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This paper will discuss how a PG Certificate Course in Third Level Learning and Teaching for lecturers in higher education has adopted a particular approach in teacher education. In light of the findings put forth by Collis (1999), the paper will explain the practical aspects of how Learning Technology (LT) is fully integrated into both core Learning and Teaching modules of a PG Certificate Course for academic staff. As an important aspect of the successful integration and use of learning technology is the way in which it effectively reflects and articulates a given learning model, this PG Certificate Course has its theoretical basis on the Kolb Experiential Learning (EL) Cycle (Kolb, 1983). Experiential Experiential Learning (EL) Cycle (Kolb, 1983). Experiential Model of Learning (Kolb) Full details will be given on the relationship between the integration of Learning Technology (LT) to the Course and the Experiential Learning Cycle on which the design of the course is modelled. This newly designed PG Certificate is aimed at academic staff at higher education institutions in Ireland. In higher education, it is important to encourage teaching that develops critical and independent thinking in its students and research that informs the teaching process. This course is an important step toward these goals. It is anticipated that over time those who complete this course will have a positive impact in higher education in Ireland by modelling good practices in teaching that enhance learning, and by generating increased interest in teaching and learning in their own departments in their institutes. All this is to be achieved by aiding the course participants to better manage the media mix and range of learning technologies available in higher education today. From the outset, it was recognised by the course team that LT would not be fully integrated into the institutes unless the academics on the course came to believe in it. An overall goal of this course is that it will act as a catalyst within the institutions, encouraging the lecturers to reflect on all aspects of the learning and teaching provision, including the integration of LT; by spreading this on-the-ground enthusiasm, the goal is that the management of the institutes will support the full scale implementation of learning technology in teaching practice. Initially, the course was designed with two core modules in mind, Learning and Teaching in Higher Education and Designing Curricula and Assessment Strategies; a third Learning Technology (LT) Module had been designed to fit around this core. Comprehensive data on the educational use of computers as instructional tools within teacher education internationally is very limited, but it has shown that the opportunity for pre-service teachers to experience models of computer supported instruction before they try to manage it themselves is seldom available (Collis, 1999). On reviewing the initial course design, and best national and international practice in the area, it was decided to integrate the LT Module into the two core modules, instead of having the technology as an incremental add-on. Practical details of the course being that each module is of 15 weeks duration, and the course participants meet for a face to face class session for 3 hours of each of these weeks. Independent learning is fully encouraged outside of this schedule. The design focus was on the importance of fully integrating the use of LT within the experiential model of learning on which the programme was moulded, taking full account of the programme aims and objectives, assessment strategy and issues of student motivation. No one technology can support all types of teaching and learning – an effective approach is to combine a range of technologies. While mixtures of new media can offer significant opportunities for participants, they can also be a daunting hurdle for newcomers, such as the cohorts who become the course participants. The challenge presented by this course, and the Learning and Teaching Centre in which it was located, was to enable the course participants to feel comfortable with using a range of LT and replicate that in their own teaching practice in their subject disciplines.
Donnelly, R. (2001) Experiencing Technology: Integrating Learning Technology within the Experiential Learning Cycle of a PG Certificate in Third Level Learning and Teaching. EDINEB 8th Annual Conference, Nice, June 20-23, 2001.