Trends and Roles in Adult Education

This assignment requires a blog, reflecting on two published article on a particular subject focusing on roles of the adult educator and historical trends. I usually follow ted talks and some interesting articles once in a while concerning effective teaching and learning theory and techniques. This assignment requires the PIDP student to demonstrate ability to search relevant articles and find trends in that topic. The other aspect of this assignment involves a collaborative learning. I have been assigned to work with Pamela Tsatouhas to exchange our ideas after completing this project.

Pamela and I chose to work on the topic of students engagement in class. We both consider students engagement in class as one of the most important attribute of an effective learning and teaching experience.

A. Roles of an educator for student engagement

I discovered an excellent article by Strong, Silver and Robinson, 1995 talking about the importance of student engagement and how to achieve it. I find this article quite unique and interesting than recent articles which mostly focus on  a long list of strategies and techniques to engage students in class. James, 2014 and Weimer, 2012 articles are some example. Strong et. al. (1995) focuses on the underlying behavioral drivers for student engagement  argues that there are few behavioral drivers that makes the student more engaged in class. Below are these key drivers and how to bring about it in the class.

  • Success (the need for mastery): Students are motivated to achieve success and keeps student motivated if it is within their reach. Teacher needs to clearly outline the skills and process needed to achieve that success.
  • Curiosity (the need for understanding): This is the key towards students engagement in the class. The lectures and the course needs to be designed in a way not just to transfer set of information to the students, but to instill curiosity and solve them successively.
  • Originality (the need for self-expression): The need to express ones idea is another driver for the class participation. Each students feel comfortable in expressing in different ways, the class needs to be as flexible as possible to allow that.
  • Relationships (the need for involvement with others): Finally the last motivation for the student to engage in the class is their inherent need to develop relationship in the class. The class activities and projects could be enhanced to develop relationship between pairs on top of the existing relationship with the lecturer.

I personally agree with all the drivers laid out by the author. I have tried out some of the techniques like in the class which has visibly improved the class room environment in the first attempt. On this class, I was planning to talk about magnets and magnetism. Instead of transferring the contents, I asked students to list down things they know about magnets. From there I started asking if they know why such properties are exhibited by the magnets. Any gaps were then filled by the course materials. This became quite interesting to students as they got aroused with the questions and got satisfied with the new understanding about the facts they already knew.

B. Trends in Student Engagement Understanding

A comprehensive discussion on this topic of trends was found on the report by Parsons and Taylor, 2011. The report talks about how the understanding of the Student Engagement have evolved. The author points out that in past the student engagement were primarily focused in middle school and high school to prevent dropouts of socio-economically disadvantaged students. With the changing technology and available resources, the meaning and purpose of student engagement have significantly changed.

At 70’s and 80’s educators were concentrated to address the issue of academic equity – teaching everyone same content and testing them through standardized tests. Student engagement then would ensure the participation of the student in the process. It was also viewed as a class room management techniques in terms of gaining compliance and control. Slowly in 21st century, with aid of technology, it evolved into a tool for gaining concentration, interest and enjoyment of students. Finally at present time it is more student centrist concept of enabling student to learn how to learn.

From this report, I came to an understanding that student engagement is a continually evolving concept and can mean different thing for different people. However it is an integral tool of the current adult classroom and needs to cater to the needs individual students.

C. Web Conference

Pamela, my learning partner, and I have spoken in multiple occasions about the assignment topic and how to make blogs. We spend a lot of time figuring out how to create blogs.

Pamela looked into the article by Kapp, 2012 to explore the trends in gamification in customer service training. Gamification is the application of elements of gaming like scores, points to engage learners in the task at hand. Pamela tells me that she wishes to implement it in training the customer service trainees. Some of the ideas like keeping track of successful customer service are there in place, but the inherent design of the process, she thinks, will significantly improve the performance.

According to another article by Denny, 2014, she tells me that gamification doesn’t necessarily create another behaviorist extrinsic motivation. It can be made more intrinsic by incorporating four key motivational drivers – relatedness, autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Link to Pamela’s blog:

D. Reference:

Denny, J. (2014). Gamification: Intrinsic Motivation for Lasting Engagement. eLearning Industry. Retrieved from:

James, N.P. (2014). Golden Rules for Engaging Students in Learning Activities. Edutopia. Retrieved from

Kapp, K. M. (2012). Games, Gamification, an the Quest for Learner Engagement. Associated for Talent Development. Retrieved from:

Parsons, J. and Taylor, L. (2011). Student Engagement: What do we know and what should we do? The University Partners. Retrieved from:

Strong, R., Silver, H.F., and Robinson, A. (1995). Strengthening Student Engagement: What Do Students Want. Educational Leadership, 53(1), 8-12.

Weimer, M. (2012). 10 Ways to Promote Student Engagement. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from: