Lesson Planning

Lesson planning provides instructors with a road map to recognize and meet the needs of their learners. There are many components to consider in lesson planning and in this post I explore five areas, with a reference to the resource that will help me plan my lessons more effectively.

Blooms Taxonomy

I chose this resource as it gives a concise and clear explanation of Blooms Taxonomy, with examples of use in different educational settings. As I consider learning objectives and create a lesson plan, Blooms Taxonomy will help me to understand and plan activities that target the levels of learning and as way to evaluate understanding. For example, in planning a job search workshop, do I simply need the learner to remember typical interview questions, or should they reach a point where they are confident in anticipating interview situations, can prepare accordingly and can evaluate their performance? The lessons I deliver should include activities that enable learners to move through the levels from knowledge to evaluation, in order to meet the desired goals.

Campbell, B. (2010). Blooms Taxonomy in learning environments. Encyclopedia of Educational Technology. Retrieved from http://eet.sdsu.edu/eetwiki/index.php/Blooms_Taxonomy_in_learning_environments

Characteristics of adult learners

Every group of learners is diverse. As a facilitator in a job search program, you will encounter many new immigrants, with different backgrounds and where English is a second language. These learners have much to offer, but might not engage fully in an active classroom, due to cultural differences or fear of speaking. How can this be addressed? The article I found talks about introvert learners and how to involve them in active learning. The suggested strategies for introverts can also be applied ESL learners. I plan to use an activity such working in pairs to help stretch the learners beyond their comfort zones. This is especially important in preparing for work, where soft skills such as interpersonal communication and teamwork are very important to employers.

Monahan, N. (2013, October 28). Keeping introverts in mind in your active learning classroom. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/keeping-introverts-in-mind-in-your-active-learning-classroom/

Assessment

Building informal assessments into your lessons allows you to check for understanding and provides information about the effectiveness of your teaching methods. There are many different strategies, or CATS (classroom assessment techniques) that can be incorporated. They are quick and easy to use and provide different types of information. I found a resource that gives an excellent overview of CATS, including a chart of CAT exercises, indicating the type of evaluation for which each assessment is intended, what each is called, how each is conducted, what to do with the information you collect and an approximation of the relative amount of time each requires. This is an excellent starting point for me to think about which type of CAT exercise (e.g. suggestion box, quizzes) would best fit my learning environment.

Haugen, L. (1999). Classroom assessment techniques. In Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, Iowa State University. Retrieved from http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/cat.html

Motivational techniques

In developing a lesson plan you need to consider what motivates your learners.  The ARCS motivation model gives an overview of four factors that explain motivation; attention, relevance, confidence and satisfaction. I wanted to know more about making my learning relevant and I found an article that made me think about ways to achieve this. It describes how to establish relevance through experiential learning, where a skill is developed through simulating real-life.  One way I can apply this in my lessons is to include a simulation, such as interview role-play. In a job search course, learners are looking for skills they can apply to the real world immediately. My goal would be to make sure they are learning what is useful to their circumstances.

Robertson, K. (2013, October 21). Motivating students with teaching techniques that establish relevance, promote autonomy. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/effective-teaching-strategies/motivating-students-with-teaching-techniques-that-establish-relevance-promote-autonomy/#sthash.Hplo7bn9.dpuf

Creating a positive learning environment

When starting a job search course, participants will likely be going through some stress and anxiety about the need to find a job. It is important that I establish a positive environment right from the start, which puts them at ease and minimises the anxiety. At TrainerHub.com I found a series of articles that look at ways to create a positive learning environment in the physical, intellectual and emotional areas. All these are important to consider, such as thinking about how I should arrange the seating in the room, to how I can be supportive, to how I can build trust and a sense of partnership. As an instructor, one of my most important roles will be to create the right conditions, so that my learners can get the most from their experience.

Boudreau, D. (2012, April 16). Creating the ideal learning environment. In TrainerHub. Retrieved from http://trainerhub.com/creating-the-ideal-learning-environment-emotional/

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Web conference reflections

The web conference with my learning partner, David, was a very positive experience. The purpose of the conference was to share and discuss the research we had found for the trends and roles assignment. We had both lost our original learning partners (they left the course), so David and I were re-assigned to each other. Because we were already well into the PIPD 3100 course at this point, we had gone ahead and already done our own individual research on trends and roles and drafted our blog posts. As it turned out it this was not a problem, in fact we turned it to our advantage.  We agreed to review each other’s blog and provide feedback, as well as present and share insights in the web meeting.  When it came to the actual Skype video meeting, we spent the first few minutes getting acquainted and decided on what order our discussion should take. I found it very easy to talk over Skype with David, perhaps because we are both familiar with using the technology.  The discussion flowed well and we allowed each other time to talk about our articles and key insights, as well as stopping to ask questions or clarify points.

As we shared our research we discovered that we each had some great points to make about the roles of instructors and trends in our field.  We had both looked at how technology impacts education, with my focus on social media and David’s on technology in culinary arts. David has been a pastry chef instructor for a couple of years. As I am not working as an instructor yet, I did not think I would be able show him many new insights, but he acknowledged that I had found some useful information.  I was very interested to ask David about his day to day use of technology as an instructional tool and to find out about the extent to which technology in now applied in a professional kitchen.  It was great to learn that David uses technology to his advantage and he benefits as an instructor and as a learner from the resources that can be accessed via his tablet or smartphone. David particularly liked the insight I provided in that one of the roles of the instructor in using social media can be that of a controller of information.  David provided a great example of how this is relevant in his teaching experience, when he has had to say “no” to students who come into class wanting to try out recipes they have seen on the internet or network TV. David’s role as the instructor in this scenario was to protect the quality of learning, because in his experience, many recipes taken from these sources can be inaccurate and not of the required standard.   Another key point that I learned from talking with David is the importance of professional development to keep current and innovative. In his field, keeping his skills up to date as a chef is just as important as improving his skills as an instructor.

I wanted to ask David so many questions about his work as an instructor, but we had to try and stay on topic and time was limited.  In summary, the web conference was an excellent opportunity to make a social connection with another person on the course, to create some good dialogue and to provide support and suggestions with regard to the assignments and blog.

Click here for a link to my learning partner’s blog

 

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Trends and Roles

For the trends and roles assignment in  PIPD 3100 we were asked to research current trends in education in our field and look at how these trends are impacting the role of the educator. I decided to look at the trend of using social media in education and the role that the instructor plays.  To find references to citations in my posts, please refer to the Resources page.

social media picWhat new insights have you gained in the roles that adult educators play?
Adult educators play many roles including curriculum development, planning and designing lessons, lecturing, facilitating, managing the classroom, motivating students and evaluating learning. How is social media impacting the classroom and the role that adult educators play? A recent report by Business Insider stated that 1.2 billion people use Facebook regularly and engagement in social media is now the top internet activity (Adler, 2014). The major social media tools that are being used in education include, but are not limited to; YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google Moderator and blogs. Social media spans all ages and demographics and it is changing the face of learning and the way people interact and present information. It is creating many new  ways for educators to engage people in cooperative and collaborative learning. It allows educators to reach a broader audience and it provides a learning space for people separated by distance and time.

The new insights that I have gained in researching social media in education is that it places the role of the adult educator as that of a facilitator, instead of the ‘expert’ transferring knowledge to learners. Social media allows people to move from a learning environment controlled by the tutor, to an environment where they direct their own learning. Tools such as Facebook really put the learner at the centre of the experience, rather than the instructor and the institution. The ways in which people can learn using social media follows a constructivist approach, where the role of the instructor is to design activities to encourage knowledge construction, problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration. Understanding how social media can be leveraged for learning is a key skill that educators are increasingly being required to use. In social media where there is limitless access to information, instructors “take on the role of guide, context provider and quality controller, while simultaneously helping students make their own contributions to content and evaluations of the learning experience”. (LeNoue, 2011, p.6). Social media also enables the role of the teacher to extend beyond any geographical distance, time or other barriers to connection. There may be some fear from educators over privacy and resistance from the ‘expert’ instructor who might think that their role will disappear. There may also be control issues over content and quality. In addressing this, the Horizons Report suggests that “it is important for policymakers to create guidelines for effective and secure uses of social media, including the prevention of cyber-bullying and the formalization of penalties” (2014, p. 9).

It is important to realize that social media is not replacing the role of the instructor, but can be used as an educational tool to augment and maximize learning, particularly in collective thinking and action. For educators that are not currently using social media, introducing it can seem like a daunting task. The amount of tools on offer can be overwhelming, but a good place to begin is to find out what your students are already using, such as Facebook and implement those tools first.

social media 2What are the trends in your field and how are you preparing to address them?
In the field of career development and job search, the use of social media is a growing trend. Many employers use social media as a way to find and screen potential candidates and to look for evidence of skills and professional demeanor. Therefore, an essential skill for the 21st century job seeker is an understanding of how to use social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs to maximize opportunities for work. Instructors who are designing and delivering programs for adults in this field are not only using social media as learning tools, but also guiding students in how to use these tools for their own professional gain. The current series of programs provided by Work BC Employment Service Centres include a segment that teaches participants how to use social media to network and job search.

According to the 2014 NMC Horizon Report, social media has  “found significant traction in almost every education sector” and the growing ubiquity of social media is a “fast trend”, driving changes in higher education over the next one to two years (2014, p.8).  Social media cannot be ignored, so as an effective instructor, I must find ways in which to use it as a component for learning.  So how would I do this? I found plenty of articles on-line that gave me ideas and examples to work from. One useful guideline in planning the use of social media suggests that you;

  • align social media with learning objectives that will benefit from an element of sharing, co-creation or networking.
  • ask yourself what can be done without the instructor, where could participants benefit from providing content, rather than being given the information.
  • know your learners and ask yourself what tools they are already using. Think about which tools are easiest to begin with and which ones might annoy or confuse (Steer, 2012, p.31).

Here are some of my ideas on how I could use social media in my classroom;

  • Set up a class Facebook page to share information and links to relevant materials. I could ask each participant to join and add  information (such as links to employer sites). The Facebook group will also be a useful tool to grow each person’s network and keep people in touch even after the course is over. Updates, such as “I got the job of my dreams” could be very encouraging. People who are not already using Facebook would have an opportunity to try it out, in the safety of the course.
  • I can record lessons on YouTube that participants can refer to at any time, in or out of class. Examples of good and bad interview techniques would be a great video to share.
  • Use Skype to invite industry leaders into the classroom, to share information about what real employers are looking for and to answer questions in a live session.

Social media is an exciting development for learning. Overcoming fear of change might be a challenge for some, but I am prepared to harness its potential in my future classroom. For me, the advantages it brings for participation far outweigh any disadvantages.

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