Curriculum Development for Adult Learners in Career and Technical Education

Curriculum Development for Adult Learners in Career and Technical Education

Victor C.X. Wang (California State University, Long Beach, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-739-3.ch048
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This chapter addresses pertinent issues concerning the development of meaningful curricula for adult learners in career and technical education. Although developing a curriculum or a course in adult vocational education depends on a competency-based model which has been borrowed from foreign countries, adult learning theory promotes a humanistic orientation for the development of self-actualizing persons. The chapter discusses how the two different models contribute to curriculum development in career and technical education.
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For years, scholars in different fields have been trying to come up with precise definitions of learning and teaching. One of the definitions learning researchers often cite based on the work of Zull (2002), Bloom and Krathwohl (1956) and Kolb (1984), defines learning as a physical change in synaptic pathways in the brain brought about by confronting real-life situations that either confirm or challenge our mental models. Johnson, Johnson, and Smith (1998) view teaching and learning in terms of several principal constructs:

  • Knowledge is discovered, transformed, and extended by students.

  • Students actively construct their own knowledge.

  • Learning is a social enterprise in which students need to interact with the instructor and classmates.

  • Faculty effort should be aimed at developing students’ competencies and talents.

  • Education is a personal transaction among students and between faculty and students as they work together.

  • Learning is best when it takes place within a cooperative context.

  • Teaching is a complex application of theory and research that requires considerable instructor training and continuous refinement of skills and procedures.

Interestingly enough, these scholars’ definitions of teaching and learning do not deviate much from the way adult learning scholars perceive teaching and learning for adults. The foundation of adult learning theory postulates:

  • Adults are motivated to learn as they experience needs and interests that learning will satisfy; therefore, there are the appropriate starting points for organizing adult learning activities.

  • Adults’ orientation to learning is life-centered; therefore, the appropriate units for organizing adult learning are life situations, not subjects.

  • Experience is the richest resource for adults’ learning; therefore, the core methodology of adult education is the analysis of experience.

  • Adults have a deep need to be self-directing; therefore, the role of the teacher is to engage in a process of mutual inquiry with them rather than to transmit his or her knowledge to them and then evaluate their conformity to it.

  • Individual differences among people increase with age; therefore, adult education must make optimal provision for differences in style, time, place, and pace of learning (Knowles, Holton, & Swanson, 2005, pp. 39-40).

Adult education has not been a field that operated by itself; rather, its relationship with career and technical education (formerly known as vocational education) has been an important arena for serving adult learners. Many land-grant universities in the United States have a department called Department of Vocational and Adult Education. Those departments known only as Departments of Career and Technical Education offer courses for adult learners as the majority of adult learners enter the field of career and technical education. Even today, we still have the Office of Vocational and Adult Education housed under U.S. Department of Education that handles a massive enterprise of career, technical, and adult education. As an overview, this is how the Office of Vocational and Adult Education addresses the interrelationship between career and technical education as one area and adult education as another:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Competency-Based Education: Based on the book, Philosophical Foundations of Adult Education by Elias and Merriam, since the mid-1990s, competency-based education has been eclipsed by the notion of “standards-based” or skill standards. The “fixed standard” for workforce education is via skill standards set up by the National Skills Standards (NSSB). Established in 1994, the NSSB has as its mission to develop skills standards in each of the 15 industry sectors, and to establish assessment and certification systems. Standards-based education is well suited to adult vocational education for several reasons: it allows for individual differences in terms of the starting point for instruction; the time it takes a student to master competencies is flexible and dependent upon individual ability; learning specified competencies may be done in a variety of ways from formal class activities to life or work experiences; criterion-referenced evaluation is non-threatening; it is an ideal vehicle for a self-directed individual learning experience (2005, pp. 100-101).

Curriculum: This is defined as organized course of study undertaken by groups of students. Curriculum is developed according to a set of guidelines. It may be characterized by centralization or decentralization depending on the culture of an educational institution in a particular country. It may refer to all the educational events offered by an educational institution.

Malcolm Knowles: He was an American adult educator known throughout the world as the father of adult education. He has been the most frequently cited author in the field. He lived between 1913 and 1997. He was executive director of the Adult Education Association of the United States of America, and thereafter a professor of adult education for different universities such as North Carolina State University and University of Arkansas.

Behaviorist Philosophy: This philosophy emphasizes such concepts as control behavioral modification, learning through reinforcement, and management by objectives. The philosophy was advanced by such theorists such as Edward Thorndike, Ivan Pavlov, James Watson and B. F. Skinner. Skinner was the most prominent behaviorist. This philosophy has led to the creation of programmed learning, behavioral objectives, and performance-based educational programs. Behaviorist principles are predominant in industrial and corporate training programs. In education, the roles of teacher and learner are defined in the behaviorist framework. The ultimate goal of education is to bring about behavior that will ensure survival of the human species, societies and individuals. Student learning outcomes, according to behaviorist philosophies, must be measured objectively and precisely, thus revealing how much progress has been made on the part of the learner. Evaluation based on behavioral objectives eliminates subjective, capricious estimates of student performance.

Criterion-Referenced Evaluation: Criterion-referenced evaluation is an important concept in behavioral psychology. In criterion-referenced evaluation, the learner’s process or accomplishments are compared to a fixed standard or criterion of mastery rather than to the performance of other students. It is based on the assumption that learning objectives can be predetermined, and that given sufficient time and proper reinforcements nearly all students can meet the objectives.

Humanistic Philosophy: According to humanistic philosophers, humans have unlimited potential for learning. Advocates of this approach emphasize freedom and autonomy, trust, active cooperation and participation, and self-directed learning. Since students are capable of self-directed learning, humanistic education is student-centered not only with regard to the responsibility for learning but in terms of the self-development of each learner. The student is viewed as a unique individual in whom all aspects of the person must be allowed to grow in the educative process. Emotions, attitudes, physical aspects are as important as intellectual development. The whole personality, all the dimensions of humanness that differentiates human beings from animals, are deemed the important areas of development in humanistic education. Because of self-directed learning on the part of the students, instructors are expected to be learning facilitators, linking students to learning resources. Sometimes, instructors are expected to consultants, or a “guide on the side.”

Victor Della Vos: He was the director of the Moscow Imperial Technical School in 1886 and developed the Russian system of competency-based instruction, which was partly influenced by Pavlov’s research on conditioning. He exhibited his system of instruction at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. As a result of this presentation, the School of Mechanic Arts was opened in connection with the Massachusetts Institution of Technology in Boston. The principles of his system were adopted by other schools as well in 1880.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Patricia Cranton
Victor C. X. Wang
Victor C. X. Wang
Chapter 1
Chris Zirkle, Edward C. Fletcher Jr.
Distance learning opportunities have rapidly burgeoned in educational environments across disciplines. The result of its growing use has been felt... Sample PDF
Utilization of Distance Education in Career and Technical Education (CTE) Teacher Education
Chapter 2
Shalin Hai-Jew
This chapter explores automated e-learning for training in career and technical education (CTE). This addresses the foundational pedagogical... Sample PDF
Designing Automated Learning for Effective Training and Skills Development
Chapter 3
Kisilu M. Kitainge
This chapter is an extract from a study that examined how institute-based automotive training in the retail, service and repair (RS&R) sector could... Sample PDF
Challenges of Training Motor Vehicle Mechanics for Changing World Contexts and Emergent Working Conditions: Cases of Kenya and Australia
Chapter 4
E-Learning Spaces  (pages 47-58)
Lesley Farmer
This chapter analyzes the state of learning spaces as they impact career and technical education. Relevant theories and models about physical... Sample PDF
E-Learning Spaces
Chapter 5
Chris Allen Thomas
“Learning” has classically been subdivided into education and training. Whereas education occurs in classroom-type settings and takes one away from... Sample PDF
Using Technology to Reintegrate Learning and Doing: IBM's Approach and its Implications for Education
Chapter 6
Davison M. Mupinga, George R. Maughan
Today’s career and technical education (CTE) teachers and trainers are subjected to a number of challenges caused by work systems and processes that... Sample PDF
Impact of Information and Communication Technologies and Influence of Millennial Students on the Role of CTE Teachers and Trainers
Chapter 7
Doo Hun Lim, Seung Won Yoon, Sunyoung Park
Applying learning technologies to improve the current practices of CTE requires a more holistic view focusing not only the aspect of learning but... Sample PDF
Technologies for Learning and Transfer: Learning Frameworks and Technology Design for Career and Technical Education
Chapter 8
Ed Powell
This account of a research project explores postgraduate in-service teachers’ understanding and facilitation of active learning in primary... Sample PDF
Facilitating Reflective Teaching: Video-Stimulated Reflective Dialogues as a Professional Development Process
Chapter 9
Kisilu M. Kitainge
The foundation for a productive, efficient and effective workforce is high quality and relevant training and ideally, educators, policy makers and... Sample PDF
Trainees' Views Regarding Emphasis and Adequacy for Work of Institution-Based Automotive Training in Kenya and State of Victoria, Australia
Chapter 10
Shalin Hai-Jew
Using live, synchronous time effectively in an instructor-led e-learning course requires a clear understanding of the dynamics of real-time, live... Sample PDF
Real-Time in Cyberspace: Effective, Live Synchronous E-Learning
Chapter 11
Lesley Farmer
Increasingly, people are seeking distance education delivery options in order to get the vocational training needed from experts who may reside... Sample PDF
Culturally-Sensitive E-Learning Practices for Career and Technical Education
Chapter 12
Ian Gordon, Don Quick, Linda Lyons
This chapter provides an alternative approach to career and technical education (CTE) and the use of e-learning technologies. The authors suggested... Sample PDF
The Impact of E-Learning on CTE from an Adult Education Perspective
Chapter 13
Simona Marchi
Learning processes depend on the socio-technical and regulatory contexts in which professional practices and daily usage take place. These processes... Sample PDF
Hypertinence, Serendipity or Elicitation of Passion for Knowledge? Some Critical Elements of Online Learning by Using Web 2.0 Resources
Chapter 14
Iris M. Saltiel, Maria Martinez Witte, James E. Witte
Supervising projects and dissertations within Career Technical Education requires a complimentary medley of skills, strategies and technologies... Sample PDF
Supervising Projects and Dissertations
Chapter 15
Lesley Farmer
Career and vocational educators (CTE) need to find ways to foster online communities of practice (CoP) in order to optimize learning and application... Sample PDF
Fostering Online Communities of Practice in Career and Technical Education
Chapter 16
James E. Bartlett II, Michelle E. Bartlett
Career and technical education (CTE) occupations require highly skilled workers. This workforce must possess very specific technical skills. In... Sample PDF
Integration of Human Resource Management Knowledge into Career and Technical Education
Chapter 17
Marietta A. Webb
Federal funding for Career Technical Education (CTE) programs is critical to the expansion and success of training a skilled workforce to meet the... Sample PDF
Federal Funding for Career and Technical Education
Chapter 18
Davison M. Mupinga, James E. Bartlett II, Michelle E. Bartlett
Distance education is continuing to grow in popularity in postsecondary education. Over 75 percent of community colleges are offering some form of... Sample PDF
Facilitating Scholarly Discussion Boards for Human Resource Education
Chapter 19
Sharon G. Juozapavicius
Leadership and management, in their truest state, represent a compilation of knowledge gained through the entire spectrum of experiential learning.... Sample PDF
Building a Holistic Foundation for Leadership and Management through Online Learning
Chapter 20
James E. Bartlett II, Michelle E. Bartlett
Leadership development in career and technical fields is important; therefore, this chapter examines innovative techniques for preparing and... Sample PDF
Innovative Strategies for Preparing and Developing Career and Technical Education Leaders
Chapter 21
Victor M. Hernández-Gantes, William Blank
Meeting the needs of English language learners (ELLs) in career and technical education (CTE) represents a growing challenge for all teachers in the... Sample PDF
Speaking of Technology: Teaching English Language Learners in CTE Programs
Chapter 22
Cohort Programming  (pages 276-285)
James E. Witte, Iris M. Saltiel, Maria Martinez Witte
This chapter examines the use of cohort programming within the Career Technical Education field. Cohorts are ideal formats for CTE curricula since... Sample PDF
Cohort Programming
Chapter 23
Royce Ann Collins, Jeff Zacharakis
In the present consumer educational market, educational institutions are rapidly incorporating more online opportunities. The various issues that... Sample PDF
Impact of E-Learning on Adult Education: A Changing Postmodern Approach
Chapter 24
Kathleen P. King
This chapter provides an overview of the history of the rapidly changing field of distance learning with a focus on trends and lessons for... Sample PDF
Trends and Lessons from the History of Contemporary Distance Learning
Chapter 25
Hwee Ling Lim
With the rapid adoption of online learning and training, educators have drawn different conclusions regarding the viability of e-learning in... Sample PDF
Understanding Group Interaction and Knowledge Building in Virtual Learning Environments
Chapter 26
Linda Lyons, Don Quick, Ian Gordon
Faced with the challenge of training Career & Technical Educators (CTE) in rural areas, the authors developed a hybrid delivery system that would... Sample PDF
Using E-Learning to Increase Opportunities in CTE and Adult Education: Integrating Face-to-Face with Two-Way Interactive Video Instruction for Career and Technical Educators
Chapter 27
Maria Martinez Witte, James E. Witte, Iris M. Saltiel
There is a growing need for an educated, skilled workforce that is able to learn and adapt to new challenges. Expecting this need to be met by those... Sample PDF
Barriers to Adult Learning
Chapter 28
Sandra Poirier, Deborah Wooldridge
Adult educators internationally are being asked to transform the pressures of cultural diversity in their classrooms into opportunities for all... Sample PDF
Cultural Issues in Adult Education
Chapter 29
Kathleen P. King, Sharon R. Sanquist, Seamus King
Learning in the 21st century no longer ends with K-12 and college preparation. Instead, for those adults who will succeed in negotiating the demands... Sample PDF
Lifelong Learning in the 21st Century
Chapter 30
Sandra R. Daffron, AJ Barse, Edward Webster
Delivery of Postsecondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes by distance learning has increased dramatically in the last decade as... Sample PDF
Key Aspects of Teaching and Learning in the Online Environment
Chapter 31
Wenhao David Huang, Steven R. Aragon
As E-learning is gaining popularity in higher education, its evaluation becomes more critical than ever, to ensure the achievement of intended... Sample PDF
An Integrated Evaluation Approach for E-Learning Systems in Career and Technical Education
Chapter 32
Brenda C. Ledford
E-learning application within distance contexts is growing rapidly as a solution to the demands and needs of CTE learners in the 21st century.... Sample PDF
CTE Distance E-Learning Application: A Learner-Centered Approach
Chapter 33
Simone C.O. Conceição, Elaine Strachota, Steven W. Schmidt
The use of learning objects, such as videos, interactive games, and tutorials, has become increasingly popular in online vocational education. Used... Sample PDF
Using and Evaluating Learning Objects for Online Courses in Vocational Education
Chapter 34
Karen Weller Swanson, Mary Kayler
The incorporation of self-assessment techniques and opportunities within the online learning process can enhance student learning and support the... Sample PDF
Self-Assessment in Building Online Communities of Learning
Chapter 35
Chris Zirkle, Edward C. Fletcher Jr.
The proliferation of distance education components to courses and entire programs at institutes of higher education have been the focus of... Sample PDF
Access Barriers Experienced by Adults in Distance Education Courses and Programs
Chapter 36
Geoff Danaher, Violeta Todorovic
This chapter focuses on aspects that contribute to successful online learning in the Skills for Tertiary Education Preparatory Studies (STEPS)... Sample PDF
Glad to Have Taken the STEPS: Aspects that Contribute to Success in an Online Learning and Teaching Environment
Chapter 37
Kathleen V. Schmidt
Distance education is defined as a system that can provide access to people who – because of work commitments, personal and/or social circumstances... Sample PDF
The Paradox of Equal Access
Chapter 38
Steven W. Schmidt
The expansion of distance education programs has allowed institutions of higher education to be successful in their collective mission to make... Sample PDF
Understanding the Online Learner
Chapter 39
Edward C. Fletcher Jr., Chris Zirkle
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 is considered to be the most comprehensive and highly scrutinized piece of educational legislation that has... Sample PDF
Career and Technical Education in Light of the No Child Left Behind Legislation
Chapter 40
Ricard Monclús-Guitart, Teresa Torres-Coronas, Araceli Rodríguez-Merayo, M. Arántzazu Vidal-Blasco, Mario Arias-Oliva
The European Credit Transfer System establishes a calculation based on the work students do, rather than direct teaching hours as is the case with... Sample PDF
A Wiki on the Teaching of Business Administration
Chapter 41
Ernest W. Brewer
Survey research is prevalent among many professional fields. Both cost effective and time efficient, this method of research provides insight into... Sample PDF
Conducting Survey Research in Education
Chapter 42
Gail C. Farmer, Theodora Papachristou
The appropriate allocation of valuable human and financial resources requires a decision-making process based upon the most accurate information... Sample PDF
A Needs Assessment: Critical in Planning and Community Development
Chapter 43
Leping Liu
There are different methods to examine the predictive validity of an instrument. In this chapter, the author presents a method of validation—cross... Sample PDF
A Cross Sample Analysis: To Examine the Predictive Validity of an Instrument
Chapter 44
Ernest W. Brewer
This chapter explores the viability of meta-analysis as a research tool for helping career and technical educational and organizational... Sample PDF
Using Meta-Analysis as a Research Tool in Making Educational and Organizational Decisions
Chapter 45
Victor C.X. Wang
To receive accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the California Commission on Teacher... Sample PDF
Accreditation Experience of the Designated Subject Credential (DSC) Program at California State University, Long Beach
Chapter 46
Gregory C. Petty
Research in career and technical education stresses job skills, training, as well as knowledge of team work and positive work behavior. However... Sample PDF
Psychometric Methods for Work Ethic Research: Factor Analysis and Structural Equation Modeling
Chapter 47
Leping Liu
Modeling is a tool that can be used in research and educational practices. In this chapter, modeling is defined as a systematic process in which... Sample PDF
A Model of Modeling in Research and Practice: Technology Integration and Online Career Counseling
Chapter 48
Victor C.X. Wang
This chapter addresses pertinent issues concerning the development of meaningful curricula for adult learners in career and technical education.... Sample PDF
Curriculum Development for Adult Learners in Career and Technical Education
Chapter 49
Elda Nikolou-Walker
This study reviews the innovative programme developed in 2004 between the Work-Based Learning unit in the School of Education at Queen’s University... Sample PDF
Methods and Methodology: A Study on Work-Based Learning Research Tools for Career Development
Chapter 50
Gary Brown, Theron Desrosier, Debbie Edwards
The relationship between higher education and the world of work is complex and often characterized by a great deal of misperception, underscored by... Sample PDF
Learning to Work and Working to Learn: What We are Learning and How Technology and Assessment Can Help
Chapter 51
John A. Henschke
This chapter introduces the lecture as a long standard learning technique. The background is provided with the extensive value and scope, including... Sample PDF
The Dynamic of a Living Lecture in Career and Technical Education
Chapter 52
Jules K. Beck, Bobbie T. Biggs
This chapter presents a case study that illustrates how blended technology can provide an opportunity to complete an undergraduate degree through... Sample PDF
Serving Rural Communities Using Blended Technology
Chapter 53
Mary F. Ziegler
The workplace is a key arena for learning in today’s society. The spiraling demand for knowledge in the workplace has increased interest in informal... Sample PDF
Three Theoretical Perspectives on Informal Learning at Work
Chapter 54
Yonjoo Cho, Sunyoung Park, Sung Jun Jo, Chang-Wook Jeung, Doo Hun Lim
The purpose of this chapter is to provide an integrated evaluation framework of e-learning based on the basic concepts of evaluation and previous... Sample PDF
Developing an Integrated Evaluation Framework for E-Learning
Chapter 55
Jin Xiao
Adults continue to learn and revise their representation of knowledge scheme with a rational reflection on previous experience and interlink to... Sample PDF
Cognitive Development: The Learning Path of Community Development Practitioners
Chapter 56
Judith Parker
While the online adult learners are growing in numbers, the diversity in what motivates them and what they expect from an online course has grown as... Sample PDF
The Online Adult Learner: Profiles and Practices
Chapter 57
Kerry Lee
There are many different philosophies of technology and probably just as many interpretations as to what these philosophies actually mean. This... Sample PDF
Who has the Ultimate Control?
Chapter 58
Victor C.X. Wang
Teaching is changing and it is being forced to change by many forces of social change. Today’s theory and practice of teaching in adult and higher... Sample PDF
The Theory and Practice of Teaching in Today's Colleges and Universities
Chapter 59
Teresa Torres-Coronas, Ricard Monclús-Guitart, Araceli Rodríguez-Merayo, M. Arántzazu Vidal-Blasco, M. José Simón-Olmos
Web 2.0 technologies are playing an important role in building social capital through increasing flows of information, and building on knowledge and... Sample PDF
Web 2.0 Technologies: Social Software Applied to Higher Education and Adult Learning
Chapter 60
Vivian W. Mott
This chapter explores first the evolution of adult learning primarily in a Western context and particularly in terms of career and technical... Sample PDF
Evolution of Adult Education: Is our Future in E-Learning?
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