Learning Opportunities in the Higher Education Curriculum

By Ediger, Marlow | College Student Journal, September 2001 | Go to article overview

Learning Opportunities in the Higher Education Curriculum


Ediger, Marlow, College Student Journal


Classes students taken in higher education tend to be lecture dominated. The instructor then lectures to students from notes in his/her possession. It can become a one way street of communication. The message moves from the Instructor to students via lecture notes. Students tend to be passive individuals in the process. The student then is to absorb the information as it is presented. Generally, students take many notes as the lecture is presented. Sometimes, a student has a cassette recorder to record what is being presented. A student may ask ahead of time if this is permissible. While taking notes on the class lecture, the student's attention is divided between the lecture and the notes being taken.

There are selected assumptions when using lecture as an only method of instruction in higher education. These assumptions include the following:

1. students learn best with the lecture method of instruction.

2. the instructor has the necessary knowledge to be transmitted which students do not have.

3. lecture is the most efficient approach to use in teaching students.

4. students can use and apply that which has been received from the instructor.

5. committee work and questions from students waste valuable time and tends to deal with the mundane.

Philosophies of instruction need to be assessed by the instructor in teaching and learning situations. Might there be additional methods which may be used in teaching on the higher education IeveI?

Teaching and Learning In Higher Education

There are principles of learning from educational psychology which need to be implemented in the higher education curriculum. These principles of learning should assist students to achieve at a more optimal rate of achievement. Each may be assessed if used by the instructor to improve instruction. Thus, educational psychologists recommend using the following:

1. interest is a powerful factor in learning. Instructors need to develop and maintain student interest in the subject matter being taught. Proper use of the voice with appropriate stress, pitch, and juncture should aid in obtaining student interest. Using a variety of activities should stimulate interest in wanting to learn. Boredom and the routine can be avoided when the instructor varies learning opportunities for students. Goal centered instruction definitely needs to be stressed when a variety of learning opportunities are provided for students.

2. motivated learners achieve at a higher rate as compared to the unmotivated. Thus, learning opportunities for students need to motivate and encourage optimal student achievement. Challenging students with quality learning opportunities and high instructor expectations should definitely foster learner achievement and progress.

3. useful learning opportunities need to be provided. In teacher education classes, students need to experience that which can be useful in teaching and learning in the public schools. Students need to perceive how learning opportunities provided in class and in public school field experiences may be used to become a truly professional teacher. Application of ideas from classroom related experiences may then be used in the present as well as In the nearby future as a fully licensed, certified teacher. Useful knowledge and skills are more acceptable to students compared to that which has little/no perceived use.

4. meaningful learning needs to be in evidence. With meaning, students learn concepts and generalizations in depth, not survey procedures. A variety of procedures need to be in evidence to assist students to achieve intensity in acquiring subject matter. Intensity is opposite of shallow attaining of ideas. With depth, intensity teaching and learning, students should be able to make better use of subject matter from classroom endeavors, if students do not understand content presented from a variety of learning opportunities, they will not be able to use what has been learned. …

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