For my scholar blog post, I would like to look further into Module 5, specifically, transforming learning. I think this is an important topic to discuss because just like anything else in life, education is always changing. I found this topic interesting because often times as students we do not realize how much education and teaching has changed over the years, but after looking back it is clear to see that it has. For part of our module 5 learning activities a video was assigned to watch, this video is named “Transforming Learning”. This video really helped me to understand to what extent learning has changed and why. I really like how the speaker compares learning to remodeling a house by explaining that we need to do more than just cover things up or add things, but instead completely remodel by fixing things that don’t work and strengthening what does. This helps avoid the common issue of some students just “getting by” while others excel. I found a study on how faculty transformed a large-enrollment course from lecture style to more student centered learning. This study brought the importance of building skills and engaging students instead of strictly memorization. In order to avoid memorization and shift from lecture to student centered learning, “one instructor present[ed] an activity used in the course and a reflection on how well the activity worked and how students performed on the activity. Follow-up discussion revolved around suggestions for improved implementation (e.g., encouraging more students to share out with the entire class) and troubleshooting” (Elliot 1). This was very helpful for the teachers in the biology department because they made note of which activities worked and which ones didn’t and they continued to use them in other sections. The active-learning activities that were most commonly used in this study involved think-pair share activities and clicker questions. This relates greatly to our face-to-face meetings during which we engage in think-pair-share activities and things such as Kahoot. The results for this study stated that “active student-centered learning strategies are associated with improved student learning and engagement” (Elliot 1). A limitation to this teaching method is that it is time consuming and requires trial and error in order to find what works and what doesn’t. Another study I found highlighted the importance of technology involvement with student centered learning. The author of this article, Jack S Cook, is a former professor who states “Over the years, there has been a shift in focus to a more collaborative learning environment, steering away from traditional lecturing to encourage active student-centered learning. To facilitate this style of learning, teachers must focus attention on what information and tools they can provide the student instead of what the instructor is going to cover in the course” (Cook 1). Cook explains that as knowledge increases, the technology available to assist teaching also increases. Cook believes that technology has greatly helped him in facilitating the learning process by permitting him to share construct knowledge with his students. Cook states that, “technology such as the World Wide Web, e-mail, chat rooms, and video conferencing has helped me create an active student-centered learning environment. It also fosters personal relationships between all those involved by enhancing class-focused communication” (Cook 1). The author believes that students enjoy the real time perspective that technology allows. He also stresses the importance of teacher readiness and how technology assists teachers with organization of course material and course expectations through posting syllabi and further instructions. Some limitations have been encountered through using the internet to encourage student centered learning such as; the internet crashing, email being portrayed as too informal and students improperly using it while interacting with their teachers, and that it takes time to create and modify things through the web. The final article I found, Student-Directed Learning Comes of Age, by, Dave Saltman gives a lot of useful insight on why student-centered learning is so important and how it works. Recent research findings have stated that learning must be shifted from the teachers doing the work of learning to the students doing the work of the learning. This is because the students are the ones learning and when “students manage their own learning, they become more invested in their own academic success” (Saltman 4). This was stressed to us in the video from module 5 when the speaker explained that if students are not invested in their education they will continue to coast and just get by instead of fulfilling their max potential. Throughout this article, Saltman stresses the importance of students making decisions for themselves and being able to make connections through their learning. Another interesting fact that came to mind while reading this article is that student-centered learning forces the student to do more work because of their active involvement in class and in on-line activities, rather than putting in ten minutes of work and thinking that it is enough. It is also important that student-centered learning improves a student’s growth mindset by encouraging them to step outside of the box and attempt activities even if they are challenging, instead of remaining at a comfortable level. Student-centered learning is a topic that I think should be discussed throughout school districts everywhere, because it is clearly beneficial.
Here is the link to a YouTube video I found on student-centered learning:
Cook, J. S., & Cook, L. L. (1998). How technology enhances the quality of student-centered learning. Quality Progress, 31(7), 59-63. Retrieved from http://asq.org/qualityprogress/index.html
Elliott, E., Reason, R., Coffman, C., Gangloff, E., Raker, J., Powell-Coffman, J., & Ogilvie, C. (2016). Improved student learning through a faculty learning community: How faculty collaboration transformed a large-enrollment course from lecture to student Centered. CBE Life Sciences Education, 15(2), CBE life sciences education, 2016, Vol.15(2). Retrieved from http://www.lifescied.org/
SALTMAN, D. (2012). Student-Directed Learning Comes of Age. Education Digest, 77(7), 4-8. Retrieved from www.eddigest.com