A study of informal learning among University of Wyoming Extension educators

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A study of informal learning among University of Wyoming Extension educators

  1. 1. A Study of InformalLearning AmongUniversity of WyomingExtension EducatorsStan SkrabutUniversity of Wyoming Extension@uwcesedtech #uwceshttp://www.slideshare.net/skrabut
  2. 2. "Informal learning is any activity involving the pursuit of understanding,knowledge or skill which occurs without the presence of externallyimposed curricular" or pressure. ~ Livingstone (2001)
  3. 3. Organizations are realizing the importance of informallearning.
  4. 4. Individuals learn 70-80% of their skills and knowledge through informallearning, it is important to maximize efficiency through best practices.LearningInformalFormalOther
  5. 5. In order for University of Wyoming Extension to be relevant in years tocome, I want educators to continue to develop and succeed.
  6. 6. I have a role in helping Extension educators developtheir educator and technology skills.
  7. 7. This study is about better understanding how University of WyomingExtension educators learn their job, and how I can help them improve.
  8. 8. Let me tell you alittle bit about mystudy.
  9. 9. To understand how University of Wyoming Extension educatorsparticipated in informal learning, I asked four questions.
  10. 10. In what ways do UW Extension educators develop core Extension skillsthrough formal training and informal learning?
  11. 11. What impact does instruction on informal learning methods andstrategies have on University of Wyoming extension educatorsperception of importance regarding these methods and strategies?
  12. 12. Will increased knowledge about informal learning strategieschange attitudes and opinions of UW Extension educatorsregarding informal learning?
  13. 13. What support does the UW Extension provide forinformal learning?
  14. 14. Let me tell you a little about the study’ssubjects.
  15. 15. The study began with 53 UW Extension educators.
  16. 16. Approximately 75% were female and 25% were male.
  17. 17. Subjects ranged from 23 to 68 years in age.
  18. 18. They have been working as UW Extension educatorsfrom less than 1 year to over 36 years.
  19. 19. Education level varied from 49% having less than a master’sdegree and 51% having a master’s degree or higher.
  20. 20. They belong to five different initiative teams.
  21. 21. At the end of the study, 36% were classified as participantsand 64% were classified as non-participants.
  22. 22. This study was a repeated measures study.
  23. 23. Over the course of 7 months, subjects wereadministered 3 surveys.
  24. 24. Additionally, they were asked to participate in a sixpart Webinar series.
  25. 25. Stan SkrabutUniversity of Wyoming Extension@uwcesedtech #uwceshttp://www.slideshare.net/skrabut
  26. 26. Informal Learning 2: Drinkingfrom a Fire Hydrant - How to Tapinto the Information StreamStan Skrabut@skrabut #UWCESskrabut@uwyo.eduhttp://www.slideshare.net/skrabut
  27. 27. Building yourknowledge library:Sharing what you havelearnedStan Skrabut@uwcesedtech#uwceshttp://www.slideshare.net/skrabut
  28. 28. Stan Skrabut@uwcesedtech#uwceshttp://www.slideshare.net/skrabutYour path tolearning: How tofind your way alone
  29. 29. Informal learning can often be a team sportStan Skrabut@uwcesedtech#uwceshttp://www.slideshare.net/skrabut
  30. 30. The Organizationsets the Foundationto Informal LearningStan Skrabut@uwcesedtech#uwceshttp://www.slideshare.net/skrabut
  31. 31. The study was also supported with a Wiki withadditional information on each topic.
  32. 32. Let’s take amoment toexamine keyresults of the study.
  33. 33. First, let me tell you about the studyparticipation.
  34. 34. Overall, 72% of subjects completed all three surveys.100% 85% 77%
  35. 35. 21% of subjects participated in all six Webinars, while43% of subjects elected not to attend any Webinars
  36. 36. Informal learning is the clear method of choice for learning thecore function areas (12 of 15 function areas).
  37. 37. The highest Informal learning mean for all groups was “Addressingeducational needs of clientele (walk- and call-in traffic).”
  38. 38. Participants and non-participants were equally split onthe use of informal learning both at 12 of 15.
  39. 39. Males reported using informal learning for 14 of 15areas as well as had higher percentages than females.
  40. 40. Educators who worked 30-39 years had 13 areas notedas informal learning.
  41. 41. Educators placed more importance on developing subjectmatter expertise over educator and technology skills.
  42. 42. While developing subject matter expertise and educatorskills, subjects preferred opportunities to share knowledge.
  43. 43. Study participants preferred classes, workshops, and networking withinsame discipline as their informal learning method.
  44. 44. Females recorded higher importance on 78 possible measurements aswell as saw different activities more important than male counterparts.
  45. 45. Self-reflection through writing was rated the lowest ofimportance regardless of group and the area of development.
  46. 46. In terms of the educators attitude, one item stoodout, “I enjoy learning new things.”
  47. 47. Six of top 10 statements focused on using technology to makeresearch, networking, communication, sharing of resources, and workeasier.
  48. 48. The subjects reported agreement or strong agreementwith all statements except for three cases…
  49. 49. “I am happy with the amount of time I can devote to learning.”
  50. 50. “My supervisor provides direction on where I need to learn more.”
  51. 51. “I subscribe to blogs, online magazines, and otherrecurring resources to stay current.”
  52. 52. Overall, Extension educators felt the University of WyomingExtension supported their informal learning efforts.
  53. 53. Overall, 70% agreed or strongly agreed that supervisors oremployers encouraged informal learning in the workplace.
  54. 54. Extension educators (79%) did not feel their supervisor or employerinhibited informal learning activities in the workplace.
  55. 55. Less than half (42%) of the extension educators felt they were adequatelyreimbursed for informal learning expenditures.
  56. 56. Only 38% of all extension educators agreed with thetime they spent learning.
  57. 57. Only 17% of extension educators felt their supervisorprovided direction on where they needed to learn more.
  58. 58. Overall, 59% of extension educators felt supervisorsprovided them with time to pursue learning activities.
  59. 59. To conclude, Ihave somerecommendationsto improve theorganization aswell as suggestionsfor further study.
  60. 60. First, here are my recommendations based onthis study.
  61. 61. Expose employees to different informal learning methods and allowemployees to determine the method that best helps them learn.
  62. 62. Provide educators with unfettered access to learningresources on the Internet.
  63. 63. Include networking opportunities as part of in-service training; thisallows educators to focus on skills and knowledge of interest.
  64. 64. Continue to provide time and financial resources tosend educators to conferences and workshops.
  65. 65. Encourage educators to develop digital instructionskills to help keep pace with ever-changing world.
  66. 66. Encourage educators to develop resources for a mobileenvironment.
  67. 67. Share professional articles and books among UWExtension educators and initiative teams.
  68. 68. Encourage educators to participate in more online trainingopportunities such as Webinars and standalone courses.
  69. 69. Supervisors must become coaches and mentors; theymust help guide learning.
  70. 70. The organization must establish learning andinnovation as a core competency.
  71. 71. Learners must continue to be taught how to learn.
  72. 72. Here are my recommendations for future study.
  73. 73. Examine budgets and money actually spent byextension organizations for learning.
  74. 74. Focus on specific characteristics such as age, gender, yearsemployed, team affiliation, and education level with a larger sample.
  75. 75. Using a larger sample explore the methods used to developsubject matter expertise, educator skills, and technology skills.
  76. 76. Incorporate the results of the Four Color PersonalityTest and or Briggs-Meyer Type Indicator.
  77. 77. I have one last task to complete… time to drawfor the promised iPads.
  78. 78. Questions?

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