Problem Based Learning

     Students from the Post Graduate Diploma and Masters in Learning and Teaching participating in a Problem Based Learning Workshop in the Centre for Research and Innovation in Learning and Teaching at National College of Ireland This year we are running a new course at National College of Ireland – the Post-Graduate Diploma and MA in Learning and Teaching.  I am course director for this course and I present a module on Theories of Learning and Cognition. We have a core of sixteen students with some additional attendees from the PhD course and faculty development.  The students come from a wide variety of backgrounds with one thing in common – a passion and commitment for learning and education. We used an instructional approach know as Problem-Based Learning (PBL) as a means of integrating the three semester one modules on Theories of Learning, Research Methods and Philosophy of Education. PBL was structured around a series of workshops on Tuesday evenings and Saturdays.  My colleague Rachel Doherty from the School of Business organised the students in groups to complete a series of authentic tasks. In the first exercise the group tasks were to compose and present a series of student induction presentations Read More …

Carl Wieman Lecture

I attended a lecture in DIT Bolton Street by Dr Carl Wieman titled “Science Education in the 21st Century; using the methods of science to teach science” .This was of great interest to me as in the distant past I studied science and, like many others, I believe that we need to do more to stimulate effective practices in science eduction. Many science teachers at school and college level are passionate about their work and are often willing to explore new pedagogic methods to stimulate student engagement. Wieman focused on teaching methods and as his title suggests he uses analytical methods to assess different approaches and strategies. He contrasts two educational models:Model 1Teacher encounters a new problem or conceptTeacher figures it out Teacher explains to studentsStudents demonstrate that either (a) they know or (b) they don’t know the concept or problemIf outcome (a) – student learning is effectiveIf outcome (b) – student not making sufficient effort (lazy student!) Model 2Teacher encounters a new problem or conceptTeacher figures it out Teacher establishes learning goalsTeacher guides student activities (the design of these activites is the practice of teaching and is informed by research and expeience)Teacher measures learning outcomes(a) students solve relevant problems(b) Read More …