Trends in Adult Education – Part 2 – Implications

Waterfront watercolour 2009
Out onto new waters – what’s next?

How will we as current or future instructors or facilitators for adult learners prepare for and manage the impact of technology on ourselves and our adult learners?

There are a few key points about technology particularly with mobile learning apps or 3D learning environments and learning that I think need to be considered.  My learning partners is exploring mobile apps and cell phones as educational tools.  I focused on 3D technology along with Dale’s Cone of Experience and impact to the adult learner.

What do I know about the impact of technology?  What do I need to do to prepare for these trends?

  • Technology is not going away any time soon.  Barring a huge catastrophe, technology is here to stay.  We need to “get with the program”.
  • Use of a critical eye — is the content valid, useful, and basically good or is the app or venue being used as a channel for advertising, rather than having the objective of sharing information that is accurate and providing an enhanced learning experience?  Just because someone hit “publish” on their blog doesn’t make the content appropriate, accurate or relevant.  A “flashy” webpage (no pun intended) does not necessarily mean valuable content.
  • Currency.  No, not money — although for some of the latest gear and widgets money can help, I am talking about keeping up to date.  On a personal level, I have my hands full just using facebook and Whatsapp and my confidence with other social media channels such as twitter are outside my comfort zone.
  • Speed of change.  Yes, technology keeps evolving at what seems like the speed of light, however there are some core pieces that as educators I expect we will continue to use – regardless of platform, mobile or otherwise:
    • Word processing
    • Spreadsheets
    • Instant messaging
    • Web Browsers
    • E books

After all is said and done, not leveraging cutting edge technology to aide in learning can be short sighted.  We are gradually moving away from a generation that did not experience the development of computers as part of their “growing up”.  My first exposure to computers was when my son had access to an Apple2 computer as a learning aide in elementary school.  I date myself by admitting this was in the late 80’s.  Intrigued by this new technology I checked out a book from the local library and took out a book on Basic computer programming.  I was hooked.  Later with my trusty 286 with a dot matrix printer I was well onto my way to computer literacy – bring on WYSIWYG Excel!!!.  Then came the web. ….. oh my.  Morale of the story, you just need to keep on keeping up….or risk getting left behind.

That’s a post for another day.

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