Students learn in many ways— by seeing and hearing; reflecting and acting; reasoning logically and intuitively; memorizing and visualizing and drawing analogies and building mathematical models; steadily and in fits and starts. Teaching methods also vary. Some instructors lecture, others demonstrate or discuss; some focus on principles and others on applications; some emphasize memory and others understanding. How much a given student learns in a class is governed in part by that student’s native ability and prior preparation but also by the compatibility of his or her learning style and the instructor’s teaching style. Mismatches exist between common learning styles of engineering students and traditional teaching styles of engineering professors. In consequence, students become bored and inattentive in class, do poorly on tests, get discouraged about the courses, the curriculum, and themselves, and in some cases change to other curricula or drop out of school. Professors, confronted by low test grades, unresponsive or hostile classes, poor attendance and dropouts, know something is not working; they may become overly critical of their students (making things even worse) or begin to wonder if they are in the right profession. Most seriously, society loses potentially excellent engineers.
Learning and Teaching styles in Engineering Education. Felder, Silverman 1978
There is a need for a fundamental change of mindsets and beliefs regarding education. This concerns as much the question of what we are doing – and why we are doing it – as it concerns the way we are doing it. This change is also supported by the call for a balanced development of the different purposes of education of which i) the preparation for the labour market and
ii) the development and maintenance of a broad knowledge base seem to be in the forefront of current educational thinking and practice. While recognising the importance of these commitments, this manifesto calls for putting a stronger focus on the two other purposes: iii) education as preparation for life as active citizens in modern, complex and democratic societies of today and
of tomorrow, as well as iv) education for personal development. Education for change
Change for education Teacher manifesto for the 21st century
of the conference The Professional Image and Ethos of Teachers, April 2014, Council of Europe, Strasbourg
A recent Finnish-Swiss-Belgian study provides new information about the changing role of the teacher in technology-supported learning environments. According to the research findings, the use of technology changes the role of the teacher from a traditional knowledge provider rather into a facilitator guiding the students' learning processes and engaging in joint problem-solving with the students. In addition, technology offers a range of new types of learning possibilities.
"With the help of tablets and smartphones, new ways have been discovered which support the cooperation between education and the world of work. For example, videos recorded at the workplace can be used as a learning resource at school," says adjunct professor Raija Hämäläinen from the Finnish Institute for Educational Research. Science Daily Feb 16, 2015
2016 will it be different
Thankfully the Maker movement, organisations such as ISTE, Problem Based learning models, innovative teachers, the business community and finally Government Education body are beginning to listen to each other and to gradually make the changes that will support our learners in the future. Maybe we have finally in 2016 began to learn.