What I thought was going to be somewhat mundane and certainly dry seems to have piqued my interest. The terminology used can be a bit tricky and it reminded me of the shift in thinking I had to do when I took a Sociology course. Some of the terms used in Sociology did not migrate over to the disciplines in Psychology that I was familiar with so that was quite confusing. In the case of my current course, there is a glossary of terms provided for things like “items”. This is not something you have on a shopping list, rather it refers to the individual elements within a test or evaluation document such as multiple choice questions, short answer essay questions etc. Each of these is considered an “item”.
All of the components of this course weave together to provide the instructor with a reliable and valid evaluation process and gives the student feedback on their learning that reflects the progress they have made in their studies (or not). There are two text books for this course – “The Art of Evaluation” and “Classroom Assessment Techniques”. They nicely compliment each other. The Classroom Assessment Techniques book has a plethora of assessment techniques that can be applied to a variety of situations. I will be tasked with production of yet another video, in this case it will be on a the use of one of the “CATs” in the book. Need to mull that one over. I did a video on “the Muddiest Point” for my professional practice course — so will need to dig into another one 🙂
Good course – and finished my final video. I decided to showcase the making of Banana Bread. I wanted to incorporate the challenge of making something with a specific sequence of activity along with the technical challenge of “show and tell” video — rather than something that was primarily a slide show with narrative.
Have a look:
Greatest challenge I had in this course (although this may not seem significant to some folks) was trying to get a handle on the use of twitter — with a few bumps along the way. Should post a web cam of a birds nest with hatchlings to symbolize my newbie status on twitter!
I am now engaged with PIDP 3240 Media Enhanced Learning with instructor Brian Cassell. While exploring web 2.0 tools to post in my assignment I discovered something called Trello – a collaboration tool. Another site I cam across was Copyright Decision Tool – also provides some useful guidance in using third party documents and creative sources. And I just discovered another interesting tool Online-convert contains a variety of file conversion tools. I just experimented with conversion of my blog into a pdf – and it worked quite nicely.
I have been working on the 3rd assignment for PIDP 3100, researching a variety of topics associated with the science of learning. The article I chose for my assignment was “Four Principles of Memory Improvement: A guide to Improving Learning Efficiency” Schwartz, Son, Kornell and Finn. You can find the article here. A core element I selected in this article dealt with the use of distributed practice. What does that mean?
Distributed practice speaks to the difference in depth and retention of learning when information is studied in chunks, over time — in other words not in a constant drill, or in a cramming study session prior to an exam. After I finished working on my paper it got me to thinking about the efforts made by people who are learning how to dance, and how basic steps are learned, practiced, then combined and built upon to make up the wonderful expression of movement in the form of dance.
In my review of videos to capture what I was thinking of I found this mashup of black and white dance segments put to contemporary music — Bruno Mars, to be exact. It is interesting how the movement can mesh with the right rhythm, and if you watch some of the steps, how you can see the simple steps combined in a complicated fashion to craft the full dance movement. There is a snippet of Shirley Temple and Bojangles Robinson, which resonated for me as I included an example of moving up and down using stairs as a metaphor for stages and steps up and down that an instructor takes to provide a rich learning activity that spaces certain elements of the subject being covered during the learning activity. And, consider when you watch the dancers how there are a finite number of dance steps — it’s all in how you combine them with the movement of the body.
Here is the video:
What a concept……do it yourself learning! Not really – we do it everyday when we face a new experience or activity. That said, for adult learners there are a few considerations that will enhance a situation where they are in a self directed learning environment. It isn’t just the channel where information flows – demonstrated by my home grown diagram above, rather it is the structure, which can be self managed that will enhance the learning outcomes. I was looking at an article from the University of Waterloo about the Self directed learning four step process.
They touch on a template for activity that includes:
- Being ready to learn.
- Setting learning goals.
- Engaging in the learning process.
- Evaluating learning.
The author observes that successful outcomes are supported by both the student and the instructor subscribing to specific responsibilities.
In another article about Self Directed learning by K. Cercone, the following observation is made:
“According to Lieb (1991), since adults tend to be autonomous and self–
directed, they need to be free to direct themselves. To enable this to occur, instructors should actively involve the participants in the learning process and be facilitators for this process. The instructor should only serve as a guide. However, the instructor needs to provide the appropriate framework to allow this growth to occur.”
Cercone observes that the educational environment needs to be designed to meet the needs of the adult learner. The article explores adult learning theories along with the development of on-line courses and the importance of incorporating a a social element in the on-line learning experience. I see the blog assignment in 3100 as aligning with the social side of the educational experience. One of our assignments is to work with a partner and develop a blog post specific to trends in adult education — this bring an offline and an online connection as part of the learning experience. The article linked above is an interesting, relevant read.
Cercone, K. (2008). Characteristics of adult learners with implications for online learning design, AACE Journal, 16(2), 137-159.
Spring has sprung — albeit it very much delayed in the BC Lower Mainland! I am enrolled in another PIDP course — 3100 Foundations of Adult Education. Thanks to the continuous enrollment model used at Vancouver Community College, I have the flexibility of starting this course any time, as well as straying from a traditional “take this one, then this one, then this one….”. Not to diminish or discount an orderly approach to education, as an individual preference — the ability to take a course that fits in with the program but also can stand alone on its own is a stellar feature of my experience with the Provincial Instructors Diploma Program.
Today, I bring the image of the spring tulips to my page for a few reasons:
- The tulips have areas of transparency — in these spots the petals allow the light to shine through and you can see the individual details and texture of the petal. You can understand and appreciate the complexity and structure of the petal. I compare this to a learning situation where some things are readily apparent, the detail of the subject is clear and easy to understand — in fact you may already have a deep understanding of that particular element or component of a broader subject.
- The tulips have areas where they overlap. These are areas where the light does not pass through as easily and the details are obscured between the 1st and 2nd petal layers. This represents the rest of the learning situation i.e. the stuff you really don’t know, or at least do not have a rich understanding — in the same way you would have the understanding and knowledge from the single petal described above.
What does this mean for me right now? As a life-long learner, I know there are things I truly know, things I think I know, and things I don’t have a clue about. The things I don’t have a clue about falls in the category of “you don’t know what you don’t know”. Being somewhat longer in the tooth, with lots of life experience it is important for me to always respect the element of “not knowing” and be safe and comfortable in that space. To open oneself up to learning you need to allow a certain amount of vulnerability into the space — and be comfortable being “uncomfortable” with not “knowing”. As I continue to work on the PIDP program I consistently find nuggets of information that reinforce my beliefs or direct my attention to new ways of thinking. I am keenly interested in how people learn, what empowers people to break through learning plateaus (those “aha” moments), and building confidence in adults to move forward in their lives. The old saying “what do you want to be when you grow up” I think stays with a person forever — after all aren’t we all just children inside bigger bodies? — we just learned strategies to communicate and present ourselves in the adult world 🙂
So, I am still figuring out what I want to be when I grow up and having fun along the way. Part of the adventure is to never stop learning and to be open to new ideas and concepts — just when you think you have things figured out, something else comes along to make you think some more, re-evaluate your beliefs and maybe reconsider what you previously held to be as “true”. As I say to my friends — “if you come from a place of curiosity, you can never go wrong”. That approach gets judgements out of the way and positions your mind to open up to new concepts and approaches in any situation.
I encourage any new students starting out with PIDP 3100 to embrace the blog journey and have fun with it!
It seems appropriate to include my watercolour painting of a body of water and a shoreline when talking about “reflections”. This is a small post card sized image that was an “out of my head” painting. I visualized the scene and with a few brush strokes and limited palette created the waterfront image. One of the final tasks I have in my course work for the PIDP course “Professional Practice” is to complete a reflective entry on my blog. I have taken the suggested questions provided as prompts as a foundation for my discussion below.
What is the most important thing you have learned?
Learning has been achieved on multiple levels. I have learned practical tools and techniques in teaching including evaluation strategies, effective interaction with students, self awareness, and last but not least how to leverage the tools at our disposal to create digital products that can be used to teach and explain a concept or process. The use of the blog as a tool, both to build skills sets in a web based environment but more importantly to drive research and review work — indeed developing and maintaining a blog was extremely useful. My hesitation with the initial blog work was quickly eclipsed by the practical use a blog can have when you are developing and communicating information about a subject to a broad audience. So, I learned practical things that I can use in the future, and experienced personal insight as I worked through the course material.
How has your thinking changed?
My thinking has been blessed with more self awareness. What do I mean by that statement? I feel like I have a deeper understanding of both the responsibility and opportunity that rests with a person responsible for instructing or training another individual. Yes, individual–that is the key. Everyone has their own individual perspective and motivation, and as an instructor or trainer this course work helps me to be better positioned to tap into those unique elements in each trainee or student. Every day is a learning opportunity, for myself and those I encounter.
What actions will you take based on what you have learned?
I will continue to learn more about learning and teaching — and about myself. It is that simple. I continue to work towards completion of this program and appreciate the support and guidance provided by our VCC as we navigate this path. Thank you Karen!