- By Lokethar
Learning is a process which starts at birth and continues until death . A new born child, has to “learn” to cope with the environment (helped by it’s parents of course) and survive. It’s the process of learning which will enable it to cope with life and the environment as it grows older. Learning is a lifelong process.
Learning can be experiential, self acquired or facilitated by a learning provider who “transfers” his/her learning by various means including by examples, teaching, guiding and other means. In the domain of formal learning, face to face teaching and guiding, possibly with the help of written materials, have been the primary means of transferring learning for centuries past. The “delivery “of learning is dependent much on the teacher’s ability to teach and the learners ability and motivation to learn.
Though a continuing process throughout life, “learning” has been divided into “levels” by “Educators” over the past few centuries. It addressed the “learning “ culture of entire populations as being related to Pre-primary and Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Levels with further sub-divisions within each level. This “Level” concept, in modern days is embodied in the National Qualifications Frameworks being developed by many countries to facilitate identification and quality assurance of the learning outcomes as well as the international comparison of the qualifications bestowed at each “level”.
Of the three main levels mentioned above the most important is the “Pre-primary and Primary Level” which relate to the “formative” years of the child and is said to include the most “receptive” learning period of it’s entire life. Hence pre-primary level of learning is of utmost importance for proper development of learning abilities throughout life. The Government is giving much attention to “learning and early development” of the Child . It has also made “primary education” compulsory and delivered free of charge. It is also taking measures to regulate “Child Learning and Development “ by the Private sector undertakings to ensure quality of “education” and guard against “undesirable outcomes”.
We all know of the “resistance “ displayed by a child when introduced to the Mukyoe(Pre-Primary) . This is a natural reaction to “change” in the “environment” of the child. The creation of an environment conducive to tackling the behaviours of the “school fearing child” is needed – at the same time ensuring that the “Rights of the Child” are strictly taken into account. The design of the “child learning environment” usually focuses on the “curiosity” and the “interest” of the child in the teaching-learning process. Teachers, professionally trained in “teaching” and “child learning management” are of utmost importance.
Traditionally, in all countries of the world, “Teachers” have played the leading role in the “Teaching-Learning” process at all levels. It is mostly a one way communication process in which the teacher is often the sole communicator. It has been the prime “learning delivery modality” for all ages.
There are many “types” (for lack of a better word) of teachers. The most common “type“ are “chalk and talk” advocates. In the class room, they painstakingly write “notes” on the black board. The practice of notes giving has been so entrenched that many students take it for granted. In fact they would even ask any teacher not giving notes to please do so. The fact is that the traditional “learning delivery system” has largely been “chalk and talk” with “notes giving and rote learning” the main “learning delivery” modality. The purpose of making the learner “understand” what is being taught has unfortunately been “overlooked” by many teachers.
Required reading of the prescribed text books is an important part of the “learning delivery system”. But it seems most students now a days are not so keen about reading material, except the notes. This habit has to be tackled and the “Teachers” should encourage students to read, at least their prescribed books and explain to them what they don’t understand.
There are many other teaching methods, including Group Discussion, Case Studies, Assignments, Projects, Simulations and what not. But each has it’s limitation of application depending on the level of learning, teaching environment, teacher to student ratio, availability of teaching aids etc. Of course most “Teachers” would probably know what I have been talking about, may be to a greater extent than I.
The intention of this article is to present, the concept of an integrated “learning delivery system” which can be defined as “the ways different modalities work together to deliver learning content”.
Nowadays every one is aware of the impact of Information Technology on dissemination of information and knowledge. Take for instance the Power Point Presentation used as a communication modality. In fact we see it’s effective use even in public debates and discussion. It is an effective tool the use of which is becoming “commonplace” in teaching-learning and information dissemination environment.
The next “modality” is to “bring the world to the learning environment”. This is possible with the “learning environment” being linked to the “Internet”. On-line accessing of appropriate “learning material” can be made for the “learning” of chosen subjects or topics (On-line-learning as it is also called). In the case of “websites” which provide “free access” to such learning material, it can be easily “brought” to the “learners”. For explanation of basic “principles” with “pictorial “ animations, like for instance how an Internal Combustion Engine works, such basic “teaching material” can be accessed through the internet and help the teacher to beneficially use it in the teaching-learning process. On-line learning is also applicable to “Distance Learning” with the teacher providing “learning materials” to the students through the internet.
Another aspect of on-line learning can be through the Mobile phones which are nowadays commonplace. M-learning as it is known, can provide “instant learning” in many situations. In fact it seems that “professionals” often use it to access information about the latest developments and techniques related to the practice of their professions.
Of course, it goes without saying that a working knowledge at least of the “English Language” which, due to our being colonized in the past by the British” and which is familiar to most Myanmars, is essential for “browsing the Internet” for appropriate learning materials.
Learning environments with the learning facilities mentioned above could, as of now, not be practically applicable to all learning environments. However for the present, at least the “libraries” of the major learning centres like Universities and other Institutes of Higher Learning could be developed to include “Learning Centres” incorporating the abovementioned “Learning Delivery Systems” to particularly enable their students, particularly the post graduate students and researchers to pursue learning and “knowledge search” more effectively.
Besides “enabling learning“ in a “Institutional learning environment” situation, arranging occasional “visits” to work places related to the students’ fields of study will help them gain insight into the “real” world of work, and perhaps increase their motivation to “learn” to be part of it. Such on-site visits can be said to be another modality of the “learning delivery system”
At the end of the day, where it comes to attaining the “learning outcomes” by the students, a lot depends on the quality of the “Learning Delivery System” including the role played by the “Teacher” who uses it.