by Ron Kurtus (revised 14 April 2012)
There is a general process for providing education to students, such that they understand the information, are able to use or apply it, and retain what they have learned.
The first part of the education process is to set goals or objectives for what you want to achieve in the class. Then you follow steps to provide education to the students. Finally, you evaluate how well you use the process in succeeding to achieve your goals.
Questions you may have include:
- Why do you set goals for your class?
- What are the steps in the educational process?
- Does this process apply to all delivery media?
This lesson will answer those questions.
Set goals or objectives
As an educator, teacher or instructor, you first need to define your goals in educating or teaching a class or group of students. Often, this goal is taken for granted. However, it must be reinforced in your mind, so that you are on the right track.
Many courses require that you provide a syllabus—or course outline that includes objectives—before teaching the class. However, some syllabus objectives do not lead to an outcome. For example:
- To introduce students to quality drafting production requirements
- To teach literary analysis methods
Instead, you want to have the students achieve specific goals, which can be verified in the final exam:
- To be able to solve a quadratic equation
- To be able to list five drafting production requirements
Once you have defined what outcome the students should have, you can go through the process of teaching them.
The process to provide knowledge to a student, in most situations, consists of:
- Provide relevant information
- Reinforce through exercises
- Clarify and review material
- Test to verify learning
1. Provide information
You can provide the information to the learner through the various educational media. Typically, the student has a textbook or other material to read. You also give a lecture, explaining the material, as well as giving examples.
With online learning, that lecture may be in the form of a video.
For personal instruction, the student may be able to ask for clarification or more details.
2. Reinforce with exercises
You then reinforce what was learned by giving homework exercises and practice, as well as exercises in class. This is also done in a correspondence course or in distance learning, and in a lesser degree in online lessons.
Exercises also get the participants more involved in the material, which helps keep their interest.
In some classes, students can discuss the material, allowing them to draw conclusions and to reinforce their knowledge.
Exercises are seldom done when the learner is doing self-study by reading a book or listening to an audio tape. In these situations, the learner may reinforce through repetition.
3. Review information
You then give answers to the exercises, along with explanations, to clarify the information and to help review the material. This helps the students retain the information and skills learned.
4. Verify knowledge
The last step in the education process is to verify knowledge or competency in the subject matter.
You usually give the students a test or exam to verify what they have learned and to measure the success of the instruction. Most often, testing comes after several lessons. If the student passes the test, it is assumed he or she sufficiently knows the material or has competence in the subject.
In the case of personal or non-formal study, a test is seldom given or taken. Verification of learning or understanding is up to the individual.
Evaluate the outcome
Too often the students get their grades and they move on. The teacher gives out the grades and looks toward the next class.
Instead, after your students have taken the exam and their grades have been handed out, you should evaluate the success of your process to educate your students. Ask yourself if the outcome of your instruction achieved your goals.
The first part of the education process is to set goals or objectives for what you want to achieve in the class. In general, you want the students to understand the information, are able to use or apply it, and retain what they have learned. However, your objectives must be with a specific outcome in mind. Then you follow steps to provide education to the students. Finally, you evaluate how well you use the process in succeeding to achieve your goals.
Resources and references
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