Learning Systems Competencies: Their Importance to Extension Educators

By Nav R. Ghimire and Robert A. Martin.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Demonstration of a high level of professional competence is the primary public justification for the Cooperative Extension Service in the United States. Therefore, a highly competent and well-trained staff is an important resource for ensuring Extension’s organizational success. A regional study was conducted with 441 Extension educators who participated in an online survey. The purpose was to determine the relative importance of 11 professional competencies related to learning systems and identify the best time to learn each of these competencies. Participants perceived a majority of the competencies as highly important for their professional development. High percentages of the respondents preferred to learn a majority of the competencies through a graduate program and in-service programs. These findings imply a need to design flexible staff development programs for Extension educators that include graduate education, in-service trainings, and on-the-job experience. Findings also suggest a need for new policies regarding employee selection, training, professional development, and performance appraisal. Findings have implications to design professional trainings on learning systems in a variety of national and international extension settings.

Keywords: Learning, Extension, Professional Development

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp.95-112. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 840.264KB).

Dr. Nav R. Ghimire

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

Dr. Nav R. Ghimire, is an Extension Educator at the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension Service. His research interests include teaching-learning processes, professional development, extension and adult education.

Robert A. Martin

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


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