Meet Dr. Arieahn Matamonasa…

We asked Arieahn Matamonasa, Assistant Professor in SNL, if she would share her background and experiences with current and future SNL students.

Image

Where is your Residence/Hometown? 

I’ve lived and worked in Chicago for the last 20 years. Right now I live in the southwest suburbs where there is room for my horses and dogs. 

What is your Area of Expertise?

 My Ph.D. is in Clinical Psychology and I am a Licensed Psychologist in addition to my Assistant Professor role here at DePaul. My expertise is in multicultural psychology and Native American studies- and also more recently in Animal Assisted Therapies and Animal Human Interaction. I have published work and speak all over the world on these topics as well as incorporate this into my elective course offerings.

How long have you worked for DePaul?

I have worked here for 16 years, although it seems like yesterday that I started. What many students are most interested to know is that I am a graduate of DePaul!

Where were you educated?

I completed my undergraduate degree at DePaul with a focus in psychology and adult education. My Masters is in Clinical Psychology from Fielding Graduate University and my Ph.D. is in Philosophy with an emphasis in Clinical Psychology also from Fielding.  

Are there any current consulting projects you are working on?

As part of my role here as an Assistant Professor I am always writing and publishing. What I am most excited about now is a book I am working on. It is a 10 Chapter book called “All My Relations: Indigenous perspectives on Human-Animal Relationships”  This is a HUGE task and harder than most people think- but I am so passionate about the subject matter that I have found I really love writing and researching for this type of project.

Have you received any Distinctions/Awards while at DePaul?

I received a Student Diversity Award from the American Psychological Association Div. 29 in 2001, the Fielding Ethnic Minority Dissertation Award in 2005, The DePaul University Excellence in Teaching Award in 2011, and the Wicklander Fellowship for Applied Professional Ethics in 2012.

What do you like about teaching at DePaul?

 What I most appreciate at DePaul -especially at SNL is the opportunity for both collaborative and experiential learning.

What do you like about the MAAPS program?

I love the idea that students can chart their own “course” and design a customized program that targets their learning needs and professional goals. I think the strength of the MAAPS program is on the emphasis it places on the student’s professional area and the application of knowledge to the practice site.

Who would you say is the most influential person in your life?

This is a challenging question as I have had many wonderful mentors in my life- including some of my current colleagues. I would not be where I am without them and I try to “give back” for all the mentoring I’ve received by being in this role for others. As far as the MOST influential person in my life- I would have to say it was my father who passed away in 2009. He was a great healer and teacher and his influence has shaped every aspect of my life.

Spotlight on Maureen Caspers

Image

We asked Maureen Caspers, a recent graduate of the Master of Arts in Educating Adults (MAEA) in DePaul University’s School for New Learning (SNL), if she would share her experiences and advice with the SNL community.

Tell Us About Your Educational Background…

I received a BFA in Ballet and a BA in History from Texas Christian University in 2005 in Fort Worth, TX. I received my Masters of Arts in Educating Adults from DePaul University in June of 2013.

Why did you choose the DePaul Graduate School for New Learning?

I chose SNL because the Masters of Arts in Educating Adults (MAEA) program aligned with what I was looking for in a graduate program. There were flexible scheduling options, the professors were focused on helping the students succeed, and all of the learning could be applied directly to my context. SNL graduate programs are designed with adult students in mind.

Did you receive and Distinctions/Awards while at DePaul?

While I was at DePaul I received a Student Excellence award from the School for New Learning for my Applied Inquiry Project, Concepts and Techniques for Improving your Practice as a Facilitator of Learning. I also was a recipient of the SNL Beverly K Firestone Memorial Fund Award (2013) and the Dr. Deborah Colky Student Award (2011) from the Chicago Chapter of the American Society of Training and Development.

Has your career changed course since beginning the MAEA program?

When I began the MAEA program, I was working for a small continuing education company. After completing the MAEA program, I felt confident that I had the skills necessary to succeed in a large corporate training department.

What is your Occupation(s)/Scope of Work/Area of Expertise?

I am a Training & Development Advisor on the e-Learning team at Valero Energy. I design, develop, and facilitate previously built content for in-person instructor-led training to live instructor-led virtual training sessions. My area of expertise is adult education and corporate training.

Did the MAEA program help you obtain your current position?

Absolutely! Without the learning and guidance from my professors, especially my faculty mentor Dr. Catherine Marienau, I would not have obtained my current position. I also believe that my Applied Inquiry Project helped me obtain the position. It was not only the final product of my Applied Inquiry Project, but the process of designing and completing the research project that impressed the hiring committee.

Tell us about any current consulting projects you are working on…

In my current position, my projects involve converting in-person instructor led training content and activities to live virtual instructor led training sessions.

How have you been able to apply your learning in the workplace?

I am able to apply my learning from the MAEA program to my current projects. The adult learning theories, concepts, and ideas I learned in the MAEA program impact how I approach my work.

Do you have any advice for graduate students or prospective graduate students?

I cannot say enough good things about the SNL faculty. All of my professors were excellent!  They have a wealth of knowledge, are always ready and willing to help, and really want to see their students succeed. SNL professors act as guides throughout the journey through graduate school. They will help you find the answers you seek by asking you questions to realize your potential and continue your lifelong learning.

Spotlight on Latrice Walker

LWWalker is an Alum of DePaul’s School for New Learning (Master of Arts in Applied Professional Studies)

For her work, Walker was recognized this year with the inaugural Hedy M. Ratner and S. Carol Dougal Legacy Award from the Chicago-based Women’s Business Development Center. Ratner and Dougal expressed in a statement why Walker was chosen for the award. 

“We chose Latrice Walker as she embodies the principles of the WBDC—the importance of supporting women as they create powerful businesses and move toward financial independence. Latrice has owned multiple successful businesses. She is a skilled trainer and an inspiring teacher. She has devoted countless hours toward supporting women in early childhood education and helped the WBDC create a powerful system of support to childcare business owners.”

 http://robinkelly.house.gov/media-center/blog-posts/constituent-spotlightlatrice-walker

MAEA Showcase Projects

Check out some pictures from the Master of Arts in Educating Adults Showcase where graduating students displayed their Applied Inquiry Projects!

1

2

3

4

5

11

10

9

8

7

6

8

11

10

9

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

What Do Participants In Mandatory Training Find Most Influential In Their Motivation To Learn?

School for New Learning Master of Arts in Educating Adults (MAEA) graduate, Matthew Hoff, was recently published in CCASTD‘s June 2012 edition of Training Today.  His article “What Do Participants In Mandatory Training Find Most Influential In Their Motivation To Learn?” speaks to his research for his Applied Inquiry Project and his experience in the MAEA program.

What Do Participants In Mandatory Training Find Most Influential In Their Motivation To Learn?

MAEA Graduate, Matthew Hoff

By Matt Hoff

My time as a student in DePaul’s Masters of Arts in Educating Adults (MAEA) program was instrumental in building my professional identity and confidence as a facilitator and adult educator. I had been an Information Technology Consultant for over seven years, and as a result of MAEA, my goal to transition into the Learning and Development practice at work became a reality. My first project in the new practice inspired my research project and continued my interest in this field.

Project Inspiration

I stood in the front of the room, with my palms sweating and nerves revved up as high as they’ve ever been. Trickling in the room were all different types of people, young and old, shy and talkative. I nervously announced, “There’s coffee and bagels in room 310.” A few people got up and walked down the hall to what we call “an incentive.” It was my first day as an official trainer. Sure, I had been enrolled in DePaul’s Masters of Arts in Educating Adults program for almost a year now, and I had a lot of tools at my disposal. But, I wasn’t told it would feel like this! Thoughts like, “They’re going to trip you up. You shouldn’t be telling them how to do things. They don’t want to be here.” were rattling around in my mind. The time flew by, and the end of the session arrived with all the breaks, exercises, group work, flip charts, and evaluations delivered as planned.

After surviving the first day, I realized that I could be a professional trainer, educator, and facilitator. I quickly found that each training session becomes a mini database of sorts – a collection of experiences that I can pull from to aid the following experience. After a while, it was apparent that a lot of learners had the same questions, and I was getting better at answering them.

As I continued with my education at DePaul and professional development, another important theme came to light: developing and delivering sessions collaboratively in a learner-centered manner. In other words, “It’s not about me.” Over those nine months training teachers and principals in New York, in the back of my mind, I wondered what else I could do- were there ways I could make mandatory technical trainings like these, more interesting and effective?

When I moved on to another project, I had not moved on from my question of: “How can I make mandatory technical training more interesting and effective?” That’s when my research project was born, and I titled it: “Discovering factors related to motivation, when learners participate in mandatory, work-related, technology training.”

Project Overview

Many studies have looked at motivation and how it relates to adult education and training in general. My study looked at a specific scenario, often found in the workplace: mandatory technology training. Based on training research in overlapping areas (Technical Training, Workplace Learning, Motivation, and Mandatory Professional Development), I developed a survey to capture perceptions regarding mandatory, technical training in the workplace. Forty-eight professionals from a variety of industries (Information Technology, Manufacturing, Scientific, and Banking) provided insights based on personal training experiences. Using open-ended questions and fixed responses, the data provided a more focused look into motivation factors within the specified context.

After all the data was collected and analyzed, the following factors were ranked in order of importance: relevance, interest, and extrinsic rewards, which generally aligned with the referenced studies in my literature review. Additionally, delivery method effects (instructor versus web-based training) and a surprising lack of technological issues were noticed in the results (these include fear of learning technology and the technology failures, etc). Other data related to management involvement, technology self-efficacy, and perceived importance were collected and analyzed.

Conclusions

Below are the original research questions, with my associated conclusions, based on the data analysis.

  1. What factors do participants in mandatory training perceive as most influential regarding their motivation to learn?
    • What factors enhance their motivation?
  • Relevance and “real life” is appreciated most greatly by participants. This means the training should directly and concretely affect their work. The exercises should be based on real life / work-related situations.
  • Interest in the topic and / or interest in learning technology generally increases the desire to participate in the training.
  • “Being mandatory” actually seemed to motivate all those to complete the training, even though the learners weren’t aware of consequences nor accountable for not completing the training.
  • Extrinsic rewards, like promotion (or even food) was listed as a ‘general’ factor, although not specifically related to the training(s) these learners were asked to chronicle. These sorts of extrinsic factors came out as a higher factor when asked about training in general.
  • As an instructional designer or trainer, it’s important to consider how some of the more polarized factors could be manipulated. For example, being mandatory was high on the motivational factor list, but it was also heavy on the “low” end, which means there wasn’t a lot of in-between. While this isn’t a factor you can change as a designer or instructor, it is possible to focus on the positives and minimize the cost by adjusting factors like time, presentation creativity, responsiveness, relevancy, and external incentives (adding food, highlighting promotions), etc.
  • Although this survey group rated themselves highly in technology self-efficacy, it was apparent throughout the literature review and some of the open-ended responses that “fear” and/or confidence levels with technology do affect training experiences. For example, one comment from a user discussed their technology comfort level, “We had someone come in and train in groups.  Since I’m not that technically literate (computers)….I could have used more one – on -one training.”
  • Surprisingly, these respondents mentioned little or no issues with technology. But, based on personal experience, technology issues during training, like connectivity (mentioned only once in survey results) and problems with software will affect motivation greatly. This variable would need to be explored in detail, however, before making any real conclusions.
    • What factors impede their motivation?
  1. What advice can participants offer trainers doing mandatory training to help inspire participants’ motivation? 
    • Approximately 70% of the training represented in this survey was classroom-based, and several responses suggested the instructor and attributes the learners desire:
  • Real life experience – An instructor with real life, practical experience (or the ability to demonstrate the topic’s applicability realistically to the trainees) was one of the top factors.
  • Pacing – Ensure the class time is long enough or not too long. The learners want an instructor who can pace the course according to the needs (dynamically).
  • Support – An instructor with resources to answer questions and the ability to follow up after the training is complete was desired.
  • Attributes – Several respondents requested an instructor with personality traits like “animation” and “patience.’ “Preparedness” was also high on the list.
  1. What advice can participants offer management [or whomever is requiring the training] about communicating the need/purpose of the mandatory training?
    • Involving management is important, because the potential to build in and be aware of certain factors like rationale, incentives, and consequences will affect the design and delivery of training.
    • The learners recommended providing comprehensive introductions, which explain, why they are required to take the training, how to proceed if they are not successful, and its relevance to their day-to-day work.

Implications Moving Forward

As a result of the study, it was clear that learning developers and facilitators need to prepare appropriately and try their best to include elements which stimulate relevance, interest, and highlight any extrinsic rewards. A couple of other important factors related to these circumstances include the delivery method and technology itself.

Because of constraints in this study, I suggested including learner interviews and critical incident journaling, as employees progress through a mandatory training program. This sort of data capture would provide a richer set of qualitative analysis. Doing so could really enhance the ability to uncover previously “unnamed factors”, looking for any other trends in these sorts of training sessions.

Several other questions were raised throughout the data analysis, which require more research. For example, most of the respondents did not feel that management communicated or established consequences for completion of the mandatory training. Creating a study which captures management’s perceptions regarding a mandatory training and its consequences (in addition to participants’) could help fill this potential gap in communication.

The hope is that this project’s specific data analysis and conclusions can serve as jumping off points for continued study and conversation starters, with the intent to develop better practices.

Matthew Hoff graduated in 2010 with a Masters of Arts in Educating Adults from DePaul University, School for New Learning. Matthew works for a global consulting company, as a Senior Learning Consultant.  Contact him at mphoff@us.ibm.com.

MAEA Graduate Showcase

Last night DePaul University’s Center to Advance Education for Adults (CAEA) hosted the Master of Arts in Educating Adults Graduates’ Showcase which featured the Applied Inquiry Projects of the 2011-2012 academic year. The MAEA graduates who participated in this event included Amy Krenzke, Tonya Marie Mahomes, Lorena Guzman, Dennis Gregory, Pamela Thomas, Jacqueline Lewis, and Aaron Rucker, many of whom have recently graduated from the program. Catherine Marienau, MAEA Program Coordinator and Faculty Mentor, explains why the MAEA showcase is an important part of the program, “It is important to show that helping adults learn takes place in many diverse settings.  Those settings – which included universities, community colleges, non-profit organizations, vocational schools, high schools, and corporations – were shown in the students’ work.  More importantly, we want to show how the students’ academic projects are designed to influence change to improve their particular settings.”

School for New Learning (SNL)  MAEA graduate students produce a final project intended to effect change/improvement in their practice in educating adults, while the event allows participants to converse with graduates about new ideas and effective practices that they have developed through their MAEA program. One current MAEA student, Larnzell Harper, told us in anticipation of the event, “I am looking forward to meeting the current graduates, thinking of ideas for my 2014 applied inquiry project, and networking opportunities to meet more SNL and DePaul members.”

Amy Krenzke discussing her project with CAEA advisory board member Cheryl Cornell Powers

The event began at 5:30PM with poster displays and time to converse with the graduates about their project.

Amy Krenzke was eager to share information about one resource that was an enormous help to her while she completed her project: the DePaul ePortfolio website. “The ePortfolio site is easy to use and essentially gives students the ability to build a website to discuss a project. My AIP project final product is actually a portfolio so this was a perfect way to get my project out there electronically. I just think it’s a really great resource that DePaul offers!” Amy’s ePortfolio can be viewed at: https://depaul.digication.com/amykrenzke.

Lorena Guzman spoke of her project, which focused on the design of a workshop for college students that would allow for them to better understand how to file their taxes.  Guzman says that the course is designed to “initiate a dialogue between students and their parents about taxes.  By making them more aware of household finances, they close

Lorena Guzman with her Applied Inquiry Project

the gap between themselves and financial literacy.”  Guzman designed her workshop to appeal to youth, with a 20-30 minute online portion, 30 minutes for questions to be answered by an instructor, and 30 minutes for students to actually work with forms and documents – including the 1040, the 8863 and 8869 forms- as well as providing them with information about educational credits.

We were able to briefly speak with Jacqueline Lewis about her Online Tutoring Service project that she has actually been able to turn into her personal business.  The Online Tutoring Service has helped over 200 students in the areas of medical assistance, medical administrative, medical billing and Lewis says the service will soon include tutoring for pharmacy students and dental technician students.

This year Aaron Rucker became one of the first School for New Learning (SNL) graduate students (along with MAAPS student, Carl Bolton) to be selected to receive a SNL Student Excellence Award for his project entitled Designing and piloting an assessment rubric specifically for evaluating teachers of Emotional Behavior Disorder students.” During the panel discussion, Aaron spoke about how his project evolved through the course of his MAEA program: “When I look back on it, I think I changed my project at least six times.  One – I wanted it to be relevant to my job and to what I do. Two – I wanted it to be relevant to others and Three – I wanted it to still be valid at least five years from now.  The more that I tried to meet these criteria, the harder it got.”

Logo designed by TonyaMarie Mahomes

TonyaMarie Mahomes shared the logo she designed for her project entitled “Recommendations for Successful Strategies to Promote Multicultural Inclusion in a Complex Healthcare Organization.”

At 6:00, a panel discussion that included both students and AIP reviewers allowed for additional questions about the projects. Nearly 70 people crowded into the room, eager to ask questions and listen as students explained their personal experiences while working on their projects.  Dennis Gregory shared an insight he discovered soon after beginning the MAEA program, that “there’s a world of difference between educating adults and adult education.”  Gregory’s project, like many others, attempted to close that gap. Aaron Rucker spoke to the importance of  the practical application of learning, which really resonated with the group that included SNL faculty, staff, instructors, alumni, project advisers, prospective students and friends and families.  “Everything we did, including our Applied Inquiry Project, is useless if we don’t use it!” The panel discussion lasted over an hour with time afterwards for additional conversations. The night a great success. Congratulations once again to all of the students that participated and to our new alumni!

MAEA Showcase Panelists discuss what they included in their Applied Inquiry projects and what was left “on the cutting room floor.”

Additional quotes and pictures from the event can be found on our Twitter and on our Facebook page:

@DePaulSNLGrad

facebook.com/DePaulSNLGrad

MAEA Showcase

Image

Sawas Dee (Hello in Thai)!

Special blog post by Ray Abrego III, current Master of Science in Applied Technology(MSAT) student at DePaul University specializing in Information Systems.  Ray is an Academic Support Coordinator at Malcolm X College.  Check out the volunteer organization he works with at Open Mind Projects

~~~~~~~~

Are you passionate about the integration of technology and education as a means to empower under served communities abroad? Ask how you can integrate a volunteer opportunity abroad into your School of New Learning graduate program!

As an MSAT student and Academic Support Coordinator, I looked for volunteer opportunities that would further develop my personal, academic, and professional areas of practice. I selected Open Mind Projects (openmindprojects.org), which stood apart from other organizations due to their focus on integrating technology and education.

In addition, I was very intrigued by Thai culture, and wanted to immerse myself into this new environment  as way to adapt a different mentality to my everyday life.

There were two aspects of my proposed idea that I focused on while volunteering abroad in Thailand and traveling around South East Asia: (1) International Teaching and IT Experience; and (2) Reflection of Practice.

1.  International Teaching  and IT Experience:

Open Mind Projects (OMP) started off as IT in Isan (est. 2001), an organization determined at bridging the digital divide that many impoverished Thai people face. The goal was to empower the community through increased accessibility of educational support resources, and have local champions expand their support initiatives. They now have numerous projects at various placement sites throughout Lao, Cambodia, Nepal, and Burma.

At OMP, I gained experience teaching basic PC skills to students in 3rd to 6th grades at Aunban Arunrangsee School in Nongkhai, Thailand. In a conversation with Sven Mauleon (Co-Founder of OMP), he stated to me that it was important for students to find the motivation to learn, then OMP and its’ volunteers could demonstrate the value in pursuing education. OMP focuses on a “Learn by Doing” pedagogical approach and it’s apparent in everything they do. Motivation, Demonstrating Educational Value, and Learn by Doing, are concepts that I will remember as I aspire to become an effective Computer Information Systems (CIS) adjunct faculty member at one of the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC).

The MSAT program focuses on learning how to effectively integrate technology within an organization, and I am extremely honored that I was able to share my knowledge with OMP to help further enhance their operations. I fell in love with Open Mind Projects and wanted to do so much for them, and more importantly the communities they represented.

When I first embarked on this journey, I had ideas of what I wanted to do for OMP. Like any organization, it’s all about the resources (both human and financial), and at times, how to deal with the scarcity of those resources -OMP is no different. I had the opportunity to discuss ways in which we could mobilize OMP Volunteer Alumni for the purposes of fundraising, re-engagement, being informed of current OMP initiatives, promote OMP, and most importantly to continue the relationships established while volunteering. The best way to address these concerns was through their current social network presence via Facebook.  I reviewed how we could make changes to their existing questionnaire in an effort to improve volunteer and OMP relations.

After reflecting on my experience, I realized that much of my approach was conducted in the fashion of a system’s analysis, or even a consultant (something Sven M. brought to my attention), for that matter. I say that because prior to moving forward with any idea, I had to gain a larger sense of the organization, and I did this by reviewing volunteer submitted questionnaires, other OMP documents, and asking various questions about OMP operations. I learned the various reasons why volunteer alumni chose OMP and also was able to understand other aspects of their organization. This approach was very much correlated to learning objectives from: IS421- Systems Analysis and Design; ECT 454 – Enterprise Infrastructure; and SNL Special Topics – Social Media.

One of the things that I wanted from this experience was a way make contributions while back home in Chicago. I am currently working on a proposal as to how I will continue to assist in improving their social media presence and will also serve as a US Volunteer Contact and Social Media Advisor for Open Mind Projects.

2.  Reflection of Practice: Dealing with Impatience and Control.

In my personal, academic, and professional practices, I often deal with issues of impatience and control, and the negative implications associated to those issues. In Thailand, and through my South East Asia travels, I did not have much control (outside the logistical aspects of things, of course). I did not know the language, fully understand the culture, or was able to exert the normal power I have in my environment here in Chicago – to a certain extent, helpless in some contexts. I welcomed the challenge do deal with my issues of impatience and control, and how feelings of anger, frustration, annoyance, anxiety, and stress play a factor in dealing with those issues.

In a western society, we often deal with life in a very business oriented way, everything is fast, fast, fast, and we often get consumed by our day-to-day responsibilities. We are often attached to what happened in the past, and what outcomes will happen in the future. We place pressure on ourselves and try to control the various aspects of our lives in order to reach an expected outcome.

At my OMP training site in Nongkhai, Thailand, I immediately learned about the notion of being ‘Jai Ron (Warm Hearted)’ and ‘Jai Yen (Cool Hearted)’.

Jai ron – Warm hearted (not good): easily angered, impatient, irritable, and intolerant.

Jai yen – Cool hearted (good): patient, calm, peaceful, relaxed, and composed.

My experiences abroad have made me aware of the types of situations that bring to surface the negative feelings associated to impatience and control. I learned much about letting things go and finding enjoyment in my environment – to be more ‘Jai Yen’. It is extremely important for me to recognize my emotions, accept them for what they are, understand how they came to be, and then be able to move forward within a given situation without letting those emotions impede my mentality.

~~~~~~~~

 This blog post is dedicated to my Open Mind Projects (OMP) family in Nong Khai, Thailand –
Sven, Toto, Pai, Prom, Joy, Kai, Best and Moss -thank you for the invaluable experience.

Interested in Volunteering in Thailand, Lao, Cambodia, Burma, and/or Nepal?
Check out Open Mind Projects’ Website…

Spotlight on Larnzell Harper

We asked Larnzell Harper, a working professional currently pursuing the Master of Arts in Educating Adults (MAEA) at SNL, if he would share his experiences and advice with current and future SNL students.

MAEA student, Larnzell Harper

Tell us about the graduate program you are pursuing…

I am a graduate student in the Masters of Arts Educating Adults program in the School for New Learning.  I chose DePaul University to help me learn how to combine my current training, transit, and broadcasting experience to influence upcoming experiences in adult education. Making my education a personal investment has allowed me to expand my creativity during my courses.

How have you been able to apply your learning in the workplace? What results have you seen? 

I have applied  my learning from SNL by creating visual learning aids to teach and hopefully generate interest.  So far, I have created graphics, word processing “visuals”, and even a video (view below) to demonstrate how I apply my classroom learning in the workplace.  The MAEA program is teaching me to consider various approaches and not to rely on my usual way of making daily decisions.  

How has the program impacted you professionally and personally?

The MAEA program at SNL empowers me with additional resources to allow me to control my professional and personal decisions.  I did not know that I would gain more control over my life when I decided to enroll in the MAEA program.

What are your future career or educational goals?

My future career and educational goals are divided into three sections; #1) a doctoral program in education, #2) management level or higher in the area instructional design, and #3) under construction, which allows me to accept and consider upcoming opportunities.

What are your plans after graduating from the program?

My plans are to consistently evaluate how the ‘continued learning’ belief system remains in my life.  Continued learning is the belief system I accepted after entering the MAEA program. Adults must continue to learn by enrolling in higher learning courses, certification programs, and other curricula of value.  After graduation, I would like to utilize all of the skills that I acquired through my DePaul education to advance adult education in academia, the workplace, and multimedia.

Any advice for prospective graduate students?

Prospective students should not enter a graduate studies program that is not the right fit for their personal or professional goals.  Compatibility between the prospective student’s  career and personal life should coexist with the graduate program.  The academic, financial, and emotional requirements needed for successful completion of any graduate program requires this compatibility.

In the video below, Larnzell shares his advice for students who wish to diversify their teaching and training portfolio and improve their presentation skills.

What is your favorite restaurant or neighborhood in Chicago?

Zaca Tacos on 5925 S. Pulaski Rd Chicago, IL 60629 is my favorite restaurant in Chicago. I tell everyone about this restaurant.  I have never tasted such great marinated steak tacos. 

Any other experiences you would like to share?

All of my experiences at DePaul sponsored events have introduced me to resources that I did not know were available to me as a student.  I strongly encourage graduate students to research and request information about the many resources and assistance provided by DePaul. One would be amazed at the amount support from of faculty, staff, alumni and  tutors, as well as computer labs, libraries, writing assistance, sudent organizations, and more available to graduate students at DePaul.

Life-long Learning: The Elements of Practice

One of our students in the Master of Arts in Educating Adults program, Amy Krenzke, was recently invited to write an article for the October issue of  Training Today on her experiences with life-long learning and the four “Elements of Practice.”  We are excited to be able to share her article in this blog!

Life-long Learning: The Elements of Practice
Life-long learning requires each and every one of us to be prepared to keep learning every moment of every day. As a student, especially an adult student, it requires one to constantly be prepared and flexible towards change. Each semester a student is required to take on a new schedule of classes, new textbooks ($100 textbooks…that was an unexpected change for me this quarter. Whew!), tuition fees change, classrooms, new professors, and simple things like entrances to buildings change. Everything changes constantly and as an adult student it becomes even more challenging when you need to make it fit with your work schedule, relationships and other commitments. As a student at DePaul University in the Masters of Arts Program in Educating Adults (MAEA) we are given a Handbook in our first core course and one major component is the Elements of Practice. Here I gave the example of managing change with flexibility and adaptability and that is just one of the Elements of Practice. Recently, as I faced many changes in my workplace I was reflecting on my experience and the Elements of Practice.

DePaul University School for New Learning has an excellent set of four “Elements of Practice” that we are expected to learn and follow throughout our experience at DePaul but also as life-long learners and as educators of adults in our practices. These four elements of practice are: 1. Reflection 2. Flexibility and Adaptability 3. Inquiry and 4. Decision Making. As students we are constantly encouraged by our professors to use these elements of practice to analyze our work plus courses are designed to help us develop these skills. During my coursework I have been asked to use these Elements of Practice in what we call Reflective Practice sessions where we review how we have used these Elements of Practice in our work out in the “real world”. We then discuss with our classmates how we’ve used the Elements of Practice, what we’ve grown in and what needs to be developed to become a better practitioner. Hopefully, then as we grow in the program we are learning to expand on these Elements of Practice and become better prepared as life-long learners and educators of adults.

When I attended my most recent Reflective Practice session I was asked to consider these Elements of Practice and what I have used the most since we last met in the spring. This assignment made me Reflect (hey, look that’s Element #1: Reflection) on my current work situation. Besides being a student I am store manager at the LEGO Store on Michigan Avenue. Yes, LEGO is a great place and a job working with toys and making kids happy is tons of fun yet just like any other job there are challenges. My biggest challenge during this summer was to move my store from our original location to a temporary location with a three week time-frame and then move again to a permanent location by the end of July. The first move was completed in that three week period with a last minute overnight shift on May 31st to be ready to open in the temporary store at 10am; this day my assistant manager, district manager and I each worked a 22 hour day. Talk about Flexibility and Adaptability (hey, look that’s Element #2: Flexibility and Adaptability) there was no other option and we had to put our lives on hold to ensure we were ready to open on June 1st. It was successful and we were open at 10am with a fresh team of people ready to tackle the first day in the temporary store.

The process of moving from old store to new store took much Inquiry (hey, look that’s Element #3: Inquiry). Finding out the right information from the right people and how to proceed to make the move as smooth of a process as possible was a daily task on my plate since May and finished up about end of July once we moved into the permanent store. Constant inquiry was necessary to make sure everything was going to plan, that my staff was happy, and that we would be ready to go in the new store. Since we had little notice of the move we had to live in a temporary store for a little while as our colorful, engaging new store was being built. This meant many decisions for me. Each step of the way I needed to work with the project manager to ensure all the right things got done with the right people; including getting a business license in place. If any of you have dealt with the City of Chicago on obtaining a license of any sort it is its own special challenge with numerous forms, waiting, many trips back to the office because you didn’t have the right form and did I mention waiting! Decisions needed to be made to get the new store open and the temporary store functioning and much of that came down to me (hey, look that’s Element #4: Decision-Making) Lastly, here is where I had to put those T+D skills to use. I had to figure out how many additional staff to hire then interview them and decide who would best fit into our team. From there I had to create a learning session to train them in the new store and remember this new store was a whole new experience even for me!

When writing these articles we had decided to look at what we were learning in our T+D programs and how we apply it on a daily basis in our practice. These Elements of Practice truly became integral in my life as I encountered this experience over the summer. I have had to frame this experience around the Elements of Practice. Furthermore, I believe I will be better prepared one day in a job interview or in further graduate studies to discuss my own learning and how it connected to the Four Elements of Practice. So now I ask you to think about the Four Elements of Practice and how you can use them to reflect on your experience in the T+D field. Personally, I know I will be using this experience to better understand how to help my staff adapt to change, personally become more resilient to change and how I can better meet my staff’s needs in training and development. Give it a try, have some fun and be a life-long learner with the Four Elements of Practice!

References:
The Masters of Arts Program in Educating Adults (MAEA) Program Handbook (2009-2010). 21-22.

Amy Krenzke is a student at DePaul University – School for New Learning in the Masters of Arts in Educating Adults program. Recently she completed an insightful independent study of Mindfulness and using Mindfulness in the Workplace. Besides being a student Amy is the store manager of the LEGO Store in Chicago and enjoys helping her team grow and develop every day.

%d bloggers like this: