One of the biggest challenges as a teacher is to get learners actively engaged in the lesson; another is to provide for individual differences. The techniques that we refer to as process technologies can be a great assistance in achieving these goals. Learning centers, integrated learning systems, cooperative groups, games and simulations are examples of process technologies.
A great advantage of these techniques is that they provide ready frameworks revolve around active practice and feedback, so it is no surprise that research shows that process technologies rank among the most powerful instructional method.
The standard pattern of organizing instruction in school is well established throughout the 20th century. The standard pattern entails the following:
1. Beginning the lesson with review
2. Introducing and developing the new content
3. Leading the group in practice or application activities
4. Assigning seatwork for individual practice (possibly remediation or enrichment)
5. Testing to determine achievement
This whole class pattern is not limited to school but it is also predominant model in higher education.
What are Process Technologies?
The definition of technology is differentiated between hard technology and soft technology. Hard technology produces product such as computers and satellites, while soft technology process or ways of thinking about problems. Galbraith defines technology as the systematic application of scientific or other organized knowledge or practical tasks. Systematic application is considered as the efforts which share certain characteristic necessary. To be a systematic application:
1. The technique must have a carefully designed frameworks that provides a total system of teaching learning
2. The technique must embodies the idea (theories) that have been rested and found successful and the application itself should have been validated through testing
3. The framework or template must be sufficiently structures so that the teaching learning pattern can be repeated reliably by other teachers
Process technologies of learning are specific teaching learning patterns that serve reliably as templates for achieving demonstrably effective learning. Relate with computers, the concept of an operating system might be a helpful analogy. It consists of package of rules and procedures that provides a standardized, consistent pattern for using the computers.
Importance of Practice and Feedback
All the process of technologies centers on the provision of ample opportunities for practice. Their creators were guided by different theoretical perspectives, so they have different rationales for doing so. All perspective also emphasizes the importance of feedback:
1. Behaviorists, because knowledge of correct response serves as a reinforce appropriate behaviors
2. Cognitivists, because information about results helps to enrich the learner’s mental scheme
3. Social psychologists, because interpersonal feedback provides both corrective information and emotional support
Feedback can come from oneself, from a device, or from other people. The most powerful is interpersonal feedback because face to face reactions are more vivid than printed or graphic information, such reactions are more personalized and group discussion can continue as long as necessary.
Programmed instruction is notable among pedagogical techniques in that it was developed by theorist, B.F. Skinner, as an explicit application of principles of learning theory, operant conditioning or reinforcement theory. Skinner’s initial inventions were elaborate machines that would mechanically presents chunks, or “frames”, of information, wait for a response to be written or a button to be pressed that compare the response with the correct answer.
The earlier programmed instruction is known as linear programming. The texts arranged the frames across the page in horizontal strips. The correct response for each question could be checked only by turning the page. These programmed texts were meant to be read with a piece of paper covering the rest of the page while a frame was being read. After writing an answer in the blank on the first frame, the user move to cover down to see the correct answer printed in the box to the left of the second frame. Because the pattern of frames in intrinsic programming resembled the branches of a tree, it became known as branching programming.
Programmed Instruction has some advantages; programmed instruction allows individuals to learn at their own pace at a time and place of their choice. It requires the learner to participate actively in the learning process and provides immediate feedback for each practice attempt. It is reliable because the technology provides a reliable form of leaning, in that the instructional routine is embodied in print so that it can be mass produced and experienced by many people in exactly the same form. It is also effective; hundreds of research studies compare programmed instruction with conventional instruction. Summaries of these studies indicate slight superiority for programmed instruction. Not all programmed materials are created equal. Some are particularly effective and others are not.
Besides the advantages, programmed instruction also has some limitations. Some programmed materials are poorly designed and have little value. It is tedious. For highly motivated learners with the required reading skills and self discipline, programmed instruction can give them a chance to go off on their own and progress as far as fast as they like. For others, it can be tedious. It is also lack of social interaction.
Programmed instruction is particularly useful as an enrichment activity; it can help provide highly motivated students with additional learning experiences that the teacher might ordinarily be unable to provide because the classroom time pressure. Programmed materials have been used successfully from the elementary school; can be used to teach an entire course or a segment of a course. Programmed materials have also proven to be effective in remedial instruction. Like any other instructional material, programmed texts need to be carefully appraised before selection.
Programmed tutoring is a one to one method of instruction in which the responses to be made by the tutor are programmed in advance in the form of carefully structures printed instructions. The advantage of this branch is that the fast learners can skip quickly through the material without tedious and unnecessary repetition. Programmed tutoring might be called “brightening” as opposed to the “fading” or gradual reduction of prompts used in linier programmed instruction. In brightening, the item is first presented in a relatively difficult form. If the learners respond correctly, he or she is reinforced and goes to a new item. If the response is incorrect, a series of increasingly clearer prompts or hints is given. The sequences of prompts would continue until the learner gives an acceptable response.
It has some advantages. Programmed tutoring shares with programmed instruction the characteristic of individualized pacing. Programmed tutoring requires constant learners’ participation. The use of a live tutor as a mediator adds immensely to the flexibility of the feedback system, and it adds another major advantage over printed self instructional material by employing social reinforces in the form of praise rather than just simple knowledge of results. It is reliable because compared with unstructured tutoring, programmed tutoring has higher reliability because there is a predetermined pattern to the tutor’s action. It is also effective. The effectiveness of programmed tutoring has been well established through the evaluation studies carried out by its originator, Douglas Ellson.
The limitations produced are programmed tutoring depends on the availability of volunteer tutors. The success of programmed tutoring depends on the design of tutoring guides; the development requires an investment of time and expertise.
In using programmed tutoring, keep in mind that research consistently indicates that tutors also learn from tutoring, sometimes more than their tutees.
Personalized System of Instruction
The personalized system of instruction (PSI), one of the best known individualized instruction systems, can be described as a template for managing instruction. A major principle of mastery learning is that students should not be permitted to go on to later units of study until they have demonstrated that they have mastered the prerequisite knowledge and skills. The essential idea of PSI is that the learning materials are arranged in sequential order and the students must demonstrate mastery of each unit before being allowed to move on to the next. Fred S. Keller developed the first PSI course at the University of Brasilia in the mid 1960s
The advantages of Personalized System of Instruction are: PSI allows students to progress at their own rate and to take full responsibility for determining when, where and how they study. PSI prevents “accumulation of ignorance”. Students are not allowed to go on to advanced units until they show that they have mastered the perquisites. It is effective because students’ rate PSI classes are more enjoyable, more demanding, and higher in overall quality and contribution to student learning than conventional classes.
It also has some limitations. They are: PSI demands a great deal of time in planning and developing materials, since it is essentially an organizational framework and does not come with a given set of material. The instructor adopting PSI must also be willing to adopt its behaviorist’s structure, including specification of precise performance objectives, derivation of tests from these objectives, and selection or design of material that leads learners’ efficiently to those objectives. Dealing with the freedom of PSI can be a problem for students, especially younger learners who may need practice in the required self discipline.
Learning center is a self contained environment designed to promote individual or small group learning around a specific task. A learning center may be as simple as a table and some chairs around which students discuss, or it may be as a sophisticated as several networked computers used by a group for collaborative research and problem solving. Learning center materials may include practically any or all of the media and multimedia formats mentioned in this text. Center materials and software may be purchased from commercial producers or maybe teacher made.
Centers encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning and allow them to learn at their own pace, thus minimizing the possibility of failure and maximizing the likelihood of success. Learning centers provide for students participation in the learning experience, for students response and for immediate feedback to students response. Learning centers allow the teacher to play more of coaching role, moving around the classroom and providing individual help to students when they need.
The limitations produced are; the equipment and materials used in the center, too, entail costs. Teachers who manage learning centers must be very good at classroom organization and management. Any form of independent study will be successful only insofar as students are able and willing to accept responsibility for their won learning. Learning centers need not be limited to individual students use; small groups can be assigned to work together.
Learning centers can be used for a number of specialized processes they are skill centers, interest centers, remedial centers and enrichment centers. Skill centers provide students with an opportunity to do additional practice, typically to reinforce a lesson that has previously been though through other media or methods. Interest center can stimulate new interests and encourage creativity. Remedial centers can be used to help students who need additional assistance with a particular concept or skill. While enrichment centers can provide stimulating additional learning experience for students who have completed other classroom activities.
Cooperative learning has gained momentum in both formal and no formal education from two converging forces; first practical realization that life outside the classroom requires more and more collaborative activity, from the use of teams in the workplace to everyday social life, second, a growing awareness of the value of social interaction in making learning meaningful. There are two particular formats as the example of cooperative learning technologies; Johnson and Johnson’s learning together model and Slavin’s team assisted individualization (TAI).
The basic elements of Johnson and Johnson’s learning together model are:
1. Positive independence
2. Face to face helping interaction
3. Individual accountability
4. Teaching interpersonal and small group skill
While TAI should follows this pattern:
1. Teaching groups
2. Team formation
3. Self instructional material
4. Team study
5. Team score and team recognition
Computer assistance can alleviate some of the logistical obstacles to use cooperative learning methods, particularly the tasks of managing information, allocating different individual responsibilities, presenting and monitoring instructional material, analyzing learners’ responses, administering tests, and scoring and providing remediation for those tests.
A game is an activity in which participants follow prescribed rules that differ from those of real life as they strive to attain a challenging goal. The distinction between play and reality is what makes games entertaining. To be challenging, goals should have a probability of achievement of approximately 50%.
Game produces some advantages. It is attractive, because games provide attractive frameworks for learning activities. As a departure from normal classroom routine, games arouse interest because of their novelty. The pleasant, relaxed atmosphere fostered by games can be especially helpful for those who avoid other type of structures learning activities. Games can keep learners interested in repetitious tasks such as memorizing multiplication tables.
While the limitations produced are; Competition because Competitive activities can be counter-productive for students who are less adept at competing or who are weak in the content or skill being practiced. Next is Distraction. Without careful management and debriefing, students can caught up in the excitement of play and fail to focus on the real objectives. It is Poor design. To be instructionally meaningful the game activity must provide actual practice of the intended academic skill.
Instructional game are particularly well suited to the; attainment of cognitive objectives, adding motivation to topics, small group instruction, basic skill and vocabulary building. The examples of adaptation games are; safety tic tac toe, spelling rummy, reading concentration and word bingo.
Simulation is an abstraction or simplification of some real life situation or process. In simulations, participants usually play a role that involves them in interactions with other people or with elements of the simulated environment. One particularly value of simulation is that it implements the discovery method as directly and clearly as possible. In discovery learning, the learner is led toward understanding principles through grappling with a problem situation.
One of so many kinds of simulations is role play. Role play refers to a type of simulation in which the dominant feature is relatively one-ended interaction among people. Role play and any other kind of simulation use some devices, the devices employed to represent physical system in a scaled down form are referred to as simulators.
Simulations have some advantages; it is realistic which allow practice of real world skills under conditions similar to those in real life, it is safe because learners can practice without risking injury to themselves or others. It is simplified, because simulations are intended to capture the essential features of a situation without dwelling on details. On the contrary, simulations have so many limitations; it is such trial and error learning which typically requires more time than more expositive methods. It is also oversimplification.
Instructional simulations, including role plays, are particularly well suited for training in motor skill, instruction in social interaction and human relations, development of decision making skill.
A simulation game combines the attributes of a simulation with the attributes of a game. It may be relatively high or low in its modeling of reality. Because they combine the characteristics of both simulations and games, instructional simulation games have advantages, limitations and applications in common with both formats.
One of the persistent problems of traditional large group instruction is that dealing with individual differenced in student learning ability and learning style. The mastery learning approach grows out of the theory that students differ in the amount of time needed to master each objectives, not in their inherent ability to learn the subject matters. The mastery learning model establishes a minimum mastery level and gives different level and amount of time and variety of instructional materials for each student to arrive at that out-come.
Programmed teaching is also known as direct instruction, is an attempt to apply the principles of programmed instruction in a large group setting. Programmed teaching is seen by its proponents as a total system for organizing classroom instruction. Programmed teaching lessons are designed to generate high rates of responding by all students. Programmed teaching can be regarded as a technology for learning in that it has a definite pattern; teacher cue, unison vocal response and reinforcement or correction.
The definition of technology is differentiated between hard technology and soft technology. Process technologies of learning are specific teaching learning patterns that serve reliably as templates for achieving demonstrably effective learning. Learning centers, integrated learning systems, cooperative groups, games and simulations are examples of process technologies. Those process technologies can be a great assistance in engaging the learners with the lessons. Besides having advantages, those process technologies also have limitations.