Adult learners are different to child learners. Adult learners learn for different reasons than child learners. They have different experiences of learning and different expectations from learning. I am not saying that it is easier to teach adult learners but merely that it is different.
Our world is changing and so must we. We must develop innovation and change within ourselves, within our workplaces and within our industry. Dempsey (2013), a West Australian researcher believes that lifelong learning has become a progressively important strategy for success in our society. She believes that recognised qualifications are becoming increasingly valued.
Check out her research paper – it is very well written and easy to interrupt.
Hence as adult learners, the reason we learn includes a plan for success – be it personal, professional or a combination of both. The increase in personal development opportunities and industry is testament to this. Professionally, the value a business or industry places on qualifications and continuing professional development is growing in many industries. For example, teachers, nurses, doctors, allied health professionals, personal trainers all must record and declare a predetermined number of professional development hours attended each year to maintain registration or currency. This must be declared and provable each year.
Review CPD (Continuous Professional Development) requirements for health professionals from the APHRA website
Once I became brave enough to acknowledge my love of teaching and learning, I developed the courage to retrain to gain the qualifications to teach. I opted to teach children – the pre-hormonal type. I didn’t believe that I could tackle the more complicated, hormonal or post hormonal type of learner. I believed there was too much of a chance that I might be caught out as not knowing everything. Thus, began my career as a primary school teacher. My learning journey continued.
Nevertheless, I had not completely ignored all those experiences that I had racked up over the years of mentoring and teaching adults in the workplace and in life. As someone who has journeyed through life, I have scars. My profession in the early part of my career was as a Registered Nurse where I saw the best and the worst of life (I believe). I like working with people and for people. It is what I have always wanted to do. AS such, I was a teacher, and a learner. I think most of us are – with or without formal qualifications. As workers, we help other workers. As adults we should help other adults learn their jobs. We should support each other in life. In life we are learning to teach and we are learning to learn. I believe adult learners have a wealth of knowledge and skill to teach.
How can business’ and individuals use this?
Innovation and change within the domestic and international markets is inevitable. Business’ and individuals need to be innovative and accepting of change in what we do and how we do it to succeed. We need to build a strong primary, secondary and tertiary – including VET Sector education that encourages an easy transition through the sectors. Education needs to work together. Education sectors need to value all contributors. WE need to work together to build the live long learning philosophy that builds the knowledge and skills necessary to guarantee a productive contribution to the national workforce – as outlined in the ASQA Standards for RTO’s 2015.