Meet Barbara Lewis – current MA in Educating Adults student!

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Barbara grew up in Glen Ellyn and currently resides in Geneva, IL. She recently completed her undergraduate degree in SNL with a focus on organization and employee development. Barbara enjoyed the SNL competence model and wanted a program which specifically focused on educating adults- the MAEA program was a perfect fit! Barbara has worked in human resources for almost twenty years and is currently the Director of Talent Management at AdvantEdge Healthcare. We asked Barbara a few questions about her experience in the program thus far…

How are you applying learning from the MAEA program to you current work setting?
I am applying something immediately after almost every class! I am responsible for the training program at my company as well as developing emerging leaders and new supervisors. I have learned methodologies and thought leadership on facilitation, leadership, and designing curriculums that engage and challenge adult learners, and immediately find ways to incorporate those teachings into my workday.

Can you tell us about any current projects you are working on (work or school or both)?
I am preparing to facilitate a leadership workshop for our managers this summer. The workshop was the product of what I learned in the Facilitating Adult Learning course, and also uses material learned from the Leadership course (LLS 430 Leadership in Contemporary Adult Life). The workshop will be given at seven locations across the country; an online version of the courses will be developed as well.

I am also working on a competency-based curriculum which offers a completely different way of training for one specific job function. I attended a seminar in November 2014 through DePaul’s CAEA center on competency-based training, and was able to receive credits toward the MAEA degree based on seminar attendance and the design of a curriculum for my practice area. The competency-based curriculum focuses on the various types of knowledge, skills and abilities that a team member should have (or needs to develop) to be effective in their role. This is light-years beyond our typical training programs, which largely focused on what buttons to push in the technology platform, but didn’t offer much information on why they wanted to push those buttons. Coupled with the facilitation methods learned in the MAEA program, the entire curriculum is much more engaging and—most importantly—relevant.

Can you tell us about something you are currently learning in an EA core course?
I am learning about backward curriculum design, which challenges us to determine the goal and objective of the course first, determine exactly what our learners should be able to get out of the course, then develop the learning activities and text.

What do you like about the format of the MAEA program?
I like the cohort model; I am very lucky to be attending these courses with a very special group of people. The cohort provides a safe learning environment; we need feedback as we go through these courses, and we need to get that feedback from people that are motivated for us to do well. We have a very cohesive group, and I know that what I share and the feedback I receive is coming from a positive place.

I also enjoy the core courses and the logical progression.

Do you have any ideas for your Applied Inquiry Project?
Yes, I am going to focus on the creation of competency-based curriculums for adult learners within my practice setting.

How do you foresee this degree impacting your future career goals?
It already has. Because I’ve been able to immediately apply many of the teachings into my practice setting, the training I am now developing has been transformed. The workshops represent a departure from the way the company would normally have conducted training, and it’s a huge change. I am not surprised; I am in my current role because of my advanced project in my undergraduate studies. I proposed the advanced project to my company, and was promoted and asked to implement the advanced project company-wide. I am confident the competency-based curriculum that will be the focus of my Applied Inquiry Project will have similar impact.

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