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Combining the kitchen with Adult Learning

My name is Tim, I am a chef, as well as an adult educator.  Welcome to My blog.  Here I will discuss the dichotomy between teaching students how to act in a kitchen, while still using contemporary adult learning styles.

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Transformative Learning Theory

My final blog post for my course will speak on transformative learning theory.  I spent some time reading on the history of Mezirow, who is credited with being the creator of this theory.

The theory was first documented in 1981, and Mezirow’s theory evolved “into a comprehensive and complex description of how learners construe, validate, and reformulate the meaning of their experience” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformative_learning#Mezirow)

What does this really mean?  It means that everyone’s life experience transforms their experience and understanding of what they learn. Under this theory, taking the same course a decade apart could yield completely different results.

There is more than just this to the theory, including the 10 steps that are considered to be followed be each learner.  If you follow the links below, it will allow you to delve deeper into the details of transformative learning.  Realistically, the only drawback I see to transformative learning is that it speaks to rational thinkers (which I believe I am), but does not consider individuals with other trains of thought.  I can see this through the way the ten steps are structured, and therefore believe there is not any one specific learning theory that I have come across that may be able to blanket every single learner out there.  For me, the closest would be constructivism, but that would be a long talk for another day.

Enjoy the reading!

 

The Handbook of Transformative Learning: Theory, Research and Practice

Wikipedia: Transformative learning

Understanding how to learn effectively

When I first read the topic “the cognitive science of learning” I thought to myself “what does this even mean”

So after reading about multiple courses, reading multiple articles and having a chance to properly understand the meaning, I broke it down for myself into this simple sentence…” understanding how to learn (and therefore teach) more effectively”

I stumbled across a great one pager from SFU on the idea of making learning more effective. It touches on a couple of ideas that really hit home:

  1. The role of technology in learning: it touches on the dichotomy between technology being a distraction in learning versus an asset.  I know for me, using technology as a tool, as well as doing my current course at home, means I need a lot of discipline to focus on the task at hand, and not at music, or netflix, or facebook, or other distractions that are available at a single click of a button.
  2. The illusion of competence:  this is the idea that someone’s intuition tells them they know what is needed to master their course or learnings.  The article states that it is important to know when your intuition is leading you astray and that it is being distracted by possible ego

Have a look below and see what you think.  I know this article particularly spoke to me because the two aforementioned points are ones I myself struggle with as a student.

Learning about Learning

Motivation for Adult learners

The idea of how to motivate adult learners really intrigues me.  Our adult culture now really includes multiple generations, especially in the cooking field, where I may see “baby boomers” learning to cook for fun, as well as “GEN X, Y, millenials, etc” all joining the field of culinary arts for different reasons.

It becomes very difficult as an instructor to know how to structure lesson plans with such a generationally diverse group, and so I found the article linked below quite interesting, as it is a great one pager that gives some distinct learning activities that can be used for adult learners to keep them motivated.

The idea of a K-W-L strategy (know – want-learned) where you take time to find out what the learner already knows, find out what they want to learn, and then create activities to test what they learned, really seems to integrate well the idea that experiential learning is the most effective model for adult learners.

I also like the inclusiveness in some of the ideas shared on the site, all of which seem to work towards engendering confidence and competence in the topic at hand through critical thinking and ‘on the fly’ testing.

Have a read and decide for yourself if you agree that by empowering the learner, you create more buy in for the final outcomes.

Motivation strategies for Adult Learners

Creating Positive and Motivational learning environment

The internet is riddled with different theories and opinions on how to create positive and motivational learning environments.  One common thread among everything I have encountered thus far is the realization of important in this matter.

While I didn’t necessarily connect with all of the pages I have read, this one in particular caught my eye because it not only spoke about the environment for the student but also about how you can keep an instructor motivated. I truly believe we are more facilitators than instructors when teaching in an adult learning environment.  If we do not feel passionate or motivated as instructors, the student will notice this and the learning environment will not be as functional or positive.

Outside of the instructors’ role in this, there another few keys factors:  positive attitude, inclusive learning, finding meaning for the individual student, and creating confidence in their ability to apply their learnings to their own lives or needs.

Please take some time to read this article, as it very clearly states some very key points on andragogy.

Creating a motivating learning environment – University of Maryland, Kathleen O’Connell.

Skype chat with my learning Partner!

Last weekend, I was able to connect with my learning partner (Visit her blog here-  Exploring Andragogy)  We were able to chat on a myriad of issues.  It was quite interesting hearing from someone in a completely different situation.  I currently work as an adult educator in trades, whereas she is working towards this.  The way each of us viewed the course content, the different trends in adult learning and even the way people learn was very different but very enlightening.  My background is culinary based, whereas hers is technology, so the way each of us learn is quite different.

We chatted a fair bit about trends in our respective fields.  The biggest thing she tied into that was very relatable to our course as well as my work in culinary was the connectivity of all things in our world through technology.  She spoke on how this has changed dramatically in her career, noting that speed and efficiency were key in how all things are delivered.  We chatted on cloud computing (the idea of content being stored on remote drives) and tied it into moodle, a program we use for our PIDP courses, and that I also use for my culinary teaching.

I look forward to chatting with her again soon, and to stay in touch throughout PIDP to help keep some perspective on where our learning is heading.

Adult Learning: Things to consider

Another topic I have been reading up on over the holidays is adult learning.  This topic is quite relevant for me, as I have been truly working on what motivates me as an adult in general.  I have come to realize how results driven I am, and this ties directly into a few of the 8 characteristics listed. I am becoming more and more aware of how important it is for me currently as a student, as well important as an instructor, to connect personal experience with learning.  No one enjoys feeling as though they are failing or doing poorly at something, so if you’re able to make your students relate to their learnings through their own life experience, you’re probably more able to create a successful learning environment.

 

8 Important Characteristics of Adult Learners – ELearning Industry 

Trends in adult learning

I was browsing the internet for trends in adult learning over the holidays and came across this article which sums up some trends in a very tidy, easy to read manner.

I really appreciate the way it incorporates globalization as a big factor in how we treat adult learning.  Being aware of technology, social media trends and keeping your course relevant to these trends have now, more than ever, made teaching a lifelong learning task.

 

12 Trends (Still) Disrupting the Market for Lifelong Learning and Continuing Education By Jeff Cobb (2016)