The needs of the instructor what are they?
The main theme that emerged from the data in this grouping was: Am I On Line. As an instructor of older learners, it is paramount to be aware of the diversity in learning abilities, needs, strengths, weaknesses, as well as, their physical well being sight, hearing and movement impairments. This is important so that teaching can be adapted. The readings, prior knowledge, and the data provided most of the background information in this category. Development of self-esteem was viewed as crucial and should be reinforced and assessed constantly throughout the program. The instructor should also address all older learners fears and apprehensions. As well, an instructor needs to be aware of the immediate context so as to develop an age appropriate curriculum that is transferable to the everyday life of the older learner. This needs to be done in a positive, constructive learning environment.
Developing Action Strategies
Conclusions drawn from the final phase of the data analysis led to the consideration of four action strategies. The first option was to offer the program in the same format as in previous years, making no changes to the teaching methods, time elements, or learning environment. A second action strategy option was to create a less time-oriented program, but to keep the content delivery, learning environment, and teaching methods the same. The third option was to consider keeping the same time element, but changing the content delivery, learning environment, and teaching methods. The fourth strategy involved changing the time element, the content delivery, and teaching methods, while keeping the learning environment the same. After presenting these options to the new participants, it became very clear that the fourth action strategy was the most favourable to all learners.
Adapting content delivery changes for older learners
The delivery system selected for this program included several components and encompassed techniques that focussed on older learners abilities and needs. A modular approach provided participants with activities and immediate positive reinforcement that encouraged them to try new things. Instructional methods incorporated such learning tools as: handouts, hands-on demonstrations combined with instructor led demonstrations, instruction expressing relevance to the learners needs or workplace, instructional cues for easy information retrieval, flipcharts, summarization, and group discussions. The time element became less important since the self-paced learning approach provided participants with plenty of time to learn the new skills. This learning environment was more responsive to the needs of the learner than the previous design of the program. As a means of validation, a former learner from the program participated in the new program for eight weeks to provide feedback on the changes made to the delivery of content.
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