Intangible. Can’t touch them, but you can try to wrap your head around them. For me, I need a reason to ponder an idea. It doesn’t have to be a practical reason, but it has to be a reason that gets my head in gear and focuses it on thinking.
At the recent CAIS and AIMS Tech Retreats, we did a lot of pondering of ideas, in particular, ideas about optimal conditions for getting adults to learn. The focus of my CAIS session was how adults learn, and at AIMS it was professional development and collaborating with colleagues, but the topics certainly overlap. In both instances, an overflow of ideas emerged from group brainstorms.
Anytime you ask teachers to generate ideas about how adults learn, you are bound to get a combination of thoughts based upon themselves as both learners and teachers. The result is a well-rounded list of suggestions, which I entered into a Google Doc. There are any number of ways that this list could have been organized, and if I have the opportunity to try this exercise again, sticky notes may be substituted for index cards so that people can play around in real-time with categorizing the feedback.
The almost thirty participants touched upon the major components necessary for adult learning:
• having a reason to learn
• feeling in control of the process
• being in a safe environment
• tapping prior knowledge
• appealing to emotions
• providing an experiential component
• setting aside time for reflection
as well as accommodating varied learning styles.
After looking over their ideas, what, if anything, would you add to their brainstorm list?