Petedouglas’s Weblog

November 9, 2008

Constructing Course to Enhance Learning

Filed under: Constructing Course — by petedouglas @ 9:36 pm

Constructing Courses to Enhance Learning

 

Well it is nearing the start of November and I have finally managed to get things sorted with this course having some restrictions on what can be viewed etc, so I am quite behind the eight ball with being on track. I have decided to construct my course on Fire wardens.

As earlier in my blog in my design course, and with the assisstance from Bronwyn, leigh, Terry and Heather I have used this plan as my constructed course as I have combined the “designing and constructing” in together.

 

Unfortunately some of my literature does get a little repetitive but I am hoping to cover all points necessary and they seem to tie in, in multiple places.

 

My evaluation of this course reverts right back to when i first decided to plan it in my DFLP course.  If i go back  and have a look at the whole process from where I started my plan to where I am completing this plan and it actually coming to fruitition and being taught to my students I can then truly Evaluate it.

Starting from the Students, to the Stakeholders, to the students learning styles, to the aims and outcomes, implementation plan, or the resources used. All these things have to be evaluated in a course.

Formative (which is conducted during the teaching instructions of the course to improve  it in any way)

Summative ( which is  conducted at the end of teaching instructions to determine how well the processing of the information  was taught and retained)

Evaluation is necessary for facilitators to keep the quality of the course and material at it highest standards and to keep improving it if needed.  All facilitators should evaluate the course and make sure it fits the stakeholders goal.  They should also evaluate the level of the course and the students who are taking the course, and if they are learning from the course, and asking what will the students take away from this course and will they retain it, to use in their own circumstances, whether it be at home, work, play,or school.

To get this evaluation you can get it from:

Teaching/Facilitator staff or collegues

In the Classroom/observation

Students completing assessments/quizzes/tests

By Moderation from internal and external stakeholders 

By self evaluation /by reflection

 

I have been trying very hard to put my thoughts on the learning styles of my students, that I am constructing my course for when it comes to the enhance and design of the course, which is why I created a matrix (located prior to “Course” to assist with the development of the course to combine the learner profile through to the outcome (what will they become) stage.

 

To gauge who my learners are I processed through the following question and found the following answer:

Students who have basic Fire Warden skills

Existing Fire Wardens

Students who are sent by thier employers to become a Fire Warden

Building owners/ occupiers who have purchased a business and dont know relevant legislation or Fire Warden roles and responsibilities.

Learner Context:

The time frame for this course will be approx 20 hour course and will run in 1 and 1/2hr sessions, pending on the student and the learning style and allow for learning disabilities.

This course could also be a blended course which will use both books, and will be taught via Services training Centre, on line for staff development/staff learners using blackboard (firewall pending).

The course will be made up in A4 booklet, with a Table of Contents, giving page reference to each learning outcome.  In the booklet will be written as well as visual intructions on how to. There would also be handouts for students to take home.

I would also like to have the course on CD for visual learners who have trouble interpreting instructions written on paper.  I will most likely use “Camstudio”  (with audio ) for this. If it was to be put on Blackboard I would like to use slideshow and put it on utube (once again firewall pending).

For the Group students who wish to be taught in the the training room  I would use a data projector, and give students hand outs and have excercises already on the computers.

The Stakeholders are;

NZF Service, Building owners/occupiers, business owners, people wanting to learn to be a Fire warden, members of the public.

 

On reflection to the outcomes that I put in my course I have taken into account

Being Specific:  I need to spell out exactly what students will be able to do after taking part in this course.

Measurable:  I need to have students learning to reflect and action their learning after their training, and be able use in their own situations.

Achievable:  I need to have the learning outcomes to be practical and realistic within the timespan and scope of the training course, and also the context to be at the correct level for the students compentency.

Timeline:   I need to specify which intended outcomes will be achievable, during the timespan of course, and which will need to be done in their own time.

 

I believe that there are many styles of learning and below are some examples.

Behavourism

Demonstrator model

Action Learning

Cognitive Learning.

As my course has a computer base in some of the phase training, I looked at Kolb Learning Styles and what training techniques are used best for optimal learning in computer related training.  Many training situations are designed for structure, task oriented procedures and this is how behavour modelling methodolgy is working best. This technique can show new ways to provide students with conceptional and proceedual information, with less fustrating and higher satisfaction. 

Abstract, Using multimedia with easy flowing techniques and topics and interactivity, with pictorial and sound utilization, with the help of using text and sound and video as well as graphics can be a great learning instruction.  Using also vocal and visual explanations with multimedia can be used in independent learning, and also collaborative learning. Convergers think about things and then try out their ideas to see if they work in practice. They like to ask ‘how’ about a situation, understanding how things work in practice. They like facts and will seek to make things efficient by making small and careful changes. They prefer to work by themselves, thinking carefully and acting independently. They learn through interaction and computer-based learning is more effective with them than other methods. This is mostly how my students will learn, dependant on the firewall restrictions for this phase of the course.

 

I have been having a look on the web for references to read for this course and i have found this site real valuable so i have saved it to my reference list.

http://members.shaw.ca/mdde615/index.htm

here are a few interesting ideas that i have read and found useful.

Key elements in communication

Many teachers new to online instruction believe that the opportunity to communicate with their students and the ability for students to engage in dialogue amongst themselves is reduced in the online environment. However, the reverse can actually be true. The opportunity for communication is greater than in the classroom because physical and temporal limitations vanish in the online classroom. Studies have shown that participation actually increases in well designed online settings. Shy students can be encouraged to participate in online discussions whereas they might never contribute in a classroom setting

 

Tips and strategies Be clear and upfront about your expectations, while still being flexible enough to meet the needs of your students. Remember many adults are taking distance courses so that they can juggle family, work and educational pursuits. Humanize your content by focusing on your learners not on the mode of delivery. While online courses rely on computers and various technologies for many aspects of communication and delivery, the technology should always support your learning goals and your students.

 

This next article i read was very interesting and believe after having so many nervous moments during this course it will help with my students in the future.

 

Encourage and insist upon participation by all students. Using a threaded discussion board is one means by which reluctant or shy students might feel comfortable contributing to online discussions. Start early with some sort of “ice-breaking”/getting used to the technology activity. This might, for example, take the form of brief biographical information posted to an introductory online conference or the design of individual web pages for posting to the course site. Make sure every student succeeds in this initial activity (you may need to email individual students to provide encouragement and assistance).

 

I was lucky to have the encouragement from the polytechnic staff when I felt the grasp of the course slipping away.

 

I want to reflect on who my learners are, and how they are going to learn, and what kind of learners are they. There are many theories of learning, and so i have decided to read up on a few, and here is how I have perceived some of these readings. 

People learn from many varieties, and i feel that it comes down to the way the course is designed and contructed, and how you teach in educational programs, and to recognise that every person has a different way of digesting information and learn in different ways. such as thinking, emotions, attitudes, motivation.

www.brookes.ac.uk/services/ocsd/2_learntch/theories.html

Above is a link to a website to go to, to give you some ideas on where i got my referencing from.

Burns mentions that behavioural learning as a relevant permanent change including both observational activity and internal processes, such as thinking, and attitudes examples being.

Experimental learning

Cognitive approach

Action learning

plus many more.

Expermential learning is thought by Kolb that there are four stages of learning and that this learning can begin at any one stage and that it is continuous (there is no limit to the number of cycles you can make in a learning situation.)  People learn in four ways they are:

concrete experience

through observation

through abstract conceptuation

through active experimentation

Kolb who has been exploring over the last few decades educational research and found that indivuals begin with their own style of experimental learning cycle.

Honey and Mumford http://www.ruby3.dircon.co.uk/Training%20Files/Theory%20Pages/learning%20styles.htm also identify four learning styles:

They are:

Activist (enjoys the experience)

Reflector (reflects a great deal)

Theorist (connects and abstract ideas from experience)

Pragmatist (enjoys the planning stage)

Action Learning is another approach which can be linked with the world of action through a reflective process of learning groups or Action Learning Groups (McGill & Beaty 1995) http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=author:%22McGill%22+intitle:%22Action+Learning:+a+guide+for+professional,+management+%26+…%22+&hl=en&rlz=1T4ADBF_enNZ226NZ227&um=1&oi=scholarr is the aim from learning with and from each other, and said that there can be no learning without action and no action without learning. I believe that there are many styles of learning and below are some examples.

Behavourism

Demonstrator model

Action Learning

Cognitive Learning.

 

Whilst working for the Service I have been given the golden opportunity to enhance a new skill, that being as a public educator and recruit trainer,  and until completing my level 5 cert in Adult Teaching and working through my G.C.T.L.T have I not really pondered my teaching philosophy until now.

I felt I knew what my style and philosophy was until I started to research different sites did I realise that I am quite a jigsaw when it comes to teaching and have learnt more about myself and my phiolosophys. While continuing with my readings I came across Malcolm Knowles (1978, 1990)

 this i found great to read, as he is the one who brought the concept of adult education to us today. He taught that adult learning was special in a number of ways. for example:

Adult learners bring a lot of experience to their learning environment in which educators can use as a resource.

Adult expect to have a high degree of infuence on what they are to be educated for

Adults need to be able to see applications for new learning

Adult learners expect to have a high degree of infuence on how learning will be evaluated.

Adults expect their responses to be acted upon when asked for feedback on a course

Burns (1995) is quoted as saying

“By adulthood people are self-directing. This is the concept that lies at the heart of andragogy, this is therefore student-centred, experienced based, problem soving and collabrorative very much in the spitit of the humanist approach to learning and education, the whole educational activity turns on the student.”

So with all these thoughts I found more questions about myself than answers whaich was positive so I could learn more about what was really my philosophys and what I was percieving them to be.

 

Many training situations are designed for structure, task oriented proceedures and this is how behavour modelling methodolgy is working best. This technique can show new ways to provide students with conceptional and proceedual information, with less fustrating and higher satisfaction. 

Abstract, Using multimedia with easy flowing techniques and topics and interactivity, with pictorial and sound utilization, with the help of using text and sound and video as well as graphics can be a great learning instruction.  Using also vocal and visual explanations with multimedia can be used in independent learning, and also collaborative learning. Convergers think about things and then try out their ideas to see if they work in practice. They like to ask  how’ about a situation, understanding how things work in practice. They like facts and will seek to make things efficient by making small and careful changes. They prefer to work by themselves, thinking carefully and acting independently. They learn through interaction and computer-based learning is more effective with them than other methods. This is how some of my students will learn in the theory topics before putting into practice the practical topics.

With all these considerations I have taken on board and self evaluated,  my “Teaching Philosophy” lies in the “Kolbs diagram”which is a reference refered to by the fire service in teaching sectors and relates to the way we teach and values all the learning styles.

An example of my teaching is that given certain pieces of fire service equipment, the students must utilise the equipment and amoungst themselves achieve a task, focusing on all students ideas, encouraging everyones participation and full communication. If the task is not completed, I step in and offer advice on the topic to “broaden” the scope of their thinking and allow them to advance whilst they take on board what has been taught, leading to a concrete experience from the beginning of the reflective through Kolbs learning style diagram.

Admittedly, I do have other teaching philosophy in my teaching, but because of the vast style of learning I am teaching, Kolbs learning is a preffered reference.

 

A diagram of Kolb’s cycle of experiential learning

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer-assisted_language_learning is a link that I have found to be of interest to me in the fact that offers tools not just “A method” for learning and offers the opportunity of flexibility to use internet or standalone in the learning field. This idea of a tool runs in alignment with my course that I have constructed as due to intranet restrictions in place disadvantages are being removed for those with limited inter/tra net access.

 

Overall positive feedback was recieved from my superiors regarding my plan to constuct a new wardens course. The outcomes/ feedback were:

A very well presented discussion point to advance current course.Positive aspect with offering external qualifications – unfortunately the service cannot award unit standards to ouside people not employed by them.

Distant learning giving flexibility to students was well recieved but the reality to upgrade the I.P provider to offer online without interupting protocols was quite limited so the course going from paper to lecture room was a fair way off.

The options were well recieved and with time I believe that distant learning to members of the public are a possibility, but as the training decisions are made from a higher authority, it is only my ideas that can go forward, but to know the possibility of utlising this course plan is quite an incentive and rewarding.

 


 

 

 

 

Learner Profile

Who are my students?

 

Who will support them

 Public Ed Dept

 

Learning content

 

Who is the Learner

Students wanting to be a fire warden

 

What do they come with?

What scheme is in place & basic Fire Safety

 

Who will they become

Competent Floor Wardens with sound basic Fire Safety & Science knowledge

 

How will I design my course

Use of visual technology, instructional

 

What are the issues/considerations

The design phase

 

The Development Phase

 

The Implementation Phase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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