Ken Allen posted a question about the differences I saw between workplace training and teaching in the university in response to one of my posts on Is there (should there be) a difference between workplace learning and "academic" learning?In addition to the factors Ken mentioned (time for study), I think there is a broader cultural difference. Past generations (and even now) have been educated to believe that once schooling is ended, we will not have need for learning outside of specialized programs that will help with our jobs. As a result, most workplace learners will ask the question, "how will this help me in my current job." One of my students (an instructional designer) pegged this as "just in time learning".
At the university level, I can tell my students that they might not have immediate use for something I am teaching (such as learning how to learn for business or communication majors), but it is a skill they will need for the future. In the workplace, my students would not put up with this.
Finally, I feel that there are many outside pressures that affect workplace learning (families, bills, work) that forces learners to turn off their brains once they step out the door of the classrooms (or training rooms). I know for myself that when I am in school full time, there is a culture that allows for discussion of ideas at a higher level outside of class. These discussions do not take place in the workplace or at home outside of training/classes. As a result, I cannot rely on my students in a workplace to "get" something between classes that require higher order thinking. Instead, I need to bring them through the higher order thinking while I have them and then let them apply it to their own context once they leave.
With University students, on the other hand, I will work through the process (thus creating the experience), then challenge them to use their higher order thinking while out of class (through blogging, reflective papers, and projects) to figure out what went on. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that a 19 or 20 year old is thinking about the impact of new communication technologies on an organization unless they are forced to. However, when they are asked to articulate their thoughts, they at least have others they can bounce ideas off of outside of class. They also HAVE the time (whether they use it or not is something else) to think about ideas (as opposed to thinking about who is picking the baby up from daycare, can I mow the lawn tonight, is there gas in the car, do I have enough money to buy a house).
- V Yonkers
- Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.