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HCI Webinar: Three Ways to Improve Your Adult Learning, with Carrie Graham

In the latest HCI Webinar, Dr. Jonathan H. Westover talks with Carrie Graham about three ways to improve your adult learning. Below is a summary of the main points from their conversation! Check out the full episode and let us know what you think!

Watch the episode here:

Quick Recap

Jonathan and Dr. Carrie Graham discussed the significance of effective adult learning initiatives within organizations. They emphasized the necessity of addressing skills gaps in the labor force due to rapid changes in work nature, recognizing employees' existing skills and experiences in training programs, and the evolving impact of the pandemic on social roles. They stressed the importance of clear learning objectives, personalization in the learning process, and the role of organizations in championing adult learning strategies to empower and upskill their people.

Adult Learning Strategies for Workforce Development

Jonathan and Dr. Carrie Graham had a discussion about adult learning and how to improve adult learning initiatives within organizations. They addressed the issue of skills gaps in the labor force and the need for constant reskilling and upskilling due to rapid changes in the nature of work. Jonathan introduced Carrie as an adult learning strategist and training consultant who helps businesses improve learning engagement, information retention, and skill application. They planned to explore what it means to have great adult learning for the workforce.

Pedagogy and Andragogy in Healthcare Education

The doctors discussed their backgrounds in healthcare and education, emphasizing the importance of asking critical questions and developing effective solutions. They also touched on the concept of pedagogy and andragogy, with a focus on adult learning theory. Jonathan explained that while the terms are often used interchangeably, pedagogy usually refers to children's learning, while andragogy is specifically about adult learning, including motivating adults and helping them apply their skills. The doctors agreed that many organizations and individuals use the language of pedagogy, but the andragogical perspective recognizes the importance of life experience in adult learning.

Recognizing Employee Skills in Training Design

The conversation between the doctor and Jonathan emphasized the importance of recognizing the existing skills and experiences of employees when designing training and development programs in the workplace. They agreed that it's crucial to meet employees where they're at, understanding their mental models and experiences, and bridging the gap to where the organization wants them to be. The Carrie shared her approach of viewing the end user through an adult learning lens, which often reveals gaps in training effectiveness and efficiency. They concluded by agreeing to discuss more about other elements of andragogy.

Workforce Evolution and Social Roles Post-Pandemic

Jonathan and Carrie discussed the evolving nature of the workforce and the impact on social roles due to the pandemic. Carrie emphasized that employers need to acknowledge that their employees have diverse social roles and these affect their capacity and motivation at work. Jonathan agreed, stating that mandated trainings need to have a compelling reason, purpose, and design to justify employees' time. The conversation also highlighted the importance of shifting focus from entertainment to engagement in training. While entertainment can provide short-term motivation, engagement ensures that the training aligns with the employees' values and promotes skill development.

Adult Learning Strategies: Empowering and Upskilling People

Carrie and Jonathan discussed the importance of effective learning experiences. They emphasized the role of development and facilitation, the need for clear objectives, and the importance of personalization in the learning process. They highlighted the challenge of supporting skill development and the need for ongoing skill application in response to changing circumstances. The conversation concluded with a call to action for organizations to champion adult learning strategies to empower and upskill their people.

Training Program Development Priorities

The discussion revolved around the development of training programs. The doctor highlighted that these programs are often reactionary and developed quickly, which can lead to a lack of focus on individual end users and the prioritization of objectives. Carrie also pointed out that facilitators and developers, often juggling multiple projects, can struggle to balance the development of these programs with their other responsibilities. The importance of understanding the reason for developing the training, whether it's due to a skills gap, a mistake, a loss in revenue, or a change in organizational structure, was emphasized. The need for organizations to prioritize training and development to reflect their value for employees or volunteers was also raised.

Training Challenges in Organizations

Jonathan and Dr. Carrie Graham discussed the importance and challenges of effective training in organizations. They emphasized that training is a skill that requires time, intentionality, and resources, not something that just anyone can do. They lamented the common practice of assigning training roles to individuals who are good at their job but lack the necessary facilitation skills. They also highlighted the negative impact of budget cuts on training programs. Dr. Graham stressed that the focus of training should not be on the content or the trainer, but on the learner. The conversation concluded with an agreement to stay connected and continue the discussion in the future.

Listen to the webinar here:



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