memorized facts
knowledge of adult learning
Knowledge of Adult Learning
  • Few adult educators have completed adult education learning programs
  • Adult education not often specified as a criteria for hiring faculty to teach adults
  • Adult education is a relative new field
  • Past practices have influenced practices today
  • Retention of learning not often a cornerstone for teaching
financial
Financial

Larger class size uses fewer resources -

  • One individual can lecture to large numbers of students;
  • Need for decreased number of faculty – fewer salaries, fewer benefits
  • One large room may be utilized rather than several smaller rooms;
  • Less resources needed as fewer faculty needed to teach - audio-visual equipment, videos, projectors..
attitudes
Attitudes
  • Status quo - We have always taught like this in post secondary education and it has worked
  • Faculty are hired as experts; students are not experts, it is perceived that they need to be told what they need to learn
  • Students need to be taught the same curriculum in order to ensure consistency
  • Developmentally appropriate practices for teaching adults are more time-consuming and therefore not readily implemented in larger group sizes