Reflection on the Adult Educator Web Conference

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Web conferencing via the medium Skype with my learning partner George was a refreshing approach to any group project work I had done in previous courses. Previous ways of communication in my past, whether it be email or telephone, provided many challenges. Emails were often too short and did not convey a proper tone, nor do they adequately express any emotion. I personally felt that with email, it was not efficient for time management, as you were often waiting for the respondent to respond or pose another thought. This creating a lot of back and fourth, and at some points, added confusion.
Communicating with George via Skype allowed for us to remain on topic and share our thoughts and opinions freely in real time. Utilizing Skype showed me another medium to use and reminded me how technology has changed, and for the better!

Through our Skype session, we were able to share our research on our topic of “Blended Learning.” We each were able to share and teach other about our findings about our topic. It prompted some interesting dialogue on the broadness of our topic as we shared some of our other findings regarding the topic and what the terminology can really mean. We both agreed that online learning is on the rise and is a leading trend, and as instructors, we need to adapt our instructional strategies and to implement new ways to engage our students.

One thing that really stuck out for me in this web conference was how the terminology “Blended Learning” can be looked at in a classroom environment, but also in a corporate setting. We discussed a little bit about my current role and how “Blended Learning” is an emerging trend. It was good to see that research is also showing a increase in the workplace as well.

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Insights on the Roles of Adult Educators

My first blog post…wow, I am certainly impressed with myself!  Have you ever felt like the above picture? I know that I sometimes fear the ever evolving world of technology, which I am learning to be quite common. With the rapid increase in technology these days, it is very hard to keep current and up to date with technology. When you look at the last twenty years from the inception of the internet to current day times, there has been remarkable leaps taken. I recently was visiting my brother and his family. My nephew, aged three, immediately picked up my smartphone, navigated his way through my sea of apps, emails, and other widgets and found his way to where the games were. Absolutely remarkable. How does he know how to use this device? Where is he learning how to navigate such complex terrain? It begins to make you think about the ways our future generations will learn. How will this effect me as an Adult Education Instructor?

Growing up in an era where almost all of my learning was done in a classroom setting with face to face instruction by the teacher and little time with a computer until the high school days, I have to admit that the new way of “online learning” yet alone “blogging” has been a new experience for me. It is very evident that the ways in which people are learning is making a drastic shift and the role of technology is playing a large part in this.

Together with my learning partner, George, we picked a topic that we felt emulated this shift in technology. We chose the subject “Blending Learning Approaches” as it is changing the ways in which we learn, and therefore teach. Gone are the days of ongoing lectures, whereby our students are expected to sit and absorb the words being taught.

Through research, George was able to locate a definition that the both of us used as a guiding light to our research. George came across the UBC website “ http://etec.ctlt.ubc.ca/510wiki/Blended_Learning ” authored by Sheila Hancock and Tamara Wong (February 2011) that contains the definition in general of the Blended Learning.

Quote “Blended learning is learning that is facilitated by the effective combination of different modes of delivery, models of teaching and styles of learning which are applied in an interactively meaningful learning environment. As this is a general definition, we can abstract sub-definitions from it:

  • Blended learning courses combine online and classroom learning activities and resources in an optimal way to improve student learning outcomes and to address important institutional issues.
  • Blended learning is the organic integration of thoughtfully selected and complementary face to face and online approaches and technologies
  • Blended Learning is defined as a combination of traditional face-to-face learning and online learning.”

The expectation of our students will be that we use different mediums, and integrate interactive computer technology to change the learning experience to a more individualistic approach, which will ultimately lead to a change in our role where we will be less traditional teachers and more facilitators. I feel that this is appropriate in the Hospitality field, as the demographics of “students” is quite varied and everyone has not only their own learning style, but motivational triggers.

This role change to incorporate a blending learning environment has me scared and nervous, as it is a different approach that is still evolving. With that said, I am very excited to try new techniques in my role of an instructor or corporate trainer.