Ok. I have tried to behave myself with this blog and not get too personal. However, the gloves have been dropped and I am cheesed off!
As some of you may know, I am pursuing my BA in English and a Business Administration Diploma….24 years after graduating college. I have a full-time job, working for a prominent university in Southern Ontario. I am 3 credits from my degree and one credit, well, after Tuesday’s exam maybe two credits, from my diploma.
Here is what cheeses me off…why, at this stage of life, in a centre dedicated to “continuing education”, am I still being treated as a 20-year-old with regard to teaching and testing?!? This is not a slam against younger students but a call out of the educators who sign up to teach “adult learners“. Malcolm Knowles published a study on adult learners and their teachers in 1973. 1973!!! I couldn’t find anything more recent than that (if you are ready this and know of a more recent study, please let me know). Knowles’ study concluded that adults learn differently as a result of their life experience. What upsets me is why do learning institutions continue to present the same curriculum that was originally prepared for younger learners? Why, at this stage of life – 45 years and up – are we being presented material and tested in a manner that was originally intended for students with minimal life experience and responsibility? Surely these instructors – and the program administrators – realize that a majority of their evening class students consists of men and women, aged 40+, who have full-time jobs and family responsibilities. Why is it necessary to overload us with extensive reading and onerous term papers when most of us have managed to get this far in life by engaging the art of “critical thinking”? We are here because we want to learn, we don’t need to learn how to learn. We got it.
What prompted this post was the exam I wrote on Tuesday. The exam covered 14 chapters, was worth 55% of our overall mark and contained the following; 25 multiple choice questions, 4 questions worth 20 marks and then a case study question, which involved 5-pages of reading and was worth 55 marks. Seriously?!? Prior to this final exam, we were assigned a case study, worth 55 marks, and we had a month to complete it. On the final exam, we were given a fresh study, with 29 previous questions and a total of less than 3 hours to complete the entire exam. Sooooo not impressed. I still don’t get the point of such an exercise. It was stressful going into the exam and even more so as I await my mark. I really do not want to repeat that class.
If you are an educator of adult learners, please reconsider the way you deliver the curriculum. In 2014, adult learners – and there are a lot of us – should be able to pay their tuition and expect to be taught by educators who have experience with teaching adult learners –because adult learners learn differently.