According to VCC PIDP course in adult education there are eight fundamental components to consider when creating a lesson plan. These are Bloom’s taxonomy, characteristics of adult learners, creating a positive learning environment, motivational techniques, assessment, instructional process/strategies, media and planning. All these components are interrelated and for this blog I will concentrate on five of the eight components that have had the most impact in my design and delivery of training recently.
When designing training modules or courses online it is not enough to only consider the different delivery mediums but also to evaluate whether the medium which is being chosen can in fact achieve the learning level that you hope to be accomplished by your learners. This is where Bloom’s digital taxonomy can be a great tool, especially when considering how collaborative activities would enhance learning. For an example, take a look at Jennifer Hoffman’s post on Designing blended learning with Bloom’s digital taxonomy. I found her post and the tool itself to be helpful in discussing with managers and subject matter experts the level of learning that we can accomplish when revising and/or designing courses to be delivered online.
Characteristics of adult learners:
One of the great advantages of delivering to an adult audience is the great amount of knowledge and experience that they bring to the table. Unfortunately in today’s training sessions too often the content seems to push the process away.
I really enjoyed reading the report written by Fraser Region Consortium on Exploring adult learning in the Fraser Region. The report is very detailed on the changing demographics of the Fraser Region and the need for educational institutions to revise their programs and courses to meet the needs of the adult learner. The National Institution for Staff and Organizational Development has also published a report identifying the top factors to consider when designing and delivering to adult learners. The report emphasizes the importance of giving opportunities for the participants to share and engage with the materials in such a way that makes it applicable to their everyday lives.
So as we move forward and design or revise our training, it is important to have candid conversations with managers or subject matter experts who may wish to continue pushing loads of content and the importance of advising them of the necessity of process itself, which is integral to learning.
Usually when it comes to course assessments, I find we wait till the end to ask participants to give us their feedback using a short survey. These surveys are typically “smiley” sheets with rating scales that don’t really say much about the learner’s experience and how the instruction, content and/or delivery methods could be improved.
Claude Bennett identified a hierarchy of cause and effect tool which can be used to justify the continuation of any program. Roberts Evaluation demonstrates a case study of how a program can be evaluated using Bennett’s hierarchy.
As a training consultant, Bennett’s hierarchy would allow me to build a stronger case to demonstrate how effective a program/project has been and whether changes need to be made to ensure the key deliverables and objectives are accomplished and the funding is continued.
Ramsey Musallam Ted Talk on three rules to spark learning is a great resource to keep the participants attention and engaged in their learning. He identifies these rules as embracing curiosity, to engage the trial and error process and to take time to reflect on what has learned.
His talk really resonated with me as I revise courses to really explore opportunities where the learners can ask questions, without reproach and feel safe in doing so. I will also endeavor to provide occasions for learners to practice their new found skills and knowledge. Furthermore, participants would be given a chance to journal so that they may reflect and consider what they have learned.
Using media to engage the audience could be many things including PowerPoint presentations, podcasts, videos, simulations and so on. As I continue to integrate technology in my courses, I came across Ferriman’s post of Guide to online course design, where he outlines key components to consider when designing online courses. Student interaction and sharing of content are highlighted as well as the importance of making access to the course easy and straight forward; which are all important components to consider while designing/revising courses.