Bagels = Maslow?

Ok, I want to throw out a thought that’s been bugging me in the online Adult Ed class I’m wrapping up. I took over pre-defined courseware and don’t have a lot of room for rapid re-writes.

We spend some time discussing major theorists, including the venerable Maslow. One of the trends that shows up in the first assignment on theories is that providing food & drink during formal trg sessions or pointing out locations of fire escapes, etc. satisfies the one of the basic Maslow needs at the bottom of the pyramid.

I disagree. Mostly.

In situations where a learner is under the direct care of an organization or institution , then I think an argument could be made to support that premise. However…

Adult learners who are pursuing education and development are largely responsible for fulfilling their own basic needs. Granted, someone who is having difficulty making ends meet and has their residence and meals at risk may have some challenges keeping focused on their studies, but I submit that the education provider’s primary role is to help manage and meet esteem needs in support of educational goals.

My other argument against the Bagels for Maslow is during online, distance, or informal learning scenarios. Again, the learner should bear the responsibility for fulfilling the basic needs so that they can keep moving up the pyramid.

I’m definitely interested in your thoughts.

S2 Q9) Best bottom-up learning implementation. Or, at least, my most memorable one. (apologies to @LnDDave)

>I pondered the answer to this question for a while because it’s been some time since I did any real bottom-up learning, but I drew on one of my experiences in the Army Reserve as an example, and arguably the one I am most proud of although I won’t lay claim to the original idea, only its implementation for some of my soldiers.


In my ‘trade’ in the Army (Armoured Reconnaissance, “recce” to the Brits and Aussies/Kiwis, and ‘armored cavalry scouts’ to the Americans), Armoured Vehicle recognition was a key skill required at all levels.  At the time, we were still training to operate in a Cold War-type, conventional environment as opposed to the regional and sectarian strife going on today.

The ‘traditional’ method of AFV recognition was through slide decks.  In this case, real photo sides, because PPT wasn’t widely used in field training at that time.  One of the problems with this training environment is that many of the photos weren’t realistic.  Many of them were like “dealer” photos.  The other problem was that the photos didn’t represent what these vehicles might look like at a distance or what it might look like from different angles, or half-hidden, etc., etc.  In short, success in AFV recognition in training scenarios came down to slide memorization and an ability to draw on a few memorized characteristics in case you got stuck.

On one exercise, some Regular Force folks put a few of us into a mock observation post, gave us binoculars and had us peer out to see what we could see.  The Reg Force guys (being better funded than us part-time soldiers) had some 1/76 scale models laid out in a few areas and wow, were they ever hard to spot.  It made recognition more of a challenge and at that point I had the germ of an idea.

So, long story short, a year or so later, I was teaching the on-weekends version Corporal’s Qualifying Course in Recce and I talked the Course Officer into letting me handle the AFV recognition portion.  Fortunately, I was (and sometimes still am) an avid scale model builder and I had a very large array of 1/35 scale vehicles.  But, rather than using those instead of slides, I booked the indoor range as my classroom.  Through a little bit of math, I set up a simulated environment where the soldiers were looking at vehicles that appeared to be 800M to 1100M away.  I set up some ‘terrain’, borrowed some camouflage nets and a few other tricks and laid out a pretty challenging scenario for the students.

After a general briefing on the principles of recogntion, the soldiers were taken down to the range, handed binoculars, told that there were almost 40 vehicles out there, and they had 15 mins to identify them all from their ‘distant’ vantage point.

While the scores were lower than the slide memorization, the activity was a big hit with them.  They felt it was far more realistic, and understood just how hard it could be to accurately identify these vehicles at a distance…because reporting a fleet of jeeps is one thing, but it what you really saw was a fleet of tanks heading in your direction, the implications are a little different. ;-)

The real confirmation of that success came when an officer I knew from an infantry regiment at our Armoury happened to be in on that weekend.  He was downstairs and saw what I was doing on the range.  He asked to sit in and simultaneously asked if I would run the same training for his Anti-Armour troops and then cleared it with my CO.

So while it wasn’t e-learning at all, I like to think that I set up a good environment for learning and it wasn’t something that would have come from the top-down.

Q7) "doing stuff " at work or "learning"? A longer post, just for @LnDDave.

>When I read this question (which I mean to answer last week), I was reminded of an interview I had after getting out of my college Graphics Program about a million and a half years ago – long before I considered my part-time training work to be anything other than just that.

When the rather terse interviewer asked me what I expected out of the job, one of the things I said was that I wanted an opportunity to learn something.  His response was something along the lines of “oh, you’re not here to learn. You should know everything you need already to get started.”

Needless to say, I didn’t get the job…and thank heavens for that.

With respect to Clive’s statement, I (sorta) disagree, but let me first talk about the leaders.

In a number of environments, including some that should know better, there is a “culture of execution” among Sr. Management, and very little consideration given to what I now know is “informal learning”, or even continuing education.  What I find ironic is that if something goes wrong and someone gets hauled on the carpet, invariably one of the questions that gets asked is “well, what did you learn from this?”  I worked as a promoted-from-within Manager for a national technical training provider and I had to fight an uphill battle to get management to realize that their trainers needed time to prep for new courses as well as improve existing parts of their repertoire. It took me quite some time to get them to lower the “utilization” metric (meaning, days in the classroom) so that the trainers weren’t being forced to prep entirely on their own time.

So, I see a bit of a divide between the knowledge worker and the manager in that the knowledge worker will often be forced through circumstance to “learn” in order to “do stuff”, and is frequently left to their own, likely inefficient, devices.

For me, I know that I used to go to work to ‘do stuff’ and gave very little consideration to the learning involved, but as I’ve become more aware as a learner, I am trying to be more conscious of the things I learn along the way of ‘doing stuff’, even the painful or frustrating things. 

So, I disagree with the statement because I’m not convinced that ‘doing’ and ‘learning’ should be two separate things.