Extension is a teaching-learning process that aims at improving lives focusing on issues and needs of communities. However, Extension educators often have little or no formal pre-service training or experience in teaching competencies needed to provide a successful learning experience for their clients. Following earlier work of Ghimire and Martin (2012) on the importance of learning systems competencies in the Cooperative Extension Service, this study examined Extension educators’ self-assessed knowledge and skills in nine competencies related to learning methods and their needs for further training in this area. A total of 752 Extension educators from 12 states of the North Central Region (USA) participated in this study through an online survey. Responses collected on a five-point Likert-type scale indicated that the majority of the participants (53–63%) reported moderate to high training needs in stated learning competencies. Findings have implications for designing programs that could meet the professional development needs of Extension educators. Therefore, training focused on learning methods is recommended at all levels of the North Central Region (USA) Extension system. The notable application of the findings for the extension systems in international settings is also discussed in this paper.
|Keywords:||Extension Educator, Learning Competencies, Knowledge and Skill, Further Training Needs, Professional Development|
Agriculture Agent (Extension Educator), Green Lake County UW-Extension, University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service, Green Lake, USA
Professor, Department of Agricultural Education, Iowa State University, Ames, USA