Have you ever been asked the question “How do you learn?”
Like many people, I use several intelligence's to learn. I like to see things, experience things, hear about things, and talk about things. I do not believe that most learners fall into one box. I believe most people fall into an “out of the box” category. People are people. We learn different things for different reasons, at different times and in different ways. As adult learners, the reasons we learn impact our learning greatly as adults are usually more in control of what they learn, and when they learn it. Factors such as career requirements or career protection often govern how and why adults learn.
As a teacher in the adult learning world, I am also a student. I am constantly being challenged with the content of learning in addition to skillfully contextualising learning in an attempt to meet the needs of my captive audience – my students. The adult learning environment is evolving. Learning environments are changing. Teachers and trainers need to keep up.
VET trainers and assessors need to pivot and adapt to meet the needs of students. Trainers and assessors are required to develop relationships with students that support and inform the individual learner within a diverse classroom. Managing this relationship with the adult learner is crucial in order to build authentic and meaningful learning.
Trainers and assessors play a vital role in building community. In order to eliminate unnecessary distraction and maintain focus the trainer and assessor must be transparent and open about goals of learning and expectations of participants. In order to manage and manipulate the direction of the learning the trainer and assessor may attribute learning outcomes to enjoyment outcomes. A trainer and assessor should be an entertainer who impacts learning – making learning fun and relevant. The trainer and assessor who can do this is a skilled sharer of information.
There is no secret. An effective trainer and assessor loves what they do, and sees value in how and why people learn. They keep trying. A good trainer and assessor sees themselves as the servant rather than the master and puts in the effort to be prepared to serve the learner. The trainer and assessor who can deliver content in a simple and meaningful way, contextualised to the changing world while developing a therapeutic relationship with the learner, makes a difference.
WHAT DO TRAINERS AND ASSESSORS NEED TO DO?
VET Trainers and assessors are adult learners. As adult learners, trainers and assessors benefit from reflecting on yourself – your role, your style, your purpose, your knowledge and your goals. Know the systems in which you work, that is the VET system, the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015, the VET Capability Framework, Australian Qualifications Framework and other support documents.
Separate from the systems, VET trainers and assessors benefit from developing the rapport with the learner. This is where the fun begins. A good adult educator is more than a content expert. They know stuff and have experienced stuff but when educators invest time to develop relationships with learners that build empathy and confidence, learners grow in their readiness to learn. This is when magic happens.