If you’re pursuing an online engineering degree or any other technical degree program, you’re likely to find a variety of new classroom training styles that are unique, but much more efficient in comparison to traditional methods. Technology is changing everything from how we interact with friends to how education systems are teaching students. Different types of leaning modules are being developed and the ones used today are still being critiqued on how effective they are. Two of these strategies stand out from the rest and are now enjoying widespread use.
One of the newest learning approaches that has gained mass appeal, although it’s less than a decade old, is the flipped classroom. Achieving more than 30% improvement in the number of students passing their classes–as compared to those taking the same classes delivered in the traditional style–this modality is fast becoming the new norm. Students are directed to take lecture modules and demos in video format or as slide presentations, on their own, outside of normal class time. These lecture or demo-based vignettes are typically 3-10 minutes in length, and students later complete questions, exercises, and labs during the actual class time. Previous teaching methods required students to do practice and questions as homework. But there are a host of benefits to flipping learning tasks. Students receive more help from team interactions, role-playing, and hands-on practice from both their instructor and their peers during class time. This tends to increase the rapport between the student and the instructor, and allows all students to contribute to their peer’s learning activities, increasing the bond, and confidence, among team members. Exercises and labs can require more guidance than lectures, and flipped classrooms help address that challenge.
Massive Open Online Class (MOOC)
MOOCs are a more recent development than flipped classrooms, and help instructors deliver a student-driven learning experience. Mostly composed of a posted syllabus, course schedule, video modules (lecture and demonstration), readings, slide presentations, and activities, this learning style offers online delivery in a highly economic format. Each course module is delivered online, and simultaneously, to massive amounts of students. Convenience and low cost are clearly major benefits. However, forums are also an effective component of this learning modality, where students chat, coach, and query each other. This supports and promotes increased student ownership of the learning process. Other important aspects of this method include study groups, scheduled instructor Q&A sessions, and extensive tracking and reporting on student progress.
Classrooms have changed in the last few years. Learning, in and out of the classroom now employs new modalities for delivering the knowledge and skills you need, in the least amount of time, but with increased efficiency and flexibility. New technology and new learning methods are still being developed and it will be interesting to see how education continues to change with their input in the future.