ERIC Number: EJ798708
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Reference Count: 36
Educator as Designer: Balancing Multiple Teaching Perspectives in the Design of Community Based Learning for Adults
Marienau, Catherine; Reed, Susan C.
New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, n118 p61-74 Sum 2008
Careful course design sets the stage for effective learning, whether in a formal or informal setting. Designers of learning experiences seek a balance among several learning objectives that compete for time in the classroom and for space on the syllabus. The nature of community based learning with adults multiplies the design decisions that must be made in taking into account distinctive characteristics of adult learners. Community based learning programs designed with adult students in mind make accommodations for adults' experiences and skills. Those designing reflection activities with volunteers also consider adults' experiences and needs. When designing community based learning for adults, educators are also balancing multiple perspectives on teaching, such as their concern with transmission of knowledge, along with the developmental value of experiential learning. In this article, the authors begin by drawing on the adult learning literature for theories and concepts that are fundamental to the design of learning for adults. Experienced educators will recognize that central ideas in adult learning (such as the value of experiential learning, the importance of reflecting on experience, and the social nature of learning) have become essential to the community based learning literature as well. The authors then review distinctive characteristics of adult learners that they urge educators to address in their course design. Finally, they consider various perspectives on teaching that educators may draw on in designing their courses. All these aspects of the planning process can be balanced in course design while recognizing the ongoing tensions among them. In this analysis, the authors call on their own experience with designing community based learning for adults and with focus groups that they conducted with adult students at the School for New Learning at DePaul University during the period of July 2005 through August 2006.
Descriptors: Experiential Learning, Adult Learning, Curriculum Design, Instructional Design, Community Education, Design Preferences, Knowledge Base for Teaching, Educational Principles, Educational Theories, Adult Education, Continuing Education, Fundamental Concepts
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Authoring Institution: N/A