What exactly is learning? How does learning typically occur? Why is it important to study how learning takes place? Once we know how learning takes place, how can it be enhanced? These and many other questions are important for anyone designing instructional materials for different types/kinds of learners. Please follow the following link for more information about learning.
Definition of Learning
Learning can be seen as a relatively permanent change in behaviour due to experience. One might gain experience through encounters in the world, as well as through other influences such as training. Adult learners learn best when their training is based on what they need to learn as well as when their expereinces are utilised. At the University of Swaziland, adult learners undergo theoretical background (in the classroom) and later-on have to go to the field to apply what they have acquired by conducting field practical. Below are two images on some of the activities conducted. More information on field practical is given below.
In the simplest sense, a field practical can be seen as an activity that is undertaken to strengthen one’s theoretical background after undergoing through an instructional programme. In another sense, it can be seen as a way of carrying out a planned activity by involving the target audience practically. As we have seen above,learning is the acquisition of knowledge and skills whereby one interacts with the environment. In many cases however, most of our learning has been more theoretical than practical. In other words, chances of this learning to link through in the real world have been quite minimal. For instance, one would learn in the classroom about constructing appropriate objectives in-order to instruct a group of adults involved in income generating activities. Theoretically, the learner may acquire the skill of constructing an objective. The question is, would this individual use the skill in the real world? There comes a field practical. In this case, the learner is required to construct objectives and use them in a real situation. A handout has been created to assist learners who want to conduct a field practical after designing their programme following sound instructional design principles. The handout below is not covering all the aspects needed. It will be followed by others in the series. Click on the link to download the document in pdf format.
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