Basic Concept & Tips

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  • #33994
    George AtzemianGeorge Atzemian

    >What is the goal of the class and subsequent learning activity?

    The students must have a clear sense of connection to the content and concepts that need to be learned in the class and in the specific learning experiences. If there appears to be no connection, then the students may label activities as futile and/or busy work. These activities will quickly be dismissed by the learner as they will need to focus on what will help them pass the exam. Faculty should verbalize the clear connections between learning activities and the final goal of the learning experience and subsequently the class.

    >How can the student effectively identify their own personal learning needs?

    One can’t be self-directed if they do not know their own strengths and weaknesses (e.g., Where do I go from here?). For this reason, faculty must empower students with consistent access to tools that allows them to easily and habitually identify their own personal learning needs. This is not only vital to developing clinical reasoning skills and passing nursing school, but a necessary habit for all healthcare professionals.

    >What will be the role of the instructor and other students involved?

    Clear understanding of roles upfront is vital for success in self-directed learning. ‘When should I ask the instructor a question?’ ‘Will the instructor be available?’ ‘When should I engage peers?’ ‘What constitutes cheating?’ One way to promote security in this process is to have multiple faculty from different classes using the same set of guidelines.

    >How can the student navigate the learning environment in such a way that is efficient and effective?

    In the beginning, be sure to choose a simple process that can be easily learned (e.g., less than six steps). Then reinforce the navigation of the technology tools with frequent reminders and tips. Whether it’s a simple handout in class, a weekly email, or a post in your learning management system, make sure the format is consistent so students do not become confused.

    >What resources will be needed to be successful?

    Again, for self-directed learning to happen in such a way to facilitate clinical reasoning, there needs to be clarity and consistency of expectations. For instance, tell the students exactly what software they should use, how to use it and why. Inform them of the books and websites that are required as well.

    >How will the learning activity prepare them for assessment (passing the exam)?

    If a student does this work and then discovers that they are not prepared for the exam, they may become frustrated. Be sure that what is learned in the PBL experience is vital information because vital concepts should be addressed on the exam. Fortunately, when self-directed instructional technology is used (e.g., adaptive quizzing), there are often many resources for the instructor to support them in the development of quality assessments of learning.

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