Learning Theory Fact Sheets

Sometimes pedagogues can get caught up in the academic terminology and share at a higher level than others would consider common terminology or knowledge.  In an effort to bridge this gap, I have begun to develop some essential fact sheets on topics related to various learning theories and teaching methods.  These one-page overviews provide a brief definition according to the literature, key theorists and their beliefs, application to practice, and additional references for those who want to know more.

Click here to view one of the first fact sheets on self-directed learning (SDL).

My next mission – re-write these en francais!

Class Visits – Constructive Collegial Feedback or Judgement Time?

One of my tasks in my current role is to visit faculty members, particularly new faculty members, when they are teaching.  Unfortunately class visits are often misinterpreted for class evaluations and there are clear differences.  The table below illustrates some of these differences.

My Post (1)

If class visits are more on the observation side in your institution, here are some tips to help faculty members be more open to your visit.

  • In the pre-visit discussion, ask the faculty member if there are one or two things that they would like you to focus on during the visit (i.e. lesson organization, interaction with students).
  • Decide in advance how the faculty member will announce your presence (or not at all in some cases).
  • Set up a time (as close as possible to the visit date) to have a discussion.  Bring your initial feedback notes, but be open to listening and co-creating a final feedback document.
  • Terminology matters here!  I like to use Observable Strengths for the positives and Opportunities to Consider for areas that might need some work.  When that is the case, I always provide suggestions and offer resources.

While class visits can be intimidating for faculty members, the idea of being open to feedback (even if you don’t agree with it!) can be more important than the actual feedback itself.


Perspectives on the SFDN 2018 Conference

Last week, we had the annual Swiss Faculty Development Network (SFDN) Mini-Conference at the University of Lucerne/University of Teacher Education Lucerne.  This network is great to be involved with as it allows you to connect with like-minded individuals who are quite often working in similar contexts and facing similar challenges.  Some of my strongest professional relationships have emerged from this network.  For more information on SFDN, take a look at their website.

This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Dilly Fung from the University of Central London.  She spoke about her most recent work – A Connected Curriculum.  The book is a free resource and you can download it here.  It was inspiring to meet this exceptional individual who has spent her career working to advance educational development and to promote the notion of open access and resources.  A few reflections:

  1. Expose students to enquiry-based learning from the start.  Learners need to be learn how to think and how to formulate questions and come up with meaningful ideas and contributions.  They need to possess fundamental knowledge, but the enquiry aspects need to happen from the start and build as the learners progress.
  2. Reflect on the meaning of “research.”  As academics, we tend to have firm beliefs about scientific research and our work in this area.  Perhaps we can consider broadening our views and highlight enquiry, particularly when it comes to student learning.
  3. Collaboration and Exchange –  a constant re-appearing theme.  No matter how much we might enjoy working alone, there are shifting expectations in all areas of life about where, when, and how we collaborate with others.

As the SFDN gears up for the International Consortium for Educational Development conference in Zurich in 2020, I am sure that this network will continue to exchange ideas about this topic and consider the benefits of a more connected curriculum.

Welcome Message

Why a website and why now?  These are the questions that led me to set up this site.  In my work, I create a lot of resources and as a firm believer in open access for educational resources, the development of a website is a project where I can share these resources beyond the walls of the institution where I am working.

The purpose of this site:

  1. Share resources related to workshops I facilitate in the field of faculty development.  If you find my materials helpful, I’d love to hear how you use them in your context (and how you might have adapted them).
  2. Highlight current research projects and recent publications.  It’s all about building a knowledge community.  Interested in my work?  Maybe we can collaborate on a project!
  3. Share my perspectives on significant topics in higher education, faculty development, and adult learning.

Why now?  Why not!  After working in faculty development for over 2 years in an international context, it’s time to increase my visibility, broaden my involvement in the adult learning community, and have a platform to share knowledge and ideas.