As part of my assignment I have been asked to reflect on the three following Guiding
Questions, “New Insights”, “Trends” and my “Web Conference Experience”.
Through my research I have discovered some major differences in the way adults learn
(andragogy) and the way youth learn (pedagogy). Recognizing these differences will
help tailor my instructional techniques for my adult learners. In particular is my post on
being a facilitator. Adult learners need to know what they are learning can be applied
to their immediate situation. They do not respond well to the traditional lecture
method but prefer to be self-directed. Forced attendance with adults is likely to lead to
the adult learner being there in body not in mind. With adult learners it is better to tap
into the collective knowledge of the group and use this knowledge as a discussion
rather than dictating. As David Lobdell (1998) states “It is not unlike handling a major fire
or other incident using the Incident Command System where the Incident Commander
in effect facilitates the mitigation of the disaster using the collective knowledge and
experience of the group”.
Some of the trends in my field are the hiring of new firefighters that have a minimum of
a postsecondary diploma or degree. According to Stats Canada (see link provided) the
province of Quebec saw a rise in fire firefighters who have a post secondary degree in
1991 from 59% to 85% in 2006. Recurrent training is always ongoing and this new group
of firefighters is very media savvy. The use of Facebook, Blogs, Twitter, Skype etc. are all
becoming part of the norm and will continue to develop and be a part of teaching this
new age of Adult Learners.
It has been a few days since my last Skype call with my learning partner, so I have had some
time to reflect on this whole “Web-Conferencing” thing. I can see web-conferencing as another
useful tool in the educators tool kit. It is a way to link the instructor and the student and even
fellow students together. Just as in Bloom’s taxonomy one can get the students to teach one
another. I personally was glad to have my learning partner and learned
numerous things from her, not the least of which was the comfort of knowing there was
someone else out there going through the exact same things I was.