Discussion with Learning Partner

Skype Call with Robert Markkeel

I had a skype call with my learning partner Robert Markkeel on the 21st September, 2016. He is a very friendly person who teaches at the college of Rockies. He teaches trade related courses and his specialization area is heavy duty machine, which is completely different from my field of specialization. We discussed major trends in my field of study such as current trends in adult education in Canada, and changes in the roles and responsibilities of post-secondary instructor in the context of globalization. Our discussion is summarized as follows:

Current Trends in Post-secondary Education

According to our conversation, there is a huge competition from graduate students and foreign trained professionals for the high education opportunities in the post-secondary sector in Canada. Despite the rapid increase in the enrolment rate in post-secondary education, both provincial and Federal governments in Canada have been reducing funding for the post-secondary institutes. In addition, teaching and research universities in Canada face a big challenge in producing marketable graduates with soft-skills for the current labour market needs. Therefore, both Provincial and Federal governments are considering the reallocation of financial resources from the less profitable fields of studies into the high profitable fields of studies. Given that, government and private agencies have a high level of concern about the accuracy and reliability of statistics, which are provided by post-secondary institutes on enrolment rates, drop-out ratios, and marketability of graduates.

Current Trends in Adult Education

In the context of globalization, there are significant changes in the methods delivery of instructions in the adult education. Many Canadian and US universities use online courses instead of class room based education. Though this strategy reduces the quality of education, it significantly reduces the unit cost of education. Due to the remarkable progress in information technology, there has been a considerable increase in the use of new technology in recent years.   In addition, many post-secondary institutes in the world implemented three years degree programs instead of four years degree programs. This approach is known as a mixed method, which includes co-op education and competency based accreditation. As a result, there is a significant decrease in the time that student spend on class room. Similarly, there is an increase in number of adult learners whose age is over 25 years. Thus, class rooms at the post-secondary educational institutes are filled with more experienced learners.

Changes in the Roles and Responsibilities of the Instructor

According to the above description, there have been significant changes in the post-secondary education sector and adult education. In our skype conversation, we discussed the potential implications of such changes related to the roles and responsibilities of the instructor in a post-secondary institute. As previously mentioned, current class room in a post-secondary institute consists of considerable number of adult learners. Therefore, as an instructor, I should act as a coach or a facilitator in the class instead of being an authoritative teacher. In doing so, I have to value and appreciate the self-directness, prior experience, and autonomy of adult learners. Therefore, I should create a cooperative and collaborative learning environment in the class room where adult students can use self-directness and prior experience. In addition, current labor market demands for soft skills such as team work, building professional relationships, and creative interactions among team members. Therefore, traditional content dependent lecture style may not be a proper approach to create such skills among adult learners. Therefore, as an instructor, I should use flipped class room method, which allows students to control the learning environment. Such a class room structure permits students to apply various tools such as problem solving activities, workshops, and interactive discussions. These learning tools may assist to create range of soft skills such as team work, creativity, problem solving skills, and independent work habits. Our discussion revealed that in the context of globalization, there may be students from various socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. To address this diversity in the class room, I would ask everyone to introduce themselves, play short music, and tell short stories at the beginning of the class.

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