The Nature of Adult Learning and Effective Training Guidelines
Robert L. Hewitt
A primary mission of the human service educator or trainer is to develop or enhance the development of human service workers (that is, social workers, counselors, psychologists, child and family welfare workers, teachers, probation officers, etc.), students, and workshop participants for professional practice. This educational process requires that students develop self-awareness, helping skills, assessment skills, and knowledge for social problem solving. Consequently, courses, workshops, and curricula in human services place a major emphasis on the helper-client unit (individual, family, group, organization, or community) interaction and the client unit's active involvement in the problem-solving process. The establishment of a working relationship and engagement of the client unit as an active participant in problem solving are central principles of social work and other human service practices.
Unfortunately, human service educators and trainers often do not practice what they espouse. Students have an opportunity to become active participants in the fieldwork component of their education. However, classroom teaching and learning focus on the transmission of knowledge, with the student as a passive recipient of information. Some discussion is utilized, but the primary form of educational methodology is the lecture. The teacher is the transmitter of knowledge and the student is the receiver ( Hokenstad & Rigby, 1977).
Methodology (the process by which material is presented) in social work education is as important to the learning and teaching process as methodology in social work practice is to the problem solving process. In order to be an effective educator or trainer when working with adults,