Learning is a blend of structured and unstructured activities
Albert Einstein believed that play was the highest form of research. Certainly it has been proven that children who are active in unstructured play, not only have more advance social skills, but also have larger vocabularies; better problem solving skills; more independence, imagination and creativity; and are more adept at risk taking than those who are less involved in play. Play provides the foundation for learning in a child’s world and opens the door to a world of learning opportunities.
School teachers recognize that the traditional pedagogical approach to education, whereby a child is led through a content-oriented learning process by a teacher, does not appeal to all “types” of learners. There are myriad sub-types, but they can be broadly grouped into three main categories of visual, kinaesthetic and auditory learners. Thus, nowadays children are taught using a blend of these three styles and classrooms are far more dynamic places than they were in the past.
What happens to those children when they grow up and want to continue learning?
Like children, adults use a blend of all three learning styles. However, unlike their younger selves, adult learners prefer andragogy, which refers to process oriented strategies which enable adults to learn best. American educator, Malcolm Knowles, identified six characteristics that motivate adult learners:
- Adults need to know the reason for learning something
- Adults learn from experience (including error) which provides the basis for learning activities (Foundation).
- Adults need to be autonomous and self-directing (Self-concept).
- Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance to their work and/or personal lives (Readiness).
- Adults learn best by solving problems in a context or situation that is relevant and important to them rather than content-oriented (Orientation).
- Adults respond better to internal versus external motivators (Motivation).
Coracle has developed the Learning Line with all this knowledge in mind. Most adults are in education through choice and they already know the benefit of learning a new skill or topic, so they are willing learners. However, many are daunted by the prospect of returning to education or apprehensive about taking a seat in the classroom after a break of several years. Whilst the Learning Line does record traditional course based education, it also recognizes that experience is vital for consolidating learning and allows the learner to record other forms of learning, be it group discussions, experiments, role playing etc. In other words, activities that have broadened that person’s knowledge. The Learning Line enables adults to recognize the contribution of the vital unstructured learning activities in which they take part regularly and to see their own progress as they achieve results.
Adult learners do not want to be told what or how to learn, they want help with facilitating their active learning in a way that puts them in the driving seat and the most innovative technological vehicle available to steer their education is the Learning Line from Coracle.