Program Planning Week 1

Question 1: Explain the difference between formal and informal adult learning, and give examples.

The difference between formal and informal learning lies in the direction of who controls the learning objectives and goals. In formal learning it is the institution that determines the whats and hows, whereas in informal learning, it is the learner himself who decides what to learn, when and at what pace.

Ruby has presented a great metaphor when speaking of the difference between formal and informal learning. In her blog, formal learning is compared to driving a bus; the bus driver is the ultimate oracle of knowledge who decides upon the best route and the speed of the driving experience. His bus is filled with people who simply follow the rules and leave the vehicle at pre-determined stops. On the other end of the learning spectrum, informal learning is compared to riding a bike, which gives the rider the ownership of the route, speed and stops.

According to Tough, only about 20% of adult learning takes place in formal settings. That means that 80% of it depends on our intentional or unintentional self-directed learning through daily interactions with colleagues and friends, through books and online research, etc. If newcomers want to learn English fast to successfully settle in Canada, they cannot solely depend on their classes to improve their language skills; they must take advantage of daily opportunities and free online resources to achieve their goals. A PLE/PLN (Personal Learning Environment/Personal Learning Network) map can nicely show the 80-20 ratio – see an example here.

To learn to install bamboo flooring when I needed to redecorate my house, I did research on the Internet, and with books and cassettes I started learning English when I was 13. Both are examples of informal learning. When I decided to become a teacher of English as a Second Language, I enrolled in formal training that ended with a degree which allowed me to work in professional settings.

Question 2: Describe the role of program planners

What I learnt this past week is that a program planner is a project manager involved in all stages of devising learning programs except for writing learning materials and creating activities. What I am confused about is the fact that Caffarella does mention preparing instructional plans as one of the steps of program planning. I am hoping to find clarification as the course progresses.

Question 3: List some of the key elements (activities, stages) of program planning

Determining the needs of all stakeholders

Identifying aims

Recruiting trainers/teachers

Preparing budget and marketing plans

Overseeing logistics of the course delivery

Preparing and analyzing evaluation plans

Preparing a schedule with target dates for completion

One thought on “Program Planning Week 1

  1. jsaunders113 says:

    Welcome to the course; I really enjoyed reading your blog so far. Personally, I am involved in the adult literacy side of program planning, so it’s interesting to read responses to the same questions from a different point of view. It does seem to me, however, that program planners will face many of the same issues, regardless of their background. Thank you very much for the link to the PLE/PLN map. Although EAL is a small part of my adult learning centre, I haven’t had much of an opportunity to access the various EAL websites. The PLE/PLN map would be a very useful resource, not only for our EAL classes, but also for our adult literacy program. I also found it interesting that you commented on Ruby’s analogy comparing informal and formal learning to riding a bike and riding a bus. That analogy really jumped out at me, as well, when I read it on Ruby’s blog. Jo-Anne.

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