NCI Blog

Workforce Learning and Development: Different Learners, Different Styles, Different Approaches

Posted by Emma Henderson on 05 June 2015


Dr Arlene Egan, Course Director for NCI's new BA Hons in Adult and Workforce Education, considers how we can enhance skills in ourselves and others. 

 The need for individuals in education and workplace environments to know specific information (know-how and know-what) is not contested. We need to know how approaches, systems or processes work and what there purposes are in relation to tasks. However, how we learn is a little less straightforward! The pathways that individuals take to acquire necessary knowledge differ. At National College of Ireland we have developed new and exciting programmes that enhance understanding of these different pathways (Read about our new BA Honours in Adult and Workforce Education or BA Honours in Early Childhood Education).

As an academic working in the area of learning, development and performance, I am very interested in how individuals learn and develop. Concepts such as motivation, styles of thinking, potential creativity and levels of interest can all play a role and need to be understood when we are working to develop ourselves and others. It has become apparent that having an increased awareness of these concepts (and others) can enhance our skills in development contexts.

When we are focused on developing adults in education and workplace contexts we aim to ensure that we optimise knowledge as well as providing overall positive learning experiences. In fact, knowledge is only one part of the package that we need to pay attention to. True development will also focus on enhancing individual’s skills and dispositions. Skills could include technical skills, IT or using tools in carpentry, for example. Skills could also include cognitive aspects, such as problem-solving, collaboration, evaluation, critical-thinking, creativity, communication and self-care. It is necessary that we think of these types of skills as transferable. In this way, when we are developing ourselves or others, we need to be equipped with skills that we can transfer to different contexts and different types of problems.

Thinking of returning to education? National College of Ireland welcomes adults from all walks of life, who are curious about how to turn their life experiences and learning into a recognised qualification. We have developed a series of courses in education that help adults to realise how they can develop themselves and those around them. Join us for a cuppa to learn more. 

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Topics: Learning and Teaching