What is the Best Course, What is the Best School, What is the Best Education?
WHAT STYLE OF STUDY WORKS BEST?
This is an important question that can and should be asked when planning and delivering a course. There are several key approaches and most of them can be applied in different ways.
Information Based Learning – A traditional approach where the core focus is on acquiring information.
Competency Based Training – Focus is on competencies (i.e. the ability to do something tangible). The emphasis is placed on the student demonstrating how they have achieved the competency in the workplace or in the real world. Sometimes assessing a competency becomes more important than learning it. Usually however the competencies need to be backed up with demonstrable knowledge as well as practical skills.
Student or Teacher-Driven Learning –Traditional education involves a teacher determining and controlling what is studied (within a curriculum framework) and how it is studied. Student driven learning allows the student to determine these things.
Problem Based Learning - i.e. the student is set a problem then through research the student comes up with a range of solutions. The student works independently or within a group learning situation, under the guidance of the teacher. This is the basis of Problem Based Learning.
All of these methods have their value, and different approaches are suitable for different contexts and subject matter. However, Problem Based Learning has been demonstrated to be highly effective not only in allowing students to develop specific skills, but also to adapt these skills to the unique and ever-varying situations found in the ‘real world’.
ADAPTING TEACHING-LEARNING MODELS TO DISTANCE LEARNING
Some models based on the above styles of study are outlined below. Teaching practice is generally defined into 5 main models. There are no definite boundaries between each of the models. No one model is regarded as superior to another. A thorough knowledge of all models leads to greater teacher flexibility and efficiency. Notice that these can be readily adapted to distance education.
This approach is teacher-centred, whereby the teacher narrates and explains, and practice and revision is used to consolidate the learning. It is based on the traditional approach. It is not inflexible, but the narration, explanation, revision and practice are considered basic to effective teaching. Content focuses on traditional subjects, with a strong emphasis on the basic skills.
Techniques such as the use of videos, telephone and video conferencing etc. enable this approach to be used for distance education.
This model is based on well-structured steps of learning and the use of reinforcement. This has been used in formal full-class teaching or face-to-face instruction. This approach is still teacher-directed. With modern technology and on line training techniques (like video conferencing), it is now possible to apply this model to distance education.
Cognitive Development Model
Here, the teacher creates a supportive atmosphere, selects tasks according to the student’s developmental level, and elicits the student's reasoning in relation to the tasks. This approach requires planning of steps, but emphasis is on student's reasoning. A number of cognitive approaches are examined within the context of this model. The pupil learns in a resource-rich situation by using reasoning to solve problems. Distance education allows each student to be treated as an individual, giving each student a selection of optional assignments from which to select, according to the level at which the student is capable.
This model emphasises learning based on the student's interaction with other people and with society, i.e. personal interaction. This model works mostly on group situations. The focus is on social interaction. Content focuses on social-moral-cultural problems which produces self-aware people. A distance education student can interact with tutors or other students via the internet (email, video conferencing etc), fax, phone or mail. It is now more than ever, possible for schools that wish to develop the service, to provide even greater and more immediate interaction between the student and others, than ever before.
This is a pupil-centred model involving a range of teacher structuring with which the self-directed student interacts. It is assumed that change (learning) results from those interactions. The teacher functions more as a guide. Focus is the action (transaction) of the learner. This model is derived from progressive education and open learning. Distance education can work extremely well for this system.
COURSES IN EDUCATION
If you are interested in learning more about education, consider the following courses.
Click on any of these for more details
Our principal and staff have written dozens of reference books as supplementary texts to complement studies in our school
These books are mostly available as ebook, through our online bookstore. They include the following titles. You can click on any of these titles to go to the bookstore and see more details, on that title (including a free download of some of the pages).
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