We need to turn to evidence-based theory of adult education to apply those tenets. Knowles (1998) developed principles that stipulate:
- Adults need to know why they should learn something
- Most adults were educated in school systems that fostered dependent vs. self-directed learning
- Draw upon the experience of the learner
- Adults want to be motivated to better their real-life tasks
- Adults want to know how new learning will impact their lives
- Adults are motivated by issues such as job satisfaction, self esteem, and quality of life
The management education question becomes: what content should be covered, how much content, and which delivery option do you use? But what will matter most in the long run is that learners participate in the program with the encouragement of peers, superiors, and subordinates.
My talking points for your discussion are:
- Resolve that management education is necessary.
- Executive buy-in and visible support by leaders is essential.
- Knowing what business goals you want to achieve from any educational program will ensure better outcomes.
- Be clear about what skills managers need to achieve the goals.
- Management education programs should have an evaluation method with predetermined outcome metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of your organization’s program. The individual performance and engagement in the participant’s career and positive interactions with colleagues should also be measured.
- Select the right faculty: Consider the values of internal and external faculty. Faculty must be credible, but not a person who signs the participant’s annual evaluation. Supervisors could be seen as in a position of authority to jeopardize the participant’s job if they have difficulty in the program. You want faculty who can bring both new ideas into the organization and yet provide support to the culture you wish to enhance.
- Select diverse delivery methods that provide prolonged engagement with the learning process. Skills are not embedded into behavior overnight.