Adult educators return to school to learn how to be better trainers, Singapore News & Top Stories
Mr Alan Tan, 38, always felt equipped as a freelance trainer at the Textile and Fashion Industry Training Center (TaF.tc) in Singapore – until Covid-19 forced everything the world of the classroom to hide behind closed doors.
The crisis that started early last year changed the way trainers like him had to teach mature students.
Today’s trainers or adult educators need to think about camera angles, close-ups and confident projection in front of the camera – and be trained to do so.
Mr. Tan was fortuitously ahead, inspired by the passion of adult learners to improve themselves.
In June 2019, he was among the first trainers to complete the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Advanced Certificate in Learning and Performance (ACLP) program, which aims to improve the way adult educators facilitate their training. The course was taught by the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL).
IAL is an autonomous institute under the University of Social Sciences of Singapore (SUSS) which provides training and development opportunities for adult educators and undertakes applied research for the development of training and education adults (TAE).
Mr Tan, who teaches drawing and sewing at TaF.tc, says: “I had reservations because my course relies heavily on face-to-face and hands-on learning, but the program made me think of ways to exploit online education.
The WSQ ACLP program’s technology-based learning delivery module taught her how to best conduct online training, which has become a crucial skill in the age of Covid-19. His TaF.tc course itself has shifted from purely in-person lessons to online learning.
“Now I use different camera angles when filming lessons, including close-ups when showing techniques, so my students can follow along,” says Mr. Tan, who also has a bespoke fashion brand called narsesizem.
“Practicing during the ACLP module also boosted my confidence and helped me familiarize myself with the on-camera training. “
He noted that the idea of becoming a student again might be a challenge for some: “Having not studied for a long time, coming back to be a learner has given me a lot of stress and pressure. But my classmates and my trainers supported me a lot.
“What I learned during the ACLP course is that nothing is impossible if you are willing to give it a try, and I will continue to apply the valuable lessons and experiences I have gained to my teaching.”
She thrives using technological tools
Ms. Salmah Samion, who is in her fifties, firmly believes that keeping up with the times is an essential part of being an adult educator.
“I need to be up to date in my skills, especially now in conducting virtual training and using technological tools, most face-to-face training being converted to virtual classrooms due to Covid-19,” explains the training associate of NTUC LearningHub, and founder of the training company Salsamion Learning Solutionist.
Despite many qualifications as a trainer and program developer, she enrolled in the WSQ ACLP program in February. “I want to hone emerging skills that are in demand and master blended learning tools that can improve my training delivery,” she says.
As part of the nine-month program, she discovered online learning platforms such as Edmodo and Google Classroom, and used them in her work as a trainer to prepare virtual classes that students can take at their own pace.
She has also used digital tools such as Nearpod, which is used to create interactive activities and exercises, in her online courses after learning about them in the WSQ ACLP program.
“I have really enjoyed the ACLP program so far, and it has been a good experience to learn new things and revise things that I may have lost touch with. Networking with other trainers and sharing our experiences is also something I look forward to.
It is not enough for educators to be experts in their field, she stresses. “Knowledge of the field is insufficient. You have to engage your learners, and that means using the tools available. “
She adds that she has become a better adult educator by taking the WSQ ACLP modules and other previous courses. “I filled in skills gaps, enriched my skills and knowledge, and became more confident in on-the-job training, blended learning and other types of courses. “
“Important to keep up to date”
As an adult learner herself, Ms. Siti Nurhidayah Idrus knows what her students need. The 32-year-old joined SUSS in 2018 as a Learning and Development Specialist after earning the WSQ Diploma in Adult and Continuing Education from IAL (now the WSQ Diploma in Design and Development of l learning for performance).
“I preferred short, straightforward courses, and these are the types of online courses that my team and I created for their adult learners,” she says.
Prior to taking her position in SUSS, she was a digital learning developer at the Singapore Armed Forces Medical Training Institute (SMTI), producing digital learning resources for their rescue courses.
“I was curious as to how the lessons were planned and why they were done a certain way. My SMTI team leader cultivated my interest and guided me on how to start becoming a learning designer. It was almost like on-the-job training, ”she says.
At SUSS, she develops courses for university students and works with nonprofit organizations to create courses and modules for their staff and volunteers.
For example, an online suicide prevention module for a local non-profit organization and a module on workplace harassment for SUSS staff and students.
“In this way, I feel like I am contributing to society with my experience and expertise as a learning designer to make learning accessible to others,” she says.
She plans to take two WSQ ACLP modules – Designing Learning Solutions to Meet Performance Needs and Adopting a Competencies Framework for Professional Growth – to develop her skills.
“These two would keep me up to date with industry requirements and trends, so that I was aware of their needs and could stay up to date and adaptable,” she explains.
“It’s important for adult educators like me to keep up to date with the latest methodologies and frameworks so that we can continue to do our best to help others learn. “
This is the second in a three-part series presented by