Today I officially completed all the necessary requirements for the fourth of five required courses to obtain my Bachelor of Education – Adult Education. (In case you’re wondering, I am officially done as of July 6th 2013). As I progress through the program I continue to learn about the different learning theories and instructional approaches.
The result of learning is a change in the learner’s behaviour (Merriam et al., 2007, p. 276). Personally, I subscribe to a postmodernism perspective in which there are “no absolutes” and meaning lies within interpretation (p. 260). This clearly explains why I am an entrepreneur! However, my business’ philosophy is a behaviourist perspective in which elements of the environment shape learning and learning is displayed through a change in behaviour (p. 278).
I provide social media training such that social media administrators’ actions are more efficient, and messages are more effective. Therefore, the social media training I provide seeks to improve an individual’s behaviour as it relates to social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
Many people associate the behaviourist philosophy B.F. Skinner, who studied ‘Operant Conditioning,’ which “reinforces what you want the individual to do again; ignore what you want the individual to stop doing” (p. 279). This complements the instructional approaches that I have integrated into my business model and training approach.
Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction
Although I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I have developed a true appreciation for David Merrill’s First Principles of Instruction, in which demonstration, application, activation, integration centre around a specific task.
Social media management (i.e. Facebook Pages for Business)
Before commencing a training session I like to gain an understanding of the individuals existing skill set. Through a needs assessment discussion, I learn about the learner. What are their questions about social media? What is their skill level? What is their business’ current usage of social media? Through this discussion learners are required to explain their prior knowledge and/or experience.
The second step is the demonstration I provide to learners.When I train clients I show learners the sequence of actions as well as the final result. This demonstration helps to develop a general understanding of the sequence or flow.
The third step is the application of the actions shown in the second step. My learner-centered instruction implements hands-on learning, which focuses on the learner’s direct experience, as well as guided practice which involves the learner practicing a specific skill with assistance from the teacher (me!) only as needed. I reinforce the learner’s skills through positive verbal reinforcement as required. These instructional methods are weighted heavily in the behaviourist philosophy.
Finally, given that learners will be implementing the newly acquired skills to maintain a business’ social media presence, learning from integration is activated. It is important that learners acquire the skills and confidence to proceed with their predetermined social media strategy to fully utilize their skills. I encourage individuals to be proactive and to ask questions if they face challenges.
I am delighted to provide social media training solutions to businesses. I look forward to meeting you soon, and helping your employees become more effective and efficient!