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Certified Facilitator of Adult Learning

Helping People Learn

My story...

Imagine we are sitting together on my porch in the Smoky Mountains just talking. Here’s how I got here! 

My Initial Training

I graduated The Ohio State University as a physical therapist. After spending two years in clinical practice, I was asked to teach in a community college physical therapist assistant program.  I had no teaching experience. And to this day I have no idea how the students learned anything from me. I’d prepare a lecture, give a lecture, demonstrate a technique, and then give an exam. It was all about me. I was the star and the students had better well keep up with me or be left behind. My students liked me as a person, but struggled with my “know it all” teaching style, which was no style at all, just me trying to figure out how to teach.

Second teaching position

Two years into teaching at the community college level I attended a workshop at a major university and during the workshop the Director of the Physical Therapy program asked me to join the faculty as an instructor. Here we go again – I had a bachelor’s degree, two years experience teaching, and I still didn’t know how to teach. I took the position.

Best career decision I ever made. The director became my mentor. Bella was her name. During her doctoral studies, she met Malcom Knowles, the Father of Adult Learning and frequently brought him to campus for faculty workshops.

Bella J. May
Dr. Bella J. May
Malcolm Knowles
Dr. Malcolm Knowles

What I learned from Bella and Malcom

I learned that learning procedures by “show and tell” does not prepare students for a profession or career or job. 

Facts change. Procedures change. What prepares students for the future is learning how to think, solve problems, and apply critical thinking skills in different situations.

I learned that knowledge alone is not enough to be successful in any field. That developing attitudes and values are just as important as memorizing information.

I learned that to be effective, teaching must be competency-based and learner-centered, not teacher-centered. It’s easy to prepare a lecture. It’s more difficult to write an objective that tells the learner specifically what they will be learning and design experiences so they can reach the objective. 

I remember late-night faculty meetings where I would present the objectives for the next course I was going to teach and those objectives would be reviewed, modified, and eventually approved BEFORE I wrote the first lecture or planned the first learning experience. Objectives were so important to the curriculum that every course objective from every professor was reviewed by the entire faculty before being accepted for teaching.

Dr. W Edwards Deming
Dr. W. Edwards Deming

Along came the meeting with Dr. W. Edwards Deming   

Dr. W. Edwards Deming, the Father of Total Quality Management was a statistician and business consultant. By the time I met Dr. Deming I had attained my Doctorate Degree in Adult Education and moved on from my faculty position to corporate training in local business, industries, and school systems. As a member of my city’s Chamber of Commerce, I attended several of Dr. Deming’s workshops and became highly involved in TQM (Total Quality Management) training in the city.  Dr. Deming’s approach was about empowering the worker to participate in the work process. This approach integrated perfectly with adult learning. Education is all about empowering the learner to learn.   

Then to Now

During the 1980 and 1990’s I traveled across the country (even to Newfoundland in Canada!) teaching college teachers and clinical therapists how to teach, and teaching trainers how to organize business and industry training based on Andragogy. My husband and I moved to the Smoky Mountains and I brought the culmination of my experiences online as Certified Facilitator of Adult Learning course. Over the years I’ve trained hundreds of teachers and helped them improve their courses through online study and personal feedback. My participants have ranged from Judges and Lawyers to Corporate Development Teams. From Nursing and Allied Health Educators to Girl Scout Leaders, from Math Teachers to Telecoms Trainers and from Hospice workers to Shamans. All have learned how to design their own unique training courses and workshops using adult learning techniques..

About Dr.Jill Henry

Dr. Jill Henry developed CFAL based on her time as an Associate Professor at the Medical College of Georgia responsible for training Academic and Clinical Faculty in competency based education. She was active in the Augusta Chamber of Commerce during the age of TQM (Total Quality Management) and studied under W. Edwards Deming, who brought his 14 Points on Quality Management to the USA. She has facilitated Train the Trainer courses across the United States and Canada, training in clinical, business and academic settings. During your CFAL online course for teaching adults, you will receive direct guidance from Dr. Henry at 7 steps in creating or customizing your course.

I’m excited about offering CFAL and look forward to facilitating your adventure into creating new experiences for your adult learners in whatever you teach or wish to teach.