February 22, 2011
School of Business, Bengaluru
Instant availability of information on the Internet may soon make the traditional lecture-method of teaching obsolete. After all, a simple transfer of information or knowledge from the teacher to the student cannot be considered as teaching or learning.
These points were highlighted at a one-day workshop on Active Learning recently conducted by the Amrita School of Business at Bengaluru in collaboration with IIM Ranchi.
The workshop drew participants from 13 different institutions, including faculty and staff from all campuses of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.
“Academicians around the world are realizing that class-rooms should facilitate group learning that can help students discover concepts on their own,” shared Dr. Usha Nandini, who convened the workshop.
Dr. M. J. Xavier, Director, IIM Ranchi, as the invited guest speaker, explained the concept of active learning, its methods, an action plan to implement active learning and the implementation problems that one may face.
“In an ever changing environment, concepts and theories undergo changes at a rapid pace,” he noted. “Consequently, learning has to be continuous and lifelong. That is one aspect of active learning.”
“The teacher needs to only create an interest in the subject and allow the students to learn on their own. Learning to learn has to become the success-mantra for the students as well as the teachers.”
“In this new context, most educational Institutions in the West are adopting the active-learning method. In this approach, the lecture-based classes are kept to a minimum, and activities take prominence.”
Defining a good teacher, he highlighted the difference between a Guru and a teacher. He also noted the different types of learners, specifying how best to reach out to them.
“We designed this program to help teachers understand the concept of active or experiential learning,” stated Dr. Usha. “We wanted to help them learn different activities that can be useful in the courses that they teach.”
“And I am happy to say that we succeeded. The concepts are applicable to any discipline; indeed teachers not only from management but also computer science, visual communication and commerce departments participated.”