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Making Instruction Relevant

How might adult learner needs and expectations be a basis or foundation to relevant instruction? What are some specific ways (strategies or methodologies) that you can make your instructional content and delivery relevant to student expectations?

I have found that it is necessary to make learning relevant. The discussion of a concept will elicit a good response but when a story is applied you see where the students really is the Aha moment...and they enjoy it, too...

Students need to know how the information is going to benefit them in their career choice before they will put forth effort to learn something.

It's like the age old question we asked in high school about algebra..."how will this directly help me in my future?" If we can't see the application of how we will use the knowledge then we lose the desire to try and understand.

Students need to be able to apply the knowledge they have learned and then transfer that knowledge to outcomes.

Students don't show any interest in topics they don't see the relevence.

Emily, you have made a good point that students need to see the relevence or it's a wash. Often when trying to teach instrumentation and proper fulcrum student op out for the easiest way to do it rather than the correct way. When their hands and wrist start to hurt from imroper technique it starts to click.

The course should be relevant to what they are expecting to apply the information to. When the student finds value in the material they are more eager and willing to attempt to learn.

Autonomy is important to students because they want to feel involved in their learning and education. We all like to feel that we are in charge of our lives and experiences,so who can blame the students? Knowing this helps us all be better teachers.

Adult learners are typically autonomous and self directed. they want their course content to be relevant. They like to apply new content immediately, and this helps them learn and retain the information.

Right you are. College students have selected to be in the course as a result of their choosing a career area. As a result they need to see the value of what they are being taught and asked to apply in the future.

Dr. Gary Meers

Yes, they are. As a result we instructors need to make sure we are sharing content and skill development opportunities that reflect the critical knowledge/skills needed for career success.

Dr. Gary Meers

I can make content relevent by showing them how it is applied in the real world. Real world experiences help students to retain information and understand the relevance.

Yes, I have notice with my students that when they can relate to the topic they contribute to class discussions are very involved in the class assignment.

The adult learner want to know what will I get out of doing this procedure or learning a new skill; how is this important to me?; will learning all of this information get me to where I want to be or to what I to accomplish or not.Therefore the expectations of the course should be explained to them, the course content;expected goals and outcomes; along with putting it in writing (syllabus) and giving it to them.

Good observation. They are see a connection between the content and their lives. This gets them excited because they are starting to see the value of what is being taught.

Dr. Gary Meers

You make a good point about adult learners needing to see the ROI of what is being taught. They want to be able to connect the content with their career goals. If they can't they are going to step away from the learning process. We need to work to get their "buyin".

Dr. Gary Meers

I believe the use of relevant instruction is to keep the students focused on the big picture. The reason that they came to school to further their education to achieve their goals and be successful in their chosen field. We need to continuly remind them that the lectures and the lab asignments are to help them learn the skills that they need to become gainfully employed in their career choice.

By making activity requirements dynamic for each student to play a role in their own development while staying withing the overall curriculum.

Hi, Dr. Meers,
We can cite examples of businesses that use the techniques or dishes we teach. A student could simply find the place's website, view a presentation example of it there, even go to that place to eat and experience it. This could help the student make a connection between what is taught in school and what happens in a real-world place. He or she could secure an externship, work to learn, even launch a career. -- Gary O. Ackerman

I find that for some assignments putting students in teams allow for peer to peer support that encourages learning.

With adult learners tending to be more focused on their chosen career path, their needs seem to be fairly clear.
Albeit with the exceptions of specific learning needs, relevant instruction is pretty simple. However, with each individual comes different expectations of the class, the program/curriculum, the school. I try to be very clear, concise and specific with the goals of the course and the daily lessons. I am repetative with the information.
I find trying to make the material relevant to student expectations inconsequential to the extent that each student comes to the class, to the program, with her/his own preconceived notions. I present the material in a manner, in which I feel, that best suits the needs of the general student that attends our school. When I identify a student with specific needs, I adjust my style to help enhance the learning outcomes for that student.

I discuss the technical aspects of what is being taught, but I then relate it to everyday experiences through my own personal and/or professional experiences. This applies the information and makes it relevant for the student - they can appreciate what they are learning.

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