When thinking about all of the courses I have taken during my postsecondary educational career, I don’t recall many that did not meet my expectations. My expectations for a college course were that I would be required to read a large amount of material, that I would be required to write as a significant portion of my grade, and that I would be expected to take responsibility for my own learning. More often than not this is exactly what I have gotten from my college courses. Professors and classmates have been more or less memorable, but the general impression I have been left with is that education is a journey of personal growth that must begin with a commitment to learning.
I’ve been working on some videos for my introductory humanities courses and thought I’d cross-post them to this site. I haven’t been updating the site very much, but I plan to change that very soon. For example, I now have a new page listed at the top of the site!
Designing e-learning content that is engaging and effective for all students is impossible without an awareness of and consideration for student diversity (Liu, Liu, Lee, & Magjuka, 2010). Before one can begin to effectively address student diversity through instructional design, one must examine the concept as it appears in the research literature. Surprisingly, the characteristics that form the concept of diversity within student populations are not addressed by a unified model or theory in any of the studies consulted for this paper. However, researchers have investigated student diversity from a variety of perspectives, including cultural dimensions, disability, geography, and language (Parrish & Linder-VanBerschot, 2010; Shimoni, Barrington, Wilde, & Henwood, 2013). Despite this apparent diversity of ideas about student diversity, the majority of studies on the topic deal solely with the cultural dimensions of diversity and rely heavily on the work of Geert Hofstede for their theoretical frameworks (e.g., Wang, 2007). Though popular as a measure of cultural difference, the usefulness of Hofstede’s model has been criticized for oversimplification, inconsistency, lack of empirical evidence, and a view of culture as largely static (Signorini, Wiesemes, & Murphy, 2009).
Learning Styles: A Critical Appraisal
Learning styles-based instruction is a method of teaching that matches instructional techniques to a student’s preferred style of learning. The benefit of matching instructional techniques to learning styles is that students will learn more. This claim is known as the matching hypothesis. Despite the theoretical appeal of learning styles, the evidence for the matching hypothesis is minimal in the current research literature (Cuevas, 2015; Rohrer & Pashler, 2012). Of the 31 studies published since 2009, only one—not without its methodological flaws—has supported the matching hypothesis. With the lack of empirical support for learning styles-based instruction, downplaying the need to accommodate learning styles seems not only correct, but also necessary. Educational resources are limited, and time and money need to be spent on interventions that have been shown by empirically-supported research to improve student learning (Newton, 2015). In the following sections, I will examine learning styles and related theories, my own experience with learning and education, my preferred way to learn, and my success with various learning modalities. I will show that learning styles are merely preferences that have little effect on actual learning. Read More …
I work for two large community college systems in the Houston, Texas area where I am a part-time instructor, or adjunct faculty member. Lone Star College and Houston Community College have both adopted e-learning programs that allow students to complete a two-year degree entirely online. Lone Star College has an average enrollment of approximately 95,000 students and offers an online Associate of Arts degree with optional concentrations in Business, Criminal Justice, Speech Communication, and International Studies as well as an online Associate of Science degree with an optional concentration in Computer Science. Houston Community College has an average enrollment of approximately 47,000 students and delivers a slightly more varied selection of online degree plans by offering an Associate of Arts degree with concentrations in Communication, Business, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Fine Arts as well as an Associate of Science degree with concentrations in Computer Science, Engineering, Health and Natural Sciences, and Mathematics. Both institutions have invested heavily in e-learning as a viable alternative to traditional classroom instruction, as evidenced by their slick promotional web sites (http://www.lonestar.edu/lsc-online/ and http://de.hccs.edu/) designed to sell e-learning course options to prospective students.