Terry O. Faulkner

Educator | Wordsmith

Teaching Adult Learners via Open2Study


In the summer of 2016, I completed a MOOC based in Australia designed to help teachers, facilitators and/or educators to reach out and help their adult learners. There were a lot of good activities, I should be able to use some myself. One idea was the “Values Line” where students were asked to make a value judgement about a controversial topic. They would then line up on a number scale somewhere between one and ten (or whatever number set chosen) after which the class would be split in half. People on side one are then paired with people on the other (with differing opinions). In pairs, each person is given a minute (or two) to explain their reason(s) for agreement or disagreement on the subject. This activity promotes active listening and doesn’t suggest persuading one’s partner, rather understanding her/his reasons for supporting or disagreeing with the topic of controversy. This also a great way to build camaraderie among classmates and I plan to use this next semester for use as an icebreaker.

I have two things worth mentioning and one is that because education is changing so quickly, students ultimately expect more from their classes and teachers. So much of the content is now available online and there weren’t any strategies for use in blended learning and/or flipped  classrooms. While the activities presented may work well in a face to face envioronment, I felt that the online portion of courses was desperately needed here (especially since this was an online course to begin with).

Secondly, one of my pet peeves Howard Gardner’s “Multiple Intelliegences” theory was once again used to try to determine the best ways that students learn. This theory has been branded by some as “pseudoscience” or “junk science”. Waterhouse and Lynn (2006a) go so far to say that “there is little empirical evidence to support MI” and that “cognitive neuroscience research does not support the theory of multiple intelligences”. Those two complaints being aired, I still feel the course was worth the time invested and suggest taking it if you have a few extra hours per week and want some new ideas for your classroon.

Waterhouse, Lynn (Fall 2006a). “Multiple Intelligences, the Mozart Effect, and Emotional Intelligence: A critical review”. Educational Psychologist. 41 (4): 207–225.



Skillagents & the Post-Content Mindset

Recently, I have been engaging in more and more online courses. One of the many reasons for participating in MOOCs and other courses is that I have a voracious appetite for learning new things. These learning experiences help me to design courses that others (and myself) might enjoy. That is not to say that I am an easy learner. I am critical when I see something I don’t like and if something doesn’t quite work, I will certainly get in touch with those hosting the course. I know what I like but that doesn’t not mean I won’t try new things or approaches. I’ve lived outside my own comfort zone (China and South Korea) for about a quarter of my life now so trying new things really is an old hat.

The point is that I have found a course, or should I say constantly evolving online program that I believe will help me to navigate my way back to Denver with valuable skills into a career I love. Since this blog is almost entirely about the transition from ESL/EFL teacher to instructional designer, I’ll tell you more about it. Its mission is to help designers like myself stay ahead of the educational curve and discover patterns (to be defined later) that will solve myriad problems educators often face in both in the technical realm and in the (virtual/real) classroom. The classroom landscape is changing (for the better) as information is available at our fingertips anytime we decide to pick up a mobile phone, iPad or sit down at a computer. This is going to leave the classrooms of yesterday empty and without purpose. As such, we need to be ready to face the ever-evolving learning landscape and embrace the new possibilites the internet and eLearning  afford us teachers, designers and learners. 

The Skillagents program asks participants to react reflectively for each segment/video. No the questions aren’t always loads of fun to answer but they do require you think critically and in doing so, make you a stronger writer and designer. Here is an example from a chapter entitled “The Post-Content Mindset.”

  1. Maybe you think of yourself as an ‘instructional designer’ and you have a vision in your head of what your career path might look like. After considering just how big this online education shakeup is going to be… think of some ‘alternative’ career paths and opportunities available to those with the skills to build effective online learning environments.
  2. Imagine you are a sought-after expert in the field of online learning. You’ve got so much prestige and ability that you can really pick and choose which opportunities you pursue. So what does your DREAM career look like?

Ideally I see myself as a designer for a firm/company/university/NGO that I am deeply passionate about. I am a fan of Paulo Freire and Critical Pedagogy, and to be able to educate those unable to afford it or without access would be pretty sweet.


Ever since college I have dreamt of teaching English for a couple years in the Peace Corps in Western Africa (Senegal, Cote D’Ivoire or Guinea preferably). I may realize that dream but probably not until my kids are college aged and self-sufficient.

That does it for this post. My next post will either be about the next #Skillagents or about the second step of the I-130 visa process. Thanks for reading!