Volume 15 - Issue 4

Opinion Biomedical Science and Research Biomedical Science and Research CC by Creative Commons, CC-BY

The Review Is on The Article “An Application of Malcolm Knowles Theory of Adult Learning to A Faculty Development Program Using Simulation Education.”

*Corresponding author: Anthony Davies, Department of Family Medicine, McMaster University, Canada.

Received: February 20, 2022; Published: February 25, 2022

DOI: 10.34297/AJBSR.2022.15.002132


The paper’s primary purpose is to describe a workshop that promotes faculty development in clinical teaching and giving feedback to learners. The literature review showed that simulation in faculty development could be faculty-centered and cost-effective. My paper focuses on a faculty development workshop applying Malcolm Knowles Theory of Adult Learning (hereafter referred to as Knowles theory) at the Waterloo Regional Campus of McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine in Waterloo, Canada. The educational problem is the seeming lack of available opportunities for faculty to mentor each other. Faculty might not understand how incorporating an adult learning theory, such as Knowles theory, into simulation education might increase their learning experience and overall satisfaction with learning activities during a faculty development programme.

The workshop will take place in the simulation lab at the Waterloo Regional Campus of McMaster University Medical School.

It will involve faculty who will practice communication skills on standardized patients to mimic actual clinical encounters. A prerecorded video will contain all the necessary information to achieve the workshop’s learning objectives [1].

Knowles’ five assumptions of adult learners are as follows:

a) Self-concept: Matures from dependence on others for one’s learning to being a self-directed learner.

b) Experience: Prior experience becomes a resource for new learning.

c) Readiness to learn: Becomes oriented to achieving developmental tasks appropriate for social roles.

d) Orientation to learning: Shifts from subject-centeredness to problem-based relevance.

e) Motivation to learn: Comes from internal stimuli-a need to know, rather than external stimuli.

1. The principles of adult learning by Knowles are as follows:

a) Adult learners can define what they want to learn (autonomy, personal need, reasons, and intrinsic motivation).

b) Teachers and students participate in determining the course of the learning program.

c) Learners are involved in the evaluation of the program.

d) The learning environment must be safe and non-threatening.

e) The learning should relate to the adult learners’ prior experience.

f) Activities should be experiential and hands-on rather than passive (personal needs, pragmatism, and experience).

g) Learning should be problem-based rather than subject-based.

h) The teacher is a process facilitator and co-learner rather than a content expert.

I will doctor a learning plan to ensure a logical flow of learning involving inquiry, gathering, processing, and application. Simulation is the tool of educational technology to teach for understanding. For good learning to occur, one must pay attention to the environment.

The learning environment must be promoted as a safe place. The learning plan should also include a debriefing process.

The stated objectives of the workshop are as follows:

a) Captivate faculty’s attention with an informative session that meets their learning needs.

b) Promote the acquisition of skills for effective clinical teaching and providing feedback to learners.

c) Improve faculty’s confidence in their teaching ability.

A needs assessment conducted at the planning stage will show the following:

a) How to recognize teachable moments?

b) How to apply evidence-based teaching to facilitate learners’ assimilation?

c) How to provide effective feedback on learners’ performance?

d) How to adapt one’s teaching style to a particular learner? Using Knowles theory to inform the faculty workshop using simulation education will help learners be prepared from the outset about what the learning experience might entail and provide their consent to become vulnerable without being judged by others. Learners will choose the program’s goals to coincide with their personal needs and learning objectives [2-4].

The workshop will include learners watching a pre-recorded video with examples of poor and excellent faculty-learner interactions. Faculty are allowed to practice the new skills, in simulation, within their comfort level and receive feedback from both a standardized patient and a master teacher who watches the interaction. Thus, the simulation will provide a safe and conducive learning environment, consider the different backgrounds of faculty, and provide varying tasks to challenge learners.


I recommend using simulation in faculty development, informed by Knowles Theory of Adult Learning. Further research is needed to shed light on how Knowles theory fits with a faculty development workshop centered on the faculty’s need for enhancing their teaching and ability to provide effective feedback.


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