Curriculum building for adult learning

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These data indicate that despite a progressive increase in national literacy rates over the years, some Filipinos, particularly poor people in urban slums and remote rural areas as well as indigenous populations, have limited opportunities to gain access to quality formal education. Due to the ethnic and linguistic diversity of the Philippines, the programme employs a multilingual approach to learning instruction and thus uses regional languages, Filipino and English in order to enable learners to effectively comprehend the concepts being taught.

CALDP actively combines literacy skills training with sustainable development at both the individual and community levels. The design and development of the programme is based on the situational reality of the learners, but also incorporates aspects of broader national and global relevance. These realities serve as learning references to enable learners not only to face their problems but, most importantly, to proactively seek functional solutions to these challenges in a way that supports individual and community growth and development.

As the programme is community-based, learners are furthermore consulted with regard to its design and development, and the results of these consultative engagements help to frame the programme curriculum. Programme facilitators are usually regular PILCD staff with university qualifications in education, psychology and sociology. Additional facilitators are hired according to need and should preferably have had a university education.

The facilitators are provided with professional training by PILCD on adult learning theories, teaching and learning methods, lesson planning and development, and creative facilitation using the Activity-Discussion-Input-Deepening-Synthesis ADIDS approach which incorporates theatre skills and the visual arts. Each facilitator is trained to deal with between 25 and 30 learners.

Additional facilitators hired according to need are paid an honorarium by the local partner government which is based on the hours or days served. PILCD, in partnership with community leaders, NGOs and local government officials, undertakes literacy and development sensitisation and advocacy campaigns to encourage target groups to enrol into the programme.

Adult Learning Theory: Everything eLearning Professionals Should Know

In addition, PILCD also arranges campaign activities and orientation meetings with potential learners and other community members. A further incentive for prospective learners and their communities is that the programme is provided free of charge. CALDP learning sessions are held on a regular but flexible basis based on an analysis of the participants' learning needs, levels of literacy, educational gaps and intended outcomes. In addition, learners contribute towards establishing the learning calendar by choosing the days and times that best suit them.

To avoid facilitator-centred instruction, several teaching methods are used. However, particular emphasis is placed on action-based learning using the ADIDS model, whereby learners are encouraged to engage in simulated or real project activities that contribute to the overall development of the project.

It has been used successfully in agricultural lessons with small farmers in Buduias, where PILCD has established an agricultural demonstration farm for practical lessons. Furthermore, the programme provides learners with self-administered supplementary learning modules which they can use alone or in study groups during their spare time. Similarly, PILCD employs various strategies to motivate learners and their communities to participate in the programme.

Apart from the advocacy campaigns and the provision of free lessons, the CALDP also offers developmental literacy training in a number of areas such as: basic and advanced literacy; computer literacy; music and art workshops; cultural activities; life skills; and livelihood and income generation training, particularly in agricultural production. For example, working adults absorb information better by doing, not by merely being lectured to.

They demand instruction that is relevant to their careers. And their motivation stems from more opportunities for career advancement. Adults hold different expectations about how they should be taught and what they want to achieve from the instruction. Yet many university classes remain rooted in teaching practices suited for young adults.

When working adults attend those same courses, the instructional design may be misaligned with their perceptions and ambitions as well as life circumstances, leading to disengagement and frustration.

Writing in InsideHigherEd. Fortunately, pioneering research by Dr. Malcolm Knowles offers insight into the minds of adult learners and how instruction can be tailored to their needs. His theories can be synthesized in several important elements.


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Adults are motivated by intrinsic goals. Before adult learners embark on a learning program, they must believe the instruction helps them achieve an intrinsic-driven objective.


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Goals range from upgrading their skills to making them better at their job to finally completing the college degree they always wanted to attain. Adults want relevant instruction. These courses, therefore, must be rooted in practical, meaningful training that enables adults to advance in their careers or upgrade their skills.

Courses that give adults the opportunity to stretch their critical thinking skills — such as those that emphasize simulations, problem-solving drills, and hands-on exercises — are particularly appealing. Adults want to be treated like adults. Adults enter learning programs with a lifetime of experience and knowledge. To teach them effectively, you have to feed into what they already know. Piggy-back off that and launch new concepts. You have to skillfully integrate into their lived experience, becoming an active part of their thought process. Adults learn because they see the relevance.

They consciously decide to pick up a new skill or polish a valued hobby.

So their learning needs to be goal oriented. They have to see measurable learning objectives and have a clear system of gauging their progress. An eLearning course for adult learners must be tied to real-world applications.

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Community-based Adult Learning and Development Programme, Philippines

For example, incorporate simulations or real-world examples that allow them to see how the skill relates to their job duties or will help them overcome a challenge that is hindering their work performance. Closely tied into their practicality is their willingness to attend the eLearning course. They paid for this eLearning course themselves or were sponsored by their employer.

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They see the value in it and can comprehend the big picture. This makes them more receptive to study the online training material.

Simulations Build on Adult Learning to Accelerate Skill Building and Application

It also makes them more discerning. They can recognize quality and are more vocal in demanding it. They rarely hold them in awe or derision like kids do with their teachers. Keep online training material relevant and task based to tap into their openness and interest. These polar emotions can keep them working hard, at least for a while. Adults develop their own methods of motivation.

Adult Learning: Building Paths to a Better Future | EdSurge Guides

Focus their online training on problem-solving. Instead, offer simulations and contextual role play, showing how to translate their online training into real life. This will keep them coming back to class. Which means that adults are encouraged to explore the subject matter firsthand and learn from their mistakes.

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For example, participate in branching scenarios that show them how their actions or behaviors lead to real consequences. As a result, they are less likely to make those mistakes in the workplace and continually develop their experiential knowledge.