Gaining Foundation Skills for Learning and Teaching/GFS Teaching/Facilitation Approaches Module

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Learning together. Photo by EDC, Otago Polytechnic

GFS Teaching Methods Module

There is no one ideal approach to facillitating learning. The approaches that you choose depend upon a variety of factors including:

  • the learners you are working with
  • the context you are working in
  • the aim and purpose of the intended learning and
  • the resources you have available to you.

Two keys to facilitating learning are:

  • encouraging the connection between the learner and the focus of the learning and
  • fostering the desire to learn more

Connecting with Learners

Making a connection with the learners you are working with is a vital part in supporting and facillitating learning.

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Work through the questions and suggestions on the Connecting with Students page.

Consider how this impacts on your expectations of what it means to teach or facilitate learning for adults.

Key points include:

  • Focus on learning
  • Familiarise yourself with names
  • Create a comfortable environment
  • Ensure clarity of information
  • Encourage student connections
  • Just be you
  • Show willingness to learn

Getting Active

An important idea that came through from the learning module was that students are far more likely to retain and benefit from their learning if their learning has been active rather than passive. This doesn’t mean that you have to become more active and be a performer when sharing information. Nor does it mean the students have to be physically active all the time while learning.

What it does mean is their minds need to be actively engaged with the learning and processing this in some way rather than just attempting to absorb the learning.

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Read the attached lists of learning activities. Teaching methods examples and More teaching methods

Can you divide them into two groups

  • Methods resulting in passive learning
  • Methods resulting in active learning

Do any of the methods result in passive learning for some and active learning for others?

Consider the methods you use in your teaching; do they result in passive or active learning?

Online Pedagogy

Traditionally teaching and learning occurred in a set ‘face-to-face’ environment but like everything else that has changed with technological progress so has the ways in which teaching and learning occur.

Supporting learning in an online environment doesn’t just mean taking what happened in a traditional classroom and put that information online. It actually involves a different approach to learning and teaching as there are whole new arrays of factors that affect the context in which the teaching or facilitation is occurring. This approach is known as online pedagogy.

So what is online pedagogy?

Broken down into definitions from

Online – adjective
  • available or operating on a computer or computer network

Pedagogy - –noun, plural -gies.

  • the function or work of a teacher; teaching.
  • the art or science of teaching; education; instructional methods.
online. (n.d.). Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved March 08, 2009, from website:

Effectively online pedagogy is the practice of facilitating learning online via computer networks using sound facilitation/teaching principles and practices.

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Is online learning happening in the areas in which you teach?

What are your initial thoughts around the advantages and disadvantages of this form of learning?

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Read through What Online Students Want to Tell Faculty from the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium. It is a quick read and provides some valuable ideas to think about regarding online teaching.

Consider how this relates to your own area of practice as an educator and your own thoughts as a learner.

Formal learners log into the discussion board on Moodle and share your thoughts.

Additional Resources

For those who want to explore further check out:

Teaching methods

Delivering a teaching session is a handout offering hints and tips to help guide you through a teaching session

Starting A Course is a webpage by Eastern Kentucky University that gives great tips on starting out with a new class. This page has great links to lots of other teaching resources.

Ten Tips for New Trainers/Teachers is from the Creating Passionate Users blog by Kathy Sierra and Dan Russell. This blog posting provides some key principles to consider when thinking about facilitating learner centred learning.

Online Pedagogy

Tips and tricks for teaching online – click through the index on the left hand side of the page to find specific areas of interest – some useful tips.

The Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education provides lots of information on putting the seven principles covered into practice and these can be applied to all areas of teaching.

NB: Online pedagogy is explored further and developed in depth in the GCTLT courses Flexible Learning and Constructing Courses to Enhance Learning.