The Potentials Better utilize class-contact time Promote active student learning Cater for differential student needs Help students learn how to learn Encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning Prepare students for lifelong learning
The dangers Anxiety and worry Potentially de-motivating if students are not supported Negative experience of learning Students lose confidence in self learning Poor learning outcome Poor student evaluation etc.
What is independent learning? Students taking increasing responsibility for: identifying their own “needs-to-know” searching for relevant information and gaining knowledge on their own learning on their own with minimum supervision actively seeking ways to solve their own problems and difficulties assessing their own learning to see if their needs-to- know are met
A swimming lesson (1)
A swimming lesson (2)
A swimming lesson (3)
A swimming lesson (4)
Question for discussion Refer to the cartoons about teaching students to swim independently Is the teacher promoting independent learning? Why or why not? How may the students react to the learning experience? What conditions are needed to encourage students to learn more independently?
Teaching for independent learning Promoting independent learning: Is Not simply abandoning “lectures” and telling students to learn on their own placing the responsibility for learning entirely on the students Is About a different way of helping students learn facilitating and supporting students to learn increasingly on their own
Lecturer’s roles in convention teaching Lecturer as: A Knowledge-transmitter The principal source of information Major instructional decisions: What content needs to be covered? How should the content be structured? What methods of transmission is most effective? How to assess students’ learning?
Lecturer’s roles in promoting independent learning Lecturer as A facilitator of learning A guide to discovery of knowledge Major instructional decisions How to motivate students to learn more Independently? What support is needed to help students in their independent learning? How to ensure that learning takes place and how to assess it?
Barriers: the learners Resistance or negative attitude to independent learning because of: Feeling of threat and insecurity Feeling “cheated” with less “teaching” Lack of confidence of success Lack of appropriate prior experience Lack of independent learning skills Habits and preferred ways to learn
Barriers: the environment Constraints of the environment: Lack of a co-operative learning environment Excessive workload Extrinsic rather than intrinsic goal structure Availability of facilities and resources
Barriers: instruction Weaknesses in instructional method: Insufficient briefing on purpose Insufficient briefing on what is expected of the learner Emphasis on “product” rather than “process” of learning Lack of feedback on progress / reinforcement Inappropriate assessment method
Conditions for independent learning Goals Enthusiasm and interest Confidence of success Adequate pre-existing knowledge Skills Availability of resources Feedback Information about course requirements, expectations, learning environment, etc.
Question for discussion Suggest what we may do to encourage student to engage more in independent learning.
Motivating students Convince students of their needs for becoming an independent learner Emphasize purpose and benefits Design individual learning tasks that students find meaningful and stimulating: Relating to professional practice Requiring application and problem-solving Allowing choice and autonomy
Making students feel ‘safe’ Start small, introduce changes gradually and progressively Clear instructions on tasks; What, How, and When Ensure availability of help Regular feedback on progress
Helping students succeed Prepare students adequately: Help student acquire independent learning skills Match tasks with preparedness of students Develop students’ confidence of success: Provide positive reinforcements Show examples of good work by fellow students Provide encouragement and support
Reducing barriers Give specific instructions Ensure reasonable workload Develop a friendly and productive relationship and climate Ensure availability of the needed facilities and resources Set assessments that emphasise process as well as outcome
Teaching approaches for promoting independent learning Some examples (with varying degree of independent learning): Guided self-study Problem-solving exercises in lectures Student presentations and student-led seminars Peer teaching Student-centred assessment Project work Learning contracts Dissertation
Planning for moves towards more independent learning Using the form provided, plan changes that you would like to make in your teaching to promote more independent learning among students in: your lectures, your tutorials/seminars, your workshops and practical sessions, your assessments.
Useful references Baume, D. Developing learner Autonomy. SEDA Paper 84, SEDA. Nov., Baume, C. & Baume, D. “The art of inspiring independent learning.” New Academic, Autumn 1997: 2-6 & Spring 1998: 2-6.