Institute for Innovation in Education: 2016 Vancouver Island Gathering

iiE: Knowledge, Learning and Creativity from Multiple Perspectives (Oct 2016), Nanaimo, B.C.

Supporting Student Learning: Learning How to Learn

Presentation Abstract

It is often assumed that students attending post-secondary institutions have the skills necessary for successful learning. However, strategies that may have served them well in secondary education do not always transfer to successful learning in an environment that requires self-regulation. In fact, many of their strategies encourage surface learning (memorization) of concepts, making it difficult to apply their knowledge to new learning environments.

Anatomy and physiology, considered a gateway course for first year students, presents many challenges for learning. The large amount of science vocabulary and the need to make connections between concepts can quickly overwhelm students new to the post-secondary environment, especially if they lack the tools for deep learning. To help support students in their learning, a new course, “Elements of Anatomy and Physiology: Techniques to be Successful in Health Sciences”, was developed by the Faculty of Academic and Career Preparation (VIU). While most courses are designed around what students need to learn (content), this course was designed around how to learn (strategies). Students are introduced to strategies, encouraged to apply them within concurrent courses, and then reflect upon the benefits or challenges of using each strategy.

This workshop will take participants through the course development process, the strategies included in the course and the rationale for their inclusion. Participants will also be invited to actively engage with several the learning strategies to explore how they may be able to incorporate them into their own classrooms. The workshop will close with a discussion of the challenges and successes students experience working with the strategies. Participants will be encouraged to share their observations of learning strategy gaps within their own classrooms and how they have supported the students.

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