Reflective Blog – Oops, sorry about the essay

So it is time to reflect on the past 9 weeks. What a great 9 weeks they have been!

The Module

If I’m completely honest when I first started out this module I had little interest in the science of learning (I know, I’m sorry I’m sorry). The main reason I chose this module was because it was blog-based, and after the research methods blogs in second year I was really looking forward to getting back into blogging.

But oh how things have changed! During these 9 weeks I have actually begun to really enjoy learning about learning. As a student it’s been helpful to research scientific things about learning because obviously this is going to help me with my studies, shame it’s the final module of the year though eh? I feel as though I have learnt so much, actually the most from this module than from any other module throughout uni, I think this is because we have been thrown out there and been made to find things for ourselves. We haven’t been told what to learn, so we’ve been learning about things because we want to!! (I cant remember the name of who said it, but I actually have learnt on this module that you are going to be more motivated if you are interested 😀 hehe – see theres me showing off my new found knowledge!).

The Blogs

With blogs, I like that we get to choose whatever we want to write about, find all the information on it and then post and share it with everyone ready to see their opinions on the topic. It may be quite a demanding way to be assessed – basically having a mini essay to write every week, but I personally much prefer this rather than being forced to do a stressful exam at the end of the semester.

The Comments

If I had to give one criticism to this module, I’m sorry but it would have to be about the comments. I’m not saying we shouldn’t comment on others’ blogs, not at all! I think this is a great idea, I’ve learnt loads from other peoples’ comments on my blogs and I hope I have helped others with my comments.

I just feel as though it was a bit too stressful at times, in order to boost a grade we were required to do 6+ comments. In order for me to write a “good” comment I would say it took me about 1-2 hours per comment!!! As first there was to read and choose a blog to comment on – then ensure you understood what they were saying – then read any comments already posted on their blog – then try and find something extra and beneficial to contribute – then make sure you can back up your argument with supporting evidence. So yeah, it took me a very long time, and I can understand that maybe my argument for this criticism is weak because we are final year university students, we should be able to handle the pressure, but I just wanted to point it out ☺.

The Presentations

Aaaaaaah the presentations. Ok, this is going to sound crazy… But when we went to that first introduction seminar 10 weeks ago to find out about the module, Jesse told us that we would have to present 4 of our blogs and UPLOAD 2 of them. This actually horrified me, I actually considered swapping modules due to this because oral presentations terrify me. Then I thought, “don’t be so silly, just get on with it, whats the worse that can happen”.

I’m really pleased I just got up and went with it. I still may get nervous but its good to see recorded videos of yourself because you can find areas of how to improve and to make yourself a better speaker. Looking back on my presentations I can definitely see how I have improved over the course of the presentations. Still a bit more to go but I think I might be “almost” ready for that big scary project presentation lol.

Uh but anyway, I think this wasn’t the reason we were made to do talks!! I think Jesse wanted us to do the talks in order to present our blogs and get the discussions flowing in class too. It definitely did this. I think by watching the person deliver the talk was a good way to hear about what they had learnt and you could ask direct questions there and then.

Presentations were also cool for the “face behind the blog” thing. Made it a bit more personal when commenting on blogs, so it wasn’t just like you were talking to PSU-whoever, you actually felt as though you were talking to a classmate.

Oops
Sorry I’ve rambled a bit. I don’t think many people are even going read this one haha!! But yeah – it’s been great! If you are someone who is thinking of doing this module next year then I would say go for it! IF you are prepared to take on the work load, of course. It is definitely not a “easy-option” module.

So that’s it. My last ever blog post for Bangor uni 😦

Thanks for reading.
Bye Bye!

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Learning Styles: Synthesis of topic

I’m going to tie everything that I have found about learning styles together to show some of the main conclusions that I’ve reached, I’ll be throwing in some additional research to find further explanations too. Sorry it’s so long, there was too much I wanted to say!

Research suggests that the type of activities and the teaching styles used in classrooms are important, and the wrong type of teaching method can really affect the way a student learns (Wentzel, 2002).  It is considered that some students have a particular learning style ‘built into them’ and they are unable to learn in another way (Dunn, 1990). For example, if a child learns well using a visual learning style; they will struggle to learn in any other way. However, Pashler et al. (2008). argue against this, suggesting that all people have the ability to learn in any learning style! But they do agree that people can have learning styles that they prefer. I wanted to point this out to explain that I don’t think we HAVE to use a particular learning style, I just think some are more effective than others.

The most effective type of learning style that kept popping up whilst I was studying this area was active learning (Jang, 2008; Sivan et al., 2000).  This style of learning is so varied and can appear in many different forms such as; technology, group work, field trips, role playing and games.

There are many reasons to suggest why active learning is an effective learning style. One suggestion is because it’s an engaging learning style; it is considered that the work has more of a personal importance to the student (Jang, 2008). Research has shown that if something is considered important to you, then you are more likely going to be motivated to achieve the goal (Deci et al. 1991). So in terms of education, if students learn in this active engaging way, they consider the task more personally important to them so in theory they will be more motivated to work harder to complete the task.

One popular opinion for why it works so well is because it is an entertaining way of learning so keeps learners interested (Brown & Atkins, 1998; Poudel et al., 2005). The entertainment factor comes across in a number of ways; it can be as simple as having the information delivered in a performance based approach (Brown & Atkins, 1998). It was found that this method actually made students retain and understand the information more than a ‘boring’ approach (Short & Martin, 2011). In addition, Ferdig and Trammel (2004) and Lai (1999) suggest that some learning methods are considered to be a motivating tool because they are deemed interesting due to the novelty of the task; they are a little different to the usual ways we are assessed. For whichever reason it may be, I think it’s important for something to be entertaining because it keeps students enthusiastic about the learning, and a lack of enthusiasm towards something is one of the main influences towards failure (Sasson, 2001).

Another suggestion as to why active learning can be so effective is because active learning activities usually require quite informal learning techniques (Hofstien & Rosenfeld, 1996; Feher, 1990). Although the research I found suggesting this was investigating field trips, I think it can also be related to active learning techniques such as games, as these are also informal. It could also be considered that active learning in terms of games and other informal learning experiences are successful due to their playfulness. Brown (1998) explains how playing can be beneficial for children and also working adults because play lowers stress levels, boosts optimism and motivation, and improves concentration. So by introducing playful informal activities into classrooms this could encourage students to produce better work as they will be more focused on learning.

Critics suggest that active learning isn’t all great though! One of the main concerns is that these novel and active ways of learning can cause anxiety for students (Kagan & Fasan, 1988; Russel, 2008).  Although, this can be resolved if the students are well prepared for the activity (Hofstein & Rosenfeld, 1996) and even by making teachers aware of the impact anxiety was having on the learning is thought to help reduce the anxiety (Russel, 2008). Another negative thing about active methods of learning was that faculties were concerned about these active approaches not covering a sufficient amount of information. But Faust and Paulson (1998) argue that even though students won’t be able to cover AS much information, they will be able to retain more because it’s more entertaining. One final criticism is that students can sometimes see the activity as a fun thing and drift their attention on to the fun rather than the learning (Falk, Martin & Balling, 1978). Baring this in mind, it is probably wise to only use these methods as an additional tool to learning rather than a method of its own.

To conclude, research gathered suggests that different learning styles can affect the way students learn, although it is important to remember that this is just a preference and not an innate learning style. Despite this, one of the most effective learning styles that I came across is active learning, as there are a range of methods that this style uses that other learning styles cannot use. These methods are effective in a number of ways; they get students engaged in the task which leads to a sense of personal value to the activity, they are a bit different to other methods so are considered more fun and interesting and also, the informal-playful learning experience can help with motivation towards learning. Despite there being criticisms on this learning style, research has shown ways to overcome these!! Also, it is important to remember that not all students may prefer this learning style and it can be distracting if used ALL the time, so it should only be used as an addition to learning along with traditional methods (Felder, 1993).

 

 

REFERENCES

 Brown, S. (1998). Play as an organizing principle: clinical evidence and personal observations. Animal play, 243-259.  http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/09/13/work-hard-play-harder-fun-at-work-boosts-creativity-productivity/

 Deci, E. L., Vallerand, R. J., Pelletier, L. G., & Ryan, R. M. (1991). Motivation and education: The self-determination perspective. Educational psychologist,26(3-4), 325-346

 Dunn R (1990b).Rita Dunn answers questions on learning styles. Educational Leadership, 48(2), 15–19.

 Falk, J. H., Martin, W. W., & Balling, J. D. (2006). The novel field‐trip phenomenon: Adjustment to novel settings interferes with task learning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 15(2), 127-134.

 Ferdig, R. E., & Trammell, K. D. (2004). Content delivery in the’Blogosphere’.The Journal, 31(7), 12-20.

Hofstein, A., & Rosenfeld, S. (1996). Bridging the gap between formal and informal science learning.

 Jang, H. (2008). Supporting students’ motivation, engagement, and learning during an uninteresting activity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(4), 798.

 Lai, K. C. (1999). Freedom to learn: a study of the experiences of secondary school teachers and students in a geography field trip. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 8(3), 239-255.

Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2008). Learning styles concepts and evidence. Psychological science in the public interest9(3), 105-119.

Poudel, D. D., Vincent, L. M., Anzalone, C., Huner, J., Wollard, D., Clement, T., … & Blakewood, G. (2005). Hands-on activities and challenge tests in agricultural and environmental education. The Journal of Environmental Education, 36(4), 10-22.

Russell, G. (2008).  Social Anxiety: The elephant in your classroom? Education and Health, 26(3), 50-53.  Retrieved from:http://sheu.org.uk/sites/sheu.org.uk/files/imagepicker/1/eh263gr.pdf

Sasson, R (2001). “Lack of Motivation and Enthusiasm.” Success Conciousnesss. Successconciousness.com. Web.

Silverman, L. K. (2002). Upside-down brilliance: The visual-spatial learner. DeLeon Pub..

Sivan, A., Leung, R. W., Woon, C. C., & Kember, D. (2000). An implementation of active learning and its effect on the quality of student learning. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 37(4), 381-389.

 Wentzel, K.R. (2002). Are effective teachers like good parents? Teaching styles and student adjustment in

early adolescence. Child Developmental, 73, 287–301.

 

Learning styles: Hands-on Learning

I have been writing about learning styles for the past couple of weeks and mainly been blabbing on about how important I think it is to get students engaged and actively involved with their learning. So it made sense to me to now move onto talking about an active approach to learning in general!

Hands-on learning is a learning style which requires the student to carry out a physical activity and try and get learning by themselves. Rather than just sitting in a hall listening to a lecturer or watching a demonstration, hands-on learning gets the students up and physically involved.

Researchers have found that introducing hands-on techniques into the classroom is good for students (Sivan et al., 2000). Manuel (2002) found that students who had a preference for a kinesthetic learning style (a type of Hands-on method) would show signs of improved academic performances when they were taught in this way. Manuel believes that students performed well because of the positive attitude towards the kinesthetic learning style. Poudel et al., (2005) suggests that students will perform well when involved in hands-on activities because this approach is more interesting than a teacher lecturing them. Due to this enhanced interest, they believe that students will be more motivated to learn and to think in a more critical way.

Some hands-on methods that education practices have introduced are Group projects, working in a group means students have to be active in terms of sharing their ideas, learning from others, enhancing their argumentative skills etc., Springer, Stanna and Donovan (1998) suggest that group projects are particularly effective if working in pairs. They suggest that working in pairs promotes greater student achievement, increases retention in courses, and promotes favourable attitudes toward the course material. Also, Shakarian (1995) suggest that working in pairs is better than big groups because it makes it pretty much impossible for students to avoid participating (check out more I’ve written about social loafing). Jigsaw Group Projects have also been described as an effective active-learning technique (Clarke, 1994), this is where students are bunged into a group and have to explore a particular topic, each member has their own sub-topic which they research, then once they have all worked on their sub-topic they “fix” it all together and discuss. This works well because all the students have to research their own area and then deliver the information to other members, research shows that by explaining information to others will increase one’s own understanding (Peterson & Janicki, 1979).Online journals can be used for an active style of learning, this is an effective tool for motivating students to apply course concepts to their own life experiences and to explore course content in more depth, also by uploading journals online encourages public debate where others can discuss with them (Glogoff, 2005). Faust and Paulson (1998) suggest that role playing also works well for students because this active technique allows them to gain a better understanding of the theories and concepts that are being taught in class. Playing Games is another one (for adults too – not just kids lol) Groves, Warren and Witscher (1996) suggest that playing games can dramatize aspects of reality and information that can’t be transmitted by ordinary methods of delivering knowledge (lectures)! Faust and Paulson (1998) suggests that games such as puzzles are a highly effective way to review material before moving onto the next stage of the assignment.

However, people may criticize some of these techniques!! Faculties argue that these hands-on methods do not cover enough information, but Faust and Paulson (1998) controversially say that students are still learning just as much this way, basically they say that a boring approach may cover more material, but that doesn’t mean students will retain it all! Because students are less likely to retain all the information if they are bored! Also, some may say that not all students want to get actively involved and may have another learning style preference, due to this Felder (1993) suggests that it is probably best to use these hands-on techniques as an additional tool of learning; so using these techniques along with the standard lecture should be an effective method for all students in the class. Another thing Felder mentions is that by combining these methods, that it should hopefully prepare students for the workplace!

To conclude, its considered that many students have a preference towards hands-on learning activities, and it is suggested that this is because it is an interesting learning style! There are many ways to introduce hands-on activities into the classroom, which have been found successful for both children and adults in education. Some of these include; group work, journals, games and role playing – and that’s just to name a few, there are many many many ways to involve hands-on learning into education, but these are some of the ones that stood out to me!! Despite there being some negative issues surrounding this learning style; research shows that there are solutions and also that hands-on activites may be best to be used as an additional tool of learning.

Comments?

practical

REFERENCES

Clarke, J. (1994). Pieces of the puzzle: The jigsaw method. In S. Sharan (Ed.), Handbook of cooperative learning methods (pp. 34-50). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Faust, J. L., & Paulson, D. R. (1998). Active learning in the college classroom.Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 9(2), 3-24.

Glogoff, S. (2005). Instructional blogging: Promoting interactivity, student-centered learning, and peer input. Innovate. Journal of Online Education, 1(5).

Groves, J. M., Warren, C., & Witscher, J. (1996). Reversal of fortune: A simulation game for teaching inequality in the classroom. Teaching Sociology, 24, 364-371.

Manuel, K. (2002), Teaching Information Literacy to Generation Y, Hawthorn Press, New York, NY, .

Paulson, D. R. (1999). Active learning and cooperative learning in the organic chemistry lecture class. The Journal of Chemical Education, 76, 1136-1140.

Poudel, D. D., Vincent, L. M., Anzalone, C., Huner, J., Wollard, D., Clement, T., … & Blakewood, G. (2005). Hands-on activities and challenge tests in agricultural and environmental education. The Journal of Environmental Education, 36(4), 10-22.

Shakarian, D. C. (1995). Beyond lecture: Active-learning strategies that
work. The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 66, 21-24.

Sivan, A., Leung, R. W., Woon, C. C., & Kember, D. (2000). An implementation of active learning and its effect on the quality of student learning. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 37(4), 381-389.

Springer, L., Stanne, M. E., &. Donovan, S. S. (1998). Effects of small-group learning on undergraduates in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. Madison, WI: National Institute for Science Education.

Learning Styles: Field Trips

I’ve been discussing different learning styles, and mainly been focusing on the importance of active involvement and entertainment. One of the most engaging and entertaining methods of learning that I can think of is SCHOOL TRIPS!! (or as most of the research I have found is American –“ field” trips). This week, I’m going to talk about the impact of field trips in education, to see if they are beneficial and why.

Research suggests that field trips are beneficial for learning. One example is, Javlekar (1989) who found that a student’s knowledge on a certain subject will increase if they have been on a field trip, he found this by comparing students who had visited a scientific exhibit compared to students who hadn’t. When quizzed, the students who had visited out-performed the students who hadn’t. There are many reasons as to why researchers think field trips are so effective:

Hofstien and Rosenfeld (1996) believe one of the reasons field trips are an effective learning method is due to the informal learning experience. The informal learning encourages active-learning by allowing the students to interact physically and manipulate objects. Feher (1990) supports this as he believes field trips are successful due to the informality; students can move around the environment and experiment with objects at their own pace.

Furthermore, Lai (1999) suggests that it is the novelty of field trips that makes them so effective. Lai (1999) found that students perceive their usual classroom learning as boring, so they valued the field trips due to its rarity and the freedom they could have during the trip. Students would look at the learning experience form a new perspective; they developed a desire to break away from their teachers in order to give themselves a control over their own learning. Unfortunately they found that the desire to partake in proactive learning stopped once the children returned to the classroom.

Some researchers suggest that field trips can actually be a negative towards learning. Falk, Martin and Balling (1978) suggest that the novelty of the field situation can be a bad thing for learning as the children associate days out as fun social activities rather than a learning experience. Therefore, it is assumed that the students will direct all their attention towards the environment and the fun, distracting them from the actual learning activity. Another negative thing about field trips is that some children can become stressed due to the unfamiliar environment (Kagan and Fasan, 1988). It is suggested that because field trips can be stressful and cause anxiety for some children, they are not going to be able to focus on the learning activites and thus, not learn. Nevertheless, Hofstein and Rosenfeld (1996) believe that these issues can be resolved if the students are prepared for the trip beforehand. Meaning that, the children associating the day out as a social adventurous event will be prepared to learn and the children who become anxious will have more of an idea of what to expect from the trip.

One of my own ideas… As the majority of school trips (well, that I have been on anyway) usually take place outside, I thought maybe it is just the general outdoors that makes it so effective?? Eaton (2000) found that learning outdoors is effective for developing cognitive skills. Reasons for this could be due to the attention restoration theory (Kaplan, 1995). Suggesting that when we are surrounded by nature our minds unwind as we don’t have to constantly keep our attention focused on busy (and potentially dangerous) objects that we would usually find in manmade places (e.g vehicles, sirens, music, fire alarms etc.). So without these distractions, the students on field trips can focus their attention directly on the learning activity rather than diverting their attention to distractions in schools that they may find. Berman (2008) supports this as he found that nature enhances cognitive functioning.

To conclude, field trips are an effective learning style due to the promotion of proactive learning, which can be caused by the informal learning experience or due to the novelty of the trip. However, the novelty factor isn’t always a good thing as it can be overwhelming for some children. Despite there being some negative things related to field trips, there are ways to solve these problems. I personally think that school trips are beneficial and should be encouraged in schools, further research could look into ways to transfer the knowledge and attitudes gained on field trips into the classroom.

So sorry about writing so much, theres so much more I could write on this topic so I look forward to reading and replying to any comments you may have 🙂

school trip

Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological science, 19(12), 1207-1212.

Falk, J. H., Martin, W. W., & Balling, J. D. (2006). The novel field‐trip phenomenon: Adjustment to novel settings interferes with task learning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 15(2), 127-134.

Hofstein, A., & Rosenfeld, S. (1996). Bridging the gap between formal and informal science learning.
Javlekar, V. (1989). Learning scientific concepts in science centers. In Bitgood, S Proceedings of the 1989 Visitor Studies Conference (Vol. 2).
Kagan, D. M., & Fasan, V. (1988). Stress and the instructional environment.College Teaching, 36(2), 75-81.

Kaplan, S. (1995). The restorative benefits of nature: Toward an integrative framework. Journal of environmental psychology, 15(3), 169-182.

Lai, K. C. (1999). Freedom to learn: a study of the experiences of secondary school teachers and students in a geography field trip. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 8(3), 239-255.

I thought some of my readers would find this particularly interesting 🙂

Science Of Education Blog

In last week’s blog, I discussed test anxiety, and how this may affect student’s ability to perform well during exams.  This week, I will introduce how social anxiety effects education during collaborative learning/ group work.  I briefly mentioned general anxiety in the previous blog, so if anyone would like to read it before this one, just click here and have a look!    

 

So what is social anxiety (or social phobia)?  It is a constant feeling of fear during social situations.  This can vary from a small group of people gathered in a casual environment, to a group of people in a more formal environment such as a discussion in a classroom.  Many of us often feel a lack of confidence or slight nervousness meeting new people, or speaking in public.  However, individuals who suffer from social anxiety will experience this on a regular basis and on a higher…

View original post 692 more words

Learning Styles: Blogging

Last week I mentioned that Jang (2008) said students perform better if they were more actively involved with learning, baring this and my technology post in mind, I wanted to talk about blogging as an effective learning style. I really enjoy blogging and it’s one of the main reasons why I chose this module. I like the freedom of being able to work whenever (well as long as it’s due in on time) and the fact that we actually get to delve into a subject and research it the way we want to. Rather than just being told “this is what you’re going to learn. Now do an exam on what I’ve taught you”. I think blogging should be encouraged more and I shall discuss some of the reasons why in this post.

One of the key things for an effective learning style was to encourage active learning, and blogging certainly does, as bloggers are required to find and post whatever they can about a certain topic. Blood (2002) suggests blogging requires a three-step process: sourcing, filtering and posting. Suggesting that the bloggers don’t just learn what they post, but as they have to read and evaluate sooo much information before posting the best bits, that their knowledge on the surrounding topic is ever-growing. So as we are writing a blog every week about the psychological principles in education, think about all the journal articles and website articles you have read, you didn’t post ALL of the information that you read, did you? But that doesn’t mean you haven’t understood the rest of it and your knowledge in this area is vastly growing each week!

Furthermore, last week I also mentioned in order for a learning style to be successful and motivating it has to be enjoyable Atkins (1998). Well,Ferdig and Trammel (2004) suggest that blogs are considered to be a motivating tool because they are a bit different to the usual ways we are assessed, so we find it exciting and enjoyable! They also suggest that blogs are seen as enjoyable because the students usually get a chance to blog about whatever they like, so it is going to be something that they are interested in.

Another important thing to consider when thinking about blogging as an effective learning style is the social aspect that comes with it. The use of blogs gives all students involved a chance to participate through the use of commenting on each other’s blog posts. Glogoff (2005) suggests that this is beneficial to learning as a class discussion allows students to encourage each other as well as advancing their own perspective and experiences. These online-disccusions could be particularly effective for shy students who might not have wanted to participate face-to-face infront of people in a classroom (Kajder & Bull, 2003). Also in the traditional classroom manner, not all students would have chance to express their opinions anyway due to the limited time of the class schedule. There are also only a limited amount of people who can learn in a class too (the people in the room who have signed up to the class). With blogging, every student gets a chance to express their opinion and anyone can be involved in the learning – even if they are not in the class, they can still read the material! (Hello to all of you not in the Science of Education module, or not even at Bangor University who are reading this!!! Hope you are enjoying the learning experience lol). Expanding on this, the bloggers quickly learn that the posted content can be read by more people than just their teacher and their classmates. As we know that so many people can read our work, this actually makes us work harder as we feel as though we are being evaluated by more people. So it is thought that as there is a large audience reading our work, we are likely to produce better work in our blogs than our other assignments that are only marked by the teacher (Richardson and Swan, 2003).

To conclude, I think that blogging is an extremely effective learning style, as it allows students to actively learn and research what they want to (within reason), which is beneficial in itself because we are more likely to do well if we enjoy something! Blogging is also beneficial to learning because of the social aspect; it gives every student a voice, students can develop their own knowledge by commenting on other students’ blogs, ANY one can read the blog and benefit from the learning, and due to this students are more likely to produce better quality work knowing that so many people have access to their work.

blog

References

Blood, R. (2002). The weblog handbook: Practical advice on creating and maintaining your blog. Basic Books.

Ferdig, R. E., & Trammell, K. D. (2004). Content delivery in the’Blogosphere’.The Journal, 31(7), 12-20.

Glogoff, S. (2005). Instructional blogging: Promoting interactivity, student-centered learning, and peer input. Innovate. Journal of Online Education, 1(5).

Jang, H. (2008). Supporting students’ motivation, engagement, and learning during an uninteresting activity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(4), 798.

Kajder S., and G. Bull. 2003. Scaffolding for struggling students. Learning & Leading with Technology 31 (2): 32–35

Richardson, J. C., & Swan, K. (2003). Examing social presence in online courses in relation to students’ perceived learning and satisfaction.

Again, if you want to be a lazy bum and want to watch this talk instead of reading it.. here is the video. Sorry that I look such a scruff on this video, I think it was raining that day so my hair is tied back (I hate wearing my hair up!), and my cardigan is all messy.. maybe I should have a word with the guys who set up the rooms to see if we are allowed mirrors next time to check ourselves out before we start presenting? 😉 lol. Also, I forgot to repeat back the comments and questions that were asked at the end of the presentation, oops. But if you listen carefully you may be able to hear. Oh and look, finally stopped with the constant note reading. Enjoy xx

Learning Styles

Over the next 4 weeks I will be talking about a certain topic relating to the psychological principles that can be applied education. The topic that I have chosen to write about is different learning styles and techniques, this week I’ll start off broad and expand on this over the following weeks. I have chosen this topic because after just receiving my results from semester 1 and comparing to my year 2 scores, I found SUCH a variety of results. It got me questioning – how can I be so much more successful in some of the subjects compared to others? I thought perhaps it was due to the style of learning; the way the lectures were taught, the way I revised, the method of assessment etc. So I’m going to explore some of the explanations! Not just in terms of university but throughout schools and colleges too.

Research suggests that the type of activities and the teaching styles used in classrooms are important, and the wrong type of teaching method can really affect the way a student learns (Wentzel, 2002).

One type of learning method that is considered successful is getting the students actively involved in lessons (Jang, 2008). Research to support this idea comes from Boaler (2002), she found that when students engaged in a lesson and shared their ideas with their classmates, they had more of a positive attitude than the students who didn’t get actively involved! Samuelsson (2008) also found similar results – children who were involved in practical class work where they had to engage with others performed better than children who were either just lectured by a teacher or were asked to work directly out of a textbook. Jang (2008) suggests active involvement in the classroom is effective because they are engaging with the subject, therefore the learning is considered to have more of a personal importance and relevance to the student.

Another thing to consider in terms of learning styles is the way the things are taught to the student. Atkins (1998) suggests that teachers can encourage students to be more enthusiastic with their learning by presenting the information with a performance based approach. So, Atkins (1998) thinks that by using a teaching style which includes anecdotes, humour and impromptu class discussions will keep the learner interested as it is entertaining!! Short and Martin (2011) support this as they found that students not only preferred lectures that used this performance based approach, but they also retained and understood more information from those lectures. This method can unfortunately sometimes be inappropriate as it can be time consuming, but aspects of it can still be used – such as the use of images and what not.

If we are talking about keeping students interested then we can’t forget the use of technology as a learning style (I won’t talk about this too much as I have already wrote a whole blog about it – check it out if you haven’t already). But research suggests that technology can have a positive impact on the way students learn due to its entertainment factor (Eckel, Rojas & Ball, 2006). And I agree with this as I do think modules like this one where we use technology a lot really influences the way we work, in fact I think I may expand on this one day and possibly write a whole post about blogging as a learning style.

So to conclude, I think the way we learn is really important as different types of learning styles are more successful than others. So why is this? Well Atkins (1998) suggests different learning styles could be more effective due to how interesting they are. This could be related to the entertainment factor of technology (Eckel, Rojas & Ball, 2006). Also, Jang (2008) suggests that being more actively involved is an important factor for learning styles.

Thanks!
Comments?

References
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