Fedeli, Monica (2008) Nuove prospettive per la fromazione degli adulti: generare valore in una societĂ complessa. I risultati di un'indagine fra testimoni privilegiati. [Ph.D. thesis]
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New prospectives for adult learning: generating values in a complex society.
This research represents a study and in-depth contribution for adult learning, focussing upon the learning values addressed to adults immersed in working processes and to the tricky role of the trainer that practices his/her own profession with adults involved in life-long learning.
This contribution is part of the literature tradition that recently dealt with the subject of generative learning and the value of learning in order to investigate and listen to the trainers' opinion, but also of privileged witnesses, front line exponents in managerial training concerned with the innovation of the same training.
The path we have traced, started right from a learning analysis in its multiple exemplifications, analysing the dimensions of adultity in its finest facets, highlighting the difficulties and strong points in a social context such as the current one.
The path was articulated in three main parts, and then subsequently subdivided according to subject.
The first part of the research was dedicated to the study and development of two central themes; the first being more general, concentrating upon the paradigms of: complexity, learning and training; the second more specific, dealing with the subject of generative learning and values. We began by indicating the contexts and interpretations of the subjects dealt with, firstly carrying out a bibliographic research, and afterwards delving into their current exemplifications in the complex context that has recently been developing in adult learning organization.
In the second part, some strategic aspects of learning were tackled delving more into the value related to personal identity, and to the value that learning could generate in adults that are on the verge of facing increasingly complex scenarios, characterized on one hand by a specifically technical and technological request, and on the other by a strong sense of sharing and subjectivity; by subjectivity meaning the heart, feelings and personal experience of those operating in a working and social context. The two aspects just outlined can be traced back to two learning models; the first identifies and justifies itself in the contenutistic model, whereas the second in a process model, where the trainer is no longer the person who decides which knowledge or skill to convey, but becomes a facilitator who prepares a learning situation.
The target group of the present research is made up of:
1)trainers employed in life long learning addressed at adults in different learning contexts, that carry out their activity in public and private bodies,
2)learning process experts,
3)university professors and adult training researchers,
4)heads of training centres and higher education institutions.
In the third part the research hypothesis that was born from the will of indicating values has been developed and discussed, or rather the values that long life learning could generate in adults integrated in different professional contexts or entering the working world.
In particular the contexts and modalities by which adults learn have been investigated, when learning becomes important for the person, favouring the acquisition of a deeper awareness of realizing one's own professional actions, adding value, not only at a professional level, but also from a personal point of view. The search for a scope in life and personal choices.
To face the heart of the research problem, research tools have been elaborated that have given the possibility of getting to know the involved trainers, researchers and involved experts' points of view better, concentrating the research into four main areas:
1. In accordance with organization/customer/ purchaser
2. Trainees' desires,
3. Values perceived by the trainers and values generated by training,
4. Learning prospectives.
For each of these areas we have analyzed and compared the resulting data using different statistic tools, motivated and supported by the wish of contributing, even though not exhaustive, in the training field and especially in adult training.
The above-mentioned fields have been explored from different points of view; starting from the first: in accordance with organization/customer/ purchaser, we wanted to understand how important and what role a good alliance represented for the trainer and for the success of the actual training.
We gathered data by means of the ATLAS.ti analysis tool and we subdivided them further, as we also did for the other themes dealt with in the two main different areas: regarding the person and relationships and the organization and professional context.
The second theme dealt with the trainees desires, in this case we wanted to find out what these desires were, tacit and expressed by those attending training courses, and which perceptions the trainers had of these desires and also which ones and how many of these fall under the sphere of the values reported by the person and organization.
The third theme we dealt with was that of the values that we subdivided into: values perceived by the trainers and values generated by training. Therefore those values the trainers perceive in adults attending training courses. How the desires of the trainees to learn in a complex and integrated way were interpreted, drawing on social and transversal competences that act, not only in the professional sphere but also in that of the person. Which values stood out from the needs analysis that the trainers carry out in order to plan their teaching paths.
The last theme was that of analyzing the current training developments in our society. On the basis of the interviews and questionnaires, we asked which would be the prospectives of adult learning if it were inside a continuously changing and complex scenario like the present one.
All the themes dealt with were analyzed inserting bibliographic references, topics of comparison with the latest training developments in our country and with the new tendencies of the same. We were also interested in discovering new forms of realizing outdoor paths that are attracting the attention of a great number of trainers and experts because of their innovation and originality.
We wanted to investigate how much awareness there was towards these new subjects among trainers and privileged exponents in the educational world we had interviewed, and how much the dimension of individual well-being in the organizations could reflect upon peoples' private lives. We were interested in finding out the new values born in adults from the learning practice and how the individual's cognitive baggage can influence and determine the success of so much personalized training. What are the motivations and incentives that would mainly influence the training choices of adults in defined career paths, or searching for new opportunities and professional realities and how much individual satisfaction could have a spin-off in the sphere of professional relationships and in his/her working context.
These and many others were the questions and considerations that spurred us to search for the trainers' answers in their role of prime actors because they are directly involved in this change and innovation.
This feedback gave us the answers to the questions that we had asked ourselves at the beginning of our research path, enriching them with new and original inspirations that initially we were not able to outline clearly, but above all, they revealed that in order to make the most of oneself one must play the part of a trainer and activator of learning processes and organizational behaviour.
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