ARE THE NEW METHODOLOGIES IN HIGHER EDUCATION SO EFFECTIVE? DEATH HAD A PRICE

J.S. Artal-Sevil

University of Zaragoza (SPAIN)
In the last decade, new pedagogical models associated with higher education have appeared (e.g. Flipped Teaching, Game-based Learning, Simulation-based Learning, Competence-based Education, Just-in-Time Teaching, etc., the list is endless); these models promote a change in traditional teaching. New strategies are gaining more and more attention within the educational context. It is not necessary to cite a large number of papers, chapters and books that have appeared in recent years indicating its advantages and benefits in higher education. The purpose has been to improve the teaching-learning process. Undoubtedly, the implementation of these educational strategies improves student motivation and increases their participation in the classroom. Moreover, the use of devices, technologies and ICT tools can help attract students' attention. But... are the new methodologies in higher education so effective? or, in other words, is traditional learning so inefficient?
There is no doubt that with the new learning models students can acquire other skills and competencies that were not developed with the more classical methodologies. However, it also has a high added cost that at the moment nobody has dared to indicate: the reduction of the contents of the subjects. If we think of knowledge disciplines related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (also known as STEM), the agenda has been reduced in favour of the development of other much more interactive and participatory activities. These more active activities make students more involved in the subjects, but ... shouldn't the student who chooses a university degree in science or engineering to be sufficiently motivated?
On the other hand, we must not forget that in the most classic methodologies, the teacher is the one who transmits the knowledge in the classroom. That is, it presents a summary of the necessary knowledge and key concepts, searching for useful or everyday examples that allow their understanding to the students. In this way, students save time during their study because it is not necessary to search for information. The assimilation of knowledge occurs outside the classroom, through review of notes, resolution of exercises and development of activities. This method, which has lasted for centuries, has allowed students to focus on really important content, studying different mathematical principles and theorems, as well as multiple application examples. Therefore, it is not such a lousy method, as the new educational currents want to make us believe.
It should also be noted that incorporating new digital technologies (apps and devices) in the classroom does not indicate a change in educational methodology. Some new teachers confuse the use of ICT tools with the implementation of new pedagogical models…, nothing is further from reality. Technological advances have replaced the teacher's explanation in the classroom with other techniques such as video lessons, webinars, improved contents, theory-pills ..., improving the communication channel and making learning more ubiquitous (u-learning), but the learning model has not changed. The new technologies do not make a teacher good or bad since by themselves they are useless. A good teacher knows how to teach and helps to learn his students. In this paper, the author reflects on the implementation of this pedagogical methodology in higher education; indicating some contexts where this strategy can be useful and effective.