Several years back, the producer relations effort realized that, although we provide many educational presentations for producers at Noble and as guest speakers at regional and national seminars and conferences, there was much room for improving our educational efforts. Educational events were a complement to consultation activities, a critical complement but not given the same priority as consultation. We needed some people who were as passionate about education and education delivery as consultants were at consulting to help lead our educational efforts and expand the reach and effectiveness of our educational events and activities.
In 2016, we hired Amy Hays, an education manager, to begin building an education team focused on producer/adult education. We have since hired two others, Brenna Gaik and Brook Gaskamp, to help with the adult education efforts. In 2017, the Noble Research Institute made education a priority effort and called it Noble Learning, which combines adult education with our youth education program that brings agricultural science into the classrooms of middle and high school youth. We now have a true education team, thus lifting Noble education to new heights.
So what is new about Noble Learning that is important for regional producers to know?
You now have the opportunity to participate in a structured curriculum of learning progressions across each area of expertise represented by the consultation efforts. Those areas of expertise are: soils and crops, pasture and range, livestock (beef cattle), wildlife and fisheries, agricultural economics, pecans and horticulture. There is considerable interaction between these expertise areas in the education progressions just as there is in our integrated consultation approach, but we will be much more intentional about specific learning objectives for each event and their presentations.
With input from the consultants, each progression follows a track that begins with an introduction (such as “So You Want to Raise Cattle” in the livestock progression) and progresses through Level 1: Essentials, Level 2: Building, Level 3: Advanced and Level 4: Master. We will continue to provide both seminar and field programs with greater emphasis on hands-on demonstrations, seeking to expand our curriculum offering based on producer input and needs.
One of the most exciting developments will be the ability for you (or us, if requested) to tailor the education programming to your individual interests or needs. You will be able to readily identify the learning objectives for each presentation and event before attending, building upon existing knowledge and skills with each event.
In addition, we will be able to track your participation through the progressions, and we can recommend upcoming and new events that complement your curriculum history. In the future, we hope to be able to offer more online events and educational videos that can be viewed and reviewed as desired on the Noble Research Institute website, www.noble.org.
The question that I am sure many of you who have attended past Noble events are asking is, “How does this affect me if I have already attended some of these events?”
We do not have a record of what events you have attended in the past, so we want to start anew with everyone. We encourage you to investigate the educational progressions and associated events on our website at www.noble.org/events. Make plans to attend again and begin moving through the progressions, and this time we will be monitoring your attendance and providing you with opportunities to participate more actively in the learning objectives.
If you have an existing relationship with Noble Research Institute consultants, visit with them to determine which level is most appropriate for you to enter into again. We suspect there will be new materials offered and new approaches to presentations that should enhance the events and educational experience for everyone.
You will also help us build a better educational offering for the future. Who better to do that than those of you who have attended our programs in the past? So we encourage those of you who have attended in the past to start anew with us, the Noble Research Institute and our Noble Learning team.