Friday, November 15, 2013

Empowering Learners

I recently stumbled on this great short film featuring Stephen Heppell, on empowering young learners. So much content exists out there that focuses on young learners - there are so many people, groups, papers agitating for change in education.

I challenge you to watch this and think about adult learners.
Think about professionals (who are also learners by the way).
Think about how work gets done at work.
Think about how change happens at work.
About how people deal with change at work.
About how new things are taken on, absorbed, adapted to fit.

The ideas Heppell talks about are supposedly a reaction to the way education has been managed as a system and institution up to now. If that's the case, and education (or learning) for adults is still happening inside institutions (the companies we all work for), what should the response of the adult education professional be? How do we create engaging, learner-centred, authentic learning experiences? How do we remove the standards and expectations placed on 'learning interventions' while still serving a business objective? Is that even possible?

I was lucky enough to speak on the same program with Stephen Heppell a few years ago at Teaching and Learning with Vision conference (as an aside, I'm so disappointed there was no conference this year!). I would never compare myself to Heppell, but until we met at the opening night drinks I had no idea how lucky I was to be hearing him speak, let alone be on the same program as him! Stephen's work is very focused on young learners (read: children) and schools, however I highly recommend going to the trouble to hear him speak if you get the chance. His natural style, ground-breaking research and funny asides are worth it.