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psyonicpanda's avatar

What is the best way to construct a class?

Asked by psyonicpanda (1099 points ) August 10th, 2012

I am putting together a class to teach my peers how to use an internet system thats has to do with their job. What is the best ways to present the class, and what kind of things might I need to help them use the system easier.

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6 Answers

Bellatrix's avatar

Take a constructivist approach. Draw and build on their existing knowledge. They are coming to the class with some understanding of what they need this system to do. They have probably used other systems.

Use active learning strategies. Rather than lecturing them, facilitate. So use short demonstrations but then get them trying to use the system themselves. Set problems for them to solve using this system.

Get them to work together, make it as interactive as possible with you working with them rather than lecturing them.

Keep in mind this is about providing them with a learning experience, keep their needs as your priority.

You could put together some hand outs, and some authentic tasks they can work through as a group and individually. Provide some takeaway materials they can refer to after the class.

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CWOTUS's avatar

One of the first structured and professionally taught software courses I ever took – in fact, I think it might have been “the only one” – was taught by a new instructor from Oracle. He introduced himself to us by explaining a bit about his many years as a developer and consultant, then explained that he had only taken a short course himself in “teaching”, and we were his first class. For the next six weeks, full time.

After that had sunk in, he explained further that he would be happy to answer (and probably capable of answering) any question about Oracle that didn’t begin with or include the word “Why”. In other words, he could teach us all kinds of ways to work around bugs in the system, to model the software to suit our business (or vice versa, if that made more business sense), but he would not even touch questions that addressed “the reasons why Oracle programmed the system the way they did”.

It was a great class.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The best way to construct a class is to hire an instructional design (ID) consultant unless you already have that skill. The ID will need subject matter experts (SMEs) to provide content and guidance. The ID will help craft the objectives of the learning and then build content around the objectives.

Once the lesson content is designed, then it will be developed. What materials need to be on hand in order to make the learning effective? How will success be measured?

The third step is deployment. This often includes Alpha and Beta testing in order to allow for tweaks. Then it can be officially rolled out.

If the class is to be instructor-led, a facilitator’s guide should also be created, as well as a train-the -trainer session. Any person who steps in front of a classroom without proper training is doomed for failure. They may come across as knowledgeable, but it rarely results in effective training if there isn’t a good lesson plan that sticks to the objectives.

hiphiphopflipflapflop's avatar

It’s quite long, but this is the best thing I’ve ever seen about teaching, ever.

LostInParadise's avatar

You learn by doing. This is especially apparent for the type of course that you will be teaching. You could create a video showing people step by step what to do. The problem that I have always had taking software courses is that the material seems to go by too quickly. I have also has courses where you operate the program as the teacher speaks, folllowing his directions. This never seems to work out well. If someone misses a step then the class is slowed down while the teacher explains what to do. If a person operates the program while watching the video, it can be paused or rewound.

The site pointed to by @hiphiphopflipflapflop does a good job of explaining the active nature of learning. If you do not have time to listen to the whole speech, you can check out this site, which gives a summary of what was said.

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