Topic outline

  • Philosophy


    Our education and training is very practical in nature. It is best described as active learning. We rely on you to describe your situation, problems you encounter and projects you want help with. We sincerely believe that our lives are too busy for you to learn something that isn't of value to you.

    We're told that our education standards are high and have become known internationally as a mentoring institution.

    It is extremely important to us that our clients/students/members are cherished, valued and respected. We do our best to treat you the way that we want to be treated.

    WHAT'S ACTIVE LEARNING?

    The knowWAY of teaching and mentoring you requires that we do our best to ensure that you participate actively. We believe that you are an equal partner in your learning. In the knowplace Family of Sites we firmly believe learning and teaching online is not very different than in-person training.  Strong andragogical principles of learning remain constant:

    1. Learning requires active participation and engagement by the learner,
    2. Participants learn in a variety of ways and at different rates, and
    3. Learning is both an individual and a social process.

    The following learning pyramid illustrates the emphasis of our philosophy. For you to learn and remember information.. we do our best to move you up the pyramid quickly! In fact, in our courses and activities, we start with the discussion of topics, support you to practice 'doing' (we call this.. learning with your fingers!) and of course we push you gently towards mentoring and teaching others.

     

    What's Andragogy?
    It is the art and science of teaching adults! knowplace adheres to andragogical principles as laid out by Malcolm Knowles, 1913 - 1979 USA. He is credited with popularizing the theory of andragogy.

    Malcolm Knowles, 1913 - 1979 The term 'andragogy,' comes from the Greek word 'anere' for adult, and 'agogus', the art and science of helping students to learn. The word describes the growing body of knowledge about adult learners in parallel with pedagogy. In andragogy, development is based upon a process design:
    • Design and manage a process for facilitating the acquisition of content by the learners.
    • Serve as a content resource and provide leads for other content resources (e.g. peers, supervisors, specialists).

    In practical terms, andragogy means that instruction for adults needs to focus more on the process and less on the content being taught. Strategies such as case studies, role playing, simulations, and self-evaluation are most useful. Instructors adopt a role of facilitator or resource rather than lecturer or grader.

    Principles of Andragogy:

    1. Adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction.

    2. Experience (including mistakes) provides the basis for learning activities.

    3. Adults are most interested in learning subjects that have immediate relevance to their job or personal life.

    4. Adult learning is problem-centered rather than content-oriented.

    Applying Andragogy To Course Design:

    Knowles provides an example of applying andragogy principles to the design of personal computer training:

    1. Adults need information to be relevant to them: There is a need to explain why specific things are being taught (e.g., certain commands, functions, operations, etc.)

    2. Information should be practical: Instruction should be task-oriented instead of memorization -- learning activities should be in the context of common tasks to be performed.

    3. Adult learners are diverse: Instruction should take into account the wide range of different backgrounds of learners; learning materials and activities should allow for different levels/types of previous experience with computers.

    4. Adults are self directed, but need guidance: Since adults are self-directed, instruction should allow learners to discover things for themselves, providing guidance and help when mistakes are made.

    Information adapted from: http://tip.psychology.org/knowles.html


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    What's Constructivism?

    Constructivism is the educational theory used in the knowplace Family of Sites courses. The theory places the emphasis on the learner to direct the content. The teacher becomes a learning facilitator rather than a traditional teacher.

    "guide-on-the-side, not sage-on-the-stage"

    At knowplace we encourage you to tell us what you want to learn and help to direct your learning. We also ask that you actively help other course members to achieve their learning goals. We require you to participate actively in discussions and construct knowledge together.

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    How Does Constructivism Impact Learning in the knowplace Family of Sites?

    Curriculum:

    Customized to meet the students’ prior knowledge and goals. It emphasizes hands-on problem solving activities.

    Facilitators:

    • Rely heavily on open-ended questions and promote extensive dialogue among students;
    • Make connections between facts and people to foster new understanding;
    • Tailor strategies to student responses; and
    • Encourage students to analyze, interpret, and predict information.

    Assessment Strategies:

    Grades and standardized testing is rare. Instead, assessment is an integral part of the learning process and students play a large role in judging their own progress and their experiences.

    Jerome Bruner
    Jerome Bruner

    USA, 1914 -
    Father of Constructivism

    At the time of writing, he's still teaching part-time in the law department at New York University!