Friday, 7 October 2011

A Blended Learning Approach

When the time came to choose electives I decided to pick up the introductory psych courses at McMaster University.

I was amazed.

It was the structure of the course. Dr. Joseph Kim had designed a course that included interactive web-lectures, small group tutorials, and live supplementary lectures. The combination was fantastic.

The web-lectures supplied the core learning of the course. Imagine not having to be half asleep in an early morning class and instead being able to learn when you were cognitively alert and ready (web-lectures were online 24/7). Being able to stop and playback what the prof was saying, making it easier to take notes, comprehend what was going on, and reflect. The web-lectures also included small quizzes to help you gauge how well you understood a module. Perhaps one of the best qualities was that they were entertaining! They made me laugh several times.

Small group tutorials gave me the chance to discuss the class curriculum with other students and a TA. The TA's would go over the web-lectures and assist us with learning the material. 

Live supplementary lectures were always a treat. They were a low stress environment that gave students a chance to listen to Dr. Kim in person. Here he would talk about applications of the material in the real world and show his passion for the subject. We didn't have to write anything down... we could actually sit and enjoy without thinking to ourselves "Is this on the test?" If you are familiar with TED.com, every live lecture was similar to that. I always left them feeling good.

Since taking intropsych at McMaster I have become interested in technology for the classroom and finding innovative ways to learn. Dr. Kim's passion to improve the learning environment for students was contagious.

This is Dr. Kim at a TED event for McMaster University. I think that this is relevant to all levels of education.

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