What Pedagogue Should a Mathematics Teacher Used to Cater for Different Learning Styles?

Universal secondary education is the norm in most parts of the world with most students graduating from secondary school. Most students will continue to study Mathematics in some form right to the end of their secondary schooling.

This means that the teacher of Mathematics must have an expanded group of pedagogue to use in the classroom to cater for the different learning styles of the whole school population as suggested by Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. This article will detail many types of pedagogue that can be successfully used in the Mathematics classroom.

Let me begin by saying that “Chalk and talk”/teacher lecture has its place within the teaching pedagogue along with doing practice exercises.

The important issue is to keep students engaged in their learning of Mathematics by making it life related wherever possible. The new syllabuses contain new topics that relate well to real life situations.

There are many strategies that a teacher may use to engage the students but they must fit the topic being taught.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Team teaching. Different teachers approach topics from different angles unconsciously thus giving students a wider view of the topic. Sometimes another teacher might have an expertise in the topic under investigation.
  • A guest speaker adds a real life dimension to the topic under discussion.
  • Computer lesson using software especially with Functions often lessens the time to create an understanding of the topic with students;
  • An internet lesson;
  • Library research especially on a new topic;
  • An excursion;
  • Hands on lessons;
  • Doing a survey as part of a statistics unit;
  • A film, video, or DVD lesson;
  • A Quiz is a great way to revise particularly if there is a competitive element to it.
  • Setting up a revision program to help teach students how to prepare for an examination.
  • A practice exam with a review.
  • Regular, short sharp fun problem solving exercises
  • Play on words to teach students to think “outside the box”.
  • Assessment that reflect the teaching pedagogue.

Incorporating different pedagogue in a lesson adds interest and keeps the students involved looking for the next episode in the lesson. There is little chance of the students or the teacher getting bored with the lesson or being distracted.

Learning Management System (LMS) Vs Learning Content Management System (LCMS)

E-learning brought to an organization learning options that are not only less expensive, but are more flexible than classroom training. Although e-learning would never replace “a human touch” that face-to-face training is privileged to, it is de facto that current technologies allow creating e-courses that are relevant, engaging, participatory, and with “a fun element”.

As a growing number of organizations utilize e-learning or “blended learning” (a combination of e-learning and classroom instruction), more organizations face questions of choosing the systems that are best fit to their environment. Larger organizations are on look for the systems that not only deliver and track e-courses, but also allow integration of performance reviews and development plans. The needs of smaller organizations may be more succinct and limited to training delivery. So, what do we consider when choosing the best e-learning program? Let’s look at the differences of the two main e-learning systems – Learning Management System (LMS) and Learning Management Content System (LMCS).

LMS is a software application that is most often web-based and is designed for the administration, documentation, tracking, and reporting of e-learning programs and training content. LMSs, such as WestNet, Halogen, Flextraining or Mindflash require importing a content that is built externally using Microsoft programs, or e-learning development software such as Adobe Captivate or Articulate. Many LMSs offer monthly subscription for a fee based on the number of active users (training participants). Some LMSs offer one-time licensing, and charge annual fees for software upgrade and technical support, which can from 10% up to 25% of the licensing fee.

We have knowledge of at least 210 different LMSs with a range of features offered: from simple content delivery and reporting to sophisticated integration of learning management and social media platforms. Similarly, the difference of subscription and hosting fees is vast, ranging from $3,000 to over $23,000 annually for a thousand users.

In comparison, a Learning Content Management System (LCMS) is content-centric software for creating and managing of e-learning content (Xyleme, Exact Learning Solutions, Kenexa). Instructional designers and trainers can re-use e-learning content. As a result, it requires less of resources and saves time needed for course development. Rather than re-creating entire courses, LCMS provides the ability for courses to be modified and published for various audiences maintaining past versions. E-training elements that developers can manipulate include media files, assessment items, simulations, text or graphics. LCMS technology can also be used to deliver and track courses (as LMS), or as a standalone application for learning initiatives that require rapid development of learning content.

Thus, the main difference is that LMS does not allow creating and manipulating courses; it cannot reuse the content of one course to build another. The LCMS, however, can create, manage and deliver not only training modules but also manage and edit all the individual pieces that make up training modules. The subscription or license of LMCS is usually pricier that of LMS.

So, what does an organization need to consider when choosing the best fit e-learning system?

– An amount of training content to be developed and delivered. If an organization develops and delivers a great amount of training – either because of internal or external requirements – then LMCS may be a better choice. LMCS will be able to save instructional designers’ time by reusing training content that’s already had been created.

– Long term training and development needs. When an organization plans to grow and expand, it means that training and development needs will be growing as well. Thus, even when an LMS might seem a better fit today, considering long terms an LMCS may be the best fit. That way, an organization will avoid additional resources and confusion of switching from one system to another.

– Training audience. Larger organizations that employ workers nationally or internationally would experience a greater need for training modules being updated – because of local regulations and cultural preferences. Thus, LMCS might be of a benefit in this case.

– The plans to integrate e-learning into organizational social platforms. A few LMS and LMCS allow integrating organizational social platforms such as Intranets or wiki’s. Though these systems are usually pricier, this emphasis on learning encourages workers to participate in more training, and increases their engagement.

– The needs to utilize e-learning systems for performance management. Selected LMSs and LCMSs may perform performance management function by allowing managers to track employee performance (incorporating learning application results of completed courses), and by providing employees with an opportunity to create development plans based on performance reviews.

E-learning is a powerful learning platform. When an organization chooses “the right” system, such system can be not only a cost saver, but it can also enhance learner engagement and learning retention.

The Future of Training

Criticality of Training in Today’s Organizations

Like every successful organization, your strategy needs to include recruiting and retaining the best quality employee possible. In an expanding economy with a tightening job market, higher performing companies recognize the challenge of retaining staff. With multiple generations present in today’s workplaces, providing customized and targeted training is key.

A convergence of multiple environmental, socioeconomic, and technological influences present you with the challenge of retaining staff. You need to ramp up your training and development efforts. Training plays a critical role in your employee’s ability to actively contribute to operational, strategic and financial goals for the company.

Through training, an employee learns the company’s vision and strategies. He also learns how he can add skills, knowledge and abilities to his resume in order to assume different and growing roles within your organization. The employee understands that he’s an integral part of the whole. He sees just how critical his participation is in achieving business objectives and goals.

An employee needs consistent and repetitive messages over time about your company’s core values and expectations for individual and team-based performance. Then, synergies of compounded performance develop to enhance your organization’s overall productivity and achievement. The employee buys into the vision. He begins to actively participate in his own self-development. His loyalty to the company increases. In this model of a high performing organization, your challenge becomes building a training organization within the human resource function that will stimulate, inform and help to retain your employees.

How Training Is Changing

The evolution of technology and daily use of computers in the workplace has already impacted how employees receive training. Many e-learning providers are responding to workplace needs or legal mandates to provide specific training to employees. In 2006, in the state of California, AB 1825 went into effect, mandating that sexual harassment prevention training must be conducted for supervisors at least once every two years. Many law firms and e-training providers have jumped on the bandwagon to develop “interactive” e-learning programs that can satisfy a portion of the mandated new training requirement. Employees can use self-paced, technology-based training to learn course content, ask “on-line editors” questions, and take a test at the end of the section to show what they learned. Programs like this can also track participants and generate hard copy reports to demonstrate a company’s compliance with the mandated training.

The Department of Homeland Security is uses new simulation and modeling software to conduct homeland security training in a cost-effective manner. Trainees use reality based simulations to learn critical information. New recruits learn their success and failures before they experience them firsthand in live combat. Wired magazine’s article, “The War Room” describes how f/x artists, research scientists, Pentagon experts, and videogame developers came together to create the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), a research and development group at the University of Southern California. ICT’s virtual training uses an old forum to teach soldiers how to best navigate difficult combat situations involving tiers of decisions for reacting: storytelling.

The New Training Paradigm

Professors from Indiana and Warwick universities (Kim et al.) titled, “Surveying the Future of the Workplace: E-Learning: The Rise of Blending, Interactivity, and Authentic Learning.” Companies answered 49 questions related to e-learning. Their responses were overwhelmingly optimistic, indicating they support and embrace e-learning or blended learning. Blended learning is a marriage of traditional, face-to-face lectures and and online training. Today’s conventional wisdom on workplace training says that blended learning presents alternative venues for companies to train employees. It reinforces key messages and reaches people with different learning styles through a variety of learning opportunities.

Companies were asked what technology-based applications and instructional methods would be used in the future. They indicated ” …authentic cases and scenario learning, simulations or gaming, virtual team collaboration and problem solving, and problem-based learning would be more widely used in the coming decade.” (Kim et al.) Distributed learning environments can be represented by virtual communities, blogging, instant messaging, and computer-supported group collaboration and problem solving (Bonk & Graham). Predictions of “environments that simultaneously facilitate both distributed environments and face-to-face interactions are on the horizon requiring that e-training facilitators assume broader and varied roles.”

E-learning facilitators “wear four pairs of shoes,” according to e-learning experts Ed Hootstein and Zane Berge. They assume the roles of instructor, social director, program manager and technical assistant. E-learning facilitators can create examples for situational and authentic learning in addition to traditional instruction through a variety of e-technology applications. These include e-mail, groupware, audio and video conferencing. “The vast array of electronic tolls available for analysis, design, planning, problem solving, and giving presentations enable learners to perform sophisticated and complex tasks and solve problems in creative ways.” (Hootstein)

The ultimate goal in developing technology based training according to Berge is “to make the technology transparent.” Because of advancements over time in the availability and economy of technology in today’s workplace, the e-learning facilitator can focus on the content and delivery of the materials to teach key learnings.

Authentic, or experiential learning has also come into vogue. We draw upon our knowledge and life experiences to learn and understand, and personal behavior can be changed as a result. This learning is based upon “consciousness, experience, and reflection.” (Grimmett) It’s about making a connection, bringing home the example at hand to resonate with the participant in a meaningful way to change a person’s perception and belief system.

Next Steps and Summary

Major corporations such as Sun Microsystems, Cisco, Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft already use blended, authentic learning in their training systems (Bonk & Graham). This emergence of blended learning provides the next generation of training application and delivery systems. It teaches employees key lessons in a variety of ways. It provides a greater opportunity for learning through technology, face-to face situations and authentic learning experiences.

E-learning will need to be evaluated to determine ” …online learners’ achievement and satisfaction, followed by clearer reward systems and incentives for e-learning completion, and training that helps learners self-regulate their learning.” (Kim et al.). These thoughts reflect the next steps for companies to develop to encourage employee’s participation in blended learning programs. Even so, blended learning using authentic situations now represents an opportunity for companies to build their own training and development function and take advantage of the myriad of resources that are available through this new and evolving training paradigm.

© 2007- Regan HR, Inc.