Trends in Adult Education

I looked at a variety of sites to get a feel for the trends happening in adult education.  I liked this article by Jeff Cobb.

His list of learning trends includes:

  • MOOCs
  • Virtual Conferences
  • Flipped Classroom
  • Neuroscience
  • Social Learning
  • Microlearning
  • Open Education
  • Content Marketing
  • Alternative Credentialing
  • DIY/Self-Directed Learning
  • Self-Publishing
  • Big Data

His final mega-trend: Life Long, Life Wide

At the outset, I began to investigate MOOCs.  I had never heard of these Massive Open Online Courses, and I spent several hours on the MOOC List website, watching 2-minute videos for multiple courses, and bookmarking the ones I hope to find the time to register for some day.

Despite my interest in MOOCs, I settled on investigating the concept of the flipped classroom.  In contrast with the traditional teaching approach, teachers record lectures that students can access outside the classroom.  You could also use blogs, books, podcasts, or websites.  During class time, the focus is placed on applied learning activities and group discussions.

Hmmm…  Interesting concept, but I couldn’t use this teaching method in my course.  Could I?  I dismissed the idea of incorporating it into the Speechreading course I teach for adults with hearing loss.  My off-the-cuff excuses: I should just keep things the way they are, people are happy with the course, the seniors who register for my course would balk at the idea of using the computer, I don’t typically give ‘homework’, and it’s better to give the information in person, isn’t it?

This past week, I completed a session of my course.  I always give evaluation forms to elicit feedback.  Two comments jumped off the page for me:

“May I suggest that the classroom material is not changed just supplemented and that you give each participant a loaner DVD, assigning each as their homework, to complete the lessons given on the DVD, rather than in lab time. Thus you count on the maturity of the class participant to choose how much they need of the DVD and to structure their time at home to do lessons as homework while attending the course at VCC…. Each class you can ask for questions arising from homework or ask specific test questions to gain acknowledgement each participant is getting a benefit from the DVD assignment at home.”

“I’m really happy about all the new information I learned about hearing loss and how to deal with it. I just wish there was more time for practice.”

I’ve seen the comment about wanting more practice multiple times in the past.  I created a Level 2 course to address the issue.  To be honest, I wasn’t willing to sacrifice any of the information and discussions that were part of the Level 1 course, and I thought that sacrifice was necessary to include more face-to-face activities.

And then I read about the flipped classroom.



Maybe there is a way to cover the topics, have the class discussions and practice the skills in the introductory course.  I’m excited about the possibilities. This was definitely a well-timed A-HA moment for me.  Stay tuned.


flipped classroom


Additional resources:

  • find resources for flipping your classroom here
  • read about the pros and cons here
  • great info and resources here
  • introduction, resources, and research here

References and resources:

Cobb, J. (n.d.) 12 Trends (Still) Disrupting the Market for Lifelong Learning and Continuing Education. Retrieved from

Gorman, M. (2012, July 18) Flipping the classroom…A goldmine of research and resources to keep you on your feet.  Retrieved from

Knewton Infographics (n.d.) Flipped classroom.  Retrieved from

MOOC List (n.d.)  Retrieved from

Patriquin, A.  (2015, June 10)  Pros and cons of teaching a flipped classroom.  Retrieved from

Ronan, A. (2105, March 2)  10 free resources for flipping your classroom. Retrieved from

Ward, J.(n.d.)  Flipped Learning. Retrieved from

All sites retrieved June 22, 2016

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s