Trends in Education

Blended learning is evolving in education. Through blended-learning-in-educationthe combination of face-to-face learning with online activities, overtly, it appears to be the perfect blend of formal and self-directed education. Bart (2010) indicates blended learning is an alternative to traditional learning, overcrowded classrooms and is cost-effective (para 1). The article does elaborate on the fiscal savings. Bart (2010) explains preparation for the educator increases, in a blended classroom requiring discipline to adhere to the lesson plan. An increased workload yielding cost-savings will undoubtedly not be seen by the instructor but possibly by the institution in overhead.

Blended learning is structured to provide the learner in depth guidance in the course. Bart (2010) explains, explicit instructions, class guides and learning goals are outlined as weekly expectations for the student. The onus is on the learner to prepare, prior to class, then to follow-up after learning. Knowing the learning environment is blended provides the learner with the understanding there is preparation to complete and full engagement is required when in class (Bart, 2010).

This article provides an example of a blended course executed in a chemistry class. During the three year period of blended learning, the class average rose by 25 percent (Bart, 2010). The increase is attributed to more active learning activities that required more time on task as opposed to traditional lecture (Bart, 2010). This course provides online quizzes, the students have embraced, even though the total worth is minimal. The success of the quizzes maybe due to layered questions (easier are first), questions not available in the text book, randomization of questions, short-time investment, quiz bank that varies questions and following a quiz schedule (Bart, 2010).

Blended learning appears to be a positive change for educators and learners. It promotes learner success while providing variety and change for the educator. In a world thriving on technology, this classroom may be the balance needed for optimal learning.

 

Bart, M. (2010, March 24). The benefits of blended learning. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/edtech-news-and-trends/the-benefits-of-blended-learning/

Photo credit: http://educate-it.sites.uu.nl/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2014/11/blended-learning-in-education.jpg

 

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Lesson Planning Components

Lesson planning is a structured process from which the educator creates a guide to follow for a class. A standard lesson plan contains eight components, I will discuss the top five and supporting evidence that I will use in the classroom.

I chose an article by Weimer (2014) to exemplify the lesson planning component: creating a positive learning experience. I selected this article based on the statement “It’s a responsibility shared by teachers and students” (Weimer, para 2) in reference to the classroom environment. Both faculty and students were asked to, individually, document five or six items that each, respectively does to create a difficult learning environment. I want to do this with my students as it elevates the level of transparency in the classroom.

Next I chose an article by Weimer (2013) focusing on higher order questions and Bloom’s taxonomy. The higher order problems were preferred by teachers as they tested consequences and required analysis beyond a rote questions. I chose this article as the final nursing exam, the NCLEX is all multiple choice and although, higher order questions can be tested, the ability to test critical thinking in another format is completely lost.

Shank (2013) discusses the design and delivery of courses based on characteristics of adult learners. I was drawn to this article as my students bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the classroom therefore, course content provides avenues for students to share their experiences. I find I plan classes around them to allow for diversity and various learning styles. Shank (2013) advocates individualized learning which I tend to forget as I relate adulthood with total control. The personalization of the content comes to fruition when I meet the students.

Motivational techniques play a role in lesson planning, in particular, with the use of humour. Henderson (2015) states “humour activates our sense of wonder” (para 3). This quote is prevalent as I try to use humour throughout the nursing curriculum. The article indicated, when correctly used, humour increases retention if the instructional humour is topic related.

The final lesson plan component examined is based on critical thinking assessment by Weimer (2015). This is prevalent in my classroom as critical thinking is a mandatory characteristic for a Registered Nurse. Although I will not use the standardized tests mentioned, I appreciate the criteria assessed as it is difficult to objectively judge critical thinking and even harder to define. As part of a lesson plan, I would implement critical thinking characteristics criteria pre- and post-lesson then assess.

As indicated above, only five of the eight components of a lesson plan have been explored. The ideas generated from each article have added to my repertoire of teaching techniques.

Henderson, S. (March 31, 2015).Laughter and learning: Humor boosts retention. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/laughter-learning-humor-boosts-retention-sarah-henderson

Shank, P. (April 2, 2013). More on designing and teaching courses with adult students in mind. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/more-on-designing-and-teaching-online-courses-with-adult-students-in-mind/

Weimer, M. (2013). Don’t assume difficult question automatically lead to higher-order thinking. The Teaching Professor, 27(5). Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/dont-assume-difficult-question-automatically-lead-higher-order-thinking/

Weimer, M. (June 18, 2014). An effective learning environment is a shared responsibility. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-professor-blog/effective-learning-environment-shared-responsibility/

Weimer, M. (July 3, 2013). Critical thinking: Definitions and assessments. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/educational-assessment/critical-thinking-definitions-and-assessments/

Trends in Nursing

Nursing is an evolving profession. One does not understand the gravity of scope until ensconced in its matrix. Skiba (2015) in Emerging technologies centre: On the horizon: Implications for nursing education, prepares the reader for future trends in nursing education.  A short-range change of 1-2 years would be a blended learning environment driven by the online learning model, exclusive with the instructor and student in charge. This would include a redesign of the learning environment to include technology. The next change would occur in 3-4 years or rather mid-term which focuses on the measurement of learning.  The use of quality data, analytics and measurements to determine learning outcomes and target active, at-risk and student success are long overdue.  The rainfall of technology warrants the measurability of educational success, in particular in nursing, where the final exam, the NLCEX is based on subsections of successes and weaknesses.  Nursing education would move towards a learning dashboard model which has been prevalent in healthcare for decades.  Finally, Skiba (2015) examines long-term nursing education trends which involve ‘advancing cultures of change and innovation and greater cross-institutional collaboration’ (p.267).  This longitudinal view examines innovation and change across nursing institutions.

Skiba (2015) goes onto highlight three challenges to the above trends in nursing education.  A challenge termed ‘solveable’ (Skiba, 2015, p.267) examines blending informal and formal learning processes through digital literacy.  This concept is a leap from the traditional classroom setting, creating an online learning experience that is driven by digital literacy.  Another challenge in nursing education is the difficult category focusing on personalized learning and complex thinking strategies (Skiba, 2015).  As the world becomes more complex, so does student’s understanding and knowledge base.  Education cannot be boxed but must be tailored to the learner.  The final challenge is termed ‘wicked’ (Skiba, 2015) focusing on rewarding the teacher and recognize the challenge of educating in a world that is dynamic.  Nursing education is moving more towards a MOOC (Massively Open Online Courses) model and away from traditional teacher-classroom settings.  Challenging the learners self-direction and the educators ability to educate.   These challenges are real and not limited to this article.

Nursing education has been, historically, skill-based, and teacher-led.  A shift to the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) model for teaching is new and scary to the traditional nurse educator (Skiba, 2015).  Along with digital literacy includes digital safety.  As with any new advance, nursing education  will have to prepare for breakdowns, limited access, viruses, and breaches.  It is not time to abandon traditional classroom education for student nurses, the slow integration of technology into the learning environment is more than a trend,  more a reality.

Skaba, D.J. (July/August, 2015).   Emerging technologies centre: On the horizon: Implications for nursing education. Nursing Education Perspectives, 35(4), 263-266.  nursing tech

A New Day…

I am lucky to start the PIDP program with supports from the instructor, VCC, and the participants of the program.  I have been paired up with Curt Steckhan, another MBA alum (I am U of Texas ’00).  I hope this does not instill false hopes in the learning community that we have progressive learning skills…although eager, learning tends to come on as-needed basis for me.  When I feel I have a knowledge deficit, it is time to learn!  In a few weeks Curt and I will be sharing our articles and trajectories for our disciplines.  It will be interesting.  Curt’s blog is http://curtvcc.blogspot.ca/