This article will discuss how technology supports and facilitates instruction to all learners. Facilitators have the challenge of creating lessons that integrate technology in the work place. Finding effective instructional strategies to meet adult learner needs is crucial to achievement.
Integrating technology into a curriculum has proven successful in education and training. Regardless of age, technology based instruction supports adult learning. Educational and business curriculums integrate technology to teach various skills such as analyzing, interpreting, and summarizing data. Adult learners can cultivate problem-solving skills, which are transferable to the work place. Online learning and e-learning programs enable adult learners to attain a degree or certification to increase marketability. Adult learners “benefit from actively observing discussions and others prefer to be actively posting messages.” (Githens, 2007 p.8)
|Meeting Training Challenges|
Directly connect training programs and technology to tasks.
Use Interactive student centered activities
Use clear and brief learning objectives
Connecting Technology Programs To On The Job Tasks
Businesses utilize technology by creating programs, which connect skills to job tasks. Training programs are meeting the needs of adult learners through motivating lessons and immediate implementation. Business facilitators must create lessons for English language learners, adults with little education, and technology utilization. Therefore, literacy and language programs support technology instructions, because adults “who had recently completed full-time education and were therefore less likely (0.73) to have recent but non-continuous experience.” (Gorard, Selwyn, & Madden, 2003 p.11)
Facilitation of technology-based instruction can be implemented by student-centered activities. Student-centered learning activities enable learners to choose the topic and learning outcome products. For example, learning outcomes can include creating a graph, utilize Excel, and Word software tools. Learners can determine how to utilize technology tools and make connections to the real world. The “inability to access the Internet is a factor in encouraging more people to start studying again.” (Gorard, Selwyn, & Madden, 2003 p.13) Technology based instruction is motivating learners to attain literacy and marketable skills.
Trainers and educators can facilitate learning by using rubrics for reviewing learning outcomes. Adult learners can utilize rubrics as a guide and an evaluation tool. The facilitation of technology has various benefits such as, supports student centered collaborations, “built around learner needs, focused on front-line experiences, and based on evidence and research.” (Richardson, Ecclesfield, & Lewis, 2008, p.1) Educators endeavor to utilize technology literacy programs in training workshops and meet the diverse adult learning needs.
Overcoming Biases: Age or Limited Skills
Facilitators and trainers have various challenges to providing technology instruction. “Biases that cause management to avoid “wasting money” on developing older workers.” (Githens, 2007 p.6) Adult learners may be planning retirement or stay in the workplace for a limited time. Facilitators may be motivated to provide instruction to younger adult learners and create lesson, which cater to a younger audience. Therefore, the challenge for facilitators is to utilize older learners and create incentives, which motives participation in training.
Implementing various types of training programs is crucial to motivating adult learners to participate in educational training. Research reveals that “less-educated individuals and those who work(ed) in blue collar jobs are less likely to participate in adult education programs. “ (Githens, 2007 p, 6) Facilitators need to create training modules catered to the diverse gender and age ranges. In addition, finding topics and activities that increase the achievement rate can encourage adult learners to participate in short term programs.
For example, facilitators can find materials that relate to various generations and allow learners to choose topics based on interest. Technology based lessons can motivate learners to research topics which relates to the learners generation such as comparing and contrasting how a particular products has changed. Older employees can create graphs, spreadsheets, and word documents based on the wealth of knowledge built up over the years. Therefore, facilitators need to utilize what an older employee knows and build new skills in a comfortable learning environment.
In conclusion, technology based instruction serves to support and facilitate adult learning in various ways. Technology can be used to teach new skills by helping learners to interpret, analyze, compare, and summarize data. Adult learners can utilize technology tools and apply new skills immediately to on the job tasks. Barriers or challenges to providing technology-based instruction to adult learners are facilitator bias and learner abilities. Unfortunately, facilitators may feel that training older adults is a waste of time. Some facilitators feel that older learners’ time on the job is limited and unwilling to learn technology or new skills. In addition, adults with little or no educational background present a challenge, because funding is needed to provide literacy skills. However, regardless of age, facilitators can motivate learning by creating lessons that cater to all learning abilities.
Githens, R., (2007). Older adults and e-learning: Opportunities and barriers. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, Vol. 8 (4), p. 329-338.
Gorard, S., Selwyn, N., & Madden, L., (2003). Logged on to learning? Assessing the impact of Technology on participation in lifelong learning. Int.J. of Lifelong Education, Vol 22 (3) p. 281-296.
Richardson, T., Ecclesfied, N., & Lewis, C., (2008). Harnessing technology to support learning.Adults Learning. Vol. 19 (8). P. 20-22
Missy Mac (author) from Illinois on February 28, 2013:
You are correct Nell Rose. Older generations are finding that the internet can be used for banking, applying for social security, schooling and many important tasks. One can even skype or email friends and family. Training is crucial. Thanks for reading.
Nell Rose from England on February 27, 2013:
I have been using a computer since they first came out, and still find things that I don't know, so imagine older or less able people being able to do it, so any training is really useful, especially in this day and age of technology, great hub, and voted up! nell
Missy Mac (author) from Illinois on February 16, 2013:
Technology is ever changing and adults and children need to keep abreast of these changes. Job security and knowledge is a concern regardless of age. Thanks for reading.
Tammy from North Carolina on February 16, 2013:
I never thought about how difficult it could be to teach technology to adults and children. Very interesting!
Missy Mac (author) from Illinois on January 10, 2013:
Thanks for stopping by and reading rajan jolly. Regardless of age, technology is challenging and training is crucial.
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 10, 2013:
Very interesting and informative. Thanks.