Objective: An effective adult educator must truly understand the assumptions of andragogy, and present course content in a classroom based on the following factors; the content presented by the educator must be useful to learners otherwise there will be monotony throughout the class. The content presented should be in some way relevant to the learners everyday life, as adult learners learn best when they are able to determine a relevance to the content which needs to be learned. The classroom environment should be motivating, welcoming, engaging and most importantly respectful. Adult learners need to feel safe in the learning environment as this allows them to express themselves fully, which results in higher level learning (Northwest Center of Public Health Practices, 2012). Once an educator has reached an understanding on the assumptions andragogy, then the strategies of instructing the course content can be explored. But prior to this it is imperative to prepare course content ahead of time and understand that there must be an alignment within the curriculum, instruction and assessment. When curriculum, instruction and assessment are aligned together within the educational system, there is a clear understanding between the educator and the learners; therefore, the learning outcome is evident. Each of these three components must meet perfect alignment which is consistent, in agreement, matched or work together (Nasstrom, 2008 pg. 14). Once alignment has been achieved then the educator can work on delivering the course content, within this stage of instruction there are various instructional strategies that an educator can utilize. Some of the common instructional techniques are interactive lecturing, case scenarios, small group discussions, or simulations. All of these techniques, when incorporated into a lesson will allow for higher level learning and more importantly the learners are active participants in the learning process. There have been many studies and experiments which have shown that what is remembered by learners depends on the teaching methods used (Lasky, Otto & Morrish, n.d.). The amount of information that learners remember increases when more learner-centered interactive teaching methods are used (Lasky, Otto & Morrish, n.d.).
Reflective: The use of interactive techniques not only promotes higher level learning, but more importantly the learners are able to completely gain an understanding of the course content; therefore the content is retained. It is imperative to use interactive techniques as this limits learners from playing games on their laptops, listening to their iPods, dazing off or just not paying attention due to monotony. Novice educators will most likely use instructor-centered teaching, such as lecturing as this is the easiest form of instruction, and research has shown that with this type of teaching method learners absorb the least amount of information. But as an educator gains experience and further instructor-educational programs are utilized, they will come to know how to implement interactive techniques and which strategies work best with their learner population. I personally have utilized multiple interactive techniques within my lesson plans as there is no one method that always works, but I have found the use of group discussions on main topics of lesson content works well with majority of my students. I find that my students are able to retain, understand and remember content of a lesson far better than when lesson content is explained over an instructor-centered lecture. During these group discussions learners are able to teach one another, as this technique promotes critical thinking, motivates, engages and allows learners to gain a sense of accomplishment. The primary benefit of group discussion is intelligent discussion by learners which allows the further engagement in thinking and analyzing course content rather than listening to a lecture where to educator “does all the chatting.”
Interpretive: Effective instructional strategies permits an environment of motivation, collaboration, engagement and most importantly allows the learners to participate in their own learning goals. Teachers who actively engage students will use hands-on lessons that require students to use multiple learning skills and higher order thinking to construct meaning and knowledge (Resnick, 1987). Multiple sources of research suggest that when interactive instructional strategies are used in a lesson and throughout the course there has been a greater level of overall achievement. Today’s educational environments are changing and the use of interactive devices are commonly being used such as, iPads, social media network sites, blogs, wiki and multiple other technological devices. With this in mind, our learners are also changing and need to be actively engaged within the learning process. Educators can make use of any of these technological devices and incorporate them into a lesson and use them in a positive method to keep today’s generation of learners motivated and involved in the course content.
Decisional: With a fair amount of research, I have come to know the importance of keeping my students motivated to learn. When using the different instructional strategies, the effects on learning are phenomenal and overall a greater level of achievement among the learners is prominent. I will continue to implement the various different instructional strategies within my lessons and continue to encourage learner participation. Furthermore, educators need to understand the assumptions of andragogy, the numerous different learning styles and what instructional techniques need to be implemented based on the different learning needs of leaners to ensure a motivating educational environment.
Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (2012) Effective Adult Learning, A Toolkit for Teaching Adults. Retrieved from: http://www.nwcphp.org/documents/training/Adult_Education_Toolkit.pdf on October 1, 2013.
Nasstrom, G., (2008) Measurement of Alignment between Standards and Assessment. Department of Educational Measurement Umeå University. Retrieved from: umu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:142244/FULLTEXT01 on October 1, 2013.
Lasky, B., Otto, M., & Morrish, W., (n.d.). Teaching Methodologies Practical Law for Law Students. Community Legal Education Course Manual. Retrieved from: http://wordpress.babseacle.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/BABSEA_CLE_Teaching_Methods_Manual-7-Sep-2010.pdf on October 1, 2013.
Resnick, L. B. (1987). Learning to think. Washington, DC: National Academy Press