Factors in Adult Education: Training in the Work Environment

Key ponderings for the adult educators are to find effective methods to incite learning in a group of students—adapting multiple learning mechanisms, to demonstrate a mastery of the curricular content without expressing pedagogical methods of teaching and to fortify (or add) value a paying student places in continuing education.

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The Scenerio

Typical Company seeks to educate 500 employees ranging in ages from 17 to 70 to use a new technological system planned for activation in six months. Typical Co’s training division must complete the employee training within the specified time because the current system will no longer function after the six-month period.

For the Typical Co training division to perform the task, it has several learning fundamentals to consider assuring it provides Typical Co employees with thorough and practical training—including biological, physiological, sociocultural, and cognitive factors. This analysis will contain a brief description of approaches Typical Co. can consider to aid in the education of its employees.

Encourage Learning

People learn in varying degrees and display varying intellectual ability. Biological factors have an effect on the type and quality of learning that occurs with any group of adults including Typical Co employees. To train the Typical Co. employees, an understanding of basic approaches to learning assist in training.

Some Employees Learn More Quickly Genetically

Biological theories associated with learning attempt to cover universal and individual differences in learning (Boyd & Bee, 2006). Biological views conclude that all humans share traits to distinguish them apart from other animals, which may have evolved with humanity for survival. A further supposition that humanity developed further into multi-social structures with genetic specifics for group survival—producing variations within the subgroups for individual genetic structure to help foster individual learning (Boyd & Bee, 2006).

Evolution mentioned here means the ability to adapt and excel in the environment that is intrinsically biological, which mutations genetically share to the offspring. There exist no evidence that one group of people learns faster than another given the same conditions. Education is highly individualist.

Humanity has a penchant for learning genetically etched in the DNA. This information provides a perspective that trainers at the Typical Co. to expect employees naturally to learn new training material because of common genetic development predisposed for adaptation to new environments. Of course, begs the question, why explore the biological and genetic significance of education if only to use it for how to develop a training program for Typical Co?

The employees' ability to survive depends on their capacity to adapt to the new environment. If they want to remain, viable employees, they will adapt, and the training will not need to be as extensive as in pedagogy.

The type of learning determines how effective the six-month period will pan out. Biologically, the employees are primed and ready to go!

Action learning introduces a useful tool in using multiple angles from which to view education that can provide a basis for training. Marquardt and Waddill (2004) submit that action learning provides a problem for the learners to solve using skills and knowledge of all involved.

Behaviorally speaking, the problem introduced to the team of learners will cause them to adjust to the stimuli and foster a change in behavior thus producing learning. Cognitively the members of the team will use reflective techniques to consult and provide a solution.

This type of learning is what occurs in the Justice system in American courts that use juries. Learning involves the processing of new information and repackaging it into to relevant data. Juries and Judges process information provided and decide the fate of defendants.

Typical Co. trainers can use this information to provide learning opportunities, such as administering tests for groups or individuals to determine if the amount of information assimilated by employees or to reinforce the logic supporting the necessity of the new processes for implementation.

To demonstrate, the need for Typical Co to update the speed of employee workstation log-in in relations to optimal hours of production. If it takes 30 minutes to prepare certain workstations for production, but the new process reduces the time to 15 minutes, putting the question to the employees will produce a logical conclusion that the new process will increase production. It will also, however, introduce how the new process can affect the employees' work performance, which is another article.

Marquardt and Waddill (2004) mention humanistic and social learning concepts stating that a team of learners will foster acceptance of each member as he or she contributes questions and ideas to solve the problem—learning from each other in the process.

The knowledge that each employee will be able to help instruct one another after introduction to the new system provides a resource for trainers from which to draw on how to perpetuated learning without having to produce multiple training situations.

For independent trainers, such a resources can determine whether or not they are hired for future training opportunities. For in-house trainers, it sets a precedent, a guide to promote employee self-development--employees who incite learning so that contributions from the learners can occur during the action learning portion of training and in perpetuity, which constitutes a social learning aspect. In-house trainers can then focus on human resource opportunities with new employees and curricular maintenance.

Before training, to prepare the students for learning, an open discussion about the new training system and how it will impact the employees will assist in garnering support for full participation among the learners.

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Adults learning
Adults learning | Source

Andragogy - The Art of Adult Learning

A keen physiological factor that affects learning, age, follows a typical pattern of rapid learning in childhood that levels off in adulthood. Evidence that as age increases physical limitations may occur that add difficulty to the mechanism involved with education does not prove that age changes the mental capacity of adults who continue to learn.

Age-related learning does arise when considering genetic dispositions for dementia and other psychological factors that may affect learning potential. Age will not constitute a barrier for learning with tools such as eyeglasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs, etc. to assist those with disabilities due to aging.

It is important for trainers to familiarizes themselves with all the tools available within the Typical Co. cache of learning aids. Accommodations for employees who have physical limitation will not affect the training of Typical Co. employees primarily because of microphones, large displays, and worksheets will provide additional help for those that need assistance.

The training will accommodate adult learning and foster participation with the use of modules. Before involvement in group training, each employee will participate in self-paced modules that will introduce them to the new system.

At the end of each module, a review test will allow employees to reflect on learning modules and help them determine if the module needs repeating. Once all employees have completed the modules—within a two-month period, Typical trainers will orient the employees in groups of 20 in three-hour training sessions that will foster group participation—action learning.

I ‘Anson, Rodriguez, & Wilson (2003) suggested the micro-teaching or learner teaching will help to promote ownership of the action-learning problem and create trust within the group to share ideas. Fostering action will assist the employees to take ownership of the new system and encourage employees to answer each other’s question about the system, as mention previously, perpetuity.

Following two months of self-directed modules and the three-hour training with instructors facilitating action learning, the second wave of action learning will occur. The action learning segments will take five weeks to train all employees at 20 learners for three hours a day each week. Following the ten weeks of action learning, there are several weeks before the company ultimately transitions to the new system allowing additional questions or training at Typical Co.

Of course, not all training will consist of such immersive andragogic methods. At Typical Co, an entirely new data system must all employees learn with in-house, system and independent trainers.

What Say You

When Training, do you include the value the new information adds to your students careers?

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Added Value

Merriam et al (2007) suggest that learning among adults continues because most of those who participate in education come from a culture of education—the middle class. Typical employees tend to possess higher education and live within the middle-income bracket. Because most training and learning trends toward middle-income people, the training will fulfill some of the employees desire for additional education. The new system will replace the obsolete system following the training giving the incentive to learn the system. The value the trainers can foster hinges on the fact that remaining employed at Typical Co. adds value to the new system training.

Industry standards change rapidly in the information age calling for a solid foundation of experts who can provide the necessary training to facilitate seamless transitions from one system to the next. Adult educators add value to the adult education industry in every aspect of teaching to ensure that current and potential employers recognize the direction of business trends positive to adult learning—promoting learning as a vital part of corporate existence and education. A staff of or access to professional trainers assures companies that adult learners will receive education from all andragogical perspectives.

Reference Material

  • Boyd, D. and Bee, H. (2006).Lifespan development (4th ed .). Boston: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.

  • I'Anson, J., Rodriguez, S., & Wilson, G. (2003). Mirrors, reflections and refractions: The contribution of microteaching to reflective practice. European Journal of Teacher Education , 26 (2), 189. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.

  • Marquardt, M., and Waddill, D. (2004). The power of learning in action learning: a conceptual analysis of how the five schools of adult learning theories are incorporated within the practice of action learning. Action Learning: Research & Practice ,1 (2), 185-202. doi:10.1080/14767333042000264146

  • Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. M. (2007).Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (3rd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

© 2010 Rodric Johnson

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