Contributed by: jvande
This has been the last week of classes for me and has been extremely busy. Creating final exams and doing review sheets and catch-up projects isn't quite the same at the end of the year as I always seem to remember it September 1st. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do any research or work on my project and it will probably be the same for next week. Next week we have final exams and after marking, I'm scheduled to create a complete new online course for independent students. One of the challenges we seem to have at LCAHS is that students need certain credits, but we are not offering them when they are demanded. For example, I have been teaching Math 11, Chem 11 and Bio 11 this semester. Next semester, I know there will be several students that will be needing Math 12 and Chem 12. Unfortunately, they only figure this out when they get their conditional acceptance letter from NSCC. This means they will be attempting to complete Math 12 or Chem 12 with little or no math or chemistry background. Have you ever tried to teach someone Math 12 who hasn't taken math for over 20 years? Do I sound a bit bitter? I'm not really looking forward to the first week of second semester. Anyways, as a result of the gap, I'm trying to create or teach courses that can be used by adults to a) graduate from high school and b) be useful in the workplace and c) parallel closely with what they will be learning at NSCC. Next semester, I am going to teach First Aid, WHMIS and OHS. Those are three required courses in college, but they are also useful for anybody wanting to get a job right out of school. Another course I need to update is my computer course. Our "WIP" or Word Information Processing course uses software that is a little dated now. We have had students successfully pass our course, and then go on to the college and fail the challenge exam for their computer course. Normally, I would feel rather badly for this, but the reason that these students are doing poorly is because the software is they are being tested on is different from what we teach in high school. (For the technically minded, we teach MS Word 2003 and the NSCC test uses MS Word 2007 - there is a significant difference in the two and how they operate). Next week on Thursday and Friday, it is my goal to update the course on our Moodle server, thus providing LCAHS with another resource that students can work independently on. How well will this work? That remains to be seen...
P.S. As an addendum to the above, I was rereading that Adult Education site mentioned previously, and I really like what they say about adult learners, because it emphasizes what I believe and am trying to do as outlined above:
Boud, Keogh, and Walker (1985) found that adults have a broader base of experience to which new ideas and skills can be attached; furthermore, a broader experience base allows adults to incorporate new ideas and skills with much richer and fuller meaning than do youths. The more clearly defined the relationship between the old and the new (through discussion and reflection), the deeper and more permanent the learning will be. For example:
* On-the-job training, small group discussions, case study work, or even computer-based training all embrace the concept that participation helps increase involvement in the learning process and retention of the knowledge.
Information that goes into the participant's memory will likely be remembered if learners practice remembering the information soon after they process it. Therefore, it is important to provide opportunities in the session for review and remembering by means of activities like written summaries, application exercises, and discussions (Zemke and Zemke 1995).
Studies show that over a period of three days, learning retention is as follows:
* 10% of what you read.
* 20% of what you hear.
* 30% of what you see.
* 50% of what you see and hear.
* 70% of what you say.
* 90% of what you say as you do (e.g., orally work out a problem) (Pike 1989).