Professional Learning Communities and Adult Learning and Teaching: Best Practices in Building a Community of Learners

Professional Learning Communities and Adult Learning and Teaching: Best Practices in Building a Community of Learners

Eric J. Dimmitt (Cardinal Stritch University, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5712-8.ch008

Abstract

In addition to providing strategies to build professional learning communities within an environment of adult learners, this chapter has the objective that adult learners will carry the principles of professional learning communities from their own learning experience back to their own learning organizations as both followers and leaders. In this way, and based upon the author's own experiences, the learning and teaching strategies described here have impact beyond the adult learning classroom by influencing how multiple type of organizations in the field of business, K12 and higher education, public service, and non-profits learn, collaborate, and achieve results.
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Why Model Plcs In The Adult Learning Environment?

Just as classrooms of adult learners today are in need of new ways of engaging the students through effective instructional practices that activate learning, PLCs’ are designed to engage participants in the work that will lead to organizational successes. As this book on outcome based strategies for adult learners has proposed, teaching principles designed by instructors must be carefully planned and delivered in order to lead to successful learning by adults. The research and practices that have established decades of knowledge related to successful PLCs by researchers such as Rick duFour, Shirley Hord, and Kristine Hipp support this same principle of intentional practice by the instructor to meet the needs of the learner.

To appreciate the role of PLCs in the learning environment of adult learners and also in the those same adults’ work environments, one must appreciate the connections that are possible. One must also appreciate that sometimes important elements of PLCs exist without the formal recognition of the PLC model within a work environment. Whatever the level of PLC dimensions in an organization, the use of PLCs in the adult learning environment is a systems thinking approach towards teaching and learning that recognizes the interconnectedness of the experiences of individuals in groups and organizations and how this influences future experiences for participants. As Peter Senge described in his seminal work, The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization (2006),

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