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Learning-oriented learning methods in adult education: Impressions from the Digital Citizenship workshop

In this blog spot, in line with the principles of andragogy, the activities and experiences implemented in a training program prepared within the framework of Digital Citizenship theme for adult educators are shared.

“Adult” is the keyword that defines adult education. The adult expression represents the “status” of the individual. The person who determines this status has different characteristics of intelligence, physical strength, character traits, beliefs, and habits. However, five key factors affecting a learning situation. These are learner, learning method, learning content, tutor and learning environment.

When these five items are considered in terms of influencing on learning, learner features, learning method, and learning content are more prominent than others (1). Especially in adult learning, learner characteristics are more effective than other factors (2). Because the status of learners plays a decisive role in the effectiveness and success of the learning method and learning content. While learning, adults prefer self-directed learning according to their wishes. Their experience is the main source of learning processes. It affects their readiness to learn social roles. They prefer mostly problem-centered learning processes based on learner-centered rather than instruction-based learning (3). According to this information, it can be said that adult learning is more focused on problems and life rather than subject-oriented. Therefore, it is recommended to use more practical approaches based on problem-solving approaches than the theoretical approaches in adult education programs.

 

In the framework of the theory of andragogy (4, 5, 6) proposed by the Knowles, the conditions to be considered in adult education programs can be summarized as follows:

  1. “What are the most effective learning processes?” The answer to this question should be sought.
  2. Circular seating arrangements can be formed in small groups which allow group work instead of classical physical learning environments.
  3. Before starting education, a psychological atmosphere should be created that will allow participants to get to know each other and get used to them.
  4. In the learning environment, a respectful environment should be established between the instructor and the students and among the students.
  5. It should be possible for the participants to share mutual information in the environment.
  6. The instructor should make the students feel confident that they will finish the learning process in the way they need.
  7. The educational contents should be activity-based, not subject-based. The content should be edited in such a way that it can be up to date and associated with the participants' daily or professional lives.
  8. It is very important to create a learning environment where teacher support and classmates are supported by each other.
  9. An environment should be created in which everyone can speak easily to his / her mind and the instructor is the model in this regard.

Within the framework of the rules mentioned above, we have achieved successful results in an activity-based adult education workshop. The participants were happy to be actively involved in the learning environment and were happy to learn new information and/or refresh their knowledge. Following, examples of some educational activities designed within the question that is “What are the most effective learning processes?” are presented.

Warm-up activities: These activities are designed basically creative drama activities. Warm-up activities were carried out in order to enable the participants to get to know each other more closely and communicate and also, they are used in order to warm up with the theme subjects and to increase their energies/motivations, in the first hours.

An activity for the participants first meet (Let’s meet): Participants are asked to form a large circle. Then, starting from the event handler, each participant is asked to tell the participant on his right to the right. All the participants, in turn, pass on their names and a training-related feature (eg. his job, etc.) as a chain, so that the group gets to know each other. If the group dynamics are appropriate, participants may be asked to say their name in a way that reflects their mood.

An activity to create working groups at the beginning of the training (Let’s group): The participants will be asked to write their small notes and to put them in a large bag. Then everyone gets notepaper from the bag and tries to find the person whose name is written on the card at the same time. When he finds the person, he gives him the paper and puts his hand on his shoulder. According to the number of participants in the training, when a group of people (eg. 9 people) is formed to form a group, that group is placed in a study area. In this way, the whole group is contacted with each other and working groups are created.

Activity in order to warm up with the theme subjects (From ear to ear): This activity was implemented as a transition to the next group work. This activity starts with the instructor saying a sentence to one of the group's users. This sentence is asked to go from ear to ear chained. Once the group is completed, the sentence is requested to be written on a sheet of paper. Compared to the original sentence, which channel, where it is noticeable. Emotions are shared about this issue. It has been spoken that the information we talked about and received from many sources can sometimes be broken somewhere. At the end of the activity, it is emphasized that the information we receive from a source may not always be the correct information and that the accuracy of the information should be confirmed. Then “Which is fake?” activity was started.

Adult education programs should include activities that will enable learners to actively participate in learning. Activities can be designed to enable the use of student-centered learning methods such as creative drama, problem-solving and group discussion. Another important requirement is that learning contents are related to actual and real life. In this experienced training process,  “Which is fake?” and “You become me” activities can be given as examples of the mentioned activity designs. These activities have been implemented in order to increase the knowledge and awareness of adults participating in the training on information and media literacy which are the basic condition of digital citizenship.

An activity for recognizing the “fake” news and types (Which is fake?):  In this activity, each group was given papers containing three news from the internet. This news is all news with "mis/fake/dis" - information. They were asked to make a decision by discussing which news in the papers was "true" and which were “fake” news. In this group study, it is stated that they can use digital tools (eg. Smartphone, computer) as a source of information for approximately 10 min. At the end of the time, the groups were asked to throw the news they decided were “true” in a bag placed in the center of the hall. And then the groups were asked to explain the criteria they used to identify the “fake” news (s). At the end of the event, in fact, three news articles have been described as “fake” news. This activity enabled them to realize that if we were to make a quick decision and do not carefully and critically examine it, “fake” news could spread quickly through social networks  ("right" news in the bag). In addition, many news appears to be true, but the news in the form of “fake” news, especially the Internet, to ensure that there is a considerable amount. At the end of the event, "mis/fake/dis" news concepts are explained and the strategies that they should use to search for information/news on the internet are listed and the session is closed.

An activity to understand the digital footprints on social media (You become me): First, a roll of toilet paper was given to each group. Each participant was asked to remove the desired number of pieces from this roll. After everyone received the paper, each participant was asked to write a piece of information (birthplace, age, marital status, etc.) about each of the pieces of paper. Then each participant was asked to be a partner of the group, and about 7 minutes in each group's social network (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). they were asked to do research. They were asked to take notes on another paper in front of them. Afterward, the couples were asked to compare the information they had written about themselves on the social networks of the group partners. At this event, participants were unaware of the fact that they were aware that they could share more personal information on the internet than they wanted. Then, it is mentioned that social networks offer individuals the opportunity to create their digital identities and this is a process that needs attention. Lastly, the activity was ended by mentioning what should be done for information security in social networks.

It is believed that the knowledge and experiences shared there can be used by adult educators by adapting to their educational needs. Sharing experiences gained in this direction may contribute to the creation of good examples in adult education. You can review the workshop report for information about the events and the participants' views.

References

  1. Seven, M. A., & Engin, A. O. (2008). Öğrenmeyi etkileyen faktörler. Atatürk Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi, 12(2), 189-212.
  2. Günüç, S., Odabaşı, H. F., & Kuzu, A. (2012). Yaşam Boyu Öğrenmeyi Etkileyen Faktörler. Gaziantep University Journal of Social Sciences, 11(2).
  3. Gülden, A. K. I. N. (2014). Andragoji Kavramı ve Andragoji ile Pedagoji Arasındaki Fark. Ankara Üniversitesi Eğitim Bilimleri Fakültesi Dergisi, 47(1), 279-300.
  4. Knowles M. “Yetişkin Öğrenenler:Göz Ardı Edilen Bir Kesim” (çev. Serap Ayhan), A. Ü. Basımevi, Ankara 1996.
  5. Knowles, M. ve diğerleri (1984). Andragogy in Action. Jossey-Bass Inc. Publishers, San Francisco, California 94104, sy. 1-24, 99-204.
  6. Gülden, A. K. I. N. (2014). Andragoji Kavramı ve Andragoji ile Pedagoji Arasındaki Fark. Ankara Üniversitesi Eğitim Bilimleri Fakültesi Dergisi, 47(1), 279-300.
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