Something I’ve not really cracked, and I don’t think anyone has, is how to deliver learning sessions well for adults.
What we’ve mastered, down to the finest details, is how to design a learning session brilliantly. I don’t know if this equates to how adults learn.
In a face to face session this often involves presenting some knowledge, getting the group to do an exercise of some sort, using reflection to get into learning, and create some form of action plan.
In the e- environment this often involves information needing to be read, some audio and visual content to present it differently, and some text based exercises.
In the online environment this often involves a slide deck, some very clear instructions for what to do next, a chat facility, and some interesting use of interactive software.
In the social learning space this tends to include enterprise social networks, online collaboration tools, communities of practise (online and in person), and wikis or blogs.
These are all useful and helpful in various ways, and as we know, context is everything. What might work for one group may not work for another. Also, that classic question of efficacy of learning always rears its head.
We’re learning more about how adults learn. There’s more of a focus on using principles from neuroscience to design learning sessions that are in line with what process the brain goes through to take in information.
I get stuck, though, when trying to unlock whether or not the learning sessions we deliver, or facilitate to happen, are actually supportive of the adult learning process.
It feels like we’re taking a lot of learning from academics and the likes and applying that knowledge to our situations. And it feels like we’re taking the developed technology and adapting it for our learning needs. I wonder if what is missing is practitioners actually carrying out research that charts the adult learning process in a work environment. I also wonder if what is missing is practitioners developing their own technology based on this research.