Providing Feedback to Students on Formative Assessments


The fundamental question we have to ask in providing feedback is “what are my learner’s needs?” If you are marking a formative assessment/assignment and you know who has submitted the assignment, a good starting point is to recap your students’ learning needs. For instance, some students need help in articulating their ideas- even if they know the concepts.  So observe your students, be familiar with them and their learning process and know what their needs are. Only then can you tailor meaningful feedback to your students. I know of colleagues who had a profile of each student – what sort of help the students needed, what their marks were in each assignment etc- all compiled in one excel sheet. Keeping track helps.

Once you know students’ learning needs and know what to look out for, you can tailor the message you want to deliver to the students. As you read through the students’ assignment, you will start formulating that one thing that you want your students to work on- It could be about improving spelling, it could be about learning how to organize the ideas, it could be about just handing in the work on time- You will have that one message to bring across to each student. And you know what- that is probably what is needed for a start. Then, you can also see if the student has managed to overcome an earlier challenge or if he/she needs a different kind of support. So in this case, the feedback could be seen as continuation of the previous feedback.

Now, some students could be way ahead, and you may realize that giving them detailed or extensive feedback is useful. In that case, go ahead and give them a detailed feedback. On the other hand, you may have a student who seems clueless. It may actually be better to meet up with the student in person and discover his/her needs and help him/her in their learning journey.


Timely feedback is important if we want the feedback to be meaningful. I have discussed this in one my comments earlier.

Giving back a feedback 2 weeks after assignment could mean that the students have forgotten about the assignment.  The longer we take to hand back the feedback, the likely chance that students could be more distant to the assignment. Hence the feedback may not be helpful when it is after an extended period of time. If there is an opportunity to discuss the feedback with the students, it would be even better. We could start with those who really need the help or who seem to be proactive in reaching out and seeking help.

Another aspect of promptness could be in the way we give/write down the feedback. We don’t need to wait till the end of the assignment to give a feedback summary. We could give the feedback in the margins as we mark. This immediacy in feedback will help students to learn as they scroll through the marked assignment.


One last question we will discuss today is how to provide the feedback- should we be honest? And tell the student that the work was bad? Well, we should be honest- but we do not have to be brutal. Telling the student that the work was bad does not help the student- It does not motivate the student. And it does not bring the student to the next level. If the student had known how to work on what he had to, he/she would have most likely done that already! If  we as teachers think that the issue is that of attitude, then that is what we should be working on (and not the assignment).

Telling the student to change the attitude is probably not going to be as effective as understanding the reasons for the attitude. I can hear some saying that “But, it is too time consuming.”  Yes, I agree with you. Hence it is important to identify the real problem/issue in providing feedback. Otherwise it becomes a case of giving the right medicine for the wrong sickness. Also, we need to ask if symptomatic treatment is sufficient or the diagnosis and treatment of root cause is needed. In this process, we may realize that we may not be able to treat the situation at our end!

Now, is it possible to provide a honest feedback that is motivating? My answer will be “yes, if the feedback is objective and in positive tone using encouraging words.” In providing constructive feedback, we can outline what was good, why it was good, what could be improved and how it could be improved, instead of just focusing on what needs to be improved. And remember to focus on the assignment – the feeback is on the assignment – not the student.

One way of packaging the comments is using the sandwich priciple of starting with what was good in the assignment and why, followed by what needs to be improved and how to improved, finishing off with the overall comments in encouraging words.

And yes, even if students had done well, it will be helpful to let the student know why the work was excellent.

So here is a quick summry of the various points discussed in providing feedback.

Before you start

  • Know your students’ learning needs
  • Know what is expected in the assignment – assigment rubrics/ learning outcomes (not mentioned but assumed this to be true)
  • Ensure feedback is timely

As you mark and write your feedback

  • Address student’s learning needs
  • Addess the real issue
  • Focus on the assignment (not the student)
  • Start with one key aspect that needs improvent
  • Provide feedback in context
  • Provide honest feedback
  • Provide objective feedback (outline the strength and the weakness)
  • Explain
  • Show students how to improve
  • Be positive
  • Use Sanwich principle

If you have any other suggestions, do share with us 🙂


Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Effective teaching, Providing Feedback


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The Poison in One Line Comments/Feedback

As a student, how many of us have gotten back compositions or assignments with red underlines and just the marks, with minimal comments such as “Needs improvement” or “Could have done better” or “Great job”.

I am sure that many of us would have received such comments. And what do we normally do? Take a look at the marks and comments, purse our lips and file the paper. And the same routine will be repeated for the next assignment.

But wait! What is the purpose of the red underlines? What is the purpose of the grades? Why are we going through this routine?

Students need to ask themselves why they are getting what they are getting and most importantly, teachers would have to ask the same too- but slightly rephrased. What is the purpose of drawing the red underlines? What is the purpose of giving some grades? The answer is that “we want our students to learn.” Fair enough.

But  it is not enough to just say, “Needs improvement” or  “Could have done better” or “Great job”. We need to actually help the student realize what he/she needs to improve and how to improve. If we as teachers are not able to articulate what is needed to be improved in our students’ work, how can we expect our students to know it on their own?

It is imperative that we not only help our students identify what is wrong with their work , but that we also help them understand how they could improve their work. On the other hand, it is also essential to help our students understand what they had done well and why.

Next post, we will see some strategies to provide useful feedback.


Posted by on June 13, 2011 in Effective teaching, Providing Feedback


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Feedback and Evaluation: Are they the same?

Feedback is known to be important for learning. It is generally agreed that giving effective feedback is an essential teaching skill for all teachers. However, teachers  tend to evaluate than provide feedback. Here is a very informative video from You Tube which details how feedback compares with evaluation.


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Is Memorizing Bad ?

 I wanted to do this blog as my students often tell me that there is no need to memorize. I felt that I needed to put down my thoughts on this.  The trend in teaching and learning these days seems to advocate no memorization. However, I think we need to reconsider this.

I think that memorization is needed for a start — because it enables and aids the thinking the process. The basic units of learning such as facts relating to concepts need to be remembered. However, there needs to be understanding too. For instance we need to remember that chloroplast is needed to photosynthesize and that it is green in colour. This will lead to questions such as why is it green, which in turn will lead to more facts/information that may need to be remembered to understand how plants produce food from sunlight using chloroplast.

While memorization of facts with understanding will be helpful, memorization of texts will not be helpful. Once the words have vaporized from memory, so will the knowledge –this is superficial memorization. The test of memorization would be to see if we can explain the same fact in our own words. However, we need to ask ourselves several questions regarding the fact  and answer them to ensure understanding. In a way, memorization with understanding is like knowing many facts and knowing the interconnectedness between the facts.

I think the trouble is when we have arguments that what is needed is understanding, there is so much facts available on the internet and in the books that we do not remember– all we need to do is just know how to access.

While this perspective seems logical, here is what we are missing.

Yes, facts and information are available everywhere- we have an overload of information. However accessibility of information does not mean automatic knowledge of the information. There is a need to search for the information, identify the information, verify if the information is true etc.

However, if these steps had been done earlier and the information has been stored in our CPU (our brain) instead of the computer’s CPU, the accessibility is likely to be faster. If we need to search for the information each time, we are not using our system efficiently.

I think it is not just about the speed- but that the network for accessing information is also strengthened when we use our memory-patterns become ingrained into our system this is likely to help us in putting together the relevant information/ideas/concepts together. If the patterns are sound and generally applicable, it will help us become efficient at making sound judgments. However, we must remember that we cannot have 100% generaizability and errors in making judgments should not be blamed on memory alone.

Overall, I think we still need to encourage learners to know the basic facts and information.But we need them to know the interconnectedness between the facts too. I think this is where mindmapping helps.

Another point is interest/liking.  If we like a certain subject, knowing the facts becomes automatic. Say that we like a certain piece of music, there is no problem remembering the music piece. Next we may even find out all about the musician and remember facts about them. And then we may explore why the musician makes a certain type of music- the layer and layer of information gives a certain understanding.

Here is the final thoughts on this

If memorization is considered to be not needed,

If memorization is not bad or detrimental,

If memorization could be good

If memorization with understanding would be even better,

Why not try to find out more on how to do this?

Here is another article on a related theme.


Posted by on June 2, 2011 in Just about anything else


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Questioning Skills to Engage Students

Here is something on Questioning Skills.

It was published in Faulty Focus

Questioning skills are essential to good teaching. Teachers often use questions to ensure that students are attentive and engaged, and to assess students’ understanding. What is important to note is that in addition to the intent of the question, the question itself matters. For instance, to ensure that students are attentive, a teacher could ask the students “Are you listening?” To assess if the students have understood, the teacher could ask “Do you follow me?”

However, students may say “Yes, I am listening” or “Yes, I have understood” simply to avoid embarrassment. Compare these simple questions with those that ask students to summarize what was discussed or ask the students for their opinions on what was said. The difference is that although the intent of the questions remains the same as before, the indirect, open-ended questions allow for divergent thinking. Such questions enable the teacher to more accurately evaluate if the students truly were attentive and if they have understood the material. In addition, open-ended questions motivate students to share their ideas, thereby allowing active, collaborative learning to take place. This illustrates the need to be able to ask the right sort of questions to engage students.

Questions that tap higher level thinking
One of the commonly used questioning techniques is to employ the 5W and 1H questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. While this questioning technique is useful to some extent, most of the 5W questions tend to be close ended and elicit factual responses. Although factual responses are necessary, as good teachers we need to promote higher level thinking skills as well. One way to address this would be to use Bloom’s taxonomy of thinking skills as a guideline to ask questions. The following table gives some examples. For instance, to test if a student is able to evaluate what has been learned, the teacher could ask the student to critique a hypothetical problematic situation.

Skill Sample Prompts Purpose Level
Creating design, construct, plan, produce combine elements into a new pattern or product Higher
Evaluating check, critique, judge, hypothesize, conclude, explain judge or decide according to a set of criteria Higher
Analyzing compare, organize, cite differences, deconstruct break down or examine information Higher
Applying implement, carry out, use, apply, show, solve apply knowledge to new situations Lower
Understanding describe, explain, estimate, predict understand and interpret meaning Lower
Remembering recognize, list, describe, identify, retrieve, name memorize and recall facts Lower


One of the goals of teaching is not only to evaluate learning outcomes but also to guide students on their learning process. Hence it is important that as teachers we question students’ thinking and learning process. To this end, we could ask students to explain how they arrived at their conclusion answer and in doing so, what sort of resources they had used and whether the resources had provided sufficient evidence etc.

Going one step further it would be really engaging and motivating for the students (as well as the teacher) to have the whole class participate in a discussion, which would allow cross fertilization of ideas. This is in contrast to having a one-to-one, teacher to student question-answer session in the class. To initiate a class discussion, a good starting point would be to pose a question or make a statement that would elicit divergent responses, which could then be used to build further lines of discussions. In this case, planning the type of questions ahead of class would help to ensure that discussion is managed well within the allotted time.

To plan the questions, it is not just the type of questions that is important, but also the timing, sequence and clarity of questions. Answering takes time to think and it is therefore necessary to give students sufficient waiting time before going on to modify the question or asking other students to respond. If a student is not able to answer, then it is necessary to understand if the issue is with the clarity of the question. In that case, one could rephrase the question or try to understand which aspect of the question is difficult for the student and why. If the question is too difficult for the student due to lack of prior knowledge, it may be useful to ask a more factual question to bridge the gap and help lead the student toward the solution.

Overall, as teachers, we  need to not only have a clear intent for questioning, but we need to also learn to ask the right questions. To guide students on the learning process, it is essential to question on learning outcome (content) as well as students’ thinking and learning processes.

Table adapted from the Ohio Department of Education, Instructional Management System.

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Posted by on May 5, 2011 in Effective teaching


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Seven Principles of Good Practices in Teaching and Learning

As part of the teaching and learning community, you might have pondered about what may be considered as good practices of teaching and learning in higher education. Here is what Chickering and Gamson (1991) have distilled from the past 50 year of literature on teaching and learning. The seven principles of good practice in teaching and learning are

“1. Encourages Contact Between Students and Faculty (constructive and collaborative)Frequent student-faculty contact in and out of classes is the most important factor in student motivation and involvement. Faculty concern helps students get through rough times and keep on working. Knowing a few faculty members well enhances students’ intellectual commitment and encourages them to think about their own values and future plans.2. Develops Reciprocity and Cooperation Among Students (constructive and collaborative)Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort that a solo race. Good learning, like good work, is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated. Working with others often increases involvement in learning. Sharing one’s own ideas and responding to others’ reactions sharpens thinking and deepens understanding.

3. Encourages Active Learning (engaged/active learning)

Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just by sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing pre-packaged assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences and apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves.

4. Gives Prompt Feedback (reflective)

Knowing what you know and don’t know focuses learning. Students need appropriate feedback on performance to benefit from courses. When getting started, students need help in assessing existing knowledge and competence. In classes, students need frequent opportunities to perform and receive suggestions for improvement. At various points during college, and at the end, students need chances to reflect on what they have learned, what they still need to know, and how to assess themselves.

5. Emphasizes Time on Task (self-directed)

Time plus energy equals learning. There is no substitute for time on task. Learning to use one’s time well is critical for students and professionals alike. Students need help in learning effective time management. Allocating realistic amounts of time means effective learning for students and effective teaching for faculty. How an institution defines time expectations for students, faculty, administrators, and other professional staff can establish the basis of high performance for all.

6. Communicates High Expectations (self-directed)

Expect more and you will get more. High expectations are important for everyone — for the poorly prepared, for those unwilling to exert themselves, and for the bright and well motivated. Expecting students to perform well becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when teachers and institutions hold high expectations for themselves and make extra efforts.

7. Respects Diverse Talents and Ways of Learning (reflective)

There are many roads to learning. People bring different talents and styles of learning to college. Brilliant students in the seminar room may be all thumbs in the lab or art studio. Students rich in hands-on experience may not do so well with theory. Students need the opportunity to show their talents and learn in ways that work for them. Then they can be pushed to learn in new ways that do not come so easily.”


Reference: Chickering, A.W., and Gamson, Z.F. (1991). Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. Number 47, Fall 1991. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.

The basis of these 7 principles is that learning is constructive, collaborative, self-directed, active/engaged and reflective.

Ok, so we know that these are the good practices. As faculty, how do we incorporate these good practices in our teaching? Joseph R. Codde, Ph.D., Professor and Director – Educational Technology Certificate Program of Michigan State University provides exemplars of strategies he uses in his teaching. Read through for some ideas that you can incorporate as well.


  • I know my students by name.
  • I make a point to talk with my students on a personal level and learn about their educational and career goals.
  • I seek out my students who seem to be having problems with the course or miss class frequently.
  • I advise my students about career opportunities in their major field.
  • I share my past experiences, attitudes, and values with students.
  • I serve as a mentor and informal advisor to students. 


  • Beginning with the first class, I have students participate in activities that encourage them to get to know each other.
  • I use collaborative teaching and learning techniques.
  • I encourage students to participate in groups when preparing for exams and working on assignments.
  • I create “learning communities,” study groups, and project teams within my courses.
  • I serve as a mentor and informal advisor to students. 


  • I encourage students to excel at the work they do.
  • I give students positive reinforcement for doing exemplary work.
  • I encourage students to work hard in class.
  • I tell students that everyone works at different levels and they should strive to put forth their best effort, regardless of what level that is.
  • I help students set challenging goals for their own learning.
  • I publicly call attention to excellent performance by students.
  • I revise my courses to challenge students and encourage high performance.
  • I work individually with students who are poor performers to encourage higher levels of performance.
  • I encourage students not to focus on grades, but rather on putting for their best effort. 


  • I expect my students to complete their assignments promptly.
  • I clearly communicate to my students the minimum amount of time they should spend preparing for class and working on assignments.
  • I help students set challenging goals for their own learning.
  • I encourage students to prepare in advance for oral presentations.
  • I meet with students who fall behind to discuss their study habits, schedules, and other commitments.
  • If students miss my class, I require them to make up lost work. 


  • I ask students to present their work to the class.
  • I ask my students to relate outside events or activities to the subjects covered in my courses.
  • I encourage students to challenge my ideas, the ideas of other students, or those presented in readings or other course materials.
  • I give my students concrete, real-life situations to analyze.
  • I encourage students to suggest new readings, projects, or course activities. 


  • I give students immediate feedback on class activities.
  • I return exams and papers within one week/given time period for marking.
  • I give students evaluations of their work throughout the semester.
  • I give my students written comments on their strengths and weaknesses on class assignments.
  • I discuss the results of class assignments and exams with students and the class. 


  • I encourage students to speak up when they do not understand.
  • I use diverse teaching activities and techniques to address a broad range of students.
  • I select readings and design activities related to the background of my students.
  • I provide extra material or activities for students who lack essential background knowledge or skills.
  • I integrate new knowledge about women, minorities, and other under-represented populations into my courses.
  • I have developed and use learning contracts and other activities to provide students with learning alternatives for my courses.
  • I encourage students from different races and cultures to share their viewpoints on topics discussed in class.
  • I use collaborative teaching and learning techniques and pair students with lesser abilities with students with greater abilities. 

 Reference: Joseph R. Codde, Michigan State University.

I had first published  this article as on an e-Post at SIM univeristy.


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Designing problems for problem based learning- this was published in Faculty Focus

Check  this out

Designing Problems for Problem-based Learning

By: Nachamma Sockalingam PhD in Instructional Design

As the name implies, problems are absolutely essential for problem-based learning (PBL). Problems initiate students’ learning in PBL. In other words, if there are no problems, there will be no problem-based learning.

Although there are plenty of real-life problems around us, identifying the suitable problem to guide and direct students in their learning can be challenging. Often, course developers who are new to PBL find it challenging to go about designing problems.

How do you design a problem for PBL? Do you try and find an interesting article/case study that is relevant to your learning objectives and pose relevant questions? Or do you identify the learning objectives and pose questions on it? Is there a systematic way of designing problems?

This article aims to provide some guidelines on how to go about designing problems for PBL based on our current understanding of problem characteristics.

Recent studies suggest that problems effectiveness could be defined by 11 characteristics. These 11 characteristics are classified into two categories: feature characteristics and function characteristics. Feature characteristics are design elements of the problem. Function characteristics are the desired outcomes of the problem.

In designing problems, the characteristics to be manipulated are the feature characteristics; namely,

  • problem clarity,
  • problem format,
  • problem difficulty level,
  • problem familiarity and
  • problem relevance.

Other than the feature characteristics, it is important to consider the function characteristics in designing problems. The function characteristics are the extent to which the problem:

  • leads to the intended learning issues,
  • promotes self-directed learning,
  • stimulates critical reasoning,
  • stimulates elaboration,
  • promotes teamwork, and
  • triggers interest.

Ok, so we know what constitutes an effective problem. But how do we incorporate these characteristics into our problem design?

Making it relevant and realistic
In designing problems for problem-based learning, one could start off with analyzing student characteristics and students’ learning needs which will shed light on students’ prior knowledge, which content/context would be familiar to students (this is likely to provide information on problem familiarity, difficulty and relevance), their learning styles (which will provide information for problem format) and comprehension capabilities (which will provide information on problem clarity). Such information needs to be incorporated into the presentation of the problem. This layer of the problem design could be likened to the user-interface of the problem.

Underlying the user-interface is the content. In selecting the content, problem designers would need to identify the learning issues that need to be focused on and tailor it to students’ prior knowledge and learning needs. Hence it becomes essential to first analyze student characteristics and learning needs to develop problems. This content then needs to be framed in a relevant and realistic context that students can relate to and apply in other courses or in other areas of their life. Contextualizing the problem is similar to coming up with a story line.

In addition to the user-interface and the story (content/context), one needs to also focus on what is expected from the students as a result of working on the problem. That is, one needs to keep in mind the message intended by the “story.” If the problem is meant to stimulate critical reasoning, there needs to be activities that are weaved into the problem design which require students to reason critically.

Overall, in designing problems for problem-based learning, function characteristics/learning outcomes (not just content but also what behavioral skills, such as self-directed learning, critical thinking) need to be considered and the issues should be framed in the appropriate context and presented using the optimal feature characteristics/user interface. Essentially, the steps in designing problems are similar to writing a story. Thinking of the message (outcome) as well as story line (content and context) and then the presentation (user interface) would be a logical way to designing problems.


Sockalingam, N., Rotgans, J., & Schmidt, H. G. (2010).Student and Tutor Perceptions on Effective Problems. Higher Education (in press). DOI: 10.1007/s10734-010-9361-3.

Nachamma Sockalingam PhD, Lecturer, Teaching and Learning Centre. SIM University, Singapore.


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Teacher-centered teaching versus Student-centered teaching

What is the difference between teacher-centered teaching and student-centered teaching?

To some, they are the same. One argument goes like this. Whether it is teacher-centered teaching or student-centered teaching, the focus is about students’ learning. So therefore the teaching is student-centered regardless of whether it is teacher-centered teaching or student-centered teaching. Sounds right! right?

Well, here is the flaw in the argument. Here we are assuming that the outcome is the only thing that matters – that is, the students’ learning. The main difference between teacher-centered teaching and the student centered teaching is in the process of teaching – how we go about teaching. Student-centered teaching engages students  in the learning process whilst teacher-centered teaching is intended for mostly information transmission. So teacher-centered teaching may not engage the students that much during the learning process; students often passively listen and take notes in teacher-centered teaching.

The tables in the following hyperlink  summarizes the differences clearly.


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How can we engage passive students?

Here is a quick summary  of an article titled “From Passive to Active Learning: Helping Students Make the Shift.” by Marilla Svinicki, University of Texas at Austin. 

In this article, Marilla speculates why students may be resistant to active learning and suggests what we can do to help them get engaged in active learning. 

Here are the essentials from the article. 

1.     Why students may be resistant to active learning?

  • Students continue to use learning strategies that they had used  in high school or college such as listening to the instructor and taking notes.
  • This ‘out-dated ‘ learning strategies may not work for active learning- students may be taking note of everything that is being said instead of knowing what to focus on.
  • Students’ conception of learning is that learning is receiving information; they have not accepted the idea that knowledge is to be constructed
  • Students associate learning with memorizing and knowing facts.
  • Students have difficulty in handling situations with no right or wrong answer. Hence you often have requests for model answers.
  • Some students may be pressed for time and may be strategically minimizing effort on  their course work to cope with other pressing matters. 

2.    What can we do?

  • It is worth taking time to explain to students why it is important for them to participate actively (not just for the grades).
  • We should ensure that the activities are relevant to the course objectives and not just something to do.
  • We need to make the learning objectives clear to the students.
  • To overcome students’ belief that there is only one right answer, we could expose students gradually to complex situations.
  • When using more complex problems, we could provide sufficient modeling of the process ( Note: modeling process is different from giving the model answer).
  • We should encourage students to participate in discussions and share their view points.
  • We should try and create an open learning environment where students feel safe to make mistakes and learn

 Here are couple of things that Marilla had not mentioned but maybe worth considering.

  • In wanting our students to engage in active learning, we are assuming that all our students actually know what is active learning.  This assumption needs to be tested in the classroom and if necessary,  we may need to help students understand what is active learning to begin with. 
  • We could engage students in discussions on their conceptions of learning and help them see the importance of constructivist learning (and hence the need to participate).
  • We should encourage students to reflect on their learning strategies.
  • We need to provide a conclusion/summary of learning so the students know if they have understood what needs to be.
  • We need to provide prompt and appropriate feedback, not just on the content but also on students’ learning strategies.

I had first published  this article as an e-Post at SIM univeristy.


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Teaching adult learners


This post is on adult learning. I have summarized an article by S. Joseph Levine from Michigan State University on The Challenge of Helping Adults learn. You can get the pdf artcle by googling.

In this article, Levine outlines the characteristics of adult learners and suggests teaching strategies to support adult learners.  

1.  What are the characteristics of adult learners?

The adult learner

  • Is primarily independent/self-directed
  • Is motivated from within himself/herself
  • Is most likely to be interested in topics that relate to his/her developmental stages of life
  • Is most interested in information and ideas that solve problems they are presently faced with
  • Is most interested in information that can be immediately applied
  • Has considerable experience to draw upon

2.  What can we do as instructors?

To teach adult learners, it is important that the teaching strategies are adapted to suit the adult learner characteristics listed above. The first step would be to understand the adult learners. Then, we need to tailor learner-centered activities.

To understand our learners, we should first be approachable and we should make efforts to get to know the adult learners – for instance, what they do, what motivates them and what interests them. 

To tailor learner-centered activities, we could

  • Encourage or where possible, organize learners in groups based on their work experience/interest, get everyone  to contribute some ideas, get  learners to elaborate how their unique experiences have helped in providing solutions to the problem
  •  Choose examples/problems which adult learners can potentially apply in their work
  • Alternatively, get adult learners in teams to suggest examples/problems and encourage them to work on that
  • Ask adult learners how they will be using what they have learnt
  • Encourage adult learners by recognizing what adult learners value; motivate them by reminding them their reasons to pursue the module/degree

In sum, the tactic to teaching adult learners would be to “relate to the adult learners, draw them into the learning process, help them to stay motivated and help them to work collaboratively”.

I had first published  this article as on an e-Post at SIM univeristy.


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How to Build Learning Community in Blended, Online, and Face- to-Face Classes?

Today is the Faculty Learning Day at UniSIM…..

And the theme is about student engagement.

The first speaker is Prof John Boyer, speaking on Building Community in blended, online, and face- to-face teaching.

Here is my take-aways…

1) Engaging students is not getting students to react…..if you ask question and demand an answer, it is getting students to react….you want the students to be willingly engaged….

2) We need to make students think about the class before, during and long after….engagement is beyond the lecture time.

3) Student engagement is building community ….that is being together…helping and looking out for each other.

4) Student engagement is about collaborative work….real-world works in collaboration.

What we shoud/can do…is not force…
But we need to make the environment suitable, speak the  same language as the students….facilitate the communication ….and we can use the web 2.0/social media  tools to promote student engagement.

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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Effective teaching


Flipping the syllabus can be an answer…


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Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Just about anything else


Flipping the classroom

Flipping the classroom can be one way to handling large classes

Put it simply, it is doing what we do in classroom at home and what we do at home, that is homework, in classroom.

So you can place lecture through youtube videos, you can also post references….students can watch anytime anywhere and learn. And while they meet in classroom, you can discuss and analyze case-studies etc…

Find out more here…


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Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Just about anything else


Issues in teaching large classes

Here is what we listed out….

How do you know what these students know ?
How to engage the large group of students ?
What interests and challenges these students ?
How to hold discussions?

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Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Just about anything else


Faculty Learning Day at UniSIM

It is the second Faculty Learning Day at UniSIM on Sat 28 th July.

We are having Prof. John Boyer from Virginia Tech ….discussing about Flipping the Syllabus

He teaches class size of 3000 students…..

What can be some issues/ challenges in teaching such a large crowd

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Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Just about anything else


Using itools in your classroom – voicethread

I have been missing in action for a while .. been busy… but I have been wanting to get back to my blog.

Have been learning new and interesting stuff. Here is a cool link that I want to share with you – check out this weblink – You will love it – if you can use multimedia in your classroom.

Voice thread allows you to make a presentation as well as collaborate. I have not used all the functions. I just tried out the presentation part- and here is a sample I made.

I am just so excited- btw, this was a make-believe class and make-believe lesson.

Why leaf structure- my late father used to keep talking about leaf structures- he had studied BSc Agriculture before venturing in to his MBA and moving to Banking a few decades ago.. and before he passed away of course. And that was still in my mind.

If you are wondering  where I got the pictures from, these are actually from the media library in voicethread.

Do feel free to leave your comments in the voicethread.



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Posted by on November 12, 2011 in Effective teaching