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Adult Learner Autonomy Report Card

Objective Encourage learners to identify resources and devise strategies for using resources to achieve objectives. Possible Method/Comments Grade

Involvement in the Learning Process


Web searches Printed material searches Using others as a resource o Interviews o Social media o Intra-class interaction o Inter-class interaction Are we affording learners the opportunity to share resources/strategies/tips? What is our provided content rate? o How much is the trainer generating/presenting? o How much is the trainer pointing to? o How much is the learner discovering? o What rate do the clients/learners expect? o How will the rate shift over time? Are we doing a needs analysis? Is it effective? Is it applicable to the training situation? Are we following it? Are we reviewing/assessing it? Are we adjusting it?

Encourage learners to formulate their learning objectives, giving them more control over their learning. It is important for the instructor to discover what the participants need or want to learn. Periodically review goals. Have students reflect and discuss. Provide regular, consistent communication to individual learners and groups. Make regular announcements or updates and establish regular office hours (F2F or online). Assure learners that discussions are being heard/read.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Methods F2F, email, messaging, telephone, web-based (discussion board, project feedback, multimedia) Do the learners know how to use office hours? What is our budget for office hours? Are we providing a purpose for listening? F2F considerations: balance the 4 levels of listening o for meaning/content o for errors o for gaps o for emerging language encouraging/mandating peer-listening E-Learning considerations: balancing feedback (same as above) timeliness of feedback/response encouraging/mandating peer-response Are we incorporating mini-tasks and feedback segments into lesson plans? Ideas: o Mini-tasks at the top of each ppt slide (source forgotten sorry) o Adapt supported practice activities to make them more taskoriented with appropriate feedback The challenges of authentic content: Will the participants supply/find the content? 10 April, 2012 1

Increase interactions with embedded practice and feedback sequences.

Embed content in authentic contexts Prepared by Charles Rei

Require learners to synthesize and problem solve, using the information in new ways. Develop peer-learning groups. (in and out of class)

Provide students with multiple resources of information that include differing viewpoints from diverse authors.

Acknowledge the accumulated experiences of the participants as valuable educational resources.

Use learning contracts, group projects, role playing, case studies and simulations to enhance selfdirection. Allow students to develop their own path. If they know the topic, they can skip it. Provide flexibility in assignments that allow students to work ahead. Divide learning into small manageable units or subunits that can be completed in relatively short amounts of time for logical stopping and starting points. Allow learner choice of assignments, Prepared by Charles Rei

What content is appropriate for the training objective? Appropriate difficulty? Trainer preparation time Distribution method (web hosted, emailed, presented in class, etc.?) Copyright and confidentiality concerns Possible review activity Layout recent language/skills materials and challenge learners to synthesize them into a context or situation not covered in the lessons. Then perform those tasks, recycling the language learned. Learning partners o fixed o by time, tasks Learning groups o by learning style (same or mixed) o by job function o by needs Guidelines and targets for partnerships and groups o self-managing o trainer launched o trainer moderated o trainer led Possible Ideas: Instead of giving one resource on a subject to read, give several from various sources and compare. If looking at useful language for a skill, give various materials and have learners discuss which is best. Pro vs. con, out-of-date vs. current, country vs. country, younger vs. older, company vs. competitor, etc. Activity Ideas: Talk about your greatest professional success. Talk about your education and career experience, what have you learned? For skills, talk about specific examples of good meetings, presentations, etc. they have been a part of. As participants if they were to rewrite the activity/role-play for another class, how would they rewrite it? Consult with learners if simulated solutions are feasible or only theoretical. Already in the BE classroom.

Does this support Test-Teach-Test?

Disseminate the course plan for the next lessons including tasks. Encourage learners to work ahead using resources and materials. Analyze resources for length. Provide estimates for how long tasks should take. Divide longer modules into distinct parts. Be sure to synthesize them later. Provide learners with a menu of performance activity/self-study 10 April, 2012 2

projects, or research topics (consider learning contract). Encourage and reinforce selfsufficiency through timely feedback. Develop a student portfolio or personal scrapbook

options. Encourage variety and sharing. The sooner the feedback to the performance event, the better. One-the-spot = best, a week later = has lost nearly all value. Considerations: Journaling may be difficult to foster. Start slow. Payoff is longer term. Trainer should check or at least question learners about their self-reflection. Assign learners to go back periodically and recall past entries, comment on differences. Acknowledge that we are all human and sometimes have off-days or difficult periods. If certain issues are inhibiting learning, seek to find out why (personally) and handle them with respect. Use models of best practice (ability specific) to demonstrate what the target is. Check of Audioboo.fm for web hosting audio files. Ensure the materials fit the task; well structured, concise, clear for both initial learning and review, materials do not die after the lesson, they should provide a reference when the learners must perform the task in the real-world. Already in the BE classroom.

Scaffolding to promote self-reliance


Encourage students to articulate problems. Provide examples of completed tasks. Coach using audio files or other methods. Provide resources to help learners complete tasks.

Provide multiple scenarios, events, and perspectives to help students develop decisions and plans. Provide consistency among courses.

Find out what colleagues are doing in neighboring rooms. Check pride at the door and respect various teaching approaches. Attempt to make courses consistent rather than out-shine others. Develop and share materials and lesson plans. Hold combined lessons, peerobservation, etc. This should be basic classroom management.

Dealing with pre-existing learning history


Encourage all participants to give responses to questions, listen to others comments, and reflect. Encourage learners to share with other students their derivation of meaning and their progress through discussions, reflection papers that are posted, or email. Hold debates, create multifaceted projects with deadlines for public display, introduce surprise, suspense, and disorder in the midst of routine and ritual. Ask learners to link ideas to other subjects. Recognize that it is important to "unlearn" old beliefs and allow learners time to work through conflict.

More self-reflection.

Raise the bar on tasks and projects. Assign tasks they will be proud to show. Maintain a variety of tasks. Particularly is using a course book, adapt and change activities with a repetitive pattern. For ideas on how in increase variety in the classroom , check out 52 from Meddings and Clanfield. Not all are appropriate for BE, but it starts the thinking process. Attack language learning history head-on. How does it take place in school? Why? Do you want a class like that? Why/why not? Inquire about in-company training. What types of training do they attend? Do they like them? Why/why not? Are they effective? Why/why not? Why this class is different. 10 April, 2012 3

Prepared by Charles Rei

Adults need the instructor acting as a facilitator


Plan the course environment to allow participants responsibility for leadership and group presentations. Summarize key points of units and discussions for closure. Nothing new here.

Use questioning techniques to provoke thinking, stimulate recall, and challenge beliefs. Understand that some adults may feel intimidated and that their egos are on the line when they risk trying something new or unique.

How well are we summarizing our lessons or are we running out of time? Is there are clear and defined break from unit to unit? Are we getting and giving feedback at the end of units/modules? Answer questions with questions.

Display student work.

Acknowledge and commend risk taking in the classroom. But linguistic and creative. Give all ideas and comments consideration before dismissing, no matter how unfeasible. Encourage learners to clarify, explain, and further develop risky ideas. Establish a confidentiality consensus to ensure controversial discussions remain in the classroom. What is on our classroom walls? Can we use student generated material for use as future models? This includes recorded meetings and presentations. Would a course wiki help?

Consideration of prior knowledge


Do a needs assessment and a student self- assessment prior to class starting. Relate this information to the class. Recognize the value of experience. Include tasks that let the participants use their knowledge and experience. Tell why the topic or link is important. Open the class with introductions that include personal and professional background. Instructor should do the same. Involve learners in diagnosing their own needs. Incorporate activities in assignments that students can relate to, such as real situations or events. Include opportunities for solving problems in groups. Ensure that assignments reflect the maturity level of the adult learners This returns to the living needs assessment/course aims at the top. Include in the NA previous language learning and other in-company (non-language) trainings.

Are we using prescribed materials and tasks or are we asking them to create their own based on their experience? The corollary is also true. If you find yourself about to say to the students, Dont worry, this part isnt so important. you should be teaching that point. You are wasting everyones time. Already in the BE classroom. But we need to make sure we are including both the professional and personal.

See living needs analysis above.

Real world application of learning


We have heard time and again, use the learners as a resource. Much of this hinges upon the trainers willing to learn from the students and give up some control of the lesson. Already in the BE classroom. We need to be careful about our materials. Some materials are designed for pre-experience learners, others for experienced learners. We need to ensure our materials are not too simplified or assume prior knowledge. Nothing to add.

Encourage students to apply their life and work experiences to learning. Ensure that students write their course goals in the beginning of the Prepared by Charles Rei

Learner-centered vs. teacher- centered


This returns to the living needs assessment/course aims at the top. 10 April, 2012 4

course so they can relate the course goals with their current needs and issues. Explain how the course information will be of use to the learners. Provide enough flexibility to allow student's input on issues that may be addressed by the whole class. Provide models of 'best practice' behavior to let students know what they are doing compared to a known model.

Make the purpose of activities and clear. This is what you should learn from today These are the three main things you should walk out of this class with

Maintain consistent guidelines during the course

Involve learners in diagnosing their needs to help trigger internal motivation.

This goes back to providing a model. I find that most in-company courses are extremely interested in what other companies are doing and the challenges they face. For example, when talking about CSR, I typically use the companys biggest competitor to generate discussion. For skills, they should always have a point of reference for their performance. Ideally, there will be a recording or log for them to assess themselves against the model later. Draw up policies at the beginning of the course. Follow them. Review them at a later date and make changes in consultation with the participants. This includes everything from attendance to errorcorrection and feedback. Again needs analysis.

Adults need to test their learning as they go along, rather than receive background theory.
Apply concepts to tasks or problems. Try to schedule skills modules around real-world schedules (for example, work on small-talk, answering questions, and trade fairs just before a large convention). Use task production time as a rehearsal for real-world events. Use re-enacted dialogs and situations as a basis for language and communication skills work. In other words, are we trying to make our A2s give presentations like Steve Jobs? Do the learners become stressed with either the materials or pace of the course? Yes, gold stars work with adults too. So do competitions. My colleague uses contests often and even holds voting for the learner of the month for which the class buys a bottle of wine. These rewards should also focus on real-world performance using lessonslearned.

Set the level of difficulty at the correct level. It should challenge but not be too challenging which could frustrate the learners. Set rewards for success.

Building mutual respect


Allow the learner to voice his or her own opinion and treat him or her as equal in the learning process. Individuals have many perspectives and bring these to the classroom; these may be a result of their religion, gender, ethnicity, class, age, sexuality, and/or physical abilities. Acknowledge these. Provide an open environment so that the students are allowed to disagree with the instructor. Not all learners bring the same ability to Prepared by Charles Rei All of these deal with the similar aspects. How effective are we a creating a positive group dynamic? For more information on building successful groups, read my blog post on Group Stage and Reaching Training Objectives.

10 April, 2012

think critically, analyze results, etc. Plan accordingly. Establish an environment that learners feel safe and comfortable in expressing themselves and feel respected for their views. Help students with similar interests find each other. Know when to pull back in a discussion and let the students go. Keep up with the discussions, and act as a summarizer, reflector, and source of external help if the group fails. Recognize learners individual talents and contributions.

Step 1 find out interests Step 2 introduce them to one another This is too long to discuss in one box. Use intuition. Already in BE classrooms but are going too far? Are we the authoritative filter in the room? If so, how do we change that?

Establish class subject matter experts. Use these SMEs at every possible opportunity. These subject matters could be everything from gardening to inventory reduction methods. Linguistically, there could be an SME for the past tense, for phrases to start a meeting, for travel vocabulary, etc. Assign a non-mediated conversation among the students about the course, what they have learned, where they will go in the future, etc. Here the new role is you speak English better/give better presentations/write better emails. What are the options after this course? How will it change your strategies? Can you envision your new role in the office? Discuss. See journaling considerations above.

Self-reflection and support for transformative learning


Provide a place in the course to discuss the process of learning which may include thoughts on how they are managing in the course. Allow students to discuss options for their new roles, plan action strategies and exchange of knowledge and skills for effective and efficient learning. Provide ways for learners to engage in metacognitive reflection. Students may benefit from the use of think logs, reflective journals, and group discussions within a cooperative learning setting. Allow students to introduce themselves, for e-learning: develop a personal web page, and provide an area that students can feel free to discuss their experiences. Problem-based or case-based learning activities that are done in collaborative work groups. Use cooperative and collaborative learning structures such as learning partnerships, to equalize the power relationships in groups and encourage a shared leadership. Incorporate multiple methods of feedback in course.

Dialog, social interaction, and collaboration


Ensure the proper time is taken at the beginning of courses/lessons to get to know one another. Remember to plan for extended conversation after long breaks (e.g. Christmas) and if new attendees are in the class. Already in the BE classroom.

See peer learning groups above.

Prepared by Charles Rei

Written a written email/short report about perceived progress in the course Verbal arrange a one-to-one meeting with each learner to discuss progress and learning aims. Audio give audio feedback about a specific task/lesson or about how the learner is performing in class, strengths and 10 April, 2012

Grade assignments with specific, stated criteria, such as a rubric.

Encourage shared leadership.

areas of focus. Check out AudioBoo.fm for hosting is distribution is an issue. Multimedia use screen capture software to talk through corrections to emails, presentations, etc. Idea: Prior to a task event, draw a simple pie chart on the board. Draw percentages for how you (and peers) will be evaluating the task (accuracy, organization, body language, use of target language, etc.) This allows for a shifting rubric based on lesson aims but clear priorities for learners. Give up the reigns to the classroom periodically. Change seating arrangements to put trainer in a subordinate position. Give control of training aids (flip charts, markers, computers, projectors, etc.) Leave the classroom sometimes. Remain silent. Student led lessons/moderated discussions.

Reference: Cercone, K. (2008). Characteristics of adult learners with implications for online learning design, AACE Journal, 16(2), 137-159.

Prepared by Charles Rei

10 April, 2012