‘Adopt blended learning to stay relevant’

National 2 minutes, 18 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

TEACHERS should prioritise the learning outcome of their students and incorporate the necessary skills and technology to improve it.

“There is a need to rethink how we teach. The world is moving forward, and if you’re not willing to change your classroom instructions, teachers and their students will be left behind,” said Dr David Asirvatham, Director of the Centre for Information Technology at University Malaya, Malaysia, during his seminar at the 2nd Politeknik Brunei International Symposium on Innovative Teaching and Learning held on May 28.

Asirvatham said an obstacle that needs to be overcome is the traditional style of teaching involving one-way instructional lessons which is less effective among the current tech-savvy generation who can search for any information they want online.

“This is a setback in learning. It’s not (that) the students aren’t ready, but a lot of teachers aren’t ready (to change their teaching style). We can’t be the same as the teachers who taught us,” he said.

He said teachers should learn to interact, teach and engage the interest of students through an approach he called “blended learning” which incorporates both face-to-face and online teaching.

“Teachers must be researchers and developers. They must be able to look for content on the Internet, search for the best way to teach and be able to develop their own content as well,” he added.

Asirvatham said teachers should use technology such as video recording and posting online content for students to learn outside of class while using the time spent face to face in class to promote more interactive learning and focus on critical thinking.

He added that this may pose a challenge to teachers who are still unfamiliar with the technology and concept. He advised them to start incorporating the technique and examine whether it positively impacts the students.

“A lot of people emphasise too much on technology and they forget about the learning outcome. It must be tied to why you want to use this technology and (whether) it will help the learning outcome.

“The main thing is that when you design any course, the number one factor is you must focus on learning and not (just the use of) technology,” he said.

However, Asirvatham said blended learning not only helps teachers better engage with their students but also encourages students to be active in learning.

“A lot of students stop learning the day they graduate because they’re so used to the format that ‘if somebody teaches me, I learn, and if nobody teaches me, I don’t learn’. In today’s world, they can’t afford to do that because everything is changing so fast. Teachers have to be the guide and train them to be lifelong learners.”

The Brunei Times