Evidence Supporting New PL Strategies: Why Changing teaching methods matters

Adult Learning Strategies for Implementing Technology in the Classroom

Learning is a Process – for Adults

Learning is a process, even for adults. Especially for adults. Unlike children, adults have to navigate a brain-full of existing knowledge that may or may not support understanding new information. Sometimes adults have to abandon beliefs and attitudes, and most certainly habits that interfere with the acquisition of new knowledge, in order to begin the process. And because learning is in the hands of the student, those who teach adult students, must present compelling reasons that influence adult learners to change their thinking and behavior.

File:Learning process and quality standards.pngThe learning process has been researched for decades. Modern teaching is based on proven principles that consider more than the exchange of information from one person to another. Regardless of topic, in this case, classroom technology, a learner’s environment, motivation, the association of information with their own life experiences, and much more, all add to the learning process – or get in the way of it (Ambrose, Bridges, DiPietro, Lovett & Norman, 2010).

Scholars argue about concrete evidence and trade names in adult learning theory (Merriam & Bierema 2014) but to a technology integrator trying to help a classroom teacher become more adept at using a smart board, iPads, or Chromebooks, none of that matters. At the end of the day, the teacher either takes the plunge and starts using the technology, or she doesn’t.

Educators working with adults need to be aware of how and why adults learn, but a short list of common sense to-do’s (below) might matter even more. Teachers need support to begin, practice and confirm their efforts to use and master new technology. Most of all, learners need adequate time and opportunity to reach mastery, and multiple follow-up visits from their trainer for ongoing support.

Consider this:


Provide Compelling Reasons for Beginning the Learning Process


  •  The teacher’s need for technology training

Make sure the training is applicable to the teacher, course, and students before proceeding.

Present some of the following:

  • School initiatives,
  • continuing education credits,
  • school improvement goal,
  • stakeholder expectations,
  • engage learners,
  • student interest in technology,
  • improved outcomes,
  • efficiency,
  • collaboration opportunities
  • The teacher’s past experience learning technology

Investigate teacher’s history using technology and attitude toward its use.

  • Revisit positive learning experience as example;
  • Address the negative, and offer reassurance using #3 – #5.
  • Their readiness to learn; circumstances, timing, personal disposition, and prerequisite knowledge and experience

Know the teacher’s current skill level, course requirements, schedule, psychological and /or personal circumstances, and their desire to learn new technology, in general

Capitalize on

  • enthusiasm,
  • minimize fear,
  • determine pre-knowledge by inquiring directly.

If the teacher is not confident with prerequisite knowledge, continue at a later time.  Use the opportunity to revisit prerequisite training if possible.

  • Relevance in current circumstance

Assess the teacher’s access and need to use said technology with the current student group

If training will be relevant, continue.  Refer to #1 for reasons, otherwise, abandon session.

  • How the teacher would use the new technology knowledge immediately

Prepare examples, lessons, walkthroughs, and support documentation in advance



  • concrete examples,
  • sample lessons,
  • modeling with real lessons,
  • support solution for building and testing new knowledge in the classroom right away

Consider how these facts about meeting the future needs of learners at Prince of Peace:

1. Why Change Teaching at Prince of Peace Catholic School?


2. Research and Philosophy to Support Changing Pedagogy

The Need to Change; 21st Century Education


Benchmark Case Study for Catholic Education and Integrating Technology: Ottawa Catholic School Board

(website) http://www.cea-ace.ca/initiative/2015-16-innovation-sticks-school-district-case-study-program

Case Study Report (for download)


The Big PictureInfluencing Cultural Change

1. A Strategic Plan for Technology Integration at POP


2. Implementation Strategy for Technology Integration at POP –  Year One



Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M. C., Norman, M. K., 2010. How Learning Works. Retrieved from: http://teaching.temple.edu/sites/tlc/files/resource/pdf/What%20Factors%20Motivate%20Students%20to%20Learn_.pdf

Merriam, S. B, Bierema, L. L. 2014. Adult Learning: Linking Theory and Practice. Jossey-Bass. San Francisco, CA.