VARK and Preferred Learning Styles
Learning about preferred learning styles was a revelation to me. As I mentioned in both my biography and in my reflection paper for week one, I have no formal teaching education. I had also never taken a test to assess which learning modes I prefer. I scored as a multimodal learning with a preference in aural learning. While the results weren't surprising at all, they did provide a lot of food for thought. I was an excellent student throughout high school and college, but struggled with my courses in graduate school. Every day, we gathered in a darkened classroom where our professors would lecture at us for four hours. There was no discussion, no diagrams, no demonstration; just slide after slide of text we scurried to transcribe. For a primarily auditory learner, this is a troublesome scenario. I will recommend implementing audio lectures, using diagrams and hands-on software exercises in our classes.
The second section of week two dealt with constructivism; reading about it, discussing it with my classmates, and determining how I might implement this approach to my courses. I did a fair bit of reading on the topic; I've familiar with various theories of cognition but had never learned how to translate those theories into curriculum design. Fortunately, I was able to discuss the subject with classmates, both in the general discussion forum and in our small group forum. In addition, I conversed offline with friends who are educators. Through these discussions, I was finally able to visualize how constructivism would impact curriculum design and lesson planning.
I determined that there are aspects of constructivism that would apply to our classes. While our students will be well-served by having an outline of the skills they will need to master in order to conduct genotyping studies, they would also benefit from having input on the flow of the course and in learning how to perform analyses from a holistic standpoint.
Discussion Group and Team Project
It has been a tremendous benefit to have a small group of classmates with whom I can discuss the material. I have found their expertise a great help in fully grasping this week’s concepts. In addition, they have provided additional references and reading material to the group. This has also aided my understanding of the material. I look forward to working in small groups again, both with my current groups and with other members of the class.