Pedagogy is the art and science of teaching or the knowledge and skills that practitioners of the profession of teaching employ in performing their duties of facilitating desired learning in others. It is also referred to as teaching approach or teaching strategy. There is no single, universal and sustainable teaching strategy (pedagogy) that suits all situations. In the teaching process there are different skills, knowledge and competences which need to be addressed through different approaches (Queensland Government, 2006).
Learners also have different backgrounds, needs and abilities. Thus, a teacher needs to apply different methods to suit best certain students’ backgrounds, learning styles and abilities. Effective teachers use an array of different teaching strategies in different combinations with different groupings of students to improve learning outcomes.
This document mentions and describes the five kinds of pedagogies and the way they can be supported in a course management system. Before we discuss the kinds of pedagogy lets familiarize ourselves with the course management system.
Course management system
Meerts (2003) describe course management system as a tool that allows the instructor to post information on a web without the instructor having to know or understand HTML or other computer languages. The tool provide an instructor with a set of framework that allows the relatively easy creation of online course content and the subsequently teaching and management of the course including various interactions with students taking the course. A course management system can contain aspects of administration (class rosters, recording of grades, also some aspects of teaching such as learning objects, class exercises, quizzes and tests. It can also contain a tool for real-time charts or asynchronous bulletin board type communication (Meerts, 2003). Some vendors of course management system includes; www.webct.com, www.blackboard.com, www.desire2learn.com etc.
1. Collaborative learning
Collaborative learning covers a broad territory of approaches to education, and it includes a wide range of activities, goals, and processes (Belge, 1997). According to Belge, this characterization shows that the term does not reflect a single comprehensive theory; rather it should be understood as an umbrella term. Smith & McGregor (1992) also argue that, collaborative learning is an umbrella term for a variety of educational approaches involving joint intellectual effort by students, or students and teachers together. Students are working in groups of two or more, mutually searching for understanding, solutions, or meanings, or creating a product. Collaborative learning is characterized by common goal, shared knowledge thorough discussion, Individual responsibility, shared authority among teachers and students, teachers assuming the role of a mediator and the presence of heterogeneous grouping of students.
How can collaborative learning be supported by a CMS?
According to Curran (2002) the online collaboration environment can support communication, sharing and interaction in different ways. He proposes the use of chat boxes integrated with both text chart and having a microphone for voice chart. With this tool, students and teachers can post materials in the chart box and have an opportunity to interact among themselves as well as the teacher. In some instances, students can collaborate through a forum for discussion or discussion board in the blackboard. Where a teacher can put a topic and students can collaboratively work on the problem by posting their ideas on it or sharing files and pictures.
2. Problem-based learning
Problem-based learning is an approach that challenges students to learn through engagement in a real world problem solving. It’s a teaching approach which develops both problem solving strategies and disciplinary knowledge bases and skills by placing students in the active role of problem-solvers confronted with an ill-structured situation that simulates the kind of problems they are likely to face in the real life. Problem based learning has the following characteristics which may be identified and utilized in designing the instruction: use of real world problems (problems are relevant and contextual), relies on problems to drive the curriculum (the problems are used to develop, not to test skills), the problems are truly ill-structured (not meant for one solution), its learner centered (students given more responsibility) and produces independence (develop life-long learning).
How can problem-based learning be supported by CMS?
A learning environment can be set up for a problem based learning within an online learning platform which includes selective release of content, collaboration tools, multimedia demonstrations, mind mapping tools etc(Commonwealth of Australia, 2008). According to Curran (2002), problem based learning can also be easily supported by instant messaging and emails. Through instant messages, learners can be able to communicate themselves about the solution of the problem they are solving and send back the feedback to the teacher through email. However, if there is no internet coverage, it might be a good idea to use the mobile phone or text message and most preferable teleconferencing. Through which a teacher can communicate with all learners about their progress, grades and corrections needed for better solution.
3. Inquiry Learning
This is a pedagogy which requires students to work together to solve problems rather than receiving direct instructions on what to do from the teacher. In this form of instruction, it is proposed that teachers should be viewed as facilitators of learning rather than vessels of knowledge. Inquiry learning emphasizes active learning, encouraging students to ask questions, formulate hypotheses, and experiment to test them. It’s a kind of self-directed learning and follows the four basic stages which gives students more responsibility in determining what they need to learn, identifying resources and how best to learn from them, using resources and reporting their learning, and assessing their progress in learning. Inquiry learning begins by “creating a context” for a study project to help students understand why the issues in question are important and worthwhile to investigate and solve it. Then “set up questions” that guide the inquiry process and let the students “create a working theory” (make inferences from their experiences). Finally, let students “search and share the new information” through which they will use in “setting up subordinate questions”.
How Inquiry learning can be supported by CMS?
A text with pictures or video describing a problem can be posted in the discussion board or website or send to students through emails. Learners will be given with all the necessary notice concerning the video just shown. Their task will be to find out on how to solve the problem presented in a picture or video. For the simplicity of the problem solving, the teacher may also include a worksheet in which every student can put down (share) the procedures for solving the problem. A teacher can advice the learners about their proposed solution for improvement. Or there may be a link through which students can enrich their knowledge about the proposed solution.
4. Workplace learning
According to the Australian National Training Authority (2003), workplace learning is a learning or training undertaken in the workplace, usually on the job, including on-the-job training under normal operational conditions (formal learning), and on-site training, which is conducted away from the work process (informal learning). Workplace learning is aimed at providing the skills leading to capacity to innovate which has become the key concept in the ability of firms to be competitive. It derives its purpose from context of employment. The aims of work place learning are largely to enable individuals, employers and organizations to respond to the changing nature of economic activity; contribute to improved efficiency and productivity in employment and meet the personal and career development needs of individuals (UK National Institute of Adult Continuing Education 2008). Workplace learning is characterized by open communication styles; Innovative systems, organizational restructuring, performance review systems, and the development of documentation and data to support learning. Also there is formal and informal learning system as well as the process that foster generic skills such as communication, problem-solving skills, team work, information technology and customer service care.
How can workplace learning be supported in CMS
Workplace learning is the most CMS demanding teaching approach. At work people are almost busy with time and money thus they don’t see the need to attend in learning (Admiraal, Laat, Ruben & Lally, 2003). Thus it’s difficult to make collaboration between teacher and students. Admiraal et al, proposes the use of e-learning programs and e-learning materials. A teacher can produce materials in a blackboard; such as work guide or instructions for workplace learning. In the Dutch they use www.e-learning.nl tool to facilitate workplace learning program. This tool, however, is designed to facilitate formal learning settings (education, training and courses). There is less attention for supporting or stimulating informal-learning situations, such as creating and facilitating learning communities amongst internal or external colleagues, or even experts (Admiraal et al 2003).
5. Competency-based learning
Competency refers to the application of knowledge and skills relative to an industry standard of performance. The concept of competency focuses on what is expected of an employee in the workplace, rather than on the learning process, and embodies the ability to transfer and apply skills and knowledge to new situations and environments. It is the method of study that focuses on what a person can actually do as a result of training. Competency based learning represents a shift towards an emphasis on the industry competency standards rather than with an individual’s grades relative to others. Competency-based curricula are based upon a network of interrelated organized competencies relating to what a professional can and must do. The learning outcomes of the competency based learning are expected to be improvement in the skills, knowledge or attitudes of the learner. It is characterized by, application of knowledge in professional situations, authentic learning situation; student must identify the role of an innovative knowledge work. There is the authentic of the reviews and assessments.
How can competency-based learning be supported in CMS?
A learning environment can allow students to have influence in both problem selection and the process of problem solving (Weert, 2002). In the competency based learning, students can be given a real world problem in the blackboard or through emails and provided with a portfolio in which they can present whatever comes in their minds about the solution of the problem at hand. The competency of the learner will be determined by the way he progressively moves towards the right solution of the problem. In the CMS students can for example make an overview of the activities they completed and describe the process in a digital portfolio. A discussion forum could support the peer-assessments. The forum can also be used to foster communication between students with experts and teachers. This can support continuous evaluation.
There is no single methods can ensure effective delivery of learning. The application of different learning approaches especially learner centered, have been found paramount in fostering effective learning. With the increasing demands of the learners, the need for flexibility and rising demand on job learning, pedagogical plan are supposed to include a plan for the kind of technology that can support learning to all learners. This is particularly becoming a challenge to teachers who are teaching adult learners. Any option of a task that a teacher would propose for the learners, there will be some challenges of the best technology that fits the task. However not all kinds of tasks can be well managed by using a technology. Some of the tasks need more laboratory work and field practical.
Curran, K. (2002). An online collaborative environment. Education and Information Technologies, 7(1), 41–53.
Weert, T.J., van (2002). ICT-rich and Competency Based Learning in Higher Education. In: A.J.Kallenberg & M.J.J.M. van de Ven (Eds.), The New Educational Benefits of ICT in Higher Education: Proceedings. Rotterdam: Erasmus Plus BV, OECR.
Meerts, J. (2003), Course Management System (CMS): Educause Evolving Technologies Committee. Overview of X: Wesleyan University.
Admiraal, W., Laat, M., Rubens, W. & Lally, V. (2003). ICT Support for Workplace Learning: e-learning in Small and Medium Enterprises. Paper Presented on the ECER 2003. Hamburg.