I feel that students all enter our course with good intent but some realise that for whatever reason it is not for them. The ones that stay focused and enjoy the course really grow and enjoy the practical based learning project house along with making them far more employable as they graduate with a level four Certificate in Carpentry which is the theory complete for their whole apprenticeship.
Flexible learning already forms a significant part of our teaching, as an example when we teach the unit on wallboard it will involve a You Tube video of the manufacture of wallboard. This ten minute clip explains in depth what components make up gib-board and how they get different textures and bracing, water and fire resistance through changing the components. To visit the factory with twenty students in Christchurch would be near impossible, whereas this clip works as a great substitute.
Power point presentations also form part of the lesson to show things like cutting techniques and installation. All of this usually happens prior to the students getting to put it all in practise on their own project house.
This type of teaching seems to fit well with Kolb’s (1984) Experiential Learning Theory which states;
“Kolb’s learning theory sets out four distinct learning styles (or preferences), which are based on a four-stage learning cycle. (Which might also be interpreted as a training cycle)? In this respect Kolb’s model is particularly elegant, since it offers both a way to understand individual peoples learning styles, and also an explanation of a cycle of experiential learning that applies to us all” (1984).
Kolb includes this cycle of learning as a central principle in his experiential learning theory. This is typically expressed as the four-stage cycle of learning, in which immediate or concrete experiences provide a basis for observations and reflections. These observations and reflections are assimilated and distilled into abstract concepts producing new implications for action which can be actively tested, in turn creating new experiences.
Kolb says that ideally (and by inference not always) this process represents a learning cycle or spiral where the learner touches all the bases, i.e., a cycle of experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting. Immediate or concrete experiences lead to observations and reflections. These reflections are then assimilated (absorbed and translated) into abstract concepts with implications for action, which the person can actively test and experiment with, which in turn enable the creation of new experiences.
Kolb’s model therefore works on two levels- a four stage cycle;
And a four-type definition of learning styles,(each representing the combination of two preferred styles, rather like a two-by two matrix of the four-stage cycle styles, as illustrated below), for which Kolb used the terms;