Its an ordinary activity?but it holds extra denary potential for growth and change when you pursue it with specific, intense purpose in an academic setting. Then it empowers you! We begin our book by looking at ways that learning can create meanings LU change in your life. Thinking about How Learning Can Change You So here you are, one among many millions of adults who have chosen to go b jack to school to finish their college education, and you have chosen an online program to do that. Maybe you have thought about it for 2 a long time, or maybe it was an impulsive decision.
Perhaps it is a long overdue personal goal, or maybe it was driven by professional needs. There are lots of reasons why adults are ret ruining to university studies in increasing numbers: fulfillment of a lifelong dream, a push from an employer, a gnawing sense Of “more out there,” or even a sense of guilt at not having done it before. Regardless of how you arrived in this moment, you are here. You took the lea p, and now you are looking at this book and your computer and probably wondering what you ha eve gotten yourself into! Though some adult students approach the return to the university with confide once and ease, as faculty at
Gifford University, it has been our collective experience that for many adult I earners the task seems daunting. Well, it is and it isn’t! Every journey begins with a single step, followed d by another and another. You might be a bit rusty, but if you put one foot in front of the other, you can do this. The purpose of this book is to help you make the transition from a slightly fee rueful returning student to an intentional learner. Actually, you didn’t really stop learning when you stop peed going to school. It is virtually impossible to live and engage in this rapidly changing world and not c Onetime to learn.
But you probably did not perceive it as “learning’ per SE?you “Only% of people over age 25 in the United were working, meeting new people, thinking about new States have a bachelors degree. ” ideas, helping your kids with their homework, or a list of U. S. Census Bureau (2008) other HTH nags. But the good news is that as an adult?even if it has been years since you took a class?you are better prepared for this new e experience than you may imagine. In this book, we will explore what that means and show you how to t aka advantage of your experiences to embrace this new learning endeavor.
Collectively, we have MO re than seventy years of experience working with people just like you?adults who have decided to ret urn to formal learning?and we have some great stories. We will share some of them with you as we go al Eng. Our goal is to help you not only learn how to be an online university student but also embrace a life of intentional learning that will enrich each day. LEARNING WITH AN EXTRAORDINARY PURPOSE You can approach learning in an ordinary way, see it as something to be engaged In casually to accommodate new things as they occur, and hardly ever make it a structured, focused activity.
Many people engage in learning primarily on this reactive level. Sociologists and others have pointed out that the steady bombardment of media in our culture contributes significantly to this passive pattern. Too often, they argue, we accept just what is presented to us rather than seizing opportunities to learn new things on our own. But, in returning to university, you are leaving this common approach to learning behind. You are embracing learning in a proactive way: You are The steady barrage of media in our taking charge of your learning.
In doing so, you are pursuing a culture contributes to reactive rather Han active learning higher educational goal than most people in the United States 3 seek. This means that your goal (and the learning required to reach it) is not o ordinary! It sets you apart and requires you to approach learning with an extraordinary purpose. The Learning-Knowledge Cycle It’s helpful to think of learning and knowledge in terms of their differences rat her than their similarities. Learning is a seeking/ accepting activity, whereas knowledge is a possessing/ knowing experience.
Or, you might say, learning is an engaging process that results in knowledge. But the c incept of knowledge is an ironic one: You can discover particular knowledge (claim it, possess it) at the e ND of a learning process, but it is invisible. You know you possess it; you can say, “K, I got it! ” But that does NT make it visible. Your new knowledge does not become visible until you take action based upon it?then it becomes concrete, visible to others, and fully owned for you to act on. We are all actors on the stage of knowledge every day.
Another ironic aspect of knowledge should not be overlooked. When you make e your new knowledge performance, the invisible stage that supports you may seem add equate, but not completely secure: Obsolescence (the state of being outdated) can devour it like termites devour wood. So you have to return to learning (further learning) as a means of reinforcement, keeping you r new (now-becoming-old) knowledge continually up-to-date. Thirty years ago, it was thought that 50 percent of the skills and knowledge nee deed for most workplace jobs would become obsolete in twelve to fifteen years.
Every time that you apply new knowledge or new skills in your workplace, family, or within yourself, with an intention to initiate change (even in a small way), you are cacti vela learning. Whenever it is applied, learning becomes a powerful, creative force through w which measurable outcomes can be demonstrated (Worksheet 1. 1 4 Worksheet 1 . 1, Which Outcomes Are Most Important to You? Rank Prioritize these outcomes, listing the most important one first. New potential for understanding yourself: Includes understanding physical ABA elites, cognitive (thinking) strengths, and emotional stability.
New abilities for problem solving and decision making: Includes engaging in development of values. New perspective for innovating: Includes (1 ) recognizing historic and contempt array processes of conceptualization and change and (2) developing global awareness New basis for productivity: Includes understanding group and organizational behavior and the development and implementation of outcomes measure New resources for leadership: Includes understanding culture and developing social consciousness.
LIFELONG EMPOWERMENT Learning energies human experience and shapes meaning throughout our life time. From stage to stage, the learning environments will differ greatly, the emphasis may change from informal to formal, and the scope may increase from a personal to a global perspective. But life’s challenge sees are always with us, whether we’re dealing with childhood and personal growth, completing formal I education, coping with family and societal problems, responding to technology and global change, re agonizing occupational obsolescence, or adjusting to aging.
It is helpful to examine the learning experience on the basis of cognitive development theory. Jean Pigged, a noted psychologist and developmental theorist, postulates the following stages of development: 1 . Seniority Stage?Birth to Age Two Years (Approximately): Children begin with no thinking structures (called schemata) but develop them through exploration of their senses and experimentation on the environment. Significant learning occurs, but children in the seniority stage are incapable of abstract or logical thought. 2.
Operational Stage?Age Two Years to Seven Years (Approximately): Children rapidly develop language skills and more sophisticated cognitive structures but are still periodical. They are not cap blew of conservation (the ability to understand that substance Jean Pigged (1896-1989) is renowned does not change when it only changes shape or form). When water is for developing a theory on the stages poured from a tall, narrow glass to a short, wide bowl, operational of cognitive development children will think that there is now less water.
They are also incapable of deciphering (the ability to see things from another’s perspective). Proper action children who are asked to sit at a table and draw the view from the other end of the table (f room the perspective 5 Of someone looking at them) cannot perform the task. Conservation and dice entering are prerequisites to higher-level learning and logical thinking. 3. Concrete Operational Stage?Ages Seven Years to Adolescence: Children begin n to grasp conservation and deciphering. They begin, for example, to wonder how Santa really does get to all those houses in one night.
They can now reason logically but only on a concrete tee level, not hypothetically or abstractly. When a concrete operational child is shown a blue block and asked, “Is the block green or not green? ” he or she will probably answer, “Neither, it’s bal u. ” The concept that blue is not green is too abstract. 4. Formal Operations Stage?Adolescence and Older: The person is now capable of sophisticated logical thought. He or she can think in the abstract, can think hypothetically, a ND can solve problems using the logic of combinations.
It is interesting to note that research h shows that only about 25 percent of adults use formal operations on a regular basis; doing so requires significant cognitive discipline in addition to mere capability (Outworked and Davis 1989). Piglet’s stages ended with formal operations, but Klaus Rigger (1976) postulates sees a fifth stage called dialectical reasoning. This is a stage beyond logic where (in our opinion) real c radical thinking lies. It is the ability to perceive the free aunt paradoxes in life (to see the dialectic) and to q question and analyze the assumptions that underlie the logic.
Dialectical thinkers “readily recognize, AC pet, and even enjoy conflict and contradictions in values and possible courses of action because sorting o UT these conflicts forces them to grow intellectually”‘ (Outworked and Davis 1 989, 360). Higher education challenges you to examine your unexamined assumptions, t o think critically and logically, and to see and experience the world in new ways. It is enjoyable and exhilarate ins, and you can do it! In taking up these unavoidable challenges, you discover that learning obligate s you to be self- directed and self-motivated.
It requires a conscious commitment every day an d cannot be fully achieved without some personal sacrifice. You should develop your own framework for ongoing learning, identifying cacti pities that will keep your mind active and increase your knowledge. The learning activity Workers t 1. 2 is particularly useful and important in identifying the challenges that you should tackle. List the learning activities below that you are now using: Which of the thirteen listed activities do you need to increase most? Worksheet 1 . 2, What Learning Strengths Do You Already Have?
Which learning activities are you now using? Which activities do you need to I increase most? Read widely Explore Web resources Listen and be open to new ideas Raise questions in face-to-face and Web dialogue Accept feedback 6 Reshape your ideas Innovate and experiment to test new assumptions Solve problems Unlearn Teach Follow your intuition Review and reflect Seek renewal constantly LEARNING AS A SOCIAL ACTIVITY Historically, learning has been considered a social activity, with the classroom functioning as a place for personal interactions.
Today, online learning, with its technological delivery, p resents a challenge to this highly social custom. Some people, in fact, consider technologically based Lear inning unacceptable because it does not provide sufficient social contacts. Traditionally, the environment for formal learning has been teaching centered. Boundaries and methodologies for learning were determined by authorities, who used lectures and printed documents as primary ways to deliver/identify relevant content. This classroom-based engagement between professor and student involved social exchange, but its primary emphasis was teaching centered.
Today, this educational modality is still highly valued, and rightly so, because the wonder and workings of learning are The online learning experience can be just as social as traditional learning stimulated in face-to-face exchanges. With the growth of technology and the introduction of formal learning online, it was thought that this “personal” environment would have to be forgotten. Consequently, many feared that the Internet’s high-tech, low-touch environment would not be effective for learning.
But two factors, in particular, have combined to make the online environment an attractive and resourceful envier Northern for formal learning: Access to Information: As access to information through the Internet spirals upward, the environment for formal learning is becoming significantly less hierarchical. Co resoundingly, the focus in formal learning is becoming more practical, with greater emphasis Pl aced on application of knowledge. Focusing on the application of knowledge increases in importance s the rate of change increases.