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Technology & Adult Ed

Posted By: Gerald Brong on July 23, 2003
I’m an educator in private practice. I design & facilitate courses meeting the “customer’s” requirements.

Realizing that “student as customer” is a complex topic, I put that reference up front. The students with whom I work pay me for courses I design & deliver to them. These customers are adults in business wishing to form a group to learn. I work for the customer (learner) & not their employer’s.

My EdD is in curriculum & development with emphasis on the systems found in applied ed technology. With 40+ years of experience, half in the continuing or adult ed field, I’ve learned two things.

First, all effective learning is “distance education” in that most of the learning is outside of the classroom & is learner facilitated. The Teacher (or course designer) needs to provide opportunities for learners to discover & learn.

In one course I’m now designing in the field of commercial aircraft building, learners do process audits of work undertaken & accomplished by others on the factory floor. Outcomes: learning process auditing PLUS discovering new techniques, procedures, work strategies, etc. These activities take place outside o the classroom & are guided by eMail exchanges with me as “Teacher.” (I’ve never been involved in building airplanes but I ask questions guiding their inquiry.)

Technologies are used for learners to document & teach. Technologies are tools we all (student & teacher) use.

Second, the technology-trap is hi-risk in the adult ed field. Becoming dependent on the tools (computers, 2-way TV, course authoring tools, etc.) pushes the Teacher away from the real priority. The learner. As I read much of the current adult ed literature referencing technology the emphasis is on the Stuff-&-Things used to deliver content. The concepts of learning & teaching get lost in MgHz, RAM, lines of resolution, etc. I argue that the return to a focus on the learner is a priority.

Your thesis might explore adult ed strategies in support of advanced level learners (as opposed to entry levels). Take a skilled person & extend a skill. Take a person with knowledge & help them use that knowledge, develop new knowledge, & transfer knowledge to others.

Your thesis deals with distance LEARNING. The emphasis on LEARNING, as opposed to delivery systems, seems important.

Successes in your efforts.

Jerry Brong
Kittitas Valley
Rural Central Washington
Thread Hierarchy
 MA in Information and Communication Technology in Education by Emily Young on July 2, 2003
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