Last PIDP 3240 Post


This will be my last post for 3240.

Just want to say thanks to everyone for the great postings in the Moodle Forum, the Facebook page and all the other blogs.

Aside from the Capstone Project, this was my last PIDP course.

I will leave this last post with one of my favorite TED Videos  Richard St John on Success

See you at convocation!


Reflections on the book The Profession and Practice of Adult Education


I would like to reflect on a quote from The Profession and Practice of Adult Education. The quote I choose was from page 30, “adult learners have independent self-concepts and hence like to be self-directed in planning and evaluating their learning”.  I feel that the authors were trying express that adult learners want to learn, they are not being told or force to learn.  They want to gain knowledge for their own betterment.

I choose this quote to discuss because I do not feel it is that accurate when teaching the automotive trade at an entry level.  While I teach at a college level I feel at times I am teaching to externally motivated learners.  The book goes on to say “that by and large, adult learners are internally motivated”.   Depending on the class I am instructing this may or may not be the case.

While a large number of the learners I teach are internally motivated and want to learn the content, many others are attending for other reasons.  In teaching trades there can be a large number of adult learners who finished high school only months before.  While they might be classified as adult learners, many of them are still living at home and have be motivated by their parents to continue their education. I like to refer to these learners as young adult learners.  These externally motived learners can often be difficult as they don’t actually want to be there.

Another class I teach is comprised of all international students.  These learners might be internally motivated, but not always motivated to learn the course content.  Many are there to simply gain a diploma, and are not actually concerned with what field that diploma is in.  This creates a learner who is not self-directed at all.  They want to simply learn what is needed to pass and attain their diploma.

Alternatively, those learners who are taking higher level automotive apprenticeship courses, very much fit the description in the quote.  These are often students who are, in a relative sense, older that those taking the automotive trades entry level course.  These learner have more hands on automotive experience.  They know this is what they want to do as a career and are much more open to self-directed learning.

After analyzing this quote, I feel that I really need to assess what type of learner I have at the beginning of a course.  If I have the learner described in the quote, then I can provide much more self-directed learning.  Allow them to teach themselves and each other with my guidance.  On the other hand if I have externally motivated students, ones not interested in the learning only the end result, then I need to teach differently.  It will be necessary to provide much more structure in my lessons.

Overall the key will be to find out what type of learners I have at the start.  With through planning and a good mix of in class activities, I can try and turn those externally motived learners to internally motivated learners.


Merriam, S.B. & Brockett, R.G. (2007).  The Profession and Practice of Adult Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass


Who would win in a crash?


While teaching vehicle safety systems I introduce the section by asking “Which car would you rather be in during a crash?  A 1959 Bel Air or a 2009 Malibu?”

I poll the class and usually there is a slight preference to being in the 1959.

What would you rather be in?  The older steel car?  Or the lighter newer plastic car?

Here’s the video link

Things that are wrong with the video game Grand Theft Auto 5


Ok…. There are many things morally wrong with the game GTA5, but we can save those for another blog.  What I would like to discuss is what is technically wrong with the game from the perspective from an automotive industry expert.

Point one – Stealing a car from when someone is driving it.  If you pull someone out of a car that is in gear it will roll away.  The brake needs to be applied for the car to remain stationary.  In the game, the car simply remains in place will the drivers swap position.  I doubt that someone would remember to calmly put their car in park while being car jacked.

Point two – Breaking into a parked car.  The player in GTA5 will smash the driver’s side window with his elbow to enter a parked car.  Most modern have specially treated glass that is laminated.  So even if someone was strong enough to damage the glass, the glass would likely stay in place to prevent entry.

Point three – ‘Hot-wiring’ a car.  Modern cars CAN NOT be started without a key.  Keys today are nothing close to a key that opens a lock on a house door.  Keys are computer programmed to match the car.  If there is not matching signal the car will not start.

Point four – Airbags deployment.  Airbags have been a government requirement since the 90’s.  Airbags are designed to deploy in a collision.  The player in GTA5 can crash cars all the time…. And the airbags never go off?!?!?

I could go on and on about other technical errors, but I won’t.  My point is that I find I am often de-bunking myths in the classroom.  These myths come from movies, TV’s and games.  There are many myths around the automotive industry.  The key point no matter what industry you are in, make sure that you have the subject matter knowledge to prove the myths wrong.


Automotive Resources



Today I wanted to add a resource related to my field, the automotive industry.

The VCC Library allows access to vehicle service and repair information.   It is free to students with a valid student ID.

You can also access service and repair information through My VCC.

Once you have logged into , scroll down to the Library hyperlink on the left.

On the Library page click ‘Articles’, then select ‘Automotive and Heavy Duty Transport’ in the search screen.

Chilton Online Auto Repair Manuals should then appear in the search.

You may have to re-enter your ID.

You are then able to enter the vehicle you are working on a get the information you need.

Roles and Trends in the Automotive Industry


During the last 20 years, both my industry and the way education happens in my industry has drastically changed.

The automotive industry is an always advancing state.  There are a number of new technologies at have come to the forefront in the last decade.  The biggest is the commercial success of hybrid and completely electric vehicles.  Alternate fuels have always been available, but not until the last few years have they actually become popular enough that manufactures now consider them a major market segment.

Another area of change within the automotive industry is the level of computer technology that is used.  Fifty years ago, the wiring schematics for all cars available in North America could be found in a single book.  Today, vehicles can have multiple module fiber optic networks that controls only the stereo.  Wiring schematics for a single model of vehicle now come on a DVD.

The way that future automotive technicians are trained is just beginning to evolve.  When I began formal training on 1999, we received class room lecture with limited interaction with other students.  Today, there is a trend toward much more interaction.  Students will receive group activities and even group projects.  Some of these group assignments can be self-directed.  Others may include a presentation to other students, creating peer teaching.

As someone who is new to adult education taking the PIDP course has been a very useful guide to the becoming a effective instructor.  Over time I would consider re-taking certain course within the PIDP program to stay current.  Participating  in Instruction Techniques and Delivery of Instruction would be a great way to see new techniques and to network with other instructors to find out what is working for them.

In addition to gaining knowledge through the PIDP, there are many ways to increase my knowledge of the automotive industry.  I would like to actually get back into the industry and job shadow to see the most up-to-date technology.

There are two specific roles that are relevant to my curriculum that I would like to observe.  The first being that of a dealership service technician.  Dealerships will always be seeing the latest technology in the automotive industry.  Being able to job shadow with an experienced technician would allow me to see the current day-to-day service work that is going on.

The other role I would like to job shadow is that of a vehicle manufacturer representative.  I have a friend whose official title is Aftersales Manager, Western Canada.  He oversees numerous things including customer complaints to the manufacturer, procedures involving warranty processing, and training dealership employees on new programs and procedures.  The opportunity to observe this person’s work would give me great insight into current business practices of the manufacturers.  While it would all be on the business side, it is still relevant.  Not all students in the automotive program want to end up in a hands on repair job.

Additionally, sitting in on another instructor’s class from my department would be another learning opportunity.  Seeing and learning other teaching techniques that are applicable to the automotive trade would help my own future students.

Being a VCC employee, I have the good fortune of professional development time.  This allows me to not only advance my instructional techniques through the PIDP, but it also provides me the opportunity to return to my field of expertise to ensure that I am familiar with the current industry trends.