July 12, 2012 by Jeff Hurt
Most organizations use an outdated model to provide education to its customers and team.
They are victims to instructor-centered or expert-centered education.
They follow a pedagogic model of education. Unfortunately, this greatly hinders active inquiry which is the basis for learning.
Pedagogy literally mans the art and science of educating children. It is often used as a synonym for teaching.
Pedagogy embodies instructor-focused education and passive reception of the learner. It dominates formal education and most organization’s education programming.
In pedagogical education models, the focus is on the teacher and instructive methods. Topics and presenters are the starting point and learners are secondary. Organizations and presenters decide on the content based on their own needs not the learner’s needs.
Pedagogy can best be described as “Presenters talk; audiences listen.” Learning is completely overlooked. Well-intentioned speakers squelch naturally inquisitive instincts by trying to control the experience and learning environment.
Instead of pedagogy, organizations should follow an andragogic model of education.
Andragogy is the art and science of helping adults learn. It is the exact opposite of pedagogy and the focus is on learner-centric education.
Andragogy aligns education with good adult learning and brain-friendly strategies. The starting point is that an organization’s staff needs to get better at diagnosing potential learners’ needs. Then they must design education sessions and presentations based on those needs that use appropriate adult learning strategies.
Pedagogy and lectures are nothing more than authoritarian indoctrination methods. Lectures are persuasive propaganda speeches designed to indoctrinate the listener. Lectures are not about getting the listener to think!
The traditional lecture is not enough! It has the lowest learning ROI. Research shows that a lecture is the equivalent of dispensing a report.
Telling does not lead to learning! The traditional lecture is actually a barrier to learning.
The greatest teachers from Confucius to Plato did not pursue such authoritarian, expert-focused techniques of pedagogy. They all saw learning as a process of active inquiry, not passively sitting and listening to experts spout information.
Pedagogy has its roots in Puritan religious beliefs. 16th and 17th Century extremist Protestants believed that wisdom was evil. Adults were to direct, control and limit children’s learning. Their belief was that if children didn’t have knowledge, they could keep them innocent. The less they think, the more they will follow Puritan beliefs, faith and rituals.
Now that’s just screwed up! Yet it serves as the foundation for most organization’s education programming of expert- and instructor-focused education.
In today’s fast-paced information age, organizations must move from expert-centered to learner-centered education. Postponing or suppressing this move only slows down the organization’s ability to learn new strategies and technologies as well as gain the competitive advantage.
This will be difficult and challenging. Many adults believe that education and learning only occurs when experts are present. Andragogy does not omit an expert or their experience. It just redesigns the education program so that the focus is on the learner and their experience with the content. It uses more guided learning approaches.
Ultimately, your organization’s success rests on the shoulders of individual learners!
For an organization to meet its goals, it must meet the needs of its learners.
While individual learning cannot guarantee organizational learning, without it, no organizational learning occurs. Organizations must find better ways to help its customers and team to learn. It must focus on how the brain naturally operates and then design experiences that satisfy learners’ needs.
What makes education programming interesting or boring? What barriers exist that keep organizations from moving to learner-centric education models?
Filed Under: Conference Education
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