The process of acquiring skills and knowledge in a given discipline requires an inclusion of other elements to accelerate its progress. Learning as a process has theories that view it from different perspectives.
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In learning, teachers use different resources, such as charts, blackboard, models, recorded or live radio and television programs, and computer programs to aid the entire learning process. I am going to discuss how a computer program, Wiki, as an educational resource can be used to support the three key theories of learning.
Wiki is a website space where people can share ideas, pictures, edit contents, and any other piece of information. In a classroom, Wiki will enable teachers to access learners work and give feedback instantly. Therefore, this tool supports Behaviourism, as the teacher can encourage hardworking learners and even discourage negative attitude of some learners towards his/her subject (Dorman, 2007).
There are high chances that when the facilitator introduces Wiki in the next learning session, the learners are also likely to answer the questions correctly (Mergel, 1998). For instance, an Economics tutor at Pacific Junior College (PCJ) in Singapore used Computer Based Learning (CBL) to improve the students understanding of the underlying concepts. This activity involved the use of several software programs, similar to Wiki.
Notably, at the end of the program, most students answered the Economics questions correctly. On cognitive theory, the method helped learners to comprehend “…the relationship between marginal cost, total cost and average cost.” (Lim, 1998). Evidently, the software program in the computers aided the learning process. The independence involved in Wiki enables learners to brainstorm on issues and come up with their own meanings.
Moreover, wiki also supported constructive learning, which asserts the open-ended learning. For example, PCJ students admitted that the CBL changed their thoughts from the initial fixed minds meant to recite answers. This showed the emphasis on unique learning style for each student and the hands-on problem solving.
The main pedagogical strength of wiki is that it promotes participatory learning, thus making learners feel some level of social interaction (Wetzel, 2009). Teachers and learners located at different parts can edit or comment on the same document. Therefore, learners are free to think for themselves with minimal support from the teachers.
The students at PJC developed more problem solving skills; hence, CBL empowered them to solve the real-world problems simultaneously. This process is not just application of the early learnt ideas to obtain solutions to existing problems, but it involves high order thinking in pursuit of solutions (Teaching Guide for GSIs – Theories of Learning, n.d.).
Although wiki is an advantageous educational tool, anyone can access the pieces of information stored in the application, hence, affecting confidentiality. In a CBL class, a teacher plays a passive role, or is just a facilitator; therefore, most learners can access irrelevant sites or do unnecessary work. The study at PJC, the CBL could not give clear details of the models and their sophistication to the learners.
Another weakness is evident in the Montessori system, where children can easily communicate to people all over the world using computers, but fails to communicate to their classmates. This leads to poor development of social skills among the children.
In my own teaching, I will divide learners into, small, manageable, groups of 4 to 5 individuals and then organize individual sessions that run for a long time, which will constantly be under my supervision. Though wiki has immensely changed the learning process, I cannot fully substitute it with my traditional classroom attendance. Therefore, I will be flexible to administer all of them in my teaching sessions.
In addition, I will constantly organize lectures that are inclusive to give my learners opportunities to ask questions, before allowing them to access the wiki program. This will assist the learners to understand the theoretical aspects; they can later relate these ideas to their own studies. Additionally, I will give the learners a lot of project works that can engage them, thus making them think for themselves.
Lim, C. P. (1998). The Effect of a Computer-Based Learning (CBL) Support Package on the Learning Outcome of Low-Performance Economics Students. Computers in Higher Education Economics Review, 12(1). Web.
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Mergel, B. (1998). Learning Theories of Instructional Design. University of Saskatchewan. Web.
Teaching Guide for GSIs – Theories of Learning. (n.d.). Graduate Student Instructor Teaching and Resource Center UC Berkeley. Web.
Wetzel, D. R. (2009, June 10). 5 Strategies for Using Wikis in the Classroom. Suite101. Web.