Week 4

  1. What have you learned this week about learning design and session planning?

Our topic for this week was introduction to learning design, in which we learn a lot of things about design of program and course ILOs and how to write them. While designing the course outcomes we need to consider several points, which are as follows:

Decide what kind of knowledge to be involved:

Before designing and session planning, we need to consider what kind of knowledge we are going to deliver whether it is about theories, discipline and specific topics? Or it is about any type of functioning knowledge and needs the students to exercise active control to solve some problems and decision making.

Select the topic to teach:

Selection of topic is one of another important aspect and with this specific aspect the depth and coverage is also associated with it. There is always a strong pressure on a teacher to include more and more content but covering the more content in a short time results the Over-teaching which has diverse effects. As Gardner said:

“The greatest enemy of understanding is coverage – I can’t repeat that often enough. If you’re determined to cover a lot of things, you are guaranteeing that most kids will not understand, because they haven’t had time enough to go into things in depth, to figure out what the requisite understanding is, and be able to perform that understanding in different situations. (Gardner 1993: 24)

Level of understanding:

Before planning a session, it is necessary to consider the level of understanding for a student, understanding level could be different for each group. Side by side teacher must have to question himself about how he will build boundaries for a specific topic, what type of knowledge he is delivering up to date knowledge of about the subject. SOLO levels illustrate each declarative and functioning knowledge like unstructural, multi structural, relational, extended abstract and some other levels are defined by Bloom’s revised taxonomy. (Source: Anderson and Krathwohl (2001))

Writing the session or course ILOs:

ILO for a session or course “The nature of Teaching and Learning” illustrate these points:

  1. Explain: why a specific topic is important.
  2. Apply: apply a course to your own teaching.
  3. Reflect: reflect on what you have gained from this course in terms of your teaching.
  4. Evaluate: describe the situation that goes wrong and solution for that.

All these points must be considered before planning a session and before setting a learning outcome for a session. (John B. Biggs; Catherine So-kum Tang, 2011)

  1. How did you learn this?

For learning design and session planning Gardner’s saying said a lot about as quoted above. Include the content which is necessary, omit what is less important. Choose wisely and include less content which you could explain within a specific time frame. Aligning the ILOs are very important in this respect when you are teaching a course in a specific program, first decide their levels so that you can achieve the outcomes; You have to align the program ILO with graduate outcomes, course ILOs with program ILOs and teaching or learning activities and assessment tasks with course ILOs. (John B. Biggs; Catherine So-kum Tang, 2011)

  1. What supported you?

Teacher and student activities with declarative knowledge helps me in learning design and session planning. In this we studied that what teacher and students has to do. In this we understand the common declarative verb ‘explain’, teacher usually introduce the topic, explain, elaborate, takes questions and wind-up (John B. Biggs; Catherine So-kum Tang, 2011). During this all student has to receive content, listen, take notes and has to ask questions. The one thing I used in all my session is I always focus on term ‘explain’ instead of ‘describe’. Both these terms have difference when it comes to learning, describing means you just stick to one topic and on other side explain means you focus on topic as well as you build understanding how topics are related to each other. In my lesson planning this difference helps me to plan a session on the basis of explain term instead of describe.

  1. What have you learned this week about the practice of supporting student learning in HE?

This week we learn something more which strengthen our practice about supporting student learning. In this week we learn about construction of declarative knowledge base. In term explain we see that structuring activity is up to the students, some students did it very well as the other didn’t. TLA teacher learning activities for reception learning is managed by teacher with some groups of students of with individual students. Some other conflicts about the lecturing of the teacher that is cleared by Dr Fox, he is a professional actor, whose only knowledge of field was supplied by a Reader’s Digest article (Ware and Williams 1975) according to him:

  • Good teaching is not a matter of what you know but how well you put it across. (Putting it across is not what good teaching is, so it’s wrong on both counts.)
  • Lecturers should be trained in thespian skills or at least in public speaking as in Box 8.3 (pp. 154-4). (Helpful, no doubt, but could be majority of academic, however well trained, perform Centre stage, day after day, inspiring students every time?)
  • We should subcontract large class lecturing to professional actors. (Why not, if an academics writes the script?)

Presenting all the right content in a way student get, and most importantly planning every session before delivery is a good practice. This practice also helps us out to define which approach should be used based on whether it is large class to whom you are going to deliver or an average or small group of students. (John B. Biggs; Catherine So-kum Tang, 2011)

  1. How has your understanding of this changed from doing this week’s topic and activities?

This week activity was to plan a session that you are going to deliver, this week activity was very important. All the reading and learning help us out to plan our session a lot of guidance was there in the book that help us to plan for a session. This week we fill up a form which contains all the information about the session we conduct. It contains a to z information about session just like how many students are there in the class, what is our topic, which tools we are going to use to make the session successful, what factors helps us out to reach every student etc.

  1. What has challenged you?

The biggest challenge we faced while doing this week activity was planning of the session in which we have to define everything. Defining everything mean you have to decide the time frame and also the content which in one the biggest challenge in all this we have to avoid over teaching which causes problems for student learning. Again, Gardner definition about it gives us clear idea and what to include and what to avoid.

  1. What has surprised you?

In this week we learn some psychological constraints on learning which were surprising for me before this week I was not aware with this kind of use full information which really helps us to understand the students learning issues and it also help us to do carefully plan our session. There are some reasons which makes the lectures ineffective, here are some pointer that indicates about human nature.

  1. Sitting and listening to lecture is an activity that requires concentration and follow up for lecture content.
  2. The attention of a student is typically maintained for about 10 to 15 minutes after learning drops off rapidly.
  3. Change in activity every 15 minutes restores performance almost to the original level.
  4. Getting students to review the lecture before ending the session is a much better activity and lasting retention than simply finishing the interaction with student.

These points were surprising for me but side by side it points that how we can improve learning process and how we can grab attention of students for a long time period.

  1. What has this taught you about your strengths in your practice in supporting student learning?

Session planning and learning design is an important aspect of teaching, when a teacher is well prepared about everything, he would be able to interact well with hi students as well as he would be able to cover his content according to the plan. Another thing that gives a greater idea to support student learning was motivation of David Yamane (2006), like Mazur. He bothered the fact that material could be read before class and it help the students to listen well into the class, but the problem arises here is that student didn’t read when they told to. He uses the CPA technique that have a specific structure.

  1. What actions can you identify from this that you could take to further develop your practice in the future?

After reading this week material and knowing about the facts I tried to apply Gardner approach I reduce the lecture content and focus on specific topics. Secondly, I started understanding the psychological issue that students faced during their learning process. I use to do some practical sessions during theoretical topics and it helps me to overcome this issue.