Friday, May 1, 2015

Adult Learners Self-Concept and Self-Direction: Helping Adults Become Independent Learners

 Fiddishun, deals specifically with the attributes of adult learners and technology.  She points out, "It is also important that self-directedness not be confused with self-motivation[Italics mine]. Although a student may be motivated to take a course, they may not be self-directed enough to feel comfortable choosing instructional modules in an online course or creating their own structured environment to learn in a web-based course." (Fiddishun, pp. 4-5)
Some adults, for various reasons, may need a little help in their self-concept.
Fiddishun goes on to suggest how instructors can help the adults who may need encouragement learning to learn:  "Encouraging self-directedness may also take the form of additional instructor contact in the beginning stages of the class or could be facilitated by having students do technology-based modules within a traditional class before they move to a complete course based in technology."  I think we've all seen this in either our teaching or classes where some adults may not be comfortable with technology or research and may need encouragement to catch up on certain skills, or to be more intrepid learners.

Above is the powerpoint slide of Giuliana L. and Monica V., some classmates who expand upon the ideas surrounding self-concept as it pertains to adult learners.  As we get more and more into Knowles's attributes, I can't help thinking that in some ways he is talking about an ideal.  Toward the end of his career Knowles acknowledged that the differences between child and adult learners are not as hard and fast as he had originally thought, and I think self-concept is a good illustration of this.

  For example, if we think of confidence, there are always a few children in any group who have precocious amounts of confidence and independence; and it is not unusual to find adults who lack confidence, cannot accept criticism or feel hurt by it, or who are not self-starters.  While some of this may be personality traits, I think experiences in school and in the family of origin have a lot to do with the range of self-concepts we see in both children and adults.

I have to admit I am a little preoccupied with psychological barriers to learning, including the effects of chronic stress, after my experience teaching youth and young adults ages 14-23 in North Camden in 2013-2014.  Conditions there - both the life circumstances and the educational experiences of the youth and young adults -  were so extreme that I sometimes find myself wondering if I really saw some of the things I did.  In any case, the self-concept of these young people played a very important role in how easily they were able to complete their training, and even whether they could complete it at all.

Would Kids Learn Like Adults if They Weren't in School? Self-Concept, Orientation, and Andragogy (Attribute 2)

According to influential theorist of adult learning Malcolm Knowles, in childhood people's orientation is toward subject-based learning, wheres adults are oriented toward  problem-based learning that seeks a specific, immediate goal.  He also says that their self-concept is different:  children are dependent learners, more easily led to study this or that subject at the behest of adults in their lives, whereas adults are self-directed.  While this is not the case for every child or every adult (adults can be quite dependent in certain learning situations, and some children can be quite driven and self-directed), it is important for instructors to take adults' independent self-conception into account.

However, I wonder if children's supposed attribute of a dependent, subject-driven orientation toward learning is structural - that is, could it be due more to the imposition of compulsory classroom-based schooling than to any natural tendency of children?   After all, what choice do most children have?  What kind of learners would they be if they had more freedom to learn in an organic way?  We've all seen kids on the weekends and in the summer, running around teaching themselves to play games, ride a bike, make things. 

Adults' inquisitiveness and problem-based learning might be more a function of their relative freedom and choice about learning.  Perhaps children do not have the opportunity to pick and choose their learning so much, and that's why they appear to be subject-oriented.

This is precisely the argument that the unschooling movement makes (Unschooling is a term coined by educator John Holt, who published books and the influential periodical Growing Without Schooling.  The point to societies in which children learn informally by imitating adults or by helping them as they go about their activities; children also had considerable free time to explore the world around them, and were given considerable responsibility.  This learning pattern was common in the pre-industrial world, including in the United States until schooling became mandatory in most places in the nineteenth century. 

Unschooling is a branch of the homeschooling movement that eschews classroom-like setups in the home in favor of more organic models of learning.  As many unschoolers would tell you, "We are just living our lives."  While adults provide guidance, children have a lot of say in how and what they will learn and whether or not they are successful.  Under these conditions, unschooled child learners look a lot like the self-directed, problem-oriented adult learners described by Knowles.  

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Adult Learners: Practical Orientation (Attribute 5)

Schoolchildren are "subject oriented," and do not expect to be able to apply all they learn immediately, at least in traditional schools.  But adults, on the other hand, want their learning to be relevant, practical, immediately applicable, and problem-centered.

To learn more, check out my and Karrie Augustine's Screencast about Adult Learning Attribute #5, "Orientation," which synthesizes our own and our classmate's work on this attribute.  We enjoyed creating it and hope that you learn from our tour of the class's attribute maps.

An Infographic provides information about Knowles's theory in graphic form.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Explore Web 2.0 Tools - a Handy Annotated List and Some Boffo Resources


You snooze, you lose.

I came across the wonderful metasite Cool Tools for Schools the other day, and pasted it into my Notes app, thinking I would post it to my class discussion board later.  But by the time I got around to it, others had scooped me.  Procrastination 1, Anne 0. 

I had to look pretty hard for another site that would be as useful.  I don't know if I quite succeeded, but I did find some great links:

First, a Wikibook on Web 2.0 and Emerging Learning Technologies  .  It qualifies as a metasite because of its many categorized links, and because it links to other sites that have great Web 2.0 tools.

In the course of this search I stumbled across additional resources too awesome not to share.  The European Union's MobiVET project makes available a .pdf document, "Web 2.0 Technologies and Their Applications in Online Training and Tutoring" (May, 2013).  This document gives a concise yet comprehensive intro to E-learning with tons of info on Web 2.0,  its history, strengths, and uses.  The report yields a bonanza of useful links for course design, free learning  management systems, resources, and yes, Web 2.0 tools.  Particularly helpful is its Section 3,  "Web 2.0 in E- and M-learning," on Web 2.0 tools,  it describes and suggests uses for an array of Web 2.0 tools, categorized by function.

Here are some more great tools sites:  Web Applications Index has an easy logo-based interface and a sidebar with tool categories to explore.  You can also follow them on Twitter or contribute to this useful site by suggesting an app.

Less comprehensive, but still useful, is the Watertown, Massachusetts' school district's list of Web 2.0 resources for faculty.

An awesome short list of Web 2.0 tools has been put together for the Watertown, MA public schools:
Web 2.0 Tools

I'm so proud I did not use the word "curate" once in this blog post.  Just can't do it, out of respect for my curator friends from my days spent at a major museum.  Making a list, however useful, is not the same as what those fine, extremely knowledgeable and well-trained folks do with the world's precious art heritage.

Motivation and Learning (Adult Learner Attribute 6)

The sixth of Malcolm Knowles's attributes of adult learners is motivation.  Adults, he says, may respond to external enticements like higher salary, but the strongest and most lasting motivations are internal.   I looked at this web page on intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation, but I started arguing with it a little, thinking, hey, I'm reading this because I'm genuinely (intrinsically) interested in motivation - reading about it for me is its own reward.  But I'm also reading this for a class so I can fulfill the requirements and get a good grade (extrinsic reward).  If my motivation is mixed, what does that mean for my learning?
Not only is intrinsic motivation more powerful, but adding external rewards to a task for which someone is already intrinsically motivated may actually decrease motivation.  I hardly know what to make of this.  Could I be harming the learning of some students by offering rewards to everyone, hoping it will motivate the daydreamers, the behind-the-purse texters, the window-gazers, the nappers, the gamers, the feckless, the clueless?

The solution, say the authors, is to make the learning environment itself more intrinsically motivating:  offer "challenge, curiosity, control, cooperation and competition, and recognition."   As it happens, point out the authors, all these are things we associate with fun.

So wait:  making learning fun makes people more motivated and thus better learners?  I am all over that puppy!

But the surprises keep coming:  the very same reward may help or hurt motivation:
"The functional significance, or salience, of the event dictates whether intrinsic motivation is facilitated or diminished. For example, an athlete may perceive receiving an external reward (e.g., money, trophy) as a positive indicator of her sport competence (informational), whereas another athlete may perceive the same reward as coercion to keep her involved in the activity (controlling). Thus, the aspect of the event that is perceived as salient will determine level of autonomy and perceived competence experienced, and ultimately affect intrinsic motivation for that activity."
(Horn, 2008)
In other words, how the individual perceives the reward may make it intrinsically motivating or extrinsically de-motivating. 

If rewards weren't thorny enough, even praise can be a two-edged sword.  You may have heard the maxim, "Praise the work, not the worker."  At one time I had resisted this idea - it seemed harsh and ungenerous.  But I finally understood it apropos of motivation when I read this:
 "There is also evidence that verbal praise (one form of reward) should be used carefully. When children are successful, it may be best to praise their effort ("You worked so hard!") rather than their ability ("You're so smart!"), because when children believe that success depends on effort, they are more likely to persist in the future if they fail. The goal of praise should be to produce feelings of competence and confidence that success is possible with good efforts."  (Breckler, Olson, & Wiggins, 2006)
 This surely applies to adults as well as children.   If you want to encourage persistence and lasting learning, create a fun environment that make learning intrinsically rewarding.  As in so many things, heavy-handed manipulation can backfire, while a light touch and sensitivity to the needs and characteristics of learners can only help.

Trigger Events and Adult Learner's Need to Know (Attribute 1 of Adult Learners)

This flow chart by Karrie Augustine and Anne Pushkal shows how a trigger event leads an adult to initiate learning or decide against taking action. (Augustine & Pushkal 2015)

Trigger + Need to Know = Desire to Learn = Action

The first attribute of adult learners is their realization that, or acceptance of,  their need to know something (Malcolm Knowles et al, 2005, cited in, for example Ota et al, Training and Needs of Adult Learners).  This is often sparked by a trigger event - something takes place that brings them to this conclusion that a gap in their knowledge needs to be addressed.  Rothwell's (Adult Learning Basics ) notion of a "trigger circumstance" (p. 27) refers to "anything that leads an individual learner to recognize the importance of learning something new."

While I can imagine a situation in which people learn without realizing they are doing it or thinking they need to - going with friends to see Dangerous Liaisons, say  finding afterwards they've gained an understanding of France during the 18th century - Rothwell is right to identify this realization as the first step of the learning process, since a large proportion of adult learning is intentional and deliberately undertaken.  Trigger circumstances can be internal or external.  An internal circumstance would be some desire: an adult realizes a lack of knowledge is keeping him or her from accomplishing something he or she wants to do, whether it's sewing on a button or becoming a lawyer.  An external circumstance would be something like mandatory workplace sexual harassment training, which an employee may not have sought on his or her own but understands he or she must complete as a condition of employment.

For example, I've been pretty happily using Techsmith's Jing for screencasts.  I love it- so functional and easy to use - but my work in an E-learning environment and my coursework in an instructional technology program made me increasingly dissatisfied with the inability to edit, add music, etc.  I realized that not being able to edit video is holding me back from the kinds of productions I envision.

I had used Camtasia in the past and forgot how.  Finding that I could have used that knowledge to good effect now has triggered me to want to learn Camtasia, Apple's Final Cut Pro, or another video editing program like iMovie, really well.  Moreover, the realization that I need to up my video editing game spurred me to begin investigating the programs that are available to me and consider long-term benefit vs. immediate benefit, costs, and feasibility of learning one or another of these video editing tools.
"Knowing you have a problem is half of the solution." 
If buy-in is important for adult learners, then some learning theories that would be especially useful would be Functionalistic theories, which stress not only giving learners a reason to learn but rewarding them for learning; Constructivist theories, which take into account learners' backgrounds and current situations in order to influence their learning, and Experiential theories, which privilege the role of the learner in constructing their own learning and focuses on giving them a reason to learn.

Trigger + Need to Know = Desire to Learn = Action

What video editing tools do you use? Are there any free tools you recommend?

Friday, April 24, 2015

British Library releases over a million images

 "Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses"
 "British Library HMNTS 012634.n."
Crewe, Manchester, 1892
The Public Domain Review reports that the British Library has released over a million images, rights-free, to its Flickr photostream.  What a spectacular resource!  Here are just a few of the riches that have been made accessible to us all:

Title: "The National and Domestic History of England ... With numerous steel plates, coloured pictures, etc"
Author: AUBREY, William Hickman Smith.
Shelfmark: "British Library HMNTS 9503.i.1."
Volume: 02
Page: 897
Place of Publishing: London
Date of Publishing: 1867
Publisher: James Hagger
Title: "The rivers of Great Britain. The Thames, from source to sea, etc. [With “Rivers of the east coast”.]"
Shelfmark: "British Library HMNTS 10348.k.18."
Page: 716
Place of Publishing: London, etc
Date of Publishing: 1891
Publisher: Cassell & Co.
From John Ledyard Denison, 1873 "An Illustrated History of the New World: containing a general history of all the various nations..." British Library HMNTS" p. 579 

Title: "Sailing Directions for the Strait of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea, comprehending the Coasts of Spain, France and Italy ..., the Coasts of Greece ... and the African Coast, from Tangier to Alexandria"
Author: PURDY, John.
Shelfmark: "British Library HMNTS 795.e.33."
Page: 136
Place of Publishing: London
Add caption
Date of Publishing: 1841

Sunday, April 19, 2015

How Adults and Children Learn (Andragogy v. Pedagogy)

Rodney Dangerfield goes Back to School (1986)

     Children, it seems, are coming full circle.  Before the fifteenth century, as Philippe Aries argued in his 1962 Centuries of Childhood,  children were thought of as small adults, less capable, perhaps;  but they dressed the same as adults, were little shielded, and began working as soon and as hard as they were able. While many of his points (such as the notion that medieval parents were detached from their young children since the children were so likely to die) have since been refuted, his central idea - that childhood is a social construct that has changed over time - is generally accepted.  Moreover, neuroscience has since provided evidence that children's brains function differently from those of adults, and that, consequently, they have different ways of learning and different learning needs (although what those ways and needs consist of is often avidly contested).  All this is taking place even as some children, at least, are imputed to have the same responsibility, autonomy, and moral capacity as adults.

     I raise these points in returning to look at assignment for the first week of the course Adult Learning, in which our class members were asked to post an image which to us embodies the differences in learning between adults and children (my semi-tongue-in-cheek contribution is above).

     There is by no means universal agreement on what the differences between adults and children as learners might be.  Malcolm Knowles, who first codified (some say popularized) the idea of specific attributes of adult learners from the 1950s on in the United States, remains influential in adult education and training circles, although he modified his ideas in the 1980s and allowed the differences might not be as strict as he once supposed.  

     One might argue that some of the differences he points out are related more to the structures of children's formal education, and to a particular kind of teaching style then prevalent, than to innate characteristics of children or adults as learners.  For example, Knowles's contention that adults choose what they will learn based on their own needs and goals, while children acceptingly learn whatever they are taught, may be true when children are enrolled in traditional schools.  But the unschooling movement has argued that children are naturally independent, self-directed learners when freed from the structures (or strictures) that characterize(d) most formal K-12 educational milieux. 

     This sets the context for "Teaching Adults:  Is is Different?" , Susan Imel's 1989 article that synthesizes several studies from the 1980s on the topic of adult learning.  While scholarship and research on adult learning have advanced since then, it is still a useful place to start.  

Imel examines some of adult learning theorist Malcolm Knowles’ assumptions, and concludes,

“Is teaching adults different? Based on the literature discussed here, the answer is both yes and no. Although teachers perceive adults as being different, these perceptions do not automatically translate into differences in approaches to teaching."

The author then turns the question on its head:

"Perhaps a better way to frame the question is to ask 'Should teaching adults be different?' "

She continues, "According to Darkenwald and Beder (1982), 'the real issue is not whether learner-centered methods are universally applied by teachers of adults, but rather for what purposes and under what conditions such methods, and others are most appropriate and effective and in fact used by teachers (p. 153).'"

     I'm not sure I agree with that assessment of what the "real" issue is.  The author never really answers the question, focusing instead on whether or not teachers teach adults differently than children in different situations, rather than whether or not they should.  The author does note, however, that “master” teachers tend to be less directive and more student-centered,  regardless of whether they teach adults or children.

      Imel maintains, “The andragogical or learner-centered approach is not appropriate in all adult education settings (Feuer and Geber 1988). The decision about which approach to use is contextual and is based upon such things as the goals of the learners, the material to be covered, and so forth..." and also notes that teachers may not have had training or the opportunity to practice learner-centered teaching.

     Imel thus focuses on whether or not teachers teach adults differently than they teach children, and ultimately sidesteps the question of whether adults and children have distinctive characteristics as learners.  At the time, the author may not have been able to gather conclusive evidence in the literature on whether adults learn differently from children.  

     In any case, what we now know about brain functioning (for example, this 2009 Stanford University study) leads us to conclude that there may well be significant differences in how children learn compared to how adults learn; but the move toward learner-centered approaches has also shown us that children can be a lot more proactive about their own learning than may have been believed in the recent past.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Are You Experienced? Prior Experience in Adult Learners (Attribute 3)

Adult learners are not a blank slate.  According to Malcolm Knowles, the godfather of Adult Learning theory, adults arrive at a learning situation with a wealth of experience from their work and personal lives and from the education (both informal and formal) they've received up to that point.

While adults sometimes have the reputation of being set in their ways and unwilling to try new things, this stereotype does not describe the majority of adult learners, especially when they are learning voluntarily.  And many adults have a lot of experience learning knew things - they have learned to learn.  Experienced learners can and often do share their valuable talents and experience with others in their learning situation, and everyone is enriched. One of the best things about teaching adults is the wealth of resources adult learners bring with them to the learning situation.

In a recent presentation on experience, I was struck by the phrase, "remembering that prior learning experiences may not have all been positive."   I've seen a lot of this in my encounters with young adults I taught in Camden, NJ.  They had often had problematic experiences with formal schooling - everything from indifferent teachers to, in one alternative school, physical abuse and restraints by the staff.  While these are extreme situations and the coping strategies the young adults had developed to survive them brought predictable difficulties when they entered training programs, even the common experience of garden-variety classroom humiliations and boredom can pose significant barriers when an adult returns to the classroom.

In the youth development organization I worked for, we chose a strategy of making the technology and academic instruction as un-school-like as possible so that we would not trigger negative responses in the youth.  Even so, people were ambivalent about instruction.  While they bridled at the authoritarian structures they had experienced in traditional schools, those same structures and top-down classrooms had made them dependent learners who were often initially lost or even angry when expected to take an active role in their own learning.  A large part of my work there was helping people "learn to learn."

But I've also seen a problematic attitude toward learning among the people from whom you would least expect: teachers.  Surely we can assume that the majority of those who choose teaching as a profession are good at classroom learning and "get" what school and learning is all about.

Yet during the mandatory continuing education seminars at a school where I taught, some of my fellow faculty were overheard to say "these things are a waste of time."  They brought their eye-rolling, arm-crossing attitude with them into the seminar, twiddling their cell phones, grading on the sly, and waiting for the presenter to prove to them that this one would be different.  Some participated in activities minimally and with obvious reluctance.  So here, the negative prior experience with teacher training became a barrier to their own learning, since they expected the worst from the new learning situation.

In this video, Charles Jennings boils down many theories about adult learning and explains the role of experience in adult learning using the 70-20-10 model. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Something Is Rotten on the Internet

Have you checked your lynx?
You click in anticipation, latte at your elbow, ready to check out that sweet snowboard or finally read that tax info that's been on your to-do list all week.  But instead, you get "404 Page Not Found."  Just like that, your morning is ruined. Your smooth-functioning cosmos is disturbed, the latte goes cold, and worst of all, the website you were intending to read is now in your bad graces.  It's called link rot, and the Internet is riddled with it.

This week my Adult Learning class was asked to post links to metasites that list useful Web 2.0 tools.  (A metasite is a site that directs users to other sites.)  One of the criteria was that the metasites not be more than two years old.  Our instructor specified this partly because, at the hyperspace pace of the web, tools seem to come and go at warp speed.  But also, it's rare that even well-maintained sites can keep all their links current.  The longer the site is up, the greater the chance it will experience "link rot," or the presence of links that return a 404 error or otherwise no longer reach their intended target.

How serious is the problem? National Public Radio's Stopping Link Rot notes that "half of the links were dead already in Supreme Court opinions." They report that for the Harvard Law Review, 70 percent of the links were dead. The content the links go to can also be changed, which might mislead users who click on the links.  This could have serious consequences not only for law, but for fields like medicine.

The situation is equally grave in the sciences:  According to the website Journalists' Resource, one study showed the average lifespan of a hyperlink in scientific articles was 9. 3 years, yet only 63 percent of the articles had been archived.  

How do you combat this insidious rot that turns away users and lessons the value of your page?  "The Growing Problem of Internet "Link Rot" and Best Practices for Online and Media Publishers"  gives extensive guidelines for preventing link rot.  On their own site, which has over 10,000 links, Journalists' Resource says 10 or more links a week break.  Links for academic articles fare no better. 

A casual blogger is not likely to run a plug-in, WordPress extension or other bad-link-detecting aid, but we can still adopt some of the best practices that Journalists' Resource recommends:
  1.  Add only essential links.  The fewer links you have, the less likely they are to break.
  2. Keep links clearly visible, linking text of two to five words and distinguishing them by color and style.  Avoid linking longer and one-word texts.
  3. Make sure the text you are linking clearly indicates what the user will find if she clicks.  Don't use URLs, or words like "this link," "click here" and so on.  Don't "stack" links, placing them one after another in a sentence with no break in between.   Consider using hover text that appears when readers mouse over, but do it consistently if you opt for this method.
  4. Whenever possible, link to stable URLs and link to reliable sites that are not likely to change.  Established databases at universities and government agencies, academic papers with DOI (digital object identifier) numbers, (a service that archives content and assures link stability) WebCite (an on-demand archiving service) and permalinks rather than shortlinks are good choices.
  5. Journalists' Resource recommends whenever possible linking to web pages rather than pdfs.
  6. Try to look for a "clean" URL that is stable with no extra characters.  URLS with ?, % and other symbols can be problematic, and the longer the URL the greater the chance it will go bad.
  7. Avoid link shorteners (, tinyurl) unless you are tweeting.
  8. Don't link through paywalls or in ways that could violate copyright.
  9. Check your links after you post and again from time to time.  If you publish on the web a lot, use plug-ins, extensions, or other tools that check links automatically.
  10. Prevent your website from contributing to link rot by using URLs with safe characters, creating landing pages for .pdfs that you post, and set up redirect pages when you change the organization of your site.
    (See more tips and details at Journalists' Resource's best practices article.)

Taking the health of your links seriously is one of the steps toward taking your own content seriously.  Be considerate of people who visit your site, and protect your reputation, by ensuring the content you link to will be available for users who may depend on it.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Tips for Online Students Working on Group Projects | Drexel Online

Since Adult Learning is my first all-online asynchronous class, I thought I'd post some tips provided courtesy of Drexel University in Philadelphia.  Apart from the obvious ones, like identifying what project activities you need to do and setting deadlines for them, or dividing up the work according to the group members' strengths, there are some not-so-obvious ones - like "choose group members with similar schedules or time zones."  I think the tips about scheduling and how to save time are particularly germane to the challenges faced by adult learners.
I've provided the link to the infographic below for your edification:

Tips for Online Students Working on Group Projects | Drexel Online

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Roots of the term Andragogy in the U.S.

(images from
Researching the history of the concept of andragogy, or principles of adult education, for an assignment for a course in Adult Education I'm taking in the MAIT program at Richard Stockton College of NJ,  I came across the German website, which published images of what may be the first use of the term, in 1833 by the German teacher Alexander Kapp, whose book Platon’s Erziehungslehre (Plato’s Educational Ideas) I have reproduced above.  

I wanted to try to trace the use of the term in English and go into a little more detail than our assignment requires here in this blog.  Remarkably, "andragogy" does not appear in the Oxford English Dictionary, although it has been in use in print in English at least since 1968 and became more widely known in 1970 with the publication of Knowles's The Modern Practice of Adult Education: Andragogy vs. Pedagogy (New York: Association Press).

Digging a bit further, the earliest work I was able to find by Knowles is his 1950 Informal Adult Education; A Guide for Administrators, Leaders, and Teachers (Association Press), which is available online.  An electronic search of the text shows that Knowles appears not to have used the term in his 1950 publication.  However, according to Jost Reichmann, creator of the website, Knowles himself recounts how he met Yugoslavian educator Dusan Savicevic at a conference in 1967.  Savicevic introduced Knowles to the term, and according to Reichmann, Knowles first published the term in his 1968 article, "Andragogy vs. Pedagogy."  We can learn more about the development of Knowles's thought in his 1989 autobiography, The Making of an Adult Educator:  An Autobiographical Journey (Jossey-Bass).

In any case, according to Reichmann, the term first appeared in German in 1833, reappeared in Germany in the 1920s, and then again in the 1950s in Switzerland, Yugoslavia, the Netherlands, and Germany before Knowles spread its use in the English-speaking world.