The most successful I ever felt about a class was when I was in Community College working on my GED. The class was in Algebra and was the class I had feared would be my undoing. Like many, I was firmly convinced that I had no math skills and would not be able to even grasp the concepts. That proved to be wrong because of the teaching method that was used in this school. Algebra was taught as what was called a “Lab” class. The students show up on first day and assigned time, and the classroom is set up with many places for students to work, not in traditional classroom style but in multiple spaces where teacher could sit down with student and tutor them when needed. We got an explanation of how the class would work:
- We got a workbook. We had one term to go as far and fast in our workbook as possible. If we did not get all the way through, we would have to retake the class, but could take up from where they left off, and I personally aced the last of the tests three weeks before the end of the term with a 4.0.
- We would work on our own through the exercises in the workbook with available help from tutors by scheduling appointments as needed. I was uncomfortable about coming in to show my confusion with some of the processes, at first, but it turned out to be better because I didn’t feel rushed and could stay with a problem until I understood it. I only had to come in four times and was able to work sessions in before and after other classes and that saved me time and gas money.
- When we are ready to take a section test, we did it on campus, but if we didn’t like our score we could elect to study some more and come back and retake it. If you wanted straight A, it was do able. It took away all the test anxiety. We could easily see that if we put in the effort, the reward of a good grade would be there, and we had all the help and support we needed. I didn’t feel part of a group, but it didn’t matter.
- It gave us a lot of responsibility, but encouraged self control and self determination. It really boosted my self esteem to ace a math class.
So. Using this example and the assignment to relate ARCS-Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction and apply it to an online or distance learning environment
- Attention: Met by good visual design and intellectual content of the program and the students own motivation to complete what is in effect, a learning project.
- Relevance: Work Samples. This is presuming to be in my field of work which is vocational training. The course would produce at least a comprehension of what the student will encounter in the field of study, and create an expression, a completed project, showing their level of skill that an employer or teacher could evaluate.
- Confidence: I would envision that the student would like to work on their own, but have all the support they needed available. In the classroom model there were fixed hours that we could get tutoring and a physical distance to cover to get there. Using the internet would allow the expansion of what would in effect be better person to person support.
- Satisfaction: Addressing the students satisfaction would include a positive learning environment which included the learner and made an honest effort to meet their needs. However, if properly done, the best result for the student, in adult education, would be that after the course, they are better prepared, or at least advanced on their path to whatever their larger goal is. To this sense, the learners independent experience, and experiences of multiple collaboration will produce samples, actual evidence of the learner’s acquired skills in those areas.