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Different perceptions are being held by different schools of thoughts about increasing student learning effectively and efficiently. The most general perception of increasing student knowledge in a course is to increase their involvement and association with the course. But, I would like to argue that the most important thing to enhance student learning in a new course is to understand "students themselves - their behavior and psychology".
In this writing, the author has assumed the role of teacher who is going to advise his coworkers or colleagues in his department about designing a new course. The basic objective of the author as a teacher is to maximize and enhance the students' learning effectively and efficiently. It is important to note that different kinds of techniques and tools are being used by different institutions to increase the learning of the students in a course. In this paper, the author will attempt to develop a strategy to maximize student learning by designing a new course module (hypothetically) effectively and efficiently.
It is assumed in the paper that the author works in the "management sciences" department of university as an "Assistant professor" who teaches strategic management. The department is considering offering a new course "industrial marketing" to students. Different professors and experts are called in a meeting to discuss the new course module and to recommend tools and techniques to maximize students' learning from this course effectively and efficiently. The committee recommended different conventional or traditional ways to increase students' learning such as quizzes, exams, assignments, projects and dissertations etc. But, the author is attempting to provide unique and efficient solutions to increase student learning in the new course "industrial marketing". This essay is divided in three parts. The first part discusses the students' learning and how it can be increased. The second part mentions different recommendations given by the author to increase the student learning in the new module effectively and efficiently. The last part of the essay discusses different limitations associated with the recommended methodology to increase student learning followed by a conclusion.
Five unique ways to increase students' learning
According to Harry Tuttle (2009), the teachers always have limited time to make students learn in the class. This limited time makes it difficult for teachers to work effectively and for students to learn efficiently. He recommended five techniques to increase students learning effectively and effiiciently which are as follows:
Educators could prioritize the coursework in a way that they could focus on the critical course learning and make sure that their students can do that learning well.
Efficient and smart teachers adopt numerous unique learning strategies in their class rooms.
Effective and efficient teachers save time while using formative assessment because they know in-route student learning process.
The efficient teachers always give feedback to the greatest learning area that is needed by largest number of students and in return these teachers save their precious time.
Effective and efficient teachers save their class time and manage it very effectively and efficienlty that enhances student learning. It is important to note that long class hours also increase hectism and can have adverse effects on student learning process. (Tuttle, 2009)
It is important to note that most of the teachers actually follow the sequence of the course module and in the end they miss some important parts of the module which are critical for student learning. It is critical for teachers to focus on the essential part of the course that is needed for student learning and the efforts of teachers must be optimized to increase student learning. In other words, the teachers must identify "need-to-know" parts of the course or module and should prioritize those parts for increasing student knowledge. (Tuttle, 2009)
Strategies for learning
The teachers must adopt a unique teaching style to make students learn. At this point, teaching can be resembled to advertising. In advertising, there is a clutter of information and consumers find it difficult to understand the marketing communication messages by different corporations. To stand out of competition, the message and media strategy of the corporation must be unique, creative and appealing to target audience to break out of the clutter. Similarly, the teacher must adopt unique teaching style that must be students' friendly instead of using traditional methods of learning. (Tuttle, 2009)
Time saving during formative assessment
If the teacher, during formative assessment, finds out that the students are having problems with a particular concept then he must adopt some unique strategies to make students learn or to explain them the core concepts. It can save a lot of teachers' time and efforts. For example, if the teacher, during a marketing course formative assessment, identifies that the students are having problems in understanding the brand equity concept then he must explain the concept of brand equity by offering case studies of different corporations such as Wal-Mart, the coca cola company and Apple Inc instead of traditional bookish literature which is sometimes difficult to understand. (Tuttle, 2009)
It is also a fact that, no matter how effectively the class is learning, there is always a small group in the class with below average understanding of the course or module. That group must be dealt with intelligence and care to increase student learning. The teacher must involve the other students and class in making them learn the critical or core concepts of the course through class discussions and feedback. The best way to increase their knowledge is to engage them with their class fellows through discussion and debate. (Tuttle, 2009)
The teacher must effectively manage the class time and it is critical because it has been observed that most of the students could not learn efficiently due to boredom and tiredness caused by long class hours. Moreover, the teaching style and traditional way of exams, assignments and quizzes is also a reason for low levels of student learning in the class room. It is a fact that most of the students study because of exams and not to learn. They study during exams nights and engage in other activities during the course or semester duration. The best way to make students learn is to engage them in learning. Exams are considered as a motivation for students' learning but I would like to argue that exams are to assess the learning and not to make students learn. (Tuttle, 2009)
All the course of industrial marketing is designed according to this statement of Benjamin Franklin "Tell me and I will forget, Show me and I might remember, and Involve me and I will understand". The best strategy to make student learn efficiently is to involve them in the course of Industrial Marketing. It is important to note that Industrial Marketing is a professional module which is offered by our department and it is needed to be handled efficiently by a professional (someone from the industrial or someone who may have a lot of industrial experience in the area of business to business marketing). The following paragraphs discuss different kinds of strategies recommended to increase and maximize the learning of the students in the course of industrial marketing.
Who should be the teacher?
The teacher of the students must be from the industry and the teacher must have massive experience or exposure of working at the strategic levels or top managements level in industry. The attitude of the teacher must be friendly to the students and he must understand the "students themselves - their behavior and psychology" to deliver some practical or professional knowledge to students with efficient time management. It can be stated that teachers are the makers of students and teachers are the most influential in students' learning. If some of the students fail in the class then it is not only the responsibility of the students but teacher is also somehow responsible for the failure of students. It is important to note that most of the teachers just deliver some bookish knowledge to students with no professional or practical orientation. The teachers' efforts must be optimized by focusing on the most critical parts of the course to make students learn effectively.
What should be the content of the course?
Almost all kinds of courses offer books for making students learn. But, I would like to recommend that the new course material must be based on real case studies of corporations from the industry in the area of industrial or business to business (B2B) marketing rather the traditional boring bookish literature which students find boring. But I am not denying the fact that books are important and some lectures must be delivered introducing the course of industrial marketing to students. Then, in every class, Case studies will be discussed rather than literature. The case studies and literature must be distributed to students two weeks prior to the class and students must be instructed to review the case study carefully. The teacher in the class would initiate the open discussion first and then he would back out of discussion and students must take command of the discussion from there. There must be significant weight to "Class Discussion" in the form of discussion or argumentation among students about the different concepts of industrial marketing case studies and concepts. In this case, the teacher would engage the students rather than just telling them or showing them and definitely the students would understand due to this engagement with the course. It would be consider necessary for students to read different books or literature to propose a solution for the case study to be presented in the class to score class discussion marks. In the class, the teacher will assess the argumentation of students and will assign marks according to the logicality and authenticiy of the argument made by student. The teacher would play the role of the mediator by keeping the discussion among the students in the right direction. The above process involves involving the students and they will learn themselves on their own which will be enhance their learning and discussion skills. Students will find the course interesting because it does not involve traditional class room environment and students are their teachers themselves.
How the students would be evaluated?
It is a fact that most of the students just memorize things and they do not learn because of the traditional examination structures. The students would not be tested conventionally in this module. The most percentage of marks lies in class discussion as the 50 percent of the marks are allocated for class discussion. The teacher would take two midterms and one final term to assess the students during the course module. Moreover, the students will be assessed formatively and different lectures will be arranged to make students learn in concepts in which most of the students will feel difficulty. The students would also be required to submit a research project on Industrial Marketing holding 15 percent marks. The percentage of two midterms is 7.5 percent and 7.5 percent respectively and two midterms would be conducted in the second and third quarter of the module. The final term will hold 20 percent marks. In exams, a case study would be presented and the students will be required to propose solutions for the case study instead of traditional bookish exams. The student just need to learn and not to memorize to pass the course exams as there will be no need for preparation of exams and the focus of the students will automatically be transferred to learning instead of memorizing.
If we clearly analyze the above criteria selected to evaluate students then it is obvious that it is a self-learning approach adopted by the teacher. Students will actually learn and not memorize due to involvement and there will be no fear of exam preparations.
Extra Curricular Activities
Different industry trips and guest lectures will be arranged to increase the learning of the students in the course. The work done by students on their own about industrial marketing will be highly appreciated and students would be awarded 10 percent bonus marks to engage in research projects related to industrial marketing.
Pros of this methodology for maximizing student learning
The coursework is characterized by self-learning and innovative methods and it is important to note that the methodology is driving students to self-learning and changing the focus of students from exams to class rooms. The students will realize that they have to learn instead of memorize to pass the course or module of industrial marketing. Class discussion will motivate students to learn things instead of memorizing and weak groups in the class would automatically be tackled with discussion or argumentation among the students. The course teaching methodology is sophistically designed to increase the structured (course materials) and unstructured (other sources of information such as internet) learning of students. The traditional class room environment will be changed and teacher will work in the class room as a catalyst or mediator. The students will be their teachers.
The basic purpose of the exams is to evaluate students and not to make them learn. Most of the institutions rely on exams and perceives that exams are the techniques to make students learn. But it is important to note that learning is something different from evaluations. The institutions must focus on learning tools and techniques rather than evaluation tools and techniques. In our methodology for making student learn efficiently is focused on learning tools and techniques rather than evaluation tools and techniques because the best learning experience for students is class room learning.
The most alarming limitation of the course is that the course assessment may contain teacher biasness as the evaluation is totally qualitative (class discussion and projects) and teacher may grant marks on the basis of favoritism or biasness to some students. The course content is also more subjective than objective and it is difficult for teacher to evaluate the students. For example, the teacher may hold a wrong view about a concept or phenomenon and students arguing must be granted marks on the basis of presenting the view in a wrong way according to perceptions of the teacher. But, despite of the limitations, it is an efficient methodology as it will involve students in the learning and maximize their learning experience because the basic purpose of exams is to evaluate students and not to make them learn.
In this paper, the author has developed a new course strategy and made a recommendation for teachers by which they could increase the students' learning efficiently in the course. The best strategy to make students learn is to involve them. The writer has successfully recommended a strategy for a new module that is "Industrial Marketing" for making students learn efficiently and developed a methodology characterized by increased student learning.
In the end, it can be concluded that there are two sides of the picture. The methodology proposed in this paper may have both advantages and disadvantages. But the students learn actually through involvement. Involvement changes the focus of students to learning instead of memorizing.