A STUDENT’S academic success significantly depends on how well the lessons he learns are delivered and how well he understands the messages taught.
Identifying the various learning methodologies can give educationists an insight into what stimulates an individual’s interest in learning and absorbing new knowledge.
It is critical to realise that different groups of students have different levels of knowledge and competencies. To implement a good teaching methodology, educationists have to analyse different segments of students and how best they can align the delivery and learning modes to match students’ learning styles and to meet their unique needs and expectations.
These methodologies will enable educationists to better analyse how they can work towards the desired goal of developing a superior learning system for their students.
Here are some popular methods of delivering knowledge:
Lectures and classroom presentations serve as a one-way knowledge transfer path. During this process, information is delivered to the students in a one-way communication mode. In choosing this method of learning, it is critical for educationists to understand who their target audience is.
If the group comprises young and inexperienced people, a lecture must be customised to make them simple and easy to understand. Alternatively, if the audience is mature and experienced, then the lecture has to include practical applications and real-life examples these students can relate to.
Although the subject could be the same, the style of delivery of the lecture should consider the target audience and its level of competency.
Tutorials play a critical role in the learning process as they give students an opportunity to clarify their doubts and ask for additional assistance on a subject. For the learning process to be fully optimised, tutorial sessions must allow for two-way communication and healthy dialogue.
Examples of tutorial activities include working on challenging questions, problems, finding solutions as a class, sharing of research among students and following up on topics introduced in lectures.
3. Case studies
Case studies are a very powerful application and learning tool. As examples of real-life scenarios, they give students a better appreciation and deeper understanding of a specific topic. Case studies offer students an insight of theory in practice.
4. Problem-based learning
This learning tool enhances a student’s analytical thinking abilities and problem-solving skills. Students have to apply these skills in a classroom context to real-life unsolved cases. After searching and finding possible solutions, students can debate the pros and cons of each, and the consequences of each decision.
5. Industrial attachments
As part of the learning process and curriculum, students could be attached to relevant departments for on-the-job training (OJT). This allows students to put into practice their classroom-based learning, and exposes them to the realities of working in the real world, such as time management issues and learning to work with a variety of people.
6. Video screening
Many people absorb information more easily if it is presented visually. Thus, screening videos on appropriate subjects is a good supplement to the lecture format.
7. Projects and presentations
Projects and assignments allow students to demonstrate their ability to integrate their knowledge and practical experience.
Individual assignments build the student’s independence and confidence, while group work inculcates team spirit, cohesiveness and the ability to collate and put ideas together from a collective viewpoint.
Projects and assignments teach students how to prepare detailed reports in a logical format: outlining the proposal, identifying issues and detailing solutions or recommendations.
8. Practical projects
The key objective of practical projects is to enable students to better appreciate what they have been taught in the classrooms. Practical projects can involve short visits and excursions to industry-related companies and factories after which students have to furnish a written report. This is a powerful learning tool as it provides students with the opportunity to incorporate what they have learned in theory with real-life industrial observations.
9. Role-play learning
Role-play is an effective teaching tool in certain disciplines. For example, mass communication students can better understand the work of a journalist or a news anchor by simulating a news event or television broadcast.
10. Knowledge mapping
Knowledge mapping is a useful tool for visual thinking. It helps students map out information and ideas, see how they are linked and identify the knowledge gaps. This is a skill that is useful in the working world too.
For a start, students can be taught how to connect various pieces of information given to them, for instance, a couple of chapters in a textbook. When they know how to do this, they can move on to the next level of competence.
Having a good understanding of these various teaching methodologies allows educators a greater flexibility to select the best teaching methods for each of their target audiences. The result will be motivated and engaged students who are able to optimise their learning experience.