This paper considers the application of adult learning principles in training learners to operate high-risk equipment such that they develop a sense of responsibility and accountability for the choices they make for themselves both during and post training. A literature review was utilised to review currently applied adult learning principles and the discussion considers these with reference to high-risk work particularly from a safety development perspective. Vocational Education and Training sectors throughout the world are traditionally responsible for training delivery in these areas where generally andragogical principles, as defined by Knowles (1970), are applied and with, in some cases, application of a heutagogical approach, as outlined by Hase & Kenyon (2000). Aside from considering these approaches, a new approach is proposed, referred to as authology, with a basis of including notions of responsibility and duty of care in adult learning. Collins (2004) suggests that all theories of adult education are based on building on prior learning and using methods that treat learners with respect, whilst recognizing that people learn differently. This involves learners taking responsibility for their own learning however does not overtly address developing an ongoing sense of responsibility, as is critical to those working in high-risk occupations. There are numerous training programs in vocational education and training, such as those related to equipment and plant operation, for which development of learner responsibility is a critical component in the training, particularly given the potential to cause harm, injury or fatality.
Richard Skiba, LRES Training Management, Australia