Ok this is my first ever blog.
Technology today has impacted the way people live and learn. Traditional brick and mortar classroom lectures have begun to become optional for some college programs.
My personal teaching experience is teaching industrial instrumentation to apprentice students. The program qualifies students for journeyman (male and female) certification with an inter-provincial certified Red Seal Endorsement. The program is intense and covers Physics, Mathematics, Logic, Computer Programming, Pnuematics, Hydraulics, Electronics, Electricity, Chemistry, Process Controls, Process Instrumentation, and other topics.
The students must achieve at least 70% at each level before they can move to the next level. Between terms the students return to their employer to continue their on-the-job training. The students are motivated by their employers to succeed, and often are mature students, as they are mostly over 25 years of age. The students have the same curriculum every day, and their time at school is divided evenly between lectures and lab work. Attendance is mandatory (a student cannot miss more than 3 days per term). The program is endorsed by the Industry Training Authority (ITA), and meets national standards.
I find that much of the learning actually happens in the lab, as the students prove the theories from the lecture. In lectures, I am often looking at faces exhibiting “deer in the headlights” type of expressions. In the labs I often see the “Eureka” type moments. I think this is because the majority of our students exhibit classic Constructivist Learning behaviors, in that they get a hands-on assignment (as opposed to merely solve a electronic circuit problem using paper and a calculator) which re-inforces the theories learned in lecture.
At this point, from my personal experience, my thoughts are that students cannot learn my trade without demonstrating their learnings in the lab. The theories learned from analyzing drawings and physics sketches need to be put to practice using tools and equipment. The craft cannot be learned merely from watching a Youtube video or reading a book.
Future editions of this blog are going to investigate my preliminary, unscientific opinion. Is it possible for our trades schools to separate the theoretical learnings from lectures and the practical learnings from labs? What would the advantages and disadvantages be? What technologies would be required to implement these?
Reading the text “Student Engagement Techniques – A Handbook for College Faculty by Elizabeth F. Barcley (2010 Jossey-Bass)” has been pretty interesting so far. After 4 chapters I can say that I find it a lot more readable than “Adult Learning- Linking Theory and Practice – Sharan B. Merriam & Laura L. Bierema (2014 Jossey-Bass)”. Time will tell, as I have to finish reading both these texts.
That’s it for today. To be continued.