The curious case of “experiential learning”
Here are some of the traditional methods of imparting lectures for learning:
- Learning via natural and empirical observations with a hint of cause and effect
- Learning via empirical experiments with a look for pattern
- Learning via practice to minimize errors
- Learning via trial-and –error to develop perfection
- Learning via intuition to develop a right brain approach
- Learning via experience to know how to tackle the issue or problem
- Learning via problem solving to see the new methods learnt
- Learning via on-the-spot assignments to know how we develop new methods
- Learning via illustrations to know the art of repetition
- Learning via offline methods teaches you to tickle your mind even when the formal structure is not in place
All these methods were shared and discussed in the class, while I was teaching in a university as a visiting faculty.
“The requirement was to impart lectures for the subject of advanced database management system, both for full-time and part-time students in masters in technology, in the department of CS-IT in a University in Gurgaon. I have tried to use innovative ways of teaching methods based on intuitive learning envisioning the current industry trends, which includes project assignments, illustrative problem solving, and learning through trial-and-error and on-the-spot presentations.”
Teaching methods were akin to learning via experience. The project-work, class exercise and problem-solving exercises had an iterative factor to the learning process. By this, I mean that all the work that had been formulated namely project assignments, illustrative problem solving, learning through trial-and-error and on-the-spot presentations; addressed two main factors- intuition development and learning through experience. By constantly addressing the gaps of making the process of experimentation unique and solid, and by running an exercise through trial and error to come to a point of convergence develops the minimization of error rate; which helps in developing a right-brain approach vis-à-vis maintaining the logical flow.
All of them addressed the internal faculties. It is hence very important that we start off with a position of choice of the learners- give them a comfort zone, and slowly increase the curve of learning with time and then taper down at the end. In a period of 14 weeks, the first week was taken by me as a warm-up, while the 11th and 12th week for tapering down. In between the breaks for the minors were well adjusted to stay in line with the course.
Teaching should be fun. The first few weeks should be used to build the rapport with the students, whatever age group they might be. When they are in the acceptance mode, people will automatically come to a point when the hunger for learning starts. This is the first phase. The second phase of learning is the guided approach, where the students were all experimenting to converge together in the thought process through the experiments guided in the class as mentioned.
The third phase is testing the knowledge gained- via tests, viva, oral and written exams, experiments, lab work and so on. Extempore on topics and surprize quizzes form a part of the learning here. All throughout, the support should be there. Let us remember that testing is a way of grading, the actual earning starts after the exams.
The fourth stage is result-oriented approach. Here not only the students learn, but also, they are focussed in upgrading their grades via a definite approach. The last approach is of collecting feedback; both informally and formally. This gives an idea how and where can the outliers work towards the convergence of better delivery mechanism.
Lastly, enjoy teaching; at least to the individuals who are mature enough to understand the tit-bits of the delivery mechanisms and are in an open position to accept the delivery mode. Enjoy!