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Designing programs in adult education and training

The emergence of adult education has posed numerous challenges to the conventional program designs, which have failed to meet the needs of both the instructors and trainees. This has led to the need to create a more robust and friendly design that can serve the ever increasing number of adult education trainees. Program design is very essential in human resource training and development under, especially in adult education.

This paper reviews a program design model and presents a review report. This review is intended to investigate the phenomenon of program design models, and reflect on the ways that model may inform program design practice in adult education and training contexts. The paper examines the various aspects of instructional systems development and further evaluates the strengths and limitations of this model of instruction. Introduction

Program design is a persistent process in adult training and education systems. By regarding formal and non formal education and training as the provision of systematic or organized learning experiences, then it can be argued that program design is at the core of adult education and training practice. It is difficult to imagine what the landscape of adult education and training would look like if we were not engaged in program design.

A program may be defined as an arrangement of activities and experiences designed to promote learning, but program design involves a much broader range of activities, including context and learner analysis, need assessment, determining program purpose, goals and objectives, designing the curriculum and instructional plan, preparing an administrative plan as well as developing an evaluation plan for the program.

Accordingly, program design is the mechanism through which theory and research related to adult learning, management and administration, instructional design, staffing, evaluation, budgeting and marketing are applied to the design of educational and training interventions. A program is the framework in which instruction is delivered; delivering well-designed programs is a major goal of most providers of adult education and training programs. Program design is a complex process that significantly manipulates and is subjective to the context in which it occurs.

Also being a social process, it is subject to similar economic, political cultural and social factors that manipulate other human social activities. Although it is possible to learn how to design or plan programs without a thorough understanding of the theoretical, conceptual and philosophical perspectives which under gird practice, this course will emphasize the development of such understanding and the important relationship between theory and practice. Content analysis Training Most trainers have an attitude that is both positive and obliging; they want to help others and also learn from them.

They are of the thought that this particular aspect is what differentiates their profession from others. However, the greatest concern in the training profession is with regard to design, analysis, implementation, development and evaluation (Piskurich et al, 2000). Trainers lack the time to do their job, and instead take shortcuts in building training programs or purchase ready-made packages. This has been seen as fine as long as there is sound reason for it and the necessary expertise to pull the content to the needs of the trainer.

Most professionals in the military, industry and in business face the challenge to deliver training at the lowest cost possible and on time by use of the off-the-shelf packages and shortcutting the instructional systems development (ISD) procedure. ISD background ISD idea was born in the 1960s and seen very few changes, if any, ever since. It was aimed at providing a template to be used in instructing and developing the US military, where it is still extensively used. ISD has also fond its application in development of courseware, particularly for extremely critical training.

It is also applied in human health systems, process plants, and utilities among other applications (Rothwell and Cookson, 1997). Old challenges and new frontiers Technological advancement has posed numerous challenges to the ISD training, especially with the emergence of computer-based training (CBT) and computer-aided instruction (CAI). A number of people are of the view that the modern technologies need an educational companion rather than the traditional ISD model.

Others advocate for a hybrid kind of training that combines the instructor with the technology and calls for a more technologically advanced approach (Knowles et al, 1998). However, experts have argued that switching to the technological models, although it could be more cost effective, will not in itself satisfy all training system needs as well as student needs. Further, they have pointed out that the basics will still apply, and their accomplishment will go a long way in maximizing performance competency in the trainees (Piskurich, et al, 2000). Analysis, design, development, and evaluation (ADDIE)

Analysis The analysis phase demands that the developer first familiarizes himself or herself with all aspects of the educational situation, job, or operational system where instruction is needed. It helps in determining whether or not there exists a need for instruction, what should be taught, and any processes and behaviors the trainees must display. The analysis phase collects data to be used in determining the operational system’s purpose (Phillips et al, 1996). Design The design phase helps in constructing terminal training goals and objectives for every task.

These objectives constitute, among others, action statement, conditions and performance standards. It further classifies the objectives of terminal learning into one of the numerous categories, and then studied to establish particular learning objectives as well as the steps required in mastering them (Gilley, 2000). Some of the numerous leaning objectives include attitudes, physical skills, information, and mental skills. Then there follows the writing of test items, which are criterion-referenced, to help in satisfying the needs for course-end tests, unit posttests, pretests and entry tests (Dick and Carey, 2001).

Development This phase involves the translation of the already established tests, objectives and data into learning activities and events. During this phase, lack of experience could lead to selecting unsuitable materials from vendors (Kovalchick and Dawson, 2004). It has been established that by exposing the medium close to the actual work environment, knowledge transfer in enhanced. Experts are of the proposal that one should choose the type of creativity that will help in delivering and retaining of learning, but at the same time consider the delivery method, time and cost that is suitable (Piskurich et al, 2000).

Implementation This phase involves launching of a pilot aimed at validating the design and development. More often than not, transition to final training from pilot is hardly noticeable, mainly because of the urgency following training requests rather than the training’s quality. Training should utilize the non-instructional implementation aspects that are transparent and clear to the learner (Craig et al, 1996). Evaluation Evaluation instruments help in measuring how well the trainees are doing as well as the instruction itself, although the measurement itself can take various forms.

Measurement devices should be capable of evaluating both the behavior and supporting knowledge of the objectives under the environment. A good instructional system takes the trainees through experiences mirroring the work environment as well as maximizing trainee activities similar to job functions. Evaluation is further classified into two categories namely internal evaluation and external evaluation (Caffarella, 2002). Internal evaluation involves provision of inputs depending on the experience of learners, staff and trainers measuring points of quality such as performance checks and learner knowledge.

Internal evaluation is aimed at providing immediate feedback to the developers of the instruction in order to modify the curriculum. Internal evaluation finds most of its application formative evaluation (Piskurich et al, 2000). Conversely, external evaluation is mainly applied on the job, where summative evaluation techniques are applied. In this type of evaluation, objectives of the instruction are demonstrated a change in human performance (Orey et al, 2006). Evaluation and analysis Strengths of the ISD model The ISD model makes it easier for the trainer to direct the format and flow of an instruction.

This is because it is possible to display presentations either randomly or linearly, hence allowing the trainer to review ahead of the material planned. This has proved to be very useful in an environment such as distance learning because of its convenience. The trainer is capable of adjusting the presentation’s flow depending on the trainees’ level of comprehension (Cookson, 1998). The model has proved to be flexible and hyperlinks any panels of presentation together, allowing the response of the users to determine the presentation content.

The instructor is therefore able to shape the content of the course to increase comprehension levels. Moreover, ISD’s robust nature enables it to display immediate responses in various forms such as pie charts, bar graphs or customized display (Islam and Trolley, 2006). Limitations of the model ISD was initially based on behaviorism until quite recently when cognitive science was incorporated to make development of knowledge, attitudes and skills more robust and improve human performance. Moreover this model could turn out to be very expensive considering the amount of technological investment required (Clark, 2006).

Conclusion ISD use requires some sacrifices to be made since the technology to be used for training may be too costly. Moreover, there may not be enough time to thoroughly analyze or even try out the instruction. It is very important to put into consideration these challenges during the design stage of the system. The goal of the developers is building the most cost-effective instructional system given the available substitutes. Just because there is a need to tackle valid challenges does not mean bypassing the system development’s key parts for flimsy reasons.

Any compromises made and the reasons for these compromises must be properly put into documentation. Even though ISD appears like a linear system, it finds its best utilization as an interactive process where the objectives can be sequenced and fine-tuned. References Caffarella, R (2002) Planning Programs for Adult Learners: A Practical Guide for Educators, Trainers, and Staff Developers, Jossey-Bass Clark, D (2006) Introduction to ISD, retrieved from www. nwlink. com, on January 24, 2009 Cervero, R et al (2001) Power in Practice, Wiley_Default

Cookson, P (1998) Program Planning for the Training and Continuing Education of Adults-North American Perspectives, Krieger Publishing Company Craig, R et al (1996) The ASTD Training and Development Handbook, McGraw-Hill Professional Dick, W and Carey, J (2001) The systematic design of instruction, New York: Longman. Gilley, J (2000) Organizational Learning, Performance, and Change, Perseus Islam, K and Trolley, E (2006) Developing and Measuring Training, Wiley_Default Knowles, M et al (1998) The Adult Learner, Gulf Professional Publishing

Kovalchick, A and Dawson, K (2004) Education and Technology, ABC-CLIO Orey, M et al (2006) Educational Media and Technology Yearbook, Libraries Unlimited Panda, S (2003) Planning and Management in Distance Education, Routledge Phillips, J et al (1996) Designing Training Programs, American Society for Training and Development Piskurich, G et al (2000) The ASTD handbook of training design and delivery, McGraw Hill Rothwell, W and Cookson, P (1997) Beyond Instruction: Comprehensive Program Planning for Business and Education, John Wiley & Sons, Inc

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