lauantai 3. heinäkuuta 2010

Meaningful Learning Experiences

Hi everyone old and new friends,

I've written blogs since 2009 in Finnish as a part of my work. I run as a vice principal adult education and working life services in Salpaus Further Education. The previois and future work related blogs you can read from the following pages:
http://blogit.salpaus.fi/huomiopaikalla/category/katri-luukka/

This blog here in Blogger will be written in English. I'm interested in meaningful learning experiences, which I've studied in my doctoral thesis: http://www.uku.fi/vaitokset/2007/isbn978-951-27-0801-7.pdf The doctoral thesis is written in Finnish but the abstract is in English. The main results of my research considering adult's learning are following:

The Adult’s Meaningful Learning Experiences
We all have meaningful learning experiences all the time. A meaningful learning experience is an occasion or an event which an adult remembers afterwards and in which the adult has felt learning. Meaningful learning experiences are guiding adults to make choices in their life. In new situations the learning experiences are meaningful or meaningless for us. It is a continuous process, where adults evaluate themselves in previous and current situations and in future possibilities. The adults can feel themselves incomplete, lacking in knowhow. The awareness of this lack of knowhow gets adults to renew themselves through studies in adult education. If someone knows that she/he doesn’t have enough knowhow and still doesn’t go to adult education studies, it is because they don’t have the willpower to change or renew themselves. The willpower or a lack of willpower can be explained by adults’ “safety belt”, which covers adults thinking.

The ”safety belt”, which covers adults thinking is an opportunity and also a barrier to learning. The safety belt includes assumptions, attitudes and fears against new things. Through the safety belt, the adult interprets and gives meaning to e.g. things, texts and events in everyday life. The safety belt gives a feeling of security in new situations. In meaningful learning experiences, the safety belt is "punctured". Through that process strong feelings appear which change experiences, which the adult remembers afterwards. With these feelings the learning will be part of the hard core in the ”knowledge warehouse” as a part of our thinking. The critical reflection which leads to renewing and transforming learning is suggested as a tool of experiential learning. Adults’ identity and action and thinking models are developed by using critical reflection. Critical reflection opportunities for adults are in everyday life situations in schools, work and also in free time. The opportunity for learning from work and everyday life makes the work and life itself meaningful for adults.

If you are also interested in meaningful learning or leadership experiences, you are more than welcome to share them with me.

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