Students taking education experiences will learn about diversity in their classrooms, in their curriculums, and even in their teaching methods. Many students will be asked to compare adult learning experiences and evaluate them for potential changes that could have occurred to make the learning experience better, or what was better about the experience. As with many of the submissions I have placed here, this is a submission from college coursework.
Learning experiences are important to a number of conditions, including scaffolding, curriculum, and instructional methods. Most students, adults or children, will experience a number of positive and negative learning experiences over their lifetimes, everything from poor team experiences through a strongly influential teacher. These learning experiences will create impressions and preconceptions in other classes, and they add to the diversified classroom experience. Understanding the importance or relationship past, present, and future learning experiences begins with examining positive and negative learning experiences.
Most of my adult learning experiences occur in online courses with the University of Phoenix or previously with the online courses at Colorado Technical University. However, as a parent I experience other learning environments, including the learning opportunities from our local school district, which offers family nights filled with learning opportunities to assist parents and guardians with the student homework assignments or understanding what is expected of the students. The Campbell City School systems offer a positive learning experience, for parents and families, through the involvement of their math teachers and staff in an after-school event regarding math lessons and math learning tools.
While not a specifically a negative learning experience, the differences of learning experiences between the University of Phoenix – UoP and the learning experiences at Colorado Technical University – CTU include the availability of online “lectures” provided by teachers in the courses, which may be viewed “live” or as recorded sessions. The differences between UoP and CTU include the usage of this learning tool, which in some ways may create a negative environment for students – in that students without these resources may not have the advantages they need to be successful. Different learners have different learning strengths or preferences, and providing primarily only visual learning tools, such as through reading, alienates strong listening skills learners.
Positive Adult Learning Experience
The Campbell Middle school provides after-school events, which begin in the school cafeteria during the evening hours, many times throughout the school year. Families may attend Math Night, or other school sponsored family nights, by responding to an invitation sent home by the teachers, and each family is part of a team of families that visits each classroom – taught by a team of coaches, which are the school’s math teachers. The goal of every family night is to provide a fun atmosphere that educates parents (families) about expectations, goals, and homework that their children will complete during their school year.
Instructional strategies used by the school include a number of learning material types; children can help the parents, hands-on experience with materials, question and answer sessions, printed materials, and lecture-based information. The process is challenged by the shortness of time, the different levels of knowledge/subject matter expertise, and the difficulty of organizing children who are very eager to show their parents everything about the school (no matter how many times the parent(s) has been there). In order to address the different levels of students, after-school events may be broken up into grade level or may be taught and introduced by teachers from different grade levels. The availability of materials, the different activities, and involvement of the children in the process ensures that a great deal of learner diversity can be addressed.
This particular learning experience is a positive learning experience because it meets the goals of the project, which is to provide informational materials and increase parental involvement in the educational goals and objectives of the schools. The experience is always fun, most parents enjoy meeting with the teachers, the materials are valuable resources to refer to later, and even if the parents are not able to assist directly with the school work, they know the process for getting help when it is needed. In addition, this is a positive experience because it provides a “state of mind” that assists children in the educational process.
Negative Adult Learning Experience
Negative adult learning experiences are those, which do not properly address the student needs, or those, which may be improved upon to enhance learning and create quality-learning environments. The University of Phoenix is one of many online formats for a college education, and all the formats demonstrate some differences that may be recognized as quality differences or negative aspects. Particularly, most online schools struggle to meet the challenges of diversity in students in a different way than their brick and mortar counterparts. Online schools struggle to provide materials and resources that work with all or most learning styles, while brick and mortar schools struggle to enhance diversity due to their locations.
CTU, Colorado Technical University, provides a similar online learning environment as the University of Phoenix; however, to provide additional learning style resources, CTU provides students with a “live” lecture session each week during courses. This live session can either be viewed live or viewed as a recording, and similar to that of a brick and mortar class lecture, the session includes a presentation of course materials and provides time for questions and answer sessions. This is particularly useful to online students whose primary learning style involves listening skills, or for students whose interaction must be conducted “live” to enhance learning (interpersonal skills). While some of the instructors had “sleepy” voices, the overall goal was very successful in reaching a larger diversity of students.
The negative experience is the lack of this type of diversity tool usage in the University of Phoenix, and that this lack reduces the diversity level of materials for students. While cooperative learning, and dialogue enhancement to course materials does take place in the format of the classroom forums, or threads, it does not replace the interactive learning environment available as a live chat session at CTU. The ability to collaborate on a project requires a combination of learning diversity for all students.
Learning Experiences Summary
Negative and positive learning experiences may take on many different forms, and addressing diversity within the learning environment may be acted on by learning materials, behaviors in the classroom, or by some combination of all the tools. My personal experiences are focused around learning style diversity in the classroom, and how different materials addressed these specific needs. Education involves a number of different classroom needs, and creating the best sources of instructional tools are the first step to success.