Tag Archives: teaching adult students

Let Your Students Have a Do-Over

By Alec Fehl, author of Labyrinth Learning’s Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2016 Essentials and Your Digital Foundation

Learning to Walk

Do you remember learning to walk? Neither do I. Perhaps it went something like this:

Tried to stand up. Fell down. Tried to stand up. Fell down again. Did this for several days. Was finally able to stand. Tried to take a step. Fell down. Tried another step. Fell down. Bumped my head. Cried a little. Tried another step. Woo-hoo! Did it! Tried a second step. Fell down. Repeated process until I walked.

That may not be the exact sequence, but I bet it’s close. I learned by getting a lot of do-overs, and I know this didn’t happen:

Tried to stand up. Fell down and said, “Oh well…I’ll just try to move on to running.”

Why a Do-Over?

Do your students get one chance at an assignment, receive a grade, and then move on to the next assignment? Most of my students worked that way. Get a C and never look back. My students would fail to master concepts if their end goal was simply a grade.

How do educators address this?

With the current education system, we must find a way to balance facilitating learning with the administrative requirement of assessing, tracking, and rating progress.

I’ve had success in my classes by offering “virtually unlimited do-overs.”

How to Do a Do-Over

To begin, I give assignments with an initial due date. I assess these initial submissions and give detailed feedback, commenting on what’s good and what needs improvement or completion. Here’s the kicker: If I leave feedback, the initial grade is zero. Rather than give a letter grade or percentage, I label the assignment “complete” or “not complete.” My feedback indicates exactly what’s needed for me to consider the work complete.

And my feedback comes with a 48-hour deadline extension. They resubmit within the timeframe and the process repeats: They get more feedback, a “not complete” rating, and another 48 hours to work. This continues until the student either completes the assignment (100%) or misses a deadline and the incomplete rating (0%) sticks.

Benefits of Giving Do-Overs

  • I focus less on determining a grade and more on giving relevant feedback.
  • Students learn revision skills, how to accept critique, and other soft skills.
  • Students work, to some degree, at their own pace.
  • Students are motivated to improve from their mistakes, creating a mindset of lifelong learning.
  • Students benefit from formative assessment as they work through mistakes and are more likely to achieve concept/skill mastery.

While this may not be the perfect system for every discipline, I have used a more detailed version with great success in my classes for almost 30 years.

How Our Accounting Basics Solution Facilitates Learning

accounting solutions
Accounting Basics from Labyrinth Learning

When teaching accounting courses, financial information must be conveyed in a clear and concise manner. Here at Labyrinth Learning, our Accounting Basics solution offers an easily understood introduction for students who wish to gain general accounting knowledge but may not be working toward an accounting degree.

Often students want accounting basics to utilize as part of their job, for personal finances or to be able to understand the importance of accounting  while taking a course like QuickBooks.  While things like cash flow and payroll accounting are the responsibility of the accounting department, it is valuable to all to be able to read a ledger sheet, track business performance, and understand the basics of profit and loss.

Labyrinth Learning provides this new basic accounting solution.  It begins with a comprehensive overview. This particular program introduces a fictional business and the accounting cycle they follow. Each new topic also includes detailed explanations so each student understands how the process works.

This is solution provides practical and easy to understand accounting basics, along with practice sets at the end of each chapter, an ongoing end of chapter problem which builds off the previous obstacle, and a scenario at the end of the course allowing students to put their recently gained knowledge to use.

For more information about our Accounting Basics textbook along with our many other interactive teaching tools, please contact us at Labyrinth Learning today.

voice bubbles

Teaching Accounting Using Twitter

More and more accounting teachers are using technology in the classroom to help their students learn both in and out of the school. Social media is a great example of a technological innovation that lets teachers and students communicate with each other outside of class.

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Answer questions outside of the classroom, and provide handy links, by using Twitter.

Used in the right manner, social media sites such as Twitter can produce astonishing results in accounting students. Here are some suggestions for using Twitter to teach accounting:

  • First, when teaching accounting, there will be a ton of information out there for your students to try to digest. That is why setting up a Twitter account to push out helpful links and information directly is a great way to help the students and relate to their everyday lives.
  • Second, Twitter can be used to support two-way conversations between teachers and students, which can help teachers engage their students while also ensuring that said individuals retain more of what they hear.
  • Third, Twitter’s ease of use also makes it useful for asking questions in the middle of accounting lectures. This is beneficial because increased student engagement produces better results, whether the material consists of the basic accounting principles or more advanced topics, and students can tend to be very shy. Twitter questions may help everyone get their questions in and answered.
  • Fourth, Twitter can lead students to other online material such as recorded presentations used to create a collaborative learning experience.

For more on ways to improve your teaching through new technology and new ideas, please contact us at Labyrinth Learning, today.

Do Grades Still Hold Up in Higher Education?

Do Grades Still Hold Up in Higher Education?

Do Grades Still Hold Up in Higher Education?Once upon a time, grading a student’s work seemed to achieve its intended goal. It began as an equilateral assessment tool to encourage students to learn and master given material. However, that module was also privy to subjection, systematic pressure and increasing awareness of learning differentials.

In other words, old school grades in higher education worked for some, but not enough for all. As blended learning continues to dominate the curricular landscape, the need for a fresher approach toward determining mastery of skills becomes imminent. So, how can this be done? A simple solution is changing who does the grading.

Peer grading has impressive potential for becoming an effective assessment tool for several reasons:

  • It teaches students equivocal responsibility.
  • It encourages honesty and integrity
  • It sharpens critical thinking and judgment
  • It facilitates constructive communication

Higher education is the learning realm where students began to apply what it means to be peers in an astutely professional sense. Peer grading is an excellent forum to establish a fair system for assessment and to put the aforementioned benefits into practice. There is also an inherent balance within knowing that the person you are grading will grade you, too. It is a subtle, yet proactive push toward peer consideration, development, and sensitivity. Of course, it is also a less biased way toward scoring assignments.

For more information about the current state of grades in higher education and blended learning systems, contact us at Labyrinth Learning.

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ADULT students in the classroom

Tips for Teaching Adult Learners

ADULT students in the classroomTeaching is not a one-style-fits-all profession. Different learning populations have different wants, needs, and learning styles. As teachers, we have to determine which teaching materials are best suited for students’ needs and teaching adult learners poses its own set of challenges. These tips can help you reach adult learners at their level.

  1. Know Why. Teachers often work under the assumption that adult learners want to be there. That’s not always the case. Sometimes they have to be enrolled in your class for employment opportunities or to keep a certification current. Make sure you know why your lessons are important so students never feel they are wasting their time in your classroom.
  • Understand Various Learning Styles. Modern teaching theories have come a long ways since the “sit-still-and-listen” teaching format most of today’s teachers were brought up with. We all have our own learning style:
    • Visual
    • Auditory
    • Kinesthetic 

    You can use simple assessments at the beginning of the term to learn which modality is the best for each student. While most students like a combination of the three, understanding which modality works best for them can be a lifelong learning gift for students, and a valuable piece of information for you as their teacher.

  • Encouragement. Remember that the adult learner has been out of the academic environment for some time. They may have ingrained beliefs about being “bad students” that can block their ability to learn. Maintaining a positive and encouraging atmosphere will keep them motivated and engaged.

Labyrinth Learning offers computer classroom textbooks for every type of adult learner.

 

Image: shutterstock.com
professor with students working in computer lab

Challenges (and Benefits) of Teaching in a Computer Lab

professor with students working in computer labThe computer lab, like any classroom, has its own set of unique challenges. However, at the end of the school day, teaching in a computer lab is incredibly rewarding. Here are some suggestions for working with the challenges of computer labs.

Increase Collaborative Learning
. As Mary Beth Hertz points out in her article, The Pros and Cons of Computer Labs, group projects can be difficult in a computer lab. Until more schools acquire laptop, tablet and wireless technology, computer labs are virtually impossible to rearrange. Group projects can become mayhem as throngs of students gather around a single computer. To combat this, talk to administrators about larger indoor spaces that may be reserved on campus. You can have students meet an alternate classroom for a class or two as they work out the details for their project. Then they can return to the lab to work on individual portions of the project.

Academic Resource Station
. Many primary/secondary schools have had to shut their library doors due to budget cuts. Your college students may arrive with a shocking gap in research skills, having never been properly trained. Teaching in a computer lab is about more than teaching computer literacy. It provides the chance to teach adult students how to use the internet for academic research, determine if a website is a reliable source of information, and/or how to access academic journals and publications. These are critical skills for the returning student.

The benefits of teaching in a computer lab far outweigh its challenges.

 

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