Week 3 Learning Philosophy

What constitutes learning for me is meaningful/purposeful use of knowledge acquired. Learning facts and or concepts without meaningful application will be forgotten quickly, after the exams. When projects are included as part of the formative and summative assessment, it allows the students to process information more deeply and in a context that is meaningful to them.

I think learning should take place in a collaborative environment (face-to-face or online) whereby more ideas/thoughts can be generated/shared through discussion on a topic prescribed by the instructor. There should be required readings before the discussion/class so that students would have some information to process during class with peers and instructor. For on-campus courses, this approach would be called a flipped-classroom when content is read outside class and discussions during class can go deeper. As students share their thoughts on the given topic, they are participating in the learning process. In physical classrooms, seats should be arranged to facilitate small group discussions so that every student have a chance to participate (an example of a collaborative classroom design)

We can know that learning has occurred when students are able to describe the concepts and explain their understanding for application. Some visible signs of learning are: high student motivation and the questions they ask about the topics given. Sir Ken Robinson made this statement that “curiosity is the engine to achievement” -when students are curious about a topic or subject, they are more likely to learn.

I appreciate what Douglas Thomas shared about giving students “opportunities for exploration, play, and following one’s passions.”  When I took the course Introduction to Distance Education, I was allowed to write about learning objects for my final paper. At that time in my previous job, I needed to learn more about LOs, so researching articles on that topic was meaningful for me.

My philosophy on learning is that it should be engaging (interesting and meaningful), in manageable chunks (from simple to complex), involves group discussions, include assessments for learning (formative) and assessments in learning (summative), and should not be hindered by use of technologies that are unfamiliar.

P/S what is the url for Wordle? I still cannot figure how to use it since 3 months ago and how do we create a blog category for week 3


Thanks, Rachel

5 thoughts on “Week 3 Learning Philosophy

  1. mlc400

    Thanks so much for your post! I will have to take a few moments to read the linked site. Video production sounds fun and definitely one idea to keep in mind when trying to integrate technology into my classroom.

  2. Rachel H Tan Post author

    Dear Marie
    I fully agree with you that students should be able “to learn the content in the best way for them” that is not limited to reading text only. It was parochial to mention only 1 of so many types of resources that students can use. The work in my recent studies could not involve art or songs, but a podcast, that is going to be our Jun 11th assignment. Since I don’t teach I had not considered what you did. Thanks again for sharing. Learning through video production, that is a good one.

    About the use of videos to enhance learning via online courses, this is a good read on active learning strategies: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-with-technology-articles/from-passive-viewing-to-active-learning-simple-techniques-for-applying-active-learning-strategies-to-online-course-videos/

    Best regards, Rachel

    P/S I saw your post a few days ago and then I got lost in my navigation. Glad to finally locate it.

  3. mlc400

    Hi Rachel,

    I liked that in your post you reflected on that learning happens best when it is meaningful to the learner and when they can take the information they learn and demonstrate it in application. In your post, you talked a lot about the purpose of having classrooms that facilitate collaboration and peer communication. I believe that in classrooms today, educators think they need to have a highly structured, well-behaved, no talking classroom! I believe that we learn so much more from our peers who help to solidify understanding or even stretch our thinking or inquiry about a certain subject. One thing to consider, is how can classrooms in the future still facilitate this kind of communication but in a context that reaches all learning styles? I noticed that majority of your post talked about readings and discussion based learning. I would like to see my students able to learn the content in the best way for them. That means, so students may be doing artwork, making songs, writing poetry, constructing a poster or presentation, making a video, etc. In all of these modes, students can learn content and discuss but in a manner that is different from readings/discussion based learning. You had some really good points in your post!

  4. rht115 Post author

    Dear Hannah
    Thanks sincerely for your constructive input.

    I fully agree with you about learning styles, and learning habits for that matter. I recall in 2008 when I had my first graduate class (masters program) on campus. We were required to do our reading and some writing before class. The professor does not teach but she facilitates a discussion during class followed by a round robin review and critique of peers writing/thoughts on that week’s topic. I would just go blank and numb until someone (usually a PhD student) starts a conversation (there were many foreign students in that class). This was agonizing for me as I was trained to learn in a didactic delivery (sage on stage) and doing homework mostly on my own. To aggravate the situation, it was a major career switch for me into education so that I had little relevant experience to engage the content with. It was only in 2012 when I continued my masters program online with PSU that I realise what the professor in 2008 was trying to do to engage us in learning. The experience of a well planned/managed discussion forum in an online platform was a very positive one.

    I like your idea about ways of incorporating group activity to accomodate the different learning styles. For a national institute that prepares student teachers for their future 21st century learners, it seems collaborative classrooms is the way forward because the young learners of today are already collaborating on Web 2.0

  5. Hannah Inzko

    Hi Rachel,
    I agree with so much of your post, especially the points around meaningful application. When students can relate material to their own lives, they are more likely to find value in it and may even take it upon themselves to dig more deeply.
    I do however think that learning can happen in a variety of ways. While I myself am a huge proponent of collaborative and group work, some students simply learn better when they are able to focus on a topic individually. There are ways to incorporate group activity, possibly by sharing out what they’ve learned after the fact, but I think it’s important to take into account different learning styles.

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