Extension Educators’ Self-assessed Professional Development Needs in Learning Methods

By Nav R. Ghimire and Robert A. Martin.

Published by The International Journal of Assessment and Evaluation

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

The International Journal of Assessment and Evaluation, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp.13-23. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 261.112KB).

Dr. Nav R. Ghimire

Agriculture Agent (Extension Educator), Green Lake County UW-Extension, University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service, Green Lake, USA

Dr. Nav R. Ghimire, is an Agricultural Extension Educator at the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service (UW-Extension). His research interests include training and professional development of Extension educators / Agents, needs assessment and program development, delivery strategies, learning methods, program evaluation, technology transfer in Extension, participatory approaches in agriculture and natural resources development, Extension and adult education, leadership development, and organizational intelligence related to Agricultural Extension.

Robert A. Martin

Professor, Department of Agricultural Education, Iowa State University, Ames, USA

Dr. Robert A. Martin, is a professor at Iowa State University, Department of Agricultural Education and Studies. His research interests include teacher and adult education, extension and continuing education methods.