As I reviewed my final program design to turn in, I was struck by how much I have actually learned over this past semester. While I have continuously found throughout coursework while in the Adult Learning program that I didn’t know just how much I didn’t know, I entered into the bulk assignment for this semester’s learning adventure in Design and Delivery assuming that my task would be enlightening; but didn’t truly realize just how much so. I have always prided myself as someone that will consider the needs of the learner while in the classroom. I will look for non-verbals, listen to responses, probe for understanding; all to ensure that they are getting as much as I possibly can give them in that moment. And yet I, like perhaps others, stand at the front of the room and watch them leave hoping that their inspiration will not waiver and that I may have made a difference in their perspectives in just a small way. A question that drove me to easily choose the topic for my program design this semester.
While many were designing programs from start to finish, and ideally I probably should have done the same, I find myself contemplating the added knowledge that I may have gained by using one that was ‘tried and true’. The course on Building Positive Relationships @ Work was one that I had delivered in shortened and full length versions to multiple audiences at the hospital over a period of several years. And while I would be remiss not to acknowledge that some have changed as a result of the small amount of awareness that I may have been able to bring about through the class; I also would be remiss not to mention that still others left inspired, but perhaps not enough or in the right way. And yet it was still requested, still needed and still a desired topic for the employees that I serve. So for this reason I knew that I wanted to look at this class and find a way to change it. I wanted it to stick, to really make sense, to really help them understand the why and want to make that change they so desired or needed to make.
And so as I look at the printed document that I am about to turn in, I am struck by just how much my perspective on the class, its delivery and the audience has really changed for me. The rationale piece and its inclusion of a learning needs and resources assessment caused me to re-look at how I know, or think I know, what it is that I want to provide them. The goals statement and list of program objectives was difficult for me, as I have grown accustomed to only the one level that is prefaced typically with “today we will…” This particular piece caused me to pause a bit more on what my overarching purpose of the program truly was. I will not say that it truly changed much when assessing it using the influences of Vella and Caffarella, and yet I cannot say that this new perspective did not color the remaining work as I went on in its redesign.
The next design piece began to set the stage for the evaluation of the learning that I so desperately sought. Not truly realizing it yet, assessing each piece and part of the program and what I planned to do to accomplish its ‘what’ was the beginning of the answer to my ‘how’. The final piece of the design assignment was where it really came together for me, perhaps my most valuable moment, and yet it truly was the most difficult for me as well. I read and re-read the examples and the syllabus, and I struggled to create a table that would display just how much I truly thought the program could accomplish if delivered in just the right way. It created a bit of a new lens for me from the perspective of looking at my program task by task, ABO by ABO to decide (or discover?) just how powerful it could truly be for some and others that they can influence, including our organization. Analyzing the choices I was making in not only the delivery of the content, but also the tasks I was choosing to facilitate the learning, really made me consider what it was that I thought the learner should, could and would do with it once they left.
So as I sit here and close the cover on my program design, ready to hand it in, I pause and consider if the quality of the program I have now produced through this redesign would have been what it is without this class. I paused over so many things that I may not have noticed before. I paused over my reasoning, assessing what I was truly trying to accomplish and, perhaps most importantly, whether or not the learner’s needs were truly being met. Where did I hope they would go with this information once they left the classroom, and had I ever really thought about how much of an impact I wanted to make on the organization before? An appreciated awareness has developed in what we as educators may be capable of providing for those individuals that step into our classrooms. To plant the seed is truly only just the beginning, when the program has been designed well. And with that thought, I cannot help but consider how much this semester’s assignment (or learning tasks) has changed the way I reflect and practice moving forward. Was this in our professor’s ABOs and evaluation plan I wonder with a smile as I chose the title of this blog. For this may be my final post for this class, but it is without a doubt not my final reflection on what I have learned in the past few months, as well as in the collective.