Lectures are one-sided, directed to an audience that may or may not be engaged in the topic. An instructor has no way of knowing if the information is being absorbed or understood. Andragogical methods acknowledge that the adult learner is not a dependent personality and that he/she is self-directed. (Knowles, 2005) The hypothetical experience of a successful adult learning situation as opposed to the traditional lecture and listen format is offered in the following scenario:
The adult preparing to go to the temple will have already learned about the plan of salvation and therefore may find the information in the first lesson redundant or even boring. This outcome does not take into consideration the knowledge that class members have already acquired, an important assumption in adult learning. (Knowles, 2005) The information covered could be reviewed with visual aids and a member of the class summarizing his thinking.
The group can talk about the terrible questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here on earth? Where are we going after this life? Those with a better understanding can contribute their references and sources. The teacher can offer scriptural references or suggest the members find them. Although there is a basic idea of this plan, there are variations, which give reasons to solve the problem through search and discovery. Students may want to sketch their findings and share them for discussion.
Continuing with the hypothetical scenario:
The class is made up of an instructor and seven students. Instead of meeting in the traditional classroom, the instructor can contact the students that have been previously identified as ready for a seminar on temple preparedness. This is largely determined by the class member themselves, their desire to learn about the temple and become endowed ( a term used for making covenants.)
The learners are self-motivated with their own personal goals, which fulfills the andragogical assumptions. (Holyoke, 2009) An invitation has been extended to each participant through email, with the manual attached. Suggested reading lists before the first meeting are also included in this email. Each person is encouraged to read and prepare for a discussion. Although this may sound more instructional, it will create a problem-solving learning situation, a necessary principle of adult learning. (Koohang, 2009)
The location is set for an evening, at the home of one of the members, where the atmosphere is relaxed and conducive to discussion and reflection. Class members arrive and gather in the living room comfortably appointed with leather sofas and a large coffee table. This arrangement aids in promoting discussion which will address the needs of the adult learner where the teacher will be viewed more as an equal.(Knowles, 2005) The instructor has a number of slides and photos to share on a large screen. To aid in prompting discussion and at the same time supplying information for prompts, the teacher can share segments from several videos.
Human cognitive architecture supports the theory that guided instruction is important to develop from novice to expert. (Kirshner, 2006) This is especially true when there is much information that is not a primary source and can cause a student to take a much longer road to learning.
The teacher can pose questions to be researched and discovered by the members of the class. What is the history of temples? What were they used for?