What they learn must be relevant to their needs


What they learn must be relevant to their needs (e.g. work)

The Learning Challenge – Narative
Strengthen the desire/need for learning as a value in its own right and not as a means of obtaining a job or residence permit. The adult who decides to learn establishes in a certain sense to change his or her behaviour, to acquire methods and strategies that allow him or her to face new situations and to operate according to precise objectives. This is why motivation plays a central role in all theories of adult learning. The adult implements a change that implies personal research and awareness of his/her own knowledge and strategies, with the aim of social and professional improvement.

Solving the Problem: Activities for Learning Groups

Activity 1

Title of activity

Emotional reinforcement

Working on the activity – Suggestions

Praise the learners for each intermediate goal achieved. This will encourage them to continue to work at it, become better at it and feel rewarded and strengthen their self-esteem. The sense of self-efficacy has a great influence on the choices and commitment made by the learner. It affects people’s beliefs about their ability to achieve a goal.
Activity 2

Title of activity

Increase Likelihood of Success to Build Mastery

Working on the activity – Suggestions

One way to set students up for success is to use scaffolding. This gives them a supporting framework during the learning process to help them independently transition from what they can already do to more difficult tasks. Scaffolding involves giving students a “road map”; the lesson is broken into chunks, and supports are available for each chunk. As students develop their skills, teachers can gradually remove scaffolding and build autonomy. Scaffolding can be horizontal (building a bridge), which involves teachers evaluating whether their guided practice exercises have sufficiently prepared students to succeed at similar problems on their own. Scaffolding can also be vertical (building a ladder), which involves teachers comparing starting skills to end learning goals and placing enough “rungs” on the ladder to help students progress. Some students will need more supports, and some will need ewer; teachers should help them identify where they are on the road map. To help accommodate a range of abilities, teachers should choose tasks that have a low floor (even beginners can have some successes) and a high ceiling (even advanced students will be challenged). Another way to support mastery experiences is to set students up to achieve frequent, small successes. As with the scaffolding process, this involves chunking a larger goal or learning objective into smaller attainable goals. In addition to setting goals, students should be encouraged to track their progress toward those goals so they can see their improvements, even when incremental.

Solving the Problem: Self-reflection (educator’s reflection)

Reflecting on the Problem Solving measures taken to overcome the challenge
Motivating adults to training as a path in its own right, means putting the experience at the centre of the learning process, expanding the boundaries of the training experience itself, which, in addition to the formal and institutional – i.e. traditional – one should be the one made in non-formal (non-standard training paths) and informal learning environments (daily activities, learning by doing).
Reflecting on the changes in the group dynamics
Teachers and educators have to take into account the different specificities of the adults they are confronted with by seeking a balance between the individual and group development process, adapting teaching accordingly to individual differences within the group-class. For this reason, in the teaching of each discipline, methods should be activated to develop different and more autonomous learning processes (by discovery, by action, by problems, etc.); to guarantee a customizable educational offer (adopting different methods for each type of learning); to promote and/or consolidate students’ interest and motivation.
Reflecting on personal change
It is important to use methods focused on the discovery, more or less guided, of the self: methods with narrative orientation, with an autobiographical approach or based on the balance of skills. In all these cases, the adult’s identity, personal and work experience, the areas of strength and empowerment are reconstructed and re-contextualised with the help of a teacher/expert in order to insert them into the new training and personal growth horizon.

Points for Discussion with your Organisation

Within each institution working with adults it is important to identify the best and most effective learning strategies according to the type of learners. The diversity of forms and tools allows a wide choice of solutions, so as to be able to respond, at least theoretically, to every educational need. For example, with subjects with less independence it is better to favour more structured environments and more managerial approaches; while, for subjects with greater self-control and meta-cognitive domination skills, approaches based on cooperation, dialogue and sharing are more suitable.

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