Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Activity 3 - Flexible learning in our organisation - a yarn with Fred

To complete Activity 3 I met up with Fred Cross who teaches Basic Mechanical and Engineering Trade Skills or BMETS for short, we shared our our experiences and application of Flexible learning and here is how flexibility is built into his programme.

Who are Fred's students?
Mostly male school leavers interested in cars and not fully aware the career opportunities or scope of the Engineering trade. Occasionally there are young women or mature students who also take the course.

We discussed how the 5 dimensions of flexibility were already in place in BMETs:

TIME
A 6 month course that is made up of 8 unit standards and 2 practical workshops. The biggest challenge is fitting all of the learning into 6 months, thus the need for some degree of flexibility. Attendance is crucial in keeping on time and up to date with work load. 4 days per week 8 hours per day, the spare day is a work placement day.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
Open entry, but are assessed for literacy and numeracy levels.

CONTENT and INSTRUCTIONAL APPROACH
The content for this Level 2 course is dictated by COMPINTENZ. COMPINTENZ is an organisation that umbrellas this pre-apprentice course. however 1 day per week is for work placement in various companies around Dunedin. Students must sort this out themselves, and so there is an element of flexibility in relation to content here. Keeping a daily journal reflecting on learning and practice experience
at the beginning of each course Fred gives the students the VARK Questionnaire to determine learning styles of the student in order to take the most appropriate instructional approach. other methods of flexible Instructional Approach include:
  • Learner Centered Learning
  • Getting the students to instruct/teach each other on the use of power tools in the work shop.
  • Lecture style
  • One on one
  • Lots of positive feedback
  • Reflective listening and questioning
DELIVERY AND LOGISTICS - The course is delivered in the classroom, workshop an off site engineering firm (Scott Technologies) and a work placement.

Delivery and Logistics In the Classroom - Power point, handouts, a course reader, computers.
- group work, discussion, and using white boards where the students research and write up the material - a Learner Centred approach to delivery.
- Videos

Delivery and Logistics in the workshop and off site - Instructional, Induction, students become the teachers and teach each other, practical application.

Other things related to flexible delivery and logistics -
  • Small Classes : up to 15.
  • Eclectic delivery
  • Progressive assessment - not expected to have things perfect at the beginning, but by the end there is an expectation that work is of a high standard.
  • Other aspects relating to assessment - some assessment is embedded into the course material, Fred assesses them by observation and they get credited for it. A mix of practical and written assessments.
  • For students that require extra tutoring with literacy and numeracy Fred has designed and scheduled a class.

RESOURCES
  • 3 white boards
  • cell phones with cameras (the students own)
  • computers
  • moodle to come in the future
  • projector, video, power points
  • practical equipment, machinery
  • industry (work placement)
  • human resource including the students themselves
  • hand outs


1 comment:

Bronwyn hegarty said...

Wow Hannah this is an excellent interview with Fred. He really is catering to the learning capacity and interest of his students. I would be interested to hear more about how the students are using their cellphones to capture their classroom learning and practical skills.