Consciousness-experience-reflection learning process loop is the basis of professional development which derives meaning from experience and changes insights into strategies that are practical hence creating opportunities for professional growth and development. It integrates daily life activities into a routine basis thereby raising awareness, improves critical analysis and helping in self-management and decision making (Geltner, 1994). It means learning to pay attention, facing our assumptions, noticing patterns, changing what we see and finally changing ways of seeing things. The learning process is most effective if people personally engage in the learning process. Learning is said to be effective when both the learner and the instructor are actively and collaboratively involved in the learning process.
For maximum engagement and motivation of the aging adults, I will employ the four stages of the consciousness-experience-reflection learning process loop. These stages include experimentation, abstract conceptualization, observation and reflection, and experience. Learning process starts with the first stage known as experience or troublesome event whose solution cannot be found by the use of standard operational procedures (Mezirow, 1990). As the practitioner whose reflective retrieves back to evaluation, it was not easy to lead. The uncertainty leads to the second stage, observation, and analysis where the learners examine and analyze the experience or the problems that have emerged. This activates the learners to take the researchers' role to gather new information and by doing an active search to come up with better answers and efficient strategies (Mezirow, 1990). As the learners do the research, they put themselves in the situation and at times step out of the action to critically analyze the problem. After that, comes the third stage abstract reconceptualization where we consider or come up with alternative thinking and acting ways. Here we consider theories that pertain to the connection between the actions and outcomes. At the end of this process I as the practitioner with reflection will have brought an understanding of the things done and why, and connected them to the accepted theories. This makes the students reconsider the past ideas do more research on new ones that will result in alignment of between the outcomes, actions, and ideas. Having come up with new actions from an alignment in the abstract conceptualization stage, the learning process gets to the final stage called active experimentation. At this point, the learners now will have generated the action theory, which states that, if we act in a given way, we look forward to getting a specific response. In the experimentation stage, therefore, we test the assumptions by making conscious decisions to test the realized conceptualization through acting in a particular known way. This involves behavioral experiments of ideas that we try in our workstations. And the circle continues in learning to the next experience.
Cognition is the process of acquiring and exhaustively understanding knowledge by the use of our experiences, senses, and thoughts (Caine & Caine, 2006). The knowledge acquired can be either from studying or being taught. Through the use of knowledge of the consciousness-experience-reflection learning process loop, I would strive to maximize aging adults' cognition or understanding by designing the following five steps. The first step to enhance the cognition of adults is to teach interactively. This step involves exhaustive teaching and elaboration of the concepts of discussion (Bar-Tal, 1982). At this stage I will introduce a concept; provide proper discussions and explanation by the use of case studies. As the teaching proceeds, I will throw in questions to the learners to gauge their critical understanding of the concept (Wolfe, 2006). Before the question posted is answered the teacher should provide clear guidelines on how it should be answered using each person's personal experience. This interactive and moderated session makes the aging adult learners to grasp the concept so faster at the first lesson level. The second step is to Self-assess the effects my teaching has had on the learners. At this moment, the learners are provided with a little bit different scenario assignments to expound on their thoughts at personal levels. The assignments should be on a weekly basis covering all the concepts covered within the week. The strategy allows the learners to make observations and analysis of the problem, carry out research at personal levels to find the solutions. To make the research academics rather than a joint effort, each learner is given time to defend his or her work before the class to be awarded points.
The third step of improving the aging adult's cognition is considering new ways of teaching which can enhance the quality of learning. After the learners have presented their work before the class, I will be in a position to value the efforts of my work. The areas where mistakes are noted will inform me of the new teaching approach to take in initiating a more improved understanding (Bar-Tal, 1982). The fourth step is to put the ideas in practice. Here the new teaching idea formulated is tried in the next lesson to help bridge the gap realized from the assignment issued. The new approach should be much better than and as inclusive and practical as possible to all the learners. The last step in using the consciousness-experience-reflection learning process loop to maximize on the aging adult's cognition is to repeat the process. If the new approach is found workable to all the aging adults, then it is practiced more and more and finally adapted if it contributes to the continuous improvement of the learner's academics.
Communication is an essential factor in teaching and learning. It is described as a two-way process of passing information from one person to another through any channel. Therefore, before I attend any of my lessons, I would make sure that I employ the principles of communication for effective delivery to the learners (Johnson, 2006). When going to teach, I do take into consideration my audience who are the aging adult; this makes me choose wisely the dressing code and language to use. The purpose of my attending class is to teach for a better understanding. In prior I choose a topic and delve deep onto it for content delivery. As a teacher, before getting to class, I regularly prepare for any objections from the students, and if such arises, I am always armed with the correct solution. As I teach my aging class, I do strive to present a rounded picture of all the concepts in the discussion for the learner's all-round understanding (Taylor, 2006). During the lesson, I communicate precisely to the point but using various dimensions in delivery. Coupled with communication is the use of clear and competent demonstrations on the board using proper writings for easy grasp by my aging adult class.
The three approaches provided above are contradictory because they provide different methods of delivery for a comprehensive understanding of aging adult learners. The first approach is meant to motivate learners to be broad-minded and fast thinkers. They are discouraged from narrow thinking which makes them to over depend on the teachers and also perceiving things at the basic level which is very harmful to their academics The other reason that makes the approaches to be contradictory is the difference in ages and experience of the learners who form the class(Bar-Tal, 1982). The middle age adults can be more comfortable with the first approach which advocates for expansive thinking and application.
The second approach narrows down on the deep understanding of the concepts in class as the teaching proceeds. Grasping first-hand information is very important to all the learners, and because the class consists of people of different ages, it means that the grasping rates differ. The class consists of both low learners and first learners, thus employing both the approaches takes care of all the learner's needs (Sheckley & Bell, 2006). Finally, communication and competent writing are very significant for delivery to both categories. Because the class is made up of some of the old who might be having hearing problems it is necessary to employ competent and clear writing to enhance their understanding. In conclusion, the contradictory nature of Consciousness-experience-reflection learning process loops in addition to proper communication and writing are all to the benefits of the aging adult learners.
Bar-Tal, D. (1982). Sequential development of helping behavior: A cognitive-learning approach. Developmental Review, 2(2), 101-124.
Caine, G., & Caine, R. N. (2006). Meaningful learning and the executive functions of the brain. New Directions for Adult & Continuing Education, 2006(110), 53-61.
Geltner, B. B. (1994). The Power of Structural and Symbolic Redesign: Creating a Collaborative Learning Community in Higher Education.
Johnson, S. (2006). The neuroscience of the mentor-learner relationship. New Directions For Adult & Continuing Education, 2006(110), 63-69.
Mezirow, J. (1990). How critical reflection triggers transformative learning. Fostering critical reflection in adulthood, 1, 20.Sheckley, B. G., & Bell, S. (2006). Experience, consciousness, and learning: Implications for instruction. New Directions For Adult & Continuing Education, 2006(110), 43-52.
Taylor, K. (2006). Brain function and adult learning: Implications for practice. New Directions For Adult & Continuing Education, 2006(110), 71-85.
Wolfe, P. (2006). The role of meaning and emotion in learning. New Directions For Adult & Continuing Education, 2006(110), 35-41.
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