Saint Joseph College, School of Pharmacy (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 6044-6049
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
Growing prevalence of students taking courses or completing programs on-line is raising a concern regarding Internet-based learning environments and especially regarding impact of the on-line delivery on teaching strategies and learning expectations. Learning styles may become an increasingly relevant pedagogic concept as classes increase in size, diversity, previous knowledge and background. Lack of conceptual framework for both learning style theory and measurement is a common and central criticism in this area.

Widespread availability of technological advances (World Wide Web, wireless Internet, personal digital assistance, digital video and etc.) makes younger generations feel more comfortable with distance learning. In any of the online course teachers can employ many of the same active learning strategies they use in their classrooms to encourage good thinking, engage students in the course content, and promote their intellectual development. If information is presented in formats that are misaligned with learning style, students may spend more time manipulating material than they do in comprehending and applying the information.

Recognition of specific factors is fundamental in developing teaching strategies for any course offered for on-line delivery. Process-related strategies include student orientation, which should provide an introduction to procedures for learning at a distance, including roles and responsibilities of teachers and learners. Content-related strategies may include clearly outlined expectations, sample questions, self-study cases and self-study problems with appropriate answers, given from the instructor’s perspective. Problem based learning can be very successfully combined with on-line delivery.

A new role for teachers is to become engaged facilitators and to encourage students through constructive feedback. To make an online science course successful, a carefully designed structure and clear presentation of the content are top priorities. At the same time, a high level of interactivity between students can be achieved if an instructor is actively involved as a moderator, is actively monitoring the performance of students and is giving rapid feedback or assessment of their work.

Institutional practices can also significantly affect the design and presentation of courses and programs offered for distance learners, but, in general, with simple modifications in educational practices, the potential exists to enhance the learner’s success in academic pursuits. One of these successful practices can be the re-evaluation of the course by faculty members and the comparison of students’ performance along the courses assigned by the program.

The knowledge explosion, technological advances, economic changes, and demographic shifts have increased the demand for learner-centered programs and courses where learners can improve their skills to critically analyze new information and engage in critical reasoning. The increased use of educational technology and availability of new delivery tools in presenting problem-based courses available for on-line studies opens new horizons for learning and teaching. While research in this area continues to grow, educators should make significant effort to teach in a multi-style fashion that both reaches the greatest extent of students and challenges all students to grow as learners.
Teaching strategies, on-line delivery, learning styles, teaching advances, problem-based learning.