A couple of decades ago it was inconceivable for educators to tailor their materials and teaching approach towards the individual student. The different learning styles as a concept started gaining pace ever since the term and idea behind it was first introduced in the mid 70’s.
We Learn Best in Different Ways
Today, it is only too obvious that we don’t all share the same learning mechanisms, and while it may be impractical to apply this to the everyday classroom environment, it has certainly influenced the direction, in which online learning is developing.
You don’t need to look further than yourself and your immediate circle of friends to spot the differences in your learning styles. While you may feel comfortable reading long pages of solid material, some of your friends may find it completely indigestible. While some people remember close to everything of what they hear, others’ attention wanders off as soon as they hear a narrator’s monotonous drone. While some need to isolate themselves in the deepest, darkest corner of the library or office to concentrate, others need to talk through new material with a partner or a group.
If you’re like most people, when you remember your school or university days, you’ll agree than the biggest obstacle in getting good grades was not some innate learning deficiency or a lack of skills in some particular subject but simple lack of attention.To put it bluntly most of the time you were bored out of your mind.It’s ok. We all were. Escaping boredom though is an art that we can master.
Let’s start this post by stating that Facebook was not actually created as a learning platform, it can however clearly be used to enhance and support elearning. Facebook is STILL the most convenient way to get connected to friends, get updated on existing friends, find new people, build relationships and express identities – so the big Facebook advantage is that your audience is most definitely there. Facebook makes it easy to network and interact with other virtual students, and because most people know how to use Facebook they don’t need to become familiar with a new platform.
It’s also relatively easy to create apps for Facebook, making it a great canvas for developers to add cool new functionality and get users involved pretty quickly. We have written about Facebook apps for elearning before in this post!
For those interested in using Facebook with students the following links may be of use: [Resource: Facebook as an “interactive learning resource”?]
1) Stephen Heppell: Using Facebook in the Classroom This page outlines the dos and don’ts of using Facebook with students. Examples include the following (and much more):
- Do – build a separate teacher page for your “teacher” presence.
- Do – keep your teacher and personal page very separate
- Do – post pictures of school/lessons/trips – even diagrams you put on the board (snap them with your phone and post them) – it reminds students that you are there, generates a pride in the school and reminds them that this is not a vacuous space!
- Don’t – ‘friend’ students yourself – not even as your “teacher” presence.
- Don’t – accept complete ignorance of Facebook as an excuse for dangerous school policies like blanket bans. Instead offer to be an action researcher, and try it out for a year. Continue reading
It’s that time of year again so just in case you haven’t heard:
- Voting for the Top 100 Tools for Learning closes on 12 noon GMT Sunday 30 Sept 2012
- Top 100 Tools for Learning 2012 will be revealed on Monday 1 Oct 2012
The following is an excerpt from a post published on the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies blog
This is the 6th annual Top 100 Tools for Learning list [Jane Hart of C4LPT] is compiling from the contributions of learning professionals worldwide – and over 300 votes in so far.
The 2011 list has had over 160,000 views on this website and over 560,000 views on Slideshare, which shows there is huge interest in how these tools can be used for teaching and learning.
Please share your Top 10 Tools for Learning to help [Jane Hart & C4LPT] build the 2012 Top 100 Tools list. Continue reading
I learn each and every day. It may be something subtle; but it always happens. Sometimes I find it hard to verbalize my new knowledge and put it into in words. Not all things can be expressed in the form of communication that we call language.
Interestingly enough each new piece of information can create an enormous wave of side-effects. Things that were lacking consistency inside my brain start to make sense. My neurons make the needed synapses to formulate something new,which on their turn formulates a new understanding or, more importantly, a new idea. The snowball effect can turn one piece of information to a catalyst of self-improvement.
Even if the new information has not such dramatic sequences it can lead to an evenly important side-effect; a tricky little thing called curiosity. My curiosity is less about people personal affairs and more about understanding the grant scheme behind everything. Information is less effective when it happens out-of-the blue, like for example when I read a Wikipedia article in random. Curiosity gives me the proper excuse to join something with immediate practical value with new information and an extended perspective.
I can see this thing working amazingly in practice. Every time I watch a documentary on History channel about a person or a battle, I find myself checking on Wikipedia the related article. Every time I have a conversation that brings up a new and interesting word or concept – even common words like marketing and leadership that I do not 100% grasp – I do the same. Googling and reading has become the natural extension of my everyday learning.
I’ve got a theorythat traditional learning is not so efficient because it is separated from real-world context. We enforce people to learn something that does not inspire them;something that has not grown naturally inside them. This may work in theory but in practice is an enormous waste of resources.
Alternatively, I strongly believe that learning institutes (and companies alike) need to create a curiosity-friendly environment. They need to inspire people by, for example, making the right questions that ignite the curiosity process. Nurturing the learning need can make people happier from their training and multiply the outcome beyond our imagination.