Publication Date

Winter 2-13-2014

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

David B. Shallenberger

Abstract

Experiential Learning Theory (ELT) and extensions such as Transformative Learning Theory offer significant potential for skill development later in life – reskilling. Despite wide acceptance and deployment, practitioners are still obliged to design their own methods and activities in order to implement these theories. This paper introduces a novel curricular model, Active Development of Tacit Knowledge (ADTK). Educators can use ADTK to effectively implement and scale ELT. Agricultural Education, specifically the training of new farmers, is used as a sample context to demonstrate ADTK. In new-farmer education, it is necessary to compress the educational cycles of dozens of years of seasonal feedback and generations of familial knowledge to replicate a farm upbringing, often within just weeks or months. Increasing global demand for farm products along with economic constraints limit options for learn by doing on the farm where a poor understanding of natural processes can cause a new farmer to irreparably harm the environment of production. Globally, highly productive farmers are aging out of production, adding urgency to the demand for competent new producers. The combination of system stresses requires teaching methodology that accurately develops frequent and repetitive on-farm decision-making processes that are production environment centered. Yet many new practitioners possess pre-existing and variable skills, knowledge, or information that may not be compatible with their successful farm management needs. ADTK encourages learners to draw out tacit knowledge and restructure pre-existing beliefs with new information into a stable foundation from which a more complex theoretical development and mastery of skills can evolve.

Keywords: new-farmer, agriculture education, tacit knowledge, agriculture, experiential, self-directed, farm, beginning farmer, training.

Disciplines

Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching | Agricultural and Resource Economics | Agricultural Education | Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Methods | Educational Sociology | International and Comparative Education | International and Intercultural Communication | Other Education | Other Teacher Education and Professional Development | Rural Sociology | Service Learning | Theory, Knowledge and Science