Hello there, and welcome. We're going to begin to look at the alignment between professional development plans and Malcolm Knowles' six assumptions of adult learning. In this lesson, we will focus on assumption number one, learner's self-concept. Let's begin.
Self-directed learning pops up in my life multiple times daily. Some people just like to figure out things on their own, and I'm one of them. Call it intrinsic motivation, if you want. But the feeling I get from learning something new that I want to learn about drives me to solve problems.
I have a friend who's really good at fixing small engines, and I'm constantly texting him pictures of my lawn equipment whenever it breaks. When I have the time to sit down and try to fix things, I take his advice. I also look at YouTube or read manuals. Sure, I save a lot of money when I succeed with one of my repairs. But the feeling I get knowing that I fixed it myself is priceless.
In order to achieve our own personal continuous improvement, we need to apply the tenets of adult learning theories when analyzing professional development. Alignment to Knowles' six assumptions of adult learning is something that can happen individually or as an organization looking at the district wide professional development plan. The process begins with the design of a professional development and ends at the implementation, and includes everything in between.
It's important for teachers to recognize the connection a professional learning and classroom practice to implementation through the lens of Knowles' six assumptions of adult learning. In this lesson, we'll go through the steps of alignment with assumption number one, which is called learner's self-concept, which states that adults are likely to want to have influence and choice on their own learning.
An analysis like this is meant to be evaluative in nature, thus potentially leading to solutions and recommendations. The questions asked are very open ended, so there are no wrong answers.
The first step is to identify areas of existing alignment. Next, you identify areas of misalignment. And finally, you identify areas for enhancement or improvement.
Let's begin with learner's self-concept, which is actually closely related to self-directed learning theory, and can also be applied to professional development. It's all about choice. For example, a teacher might want to learn more about math workshop and choose to direct their own learning experiences by participating in a webinar about the topic.
Here's another example. A district is implementing a new grade book program. In order to learn how to use it, teachers would definitely need access to a computer and to online training programs about the grade book. This type of learning can happen anywhere, and at their own pace. It's completely up to the teacher. There's no restraint on time or space.
With this as our backdrop, let's ask and answer some questions. These questions will help us decide if the plan for professional development described is aligned with assumption one. Teachers in this district are allowed to choose when and where they want to learn about the topic. Although the object has been selected for them, teachers are able to decide what areas they want to dive deeper in, and in what direction they want to take their own learning.
One can speculate that teachers were involved in the design of this particular plan. But even if they weren't, they can design what works best for them and how to receive the content. Once they learn the new grade book program, teachers are certainly able to customize it to meet their own classroom needs.
Next, we'll take a look at any areas of misalignment or violations of assumption one. In our example, we'd want to make sure that there was teacher representation on the professional development team that made the decision to approach learning in this manner. In this case, learners can choose not only the time and place for the learning, but the pace and depth as well. Since all teachers are expected to access and utilize the new program, learners will most certainly apply the new skills and knowledge that they acquire.
The final step is to look for areas that can be enhanced, because sometimes the plan may look good on paper but needs some tweaking in order to be fully aligned and come to fruition the way that you envisioned it. As mentioned earlier, it's important to have teacher representation on any committees making decisions about professional development.
For our grade book example, perhaps teachers might decide to work in groups collaboratively to achieve learning objectives. And learner's self-concept means that as a person matures, they move from being a dependent personality towards being more self-directed.
So it's time to go ahead and summarize this lesson. We started by introducing the importance of aligning professional development with adult learning theories in general. We looked at the three steps. Identifying alignment, identifying misalignment, and identifying areas of enhancement. I then modeled an analysis of a professional learning opportunity using a series of questions.
And now for today's food for thought. What is your self-concept as a learner? Do you like being given choices, or do you prefer that others direct your learning?
For more information on how to apply what you learned in this video, please check out the additional resources that accompany this presentation. The additional resources include links useful for applications of the course material, including brief descriptions of each resource. Thanks so much for watching. We'll see you next time.
(00:51-01:35) Alignment to Assumption #1
(01:36-01:56) The Steps
(01:57-02:35) Learners Self Concept
(02:36-03:14) Step 1
(03:15-03:40) Step 2
(03:41-04:12) Step 3
(04:13-04:59) Summary/Food for Thought
Andragogy and Teacher Professional Development
This site provides a clear connection between the importance of considering andragogical principles and developing professional development opportunities for teachers.
The Importance of Andragogy in Education
This blog post by Tom Whitby stresses the importance of considering the principles of andragogy in professional development design. Whitby indicates professional development should be active, teacher-centered, and include opportunities for dialogue.