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Best Practices: Trends of Adult Learners


Today, we're continuing the blog series, "Best Practices." Written by Moodlerooms' very own Learning Solutions team, the Best Practices series is a bi-weekly feature highlighting best practices for Moodle use inside and outside of the traditional classroom.

In today's post, Moodlerooms Instructional Designer and Trainer, Emily Danler, highlights how faculty can be most successful in new learning opportunities.

Thanks for reading,
- Brad


As an educator, it’s all about practicing what you preach.

Whenever we create lessons, assignments or activities, putting ourselves in the learners’ shoes is one of the most powerful things we can do. If we want our students to thoughtfully read information presented to them, we must do the same in our own professional development. If we want students to engage, contribute, be open to learning new things and challenge existing viewpoints, we must also walk the talk.

When I work with faculty in Moodle training situations, both virtually and face-to-face, there’s one golden rule faculty should remember to set themselves up for success with Moodle:

Attitude is everything.

Faculty who embrace a spirit of learning and approach change as a possibility for progress and growth will be the ones who most quickly discover the power of Moodle and how it can diversify learning for students. Those who resist come around in the end, but the journey is not nearly as productive.

In a sense, Moodle is not just a learning management system (LMS) – it’s a pedagogical style and a different way to approach the art of teaching. Moodle empowers students to be active in their own learning, and instructors to be creative and innovative in their teaching. Moodle encourages a constructivist theory of learning that invites instructors to stay abreast of not only the latest in their own fields, but also the world of online teaching and instructional design. Making the transition to Moodle can offer exciting possibilities, particularly if we, as adult learners, become more aware of our learning process.

Here are a few tips derived from Malcolm Knowles (coined the term andragogy), and my on-the-ground training experience to help you overcome the challenges that can come with change, and better understand the learning process for most adults:

  • Problem/Solution – When it comes to training in a new LMS, this means incorporating best practices, job aids, just in time video tutorials, open lab hours, and more. This approach works best for adult learners.
  • Respect & Autonomy – Choosing an appropriate and relevant pathway of learning is key for adult learners. This can translate into self-paced courses, choice of training options, and more.
  • Novice/Expert Distinction – It’s important to recognize expertise and differentiate content so as not to overload a newbie or bore a more experienced or accomplished learner.
  • Less is More – If we want people to read what we have to say, we need to say it concisely. This goes for training situations as well as the virtual classroom. Streamlining content and presenting it clearly are absolute musts.

What’s the bottom line? Change is the only constant in life, or in this case, teaching and learning. As ever-changing technologies provide new opportunities, the more educators welcome these changes today, the more successfully prepared their students will be for tomorrow.

- Emily

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