Learning Styles

As I was assigned this topic for the discussion forum, I explored it to discover that multiple researches have been done in this field both favoring and opposing the presence of learning styles. While some researchers say that all of us have our own style of learning, others go on to refute the absence of any evidence to support the of learning styles. Though there are said to be seven styles of learning viz. Visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social and solitary and most of us have preferences with regards to our learning style, it is not necessary that we remain confined to any one of these always. we keep on switching between different styles of learning owing to the nature of the discipline.   In fact we all are blessed with multiple intelligences and we tend to use a mix of them.

The teacher can also very amply use these multiple intelligences of the learners while teaching them concepts of various kinds. Critical self reflection has also been stated to play a vital role in learning  concepts of various natures as is indicated in this popular TED Talk by Tesia Marshik  TED Talk   This podcast of Richard Helder shared by my fellow participant Marwa also very beautifully highlights the importance of maintaining balance between inculcation of various skills among the learners and thus the use of  various teaching strategies by the teacher according to the need of the teaching matter.

INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES

Through this useful course on Instructional Strategies, my seventh one in PIDP, I hope to learn valuable instructional strategies through valuable instructional material provided by our esteemed instructor and fellow participants. Though my battle against my extremely busy schedules is still proving a stumbling block, but I do yearn to overcome it to learn and benefit from the course in as best manner as possible. Good luck to me!

The Academic Journey Continues…….

 

It is very rightly said that we are learners throughout our lives. And for educators, this journey is a never ending one as everyday you explore new changes taking place in the world around you which have a deep bearing on the ways your students perceive things and the ways in which you have to impart learning in a meaningful and effective manner acceptable to your learners.

While working as a Teacher educator in India, I encountered a diverse range of learners with their own learning styles, abilities, constraints, and preferences. I endeavored to make learning as pleasant an experience for them as possible but always felt if there could be even better strategies to cater to everybody’s needs. I am sure that every educator tries his/her best possible strategies to make learning an enjoyable experience for his learners. As we know that success of good teaching lies only in the extent to which the learners grasp the teaching concept. My own academic journey has been a continuous one as while pursuing my career in teaching I was simultaneously pursuing my Doctorate research along with other continuous professional development programs. Now, I have enrolled in Provincial Instructor Diploma of Vancouver Community College (VCC) in an endeavor to learn the latest trends and technologies in adult education so that I may prepare myself fully for a career in this field here in Canada. And my academic journey has borne me fruit as well as I am already thrilled by the vast range of insights gained through the theories of adult learning appropriate to various fields of education, the various techniques of media enhanced learning , the evaluation techniques and the ways of imparting instruction learnt through this course. I do look forward to understand and imbibe new advancements in education as I get through the program.

 

Insights on Role of the Adult Educator

When we talk about a teacher, which image comes to our mind? Is it that of an autocrat molding the behavior of the learners as per his wishes, or an emphatic trainer who molds his teaching-learning material as per the needs of his learners. Certainly all educationists would agree with the later one. As we know that teaching and learning are the two sides of the same coin, thus only that teaching is meaningful which succeeds in bringing the desired learning among the learners. A teacher is like a salesman whose goods have value only if the buyers viz. the students are ready to buy them. This statement doesn’t in any way intend to negate the holy significance of the teacher, but is only a reference to realize the significance of the learner in the teaching-learning process from the viewpoint of the educator. We all know that the society is constantly in a state of change with the incorporation of advanced techniques of knowledge sharing and rapid developments taking place in the global economy. Teaching learning process is a system in which the teacher tries to shape the behavior of the learner in tune with the changing needs of society and education.

Undoubtedly learning aims to bring a desired change in the behavior but the ways of achieving that aim have undergone a complete metamorphosis. Modern theories of teaching learning recognize that learner is the pivot of the teaching learning process. So the teaching-learning activities should be framed keeping into consideration the needs of the learners. As a teacher I feel that we should always be receptive to new knowledge and skills in this fast changing globalized world. Today’s teacher is more of a facilitator, collaborator, communicator who is adaptive to the needs of the students. A teacher should always be ready for his continuous professional development to learn how to incorporate the existing technologies in the teaching learning process.

As a facilitator the adult educator helps the learners in achieving their desired learning objectives by giving them flexible learning options including face-to-face and online as suitable to their learning styles while providing guidance whenever they require it. Instead of standing in front of the class and dispensing information, the educator plays the role of a collaborator by working in unison with the adult learners and paying due respect to their valuable experiences and ideas and learning from them as well. He is an arranger of group activities like discussions, role plays, simulations in which the learners are encouraged to contribute actively so that they may become active creators of new experiences. In another role, he is a communicator who makes effective communicative link between the learning resources and the learners. Above all, he himself is a life long learner who keeps on upgrading his skills and knowledge through professional development programs to keep pace with the changing trends and increasing information in his field of professional practice. At the same time he also encourages his learners to continuously work for their professional development.

New Trends in Higher Education

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In contemporary globalized society, the methods of delivery of instruction to learners across all age groups and learning abilities have undergone a complete metamorphosis since the origin of schooling system. Starting from the traditional modes of instruction such as printed matter, concrete objects, specimens, graphs, maps, visual aids to the advent of electronic modes of communication such as radio, television, slide projector, overhead projector, videos, and then moving to the computers, finally came the internet with a large knowledge reservoir and numerous tools of social communication soon to be supplemented by the arrival of mobile apps which are numerous in number so much so that the modern mobile actually performs all the functions of computers. In addition to developments in information technology, the discipline of education has also evolved a long way with the introduction of software approach which takes into consideration the theories of learning, motivation and reinforcement to visualize educational process operating at the behavioral level whereby emphasis started to be placed on using methods which cater to different learning styles, abilities and constraints of diverse range of learners. Today, education is a viewed as a system in which the human as well non-human resources are working together for the achievement of the goals of education, and in the absence or malfunctioning of any of these resources, the desired goals of education cannot be achieved.

There are other emerging global trends in higher education. With the movement of people to from one part of the globe to another corner of the world for better employment, safety or progression reasons, along with the desire of adults to re-pursue their academic goals, continuing education sector has seen boom. Also in the fast-changing global economy, companies focus upon the continuous professional development of their employees. In such scenario, there is an increasing demand for flexible learning options through which adult learners can pursue their knowledge up-gradation needs along with their multiple social and personal responsibilities. These developments have eventually had a lot of bearing on ways of formulation of educational objectives, imparting of instruction and methods of assessment. The penetration of internet social media tools such as Facebook, twitter, Skype, Instagram, Whats-app, email communication and web based technologies such as search engines (holding a multitude of databases) have changed the ways in which our learners interact with society nowadays. Consequently, realizing their potential, present day educational system incorporates these tools of technology in imparting instruction to learners of all age groups living across all corners of the world. A large number of institutes of secondary and higher education have adopted these technologies to impart instructions to the learners in a flexible and quick manner. Facebook, twitter and email communication are increasingly used by educators to share academic information in the form of discussion boards, instantly circulating most recent developments in different subjects; making general announcements about academic program, use of multimedia tools like videos ( online and recorded), presentations (online as well as recorded), online games, encouraging and training students to access online databases to research about their academic content and more recently creating learning management systems where all the instructional material is available to the learner in the comfort of his home through which he/she can progressively learn at his/her own pace. As an icing on the cake, we have other multitude of digital learning techniques like the online seminars and conferences where the learner can keep him updated with latest knowledge in virtually any field of study. As a learner, I have myself gained a lot through such online learning tools- staring from using online academic databases and journals and other open resources including books, articles, pod-casts, videos, presentations, statistical software etc. liberally for my PhD research work. Honestly the major credit of my success in this educational endeavor goes to the digital learning technologies; the online webinars conducted by British Council, Cambridge, Macmillan, Ed-Web community have immensely contributed to my professional development and; most recently the PIDP program of Vancouver Community College which has wonderfully incorporated these digital technologies for imparting instruction has enabled me to continue in my much needed educational endeavor.

As the technology continues to grow at a very rapid pace, new IT specialists and educationists keep on enriching the educational field with even more advanced innovations such as Alternative learning styles, flipped learning technology, online corporate learning, skills measurement, online competency-based training, device agnostic learning, assistive technologies in the classroom, personalized blended learning…. the list is endless!

As an educator I feel it is crucial that I must keep myself updated with the latest advancements in technology occurring everyday. As I know that my learners are tech savvy and this technology brings a great deal of flexibility in their learning experiences as well. So I must utilize these tools of digital learning and should blend them beautifully with the in person mode of teacher-learner interaction. The uses of these technologies as described above will be utilized by me amply in my instructional programs. Although I am already a keen lover of professional development, yet I will involve more and more in such programs to keep abreast with the hardware as well software developments in the field of education. Because as we all know that the ultimate success of teaching does not lie in the amount of knowledge a teacher possesses, but in the extent of his/her effectiveness in making the learning experiences meaningful, accessible and effective for his/her learners.

Web Conferencing Revelations

A very interesting component of PIDP 3100 is web conferencing with a learning partner in which there is opportunity to interact with a fellow student and thanks to the advancement in information technology, we are able to communicate our ideas and feelings in a face-to-face mode which makes the experience more closer to life over other modes of communication such as email and telephones. Skype is a wonderful online platform which I have successfully used in the past to communicate with my brother living in another part of the globe, my parents when they are away from me , my friends and, in the recent past my course instructor Glenn Galy Sir when he gave me useful insights into the course. So I was thrilled and was looking forward eagerly to meet my learning partner Melissa in a face-to-face mode. But this time it gave us the joy of that in person communication marginally as the voice component in one of our computer devices was missing. So we combined it with the second mode of communication viz. the mobile phone whereby we used Skype for the visual experience and mobile for the audio one. But nevertheless, it was a unique experience which thrilled and benefited us equally as we had managed ‘face-to-face communication’ in a very interesting manner. And of course, both of us took away valuable insights from this discussion.

Our conversation was focused upon the latest trends in education and the consequent role of the teacher midst that scenario. Since Melissa and I come from different parts of the world viz. a developed nation Canada and the developing nation India, our perceptions and experiences about the extent of use of technology in education were also reasonably different. Melissa has seen the prevalence of technology in educational field tremendously and she enlightened me about the surplus use of technological applications for academic purposes both at the school and post secondary level here. I was elated to learn from her the extent of use of technology for educational purposes in Canada. Though I also have made ample use of the tremendous benefits of technology in the colleges and universities where I studied as well as the college where I taught, but the schools in rural area where we take teacher trainee students for teaching practice, it is almost missing with marginal presence of even the basic amenities to teach students. And many times some of our students come from disadvantaged socioeconomic background where they do not have access to latest tools of technology. Also on reviewing the educational scenario worldwide, we find that in many parts of world, a large proportion of learners still do not have access to the latest tools of communication. This made us reflect deeply upon the two sides of the coin. While on one hand, technology is playing a revolutionary role in mass education of the learners allowing them flexibility of space as well time thus making it obligatory for us teachers to tap it properly for the academic advancement of our learners. But on the other end, as educators we have to ensure equitable access of educational facilities by our diverse range of learners and have to very prudently consider that such technological tools may not be creating a learning gulf between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. Our role as an educator is to reach out to maximum number of our learners in the ‘best possible’ manner. Thus we have to adapt our teaching learning strategies according to the needs of our learners and have to be prepared to do our best in whichever manner desired.

Important Links

SCHOOL OF INSTRUCTOR EDUCATION, VCC FACEBOOK PAGE

Please check out this very useful link to the School of Instructor Education, Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) Facebook Page which is offering Provincial Instructor Diploma Program for Adult Educators. If you want a career in Adult Education – this is the ultimate program to pursue. I am sure you will feel highly enriched.

PIDP 3250 CLASSMATES’ BLOGS

My classmates in PIDP 3250 (Instructional Strategies) have made very innovative and informational blogs. Please check them out!

http://adulteducation.strikingly.com/

https://zahirishahla.wordpress.com/

https://abcmrt.blogspot.ca/

https://edsimonblog.wordpress.com/

https://pidpjoyceshepherd.wordpress.com/

https://dougsetter.wordpress.com/

http://www.bevstanwood.wordpress.com/

https://programmingtutor.org/

https://acollectionofknowledge.wordpress.com/

http://www.easwarithoreraj.com/blog/

https://mikeovcc.wordpress.com/

https://scienceinstruction.wordpress.com/

 

PIDP3100 LEARNING PARTNER MELISSA’S BLOG

Here is another link to check out. My PIDP3100 learning partner Melissa is a wonderful person with whom I had a very fruitful Web conferencing experience. I love her determination to be successful in a new promising career as Adult Educator. Best of luck to my partner! And she has made a nice blog.