Vineeth StephenMemorial University of Newfoundland July 22, 2012
In the year 2011, 4,393,305 was the number of people in Canada aged 55 to 64 and 4,365,585 was the number of people in Canada aged 15 to 24 - first time in Canadian history where there was a greater proportion of Canadians aged 55 to 64 than people aged 15-24. In the year 2011, most Canadians expect to work past the age of 66 - and the majority of those workers say it will be because they need to, not because they want to. In 2011, 11.3 per cent of Canadians over the age of 65 were still working, up from 5.9 per cent a decade before.
What does this mean for older Canadians, will they continue to work in their same field or will they opt for a new career direction? Will this growing segment require further education and training to keep them employable, or at the very least, keep their mind active to remain healthy? Our Canadian government to develop and expand educational programs which cater to the needs of adult learners in an ever increasing aging population.
Research question: “Identification of Critical Conceptual Elements in the Development of Adult Education Curricula?". The elements critical to the planning and delivery of an adult education curricula is the understanding and implementation of adult education principles Adult education programs should be designed and developed to meet the unique needs of adult learners so they can gain knowledge, skills and abilities toward the betterment of their lives.
Imel (1998) describe six adult education principles thatdemonstrate the treatment of our learners as adults whichinclude:1. Involving learners in planning and implementing learning activities.2. Drawing upon learners’ experiences as a resource.3. Cultivating self-direction in learners4. Creating a climate that encourages and supports learning5. Fostering a spirit of collaboration in the learning setting.6. Using small groups.
Knowles’(1970) concept of andragogy provides this theoretical or conceptual framework and defines andragogy as "the art and science of helping adults learn" (p. 38). This concept of andragogy responds to the development of a new and distinctive theory of adult learning developed by adult education theorists in North America and Europe. Knowles (1984) observes that by 1970s and 1980s- there was a substantial enough body of knowledge about adult learners and their learning to permit educators and education developers an opportunity to organize it into a systematic framework of assumptions, principles, and strategies.
Sork and Cafarella (1989) view curriculum development in adult education as systematic planning. This systematic planning is according to them "a powerful tool for designing effective, efficient, relevant, and innovative programs or curricula" (p. 235). It consists of the following steps: (a) analysis of the planning context and client system, (b) needs assessment, (c) development of program objectives, (d) formulation of the instructional plan, (e) formulation of the administrative plan, and (f) design of a program evaluation.
Prevedel (2003) describes three commonly used approaches to curriculum development: "traditional" and is often used in K-12 school setting. "learner-driven" incorporates theories specific to adult education as well as recent research about teaching and learning. "critical" sees education as a distinctly political act, and curriculum development as functioning in personally or politically empowering ways.
Zais (1976) study examines four differentcurriculum development models in adulteducation: 1. Administrative (Line=Staff) model, 2. Grass-Roots Model, 3. Beauchamps System 4. Andragogy Model.
Galbraith and Zelenak (1989) suggests that adult educators shouldhave the following competencies:(a) understand and take into account the motivation and participationpatterns of adult learners,(b) understand and provide for the needs of adult learners,(c) be knowledgeable in the theory and practice of adult learners,(d) know the community and its needs,(e) know how to use various methods and techniques of instruction,(f) possess communication and listening skills(g) know how to locate and use educati3nal materials,(h) have an open mind and allow adults to pursue their owninterests, (i) continue his or her education,(j) be able to evaluate and appraise a program.
Linderman (1926) succinctly summarizes statingthat “orthodox education may be a preparation forlife but adult education is an agitatinginstrumentality for changing life.Institutions, groups and organizations comewithin the scope of continuing, advancing learningin so far as these collective agencies furnish themedium for educational experience” (p. 105).