Enhancing Teaching in Higher Education: New Approaches to Improving Student Learning


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INTRODUCTION
Assessing the Impact of New Approaches to Teaching and Learning by Dr. Denise Stockley

The LCL can also be used as a diagnostic tool to examine existing programmes and determine whether they cover the main elements of the learning process. The LCL is not intended to be used mechanistically but rather as a diagnostic aide-memoire that may also be added to and developed according to the considerations of the programme and the needs of the learner. Introducing the LCL Theories of learning, education, training and development are frequently developed in isolation from one another. As a result, even educational specialists find it difficult to construct a coherent and integrated overview of their subject.

And the vast majority of people involved with individual and work-based learning only appear to use a restricted number of theories Brant, Many have neither the breadth of knowledge to select from a wider range of possibilities and options, nor do they possess a meta-model with which to contextualise and make sense of other theories with which they come into contact. The LCL provides such a meta-model. It is underpinned by models of experiential learning and theories of perception and information-processing for a full explanation, see Beard and Wilson, —this chapter concentrates on the applications and implications.

The LCL brings together for the first time, to our knowledge all the main ingredients of the learning equation Figure 1. We need to identify all the core components to help practitioners in Higher Education diagnose and design activities that create high-quality learning experiences for students. For example, Light and Cox note that: The design of this relationship between lecture structures and activities provides the key location for creativity and innovation in lecturing.

As lecturers we need to experiment and sometimes take risks in our own learning journeys. The LCL can support the creative exploration of activity design, although we cannot ignore the institutional difficulties of generating effective approaches: The cultural environment of higher education does little to foster active learning to strengthen critical thinking and creativity skills in its students….

Snyder, We are not presenting fixed choices in the LCL but offering many more possibilities to experiment with and reflect upon. Starting on the left, the learning environment tumbler identifies various components found in the physical external environment that may be used as part of the learning process. Adjacent is the tumbler that examines the core components of learning activities. The third tumbler represents the senses as the mediator that connects the external environment with the internal cognitive environment. Our senses alert us to the presence of the stimuli that begin the process of perceiving and interpreting.

The emotions tumbler presents some of the vast range of emotional responses we can make and is a very powerful aspect of the learning equation. In designing a learning programme we may wish to instil certain emotions to enhance the learning situation as well as manage and recognise the emotional agenda of the broader student experience.

The fifth tumbler explores various forms of intelligence whose development may be the objective of the learning process. The final tumbler represents various theories of learning.

There is still so much that we do not know about learning, so it is important to be aware of the various learning theories and also our own underlying theories of how learning may best be facilitated. By making these explicit we may better understand our own thinking and the behaviour and motives of learners. The tumblers explained Tumbler 1: the learning environment The external learning environment provides opportunities to encourage learning. For example, outdoor environments increasingly provide very real opportunities for the individual to learn in a deep way about themselves and their interactions with others.

The design and use of the indoor student learning environment is beginning to metamorphose.

Whereas in the past it was strongly associated with the lecture theatre and textbooks, nowadays it includes: distance education sites; common areas such as halls; social group work space with sofas; outdoor green spaces; amphitheatres; video clips; and virtual discussion groups. An illustration of the transition in thinking is the definition of the learning environment by Indiana University, and their support for active learning: A physical, intellectual, psychological environment which facilitates learning through connectivity and community.

Second, the classroom furnishings can either enhance or hinder active student learning.

1st Edition

Thus, tables and moveable chairs enhance while fixed-row seating hinders active learning. Finally technologies which require student initiative, such as interactive video-discs, promote active learning. Informal learning environments are increasingly being recognised and used for more formal learning.

There is growing evidence elsewhere too that new learning spaces are evolving: [Arizona State University has a] special Kaleidoscope room [which] holds students; however, the faculty is never more than five rows away from any student. The instructor relates to a few groups of students rather than a mass of students…the atmosphere is one of work, action, involvement…. Stanford University has designed highly flexible technology-rich class-lab learning environments using bean bags for much the same purpose as tables….

We recommend that the entire planning process for design and renovation of classrooms includes faculty and staff with expertise in learning methodologies.

Enhancing Teaching in Higher Education: New Approaches to Improving Student Learning

Furthermore, the replacement of old learning spaces with new facilities is expensive and is a long-term investment. So perhaps we do need to explore more innovative use of existing space until such time that the design of learning space sits more at ease alongside pedagogical requirements. Floor space and wall space can be used for creative, more active engagement of learners see case study 3 below.

As pedagogy interacts with the operational facilities and media technology, the learning environment will undergo rapid change.

Visualization, technology tools, and active learning

This will change the future layout of walls and learning space and enable active movement of people and information. This is important, for we believe that good learning environments will increasingly provide areas that maximise the flexibility and mobility of information, people and space, enabling the physical viewing of information and concepts from different perspectives. Tumbler 2: the learning activities This second tumbler explores principles of designing learning activities.

Creating a real sense of engagement in an active learning journey, to bridge the gap between where a student starts and the desired learning outcomes, over periods of time such as a semester or a year or the duration of a degree, can be a transformative experience for students. Journeying, with its sense of setting off, building, constructing, changing and arriving, includes all the important conceptual ingredients to generate powerful experiential learning.

Account Options

Snyder also refers to a number of studies comparing active learning with those using passive learning, showing that active learning methods generally result in greater retention of material at the end of a class, superior problem solving skills, more positive attitudes and higher motivation for future learning. Active learning can offer a greater depth of information-processing, greater comprehension and better retention, in contrast with the passive learning techniques that characterise the typical classroom, in which lecturer wisdom is offered for students to dutifully record notes.

Active learning involves students doing something and taking a participatory role in thinking and learning. The milieu of activities can include elements such as: kinaesthetic activity; mental challenges; experiencing a learning journey; overcoming obstacles; following or changing rules; and altering reality see Beard and Wilson for a full explanation of altering reality.

Although much more research is needed into learning activities used in Higher Education, a basic typology of activity might for example include: 1 Creating a sense of a learning journey for students, with a clear vision of the bigger picture, with a clear destination, and route maps to guide the way. WILSON 6 Creating and managing the learning community through a mixture of collaborative, competitive or co-operative strategies. Tumbler 3: the senses The third tumbler considers the role of the senses.

Auditory dominant students might like audio tapes, talks, rhythms and sounds while kinaesthetically dominant students like physical activity, which might include physical challenge or active drama and role-play.

Teaching with Technology: Tools and Strategies to Improve Student Learning

With large groups of students, sample products can be passed around the lecture theatre to enable students to feel, see, move, explore and try out. Environmental awareness in product-design students is heightened when I wind up a clockwork radio and allow music to play quietly in the background at the same time as discussing principles of sustainable product design and distributing items, e. Enhancing and awakening the senses and linking them to the learning activities can create more powerful learning.

Sensory stimulation alters moods and emotions and can increase learning. The more senses we stimulate in an activity the more memorable the learning experience will become because it increases and reinforces the neural connections in our brains.


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The greater the involvement of the participants in the learning activity the deeper will be their learning and therefore the greater the effect on future thought and behaviour. This is highlighted, for example, in the work of Thayer on the role of everyday moods. On this course we identified the many narrow sub-skills such as influencing, persuasion, listening, tactics, entry, developing rapport, closing and so on.

The latter part of the course then used broad skills practice: but with varying levels of reality or simulation as follows: From: low content reality Exercise A: redecorating the office This is a paper exercise from a standard package on negotiating. It concerns a contract price to decorate an office suite. People are asked to identify opening gambits and write their answers on paper. Exercise B: driving a bargain This is a written exercise about cars—people are told that this is a warm-up for a real car exercise when people can pit their wits against real negotiators.

Exercise C: buying a new car Real cars and log books are used. Cars can be inspected and faults found, both inside and outside, as they are located in the car park. The participants negotiate with trained negotiators who are located in an office where the deals will take place.

Final agreements are written in sealed envelopes so that the winners can be decided later. To: high content reality Exercise D: negotiating access to UK land on behalf of the public Real negotiators are again present. Real job information is provided, e. For participants, the incentive is to try to do a good job in front of their peers; put all the skills and knowledge acquired on the course into practice; and meet their own pre-set prices and subsidy targets decided in their negotiating plans.

Enhancing Teaching in Higher Education: New Approaches to Improving Student Learning

They argue their case with real negotiators and are debriefed afterwards. Videos are replayed with self and peer assessment. Here, the teaching of the classification of animals uses a bag of assorted nuts, bolts and screws for students to create a classification system or an identification key… Students are divided into teams and receive a bag of various nails, staples, screws, nuts and bolts, etc.

They are told they are renowned taxonomists, and that they have to develop a classification scheme that meets the established rules of the Linnaean system. They also have to be prepared to defend their classification scheme orally. The students have to make a phylogenetic chart of their classification scheme using the poster paper, tape and objects, including all of the categories from phylum to species. They are asked to consider a range of probing questions, such as the rationale that was used for each category and the criteria they used to differentiate among categories?

Enhancing Teaching in Higher Education: New Approaches to Improving Student Learning Enhancing Teaching in Higher Education: New Approaches to Improving Student Learning
Enhancing Teaching in Higher Education: New Approaches to Improving Student Learning Enhancing Teaching in Higher Education: New Approaches to Improving Student Learning
Enhancing Teaching in Higher Education: New Approaches to Improving Student Learning Enhancing Teaching in Higher Education: New Approaches to Improving Student Learning
Enhancing Teaching in Higher Education: New Approaches to Improving Student Learning Enhancing Teaching in Higher Education: New Approaches to Improving Student Learning
Enhancing Teaching in Higher Education: New Approaches to Improving Student Learning Enhancing Teaching in Higher Education: New Approaches to Improving Student Learning
Enhancing Teaching in Higher Education: New Approaches to Improving Student Learning Enhancing Teaching in Higher Education: New Approaches to Improving Student Learning

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