Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Adult Education: Multicultural & Age of Workforce

©iStockphoto.com/Evgeny Kan
Today’s workplaces are more diverse than ever, combining a mix of generations and cultures in ways never before encountered. For OSH professionals, this can introduce a wide range of training challenges.

During a presentation at the 27th Annual Chicagoland Safety and Environmental Conference, Paul Seidlitz, R,N., shared his insight on these challenges and offered some methods for solving these concerns. Seidlitz explained how adults learn, stating that direct participation is key, and listed barriers to learning, such as low self-esteem, lack of confidence, fear of ridicule or failure as well as bad experience with formal education and marginalized societal position..

Experience for individuals is cumulative and varies widely among individuals in groups, Seidlitz said. It can also be broad and narrow in scope, as well as positive and negative. Often, people must constantly unlearn and relearn, which Seidlitz noted is particularly important when dealing with different cultures. Someone may not know the experiences another individual brings with them, but the difference between the two people must be accounted for.

Seidlitz also emphasized using teaching methods that engage people’s senses, and noted that incorporating multiple senses promotes retention. People are motivated to learn by internal rather than external factors, and prefer to evaluate their own achievements and performances. To gain the most from training, OSH trainers and managers should also encourage and affirm workers’ capabilities and skills gained as a result of training.