Learning styles and teaching scholarship: Development and evaluation of the UBC Faculty Certificate Program on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Harry Hubball, Ph.D,
University of British Columbia, Canada
The purpose of this workshop is (i) to critically assess how learning styles research can enhance teaching scholarship in a university setting (ii) to identify a wide range of learning strategies in the context of a faculty certificate program on teaching and learning in higher education.
There is increasing recognition of the complexity of academic work, as well as the need for university teachers to develop a scholarly approach toward teaching. Many universities across North America and Europe are developing structured programs of study to prepare university teachers for the curricula and pedagogical challenges of the 21st Century (Gibbs, 1998). This raises the question, how should these programs be designed to meet the needs and circumstances of a wide range of faculty from multidisciplinary settings?
Learning styles research informing teaching scholarship
Kolbs learning styles and Gardners multiple intelligence research have had a significant impact on the design of educational programs and strategies to assess student learning. Research shows that people learn in a variety of ways though, individuals tend to have preferred ways of learning in which they show strength. Preferred ways of learning should be considered as tendencies, rather than permanent human attributes. Howard Gardners recent work with multiple intelligence provides great insight to ways of learning and implications for university teachers. He suggests that people possess a wide range of intellectual capacities (but in varying degrees of strength and skill) which can be developed. Successful university teachers, for example, are able to respond to the needs of a diverse group of students by implementing a wide range of learning strategies, not just the ones they happen to prefer. An eclectic set of learning strategies in the classroom will provide a balance!
of comfortable and challenging learning experiences for each student and, therefore, enable individuals to develop a broad set of knowledge, abilities and skills.
The UBC Faculty Certificate Program on Teaching and Learning is designed to meet the needs and circumstances of multidisciplinary faculty at the University of British Columbia, Canada. The aim of this program is to enhance teaching scholarship and student learning at UBC. The Certificate program was developed around a cohort model and by integrating a variety of learning frameworks (Gardner, 1993; Grow, 1994; Kolb, 1985; Lave and Wenger, 1991). Action research contributes to the development, implementation and evaluation of the Certificate program. Research data over a two-year period suggests that, as part of a broad integrated approach, applying a learning styles framework can be effective to enhance teaching scholarship and student learning. Furthermore, many changes have been made to the Certificate program to further improve the learning experience for university teachers.
Following an interactive presentation, participants will be engaged in a large group discussion that will focus on learning strategies in the context of a faculty certificate program on teaching and learning. Useful literature sources will be available.
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