Teach to a Diverse Classroom of Students

Each year teachers are faced with the daunting task of teaching
to a classroom of 20-30 individual students, each with their own
learning styles, interests, and abilities. Providing optimal
learning for such a diverse group can seem overwhelming. But,
there is a simple approach that can be used which will enable
all students to succeed, and that approach is simply using
variety and choice. Not only does this approach address the
multiple learning styles of students, but it also aides in making
them independent learners.

While the classroom still needs to have structure (routines,
rules, procedures), providing variety within that structured
environment can aide in providing optimal learning for all
students. Using a variety of instructional approaches such as
lectures, PowerPoint presentations, inquiry-based instruction,
hands-on experiments, project/problem-based learning, or
computer aided instruction, not only addresses the various
learning styles of the students in the classroom, but it can help
learners become more flexible in their learning. Most learners
do have a preferred learning style, however this does not mean
they are strictly dependent on that style to learn. They are
also comfortable with and able to learn from several other styles
as well. Exposing students to a wide variety of learning styles
will enable them to become more flexible learners.

It is also beneficial to vary the input devices used and the
resources made available in the classroom. Children have a wide
variety of preferred learning devices, therefore making as many
available as possible provides fnr this diversity. For example,
when presenting information use audio (songs, speeches,
interviews, etc.), video, books, posters, hands-on
manipulatives, food, and smells. Technology has made available
a wide range of resources, such as PowerPoint presentations,
live video feeds, chats, and communication. PowerPoint
presentations are a great way to present information using a
mixture of audio, video, animations (movement), and text. These
presentations can also be made available to the students via the
computer for them to review at their own pace. The internet/
computers also offer interactive learning activities that combine
movement, visuals, and sounds, such as virtual science
experiments. These allow students to conduct experiments
never before thought possible due to danger or lack of equipment.
Virtual experiments can be found at http://www.explorelearning.com .

Pre-exposure to material also aides in learning. The more
familiar students are with a subject the easier it is for new
learning to occur. Therefore, providing students with a
variety of pre-exposure materials can better prepare them for
new learning units. For example, monthly calendars that list
the upcoming themes, a classroom website with links to various
websites related to upcoming themes, books, magazines, maps,
posters, computer software, and manipulatives can be provided
for students to browse at their leisure. Providing a variety of
materials takes into consideration the learning preferences of
all students.

Novelty can be used to gain and keep students' attention.
People usually only pay attention to things that are of value or
things that are personally meaningful. Therefore, relating
learning to your students' real life experiences or interests
can catch and keep their attention. "Shock" them with an unusual
noise, experiment, video, song, etc. You can also present them
with a problem or project that relates to their real world in
order to gain their attention and interest at the beginning of
a unit. Issues such as environmental problems, problems with
long lines in the cafeteria, designing the perfect playground,
planning a field trip within the budget, local traffic issues,
etc. can all be considered. Making learning meaningful,
relevant, and interesting to your students not only gains their
initial attention, but keeps it throughout the lesson.

When planning your lessons it is beneficial to try to include as
many of the senses and/or Gardner's multiple intelligences
(verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, kinesthetic, visual-
spatial, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist)
as possible. You can do this by using a variety of activities
in your plans such as songs, games, experiments, field trips,
real world experiences, interviews, guest speakers, physical
movement/exercise, small group activities, individual activities,
partner activities, cooking/food/snacks, hands-on experiences,
etc. Providing a variety of activities will enable students of
all ability levels to succeed.

Not only do students have diverse learning styles but varying
bio-cognitive cycles as well. Some students learn best in the
morning, some in the afternoon. Therefore, having a flexible
classroom schedule can provide for these differences. Also,
varying the times and types of assessments can give all students
a fair chance of showing their true abilities.

When applicable, it is beneficial to give students choice in
activities and assessments. This provides students
opportunities to showcase their individual talents and can aide
in classroom management as well. If students are constantly
dictated to and not given a voice or choice they can grow
resentful and "act out". Provide a variety of classroom
activities for students to choose from during structured and
unstructured times, give them several projects such as posters,
PowerPoint presentations, reports, interviews, videos, brochures,
etc. to choose from when assessing their knowledge. Giving
students choice provides them with a sense of empowerment over
their learning and can aide them in deciding what learning styles
and assessments work best for them, thus helping them become
more responsible for their own learning.

It would be a pretty boring world if all learners were the same.
Diversity makes the classroom more interesting and exciting.
Teachers should honor and respect the uniqueness of each
student by offering variety and choice in their classrooms. Not
only will this address the diverse needs of the students, but it
will also help them to become independent learners as well.
After all, is that not the goal of education?

Tina O'Block holds a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction and a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She has been teaching for 13 years.

She is the author of Now I Know My ABCs and a Whole Lot More: Alphabet Activities for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners which is available at http://www.oblockbooks.com and the article, How to Help Your Child be Successful in Kindergarten.

Winning Tactics For Choosing the Best Medical Schools

Students who are planning to apply for admission in a medical school in the near future will always be looking to filter out their list of schools to apply for. The application and admission process can be tedious and time-consuming at best, so having a list of the best medical schools important. Targeting only those schools will save you precious time and effort that can be spent elsewhere. Here's a look at some important factors in choosing the best medical school.

The institution that a student chooses makes a lot of difference in the future, particularly in terms of career networking. Technically speaking, the more prestigious and credible your medical school is, the better your chances at employment once you become a licensed doctor.

There are several factors in choosing the medical school that is right for you, but the biggest and deal-breaking factor is the curriculum. Interviewing other students and visiting the school itself can ascertain a school's style and curriculum. Students usually have a choice between traditional approach, which relies heavily on lectures and is composed of a number of distinct courses in different disciplines, or, the newer, non-traditional techniques being employed by a number of schools, such as the PBL or problem-based learning, which decreases the amount of lecture time and focuses more on group exercises and case studies. In choosing based on curriculum, a student needs to rely on preference and subjective opinion, since there is no clear-cut advantage between the different styles of teaching.

The next factor that a student should consider in choosing medical schools is the finances. It is common knowledge that the top medical schools can be expensive, and the quality of education is correlated with the amount of fees a student needs to shoulder. However, schools have their own financial aid packages. Institutions have their own financial aid procedures and it becomes a choice of which ones a student can handle.

The next factor in choosing the right school for you is their location. The farther a school is, the more expensive and tedious the application and interview can be. However, this factor is only temporary because if a student is willing to bear with these things and manages to get accepted, he can choose to stay in a dormitory or a nearby apartment.

As far as personal factors go, it involves introspective choices such as whether the school is in close proximity with family members, which allows regular visits, or whether the climate in the area is a bit harsh for the student's health, and may even include factors such as the school's societal functions and if the student likes it. This part is largely dependent on the student himself.

Last, but certainly not the least in factors to be considered is the school's reputation. A school's name matters a lot especially in the future as a medical school graduate starts to look for career opportunities. The name of the school on your diploma will also greatly help during the residency match process. In fact, some Duke students recall receiving interview offers literally within minutes of submitting their applications electronically. This is confirmed by many residency program directors.

Ultimately, the choice still rests on student preference, and while not relying on the above can land you in some of the best medical schools that are not in the top list of institutions, whether or not you will succeed still relies on your skill and determination.

You can find out more about the Best Medical Schools as well as much more information on everything to do with medical schools and programs at http://www.MedicalSchoolReviews.com

Nurture Creativity in Creative Kids

Recent research has shown that America's creativity is declining. However, this is not a hopeless situation as it can be fixed. Creative kids are still around and they still have what it takes. Since the accepted definition of creativity is production of something original and useful, it cannot be determined through one right answer. Thus, creative kids exhibit certain characteristics and ways of thinking that can be used to nurture their potential. Creativity in kids is different from intelligence or IQ. With intelligence, it has been shown that scores go up with each generation, a phenomenon known as the Flynn effect. This is obviously due to enriched environments that tend to make kids smarter. As one writer put it, even the proliferation of junk material seems to have improved the intelligence of today's generation. With creativity though, a reverse trend has been identified.

Creative kids are the future of human ingenuity which is the No. 1 leadership competency of the future. There are many national and international matters that will need to be resolved and that require creative solutions. Such solutions can only spring from a marketplace of ideas that are sustained by a populace constantly contributing ideas and that is receptive to fresh original ideas from others. In order to develop this marketplace, it is obvious that the education system needs to be revised. Instituting problem-based learning programs that adopt problem-based learning approaches will likely help creative kids develop their abilities even further.

To develop and nurture creativity in kids does not however mean that we need to reduce how much students learn and instead concentrate on developing this ability. Fact-finding and deep research are vital stages in the creative process and if taught in a different way, the current curriculum standards can still be met. This means that creativity can be taught. When applied to everyday process of work or school, it is possible to improve brain function of creative kids. The home-game version of nurturing creativity in kids would mean not encouraging kids to spring straight ahead to the right answer. When a kid asks why Sacramento is the capital of California, turn the question back and encourage him to come up with as many explanations as he can why it is and why it is not Los Angeles or San Franscisco. The trick to helping creative kids to be more creative is to allow them to keep asking questions - have a teacher who is willing to tolerate their unconventional answers, occasional disruptions or detours of curiosity. When this is done, rather than hear them say "I'll never use this so I don't need to learn it", don't be surprised to hear them ask "Do we have to leave school?"

The Future of Training

Criticality of Training in Today's Organizations

Like every successful organization, your strategy needs to include recruiting and retaining the best quality employee possible. In an expanding economy with a tightening job market, higher performing companies recognize the challenge of retaining staff. With multiple generations present in today's workplaces, providing customized and targeted training is key.

A convergence of multiple environmental, socioeconomic, and technological influences present you with the challenge of retaining staff. You need to ramp up your training and development efforts. Training plays a critical role in your employee's ability to actively contribute to operational, strategic and financial goals for the company.

Through training, an employee learns the company's vision and strategies. He also learns how he can add skills, knowledge and abilities to his resume in order to assume different and growing roles within your organization. The employee understands that he's an integral part of the whole. He sees just how critical his participation is in achieving business objectives and goals.

An employee needs consistent and repetitive messages over time about your company's core values and expectations for individual and team-based performance. Then, synergies of compounded performance develop to enhance your organization's overall productivity and achievement. The employee buys into the vision. He begins to actively participate in his own self-development. His loyalty to the company increases. In this model of a high performing organization, your challenge becomes building a training organization within the human resource function that will stimulate, inform and help to retain your employees.

How Training Is Changing

The evolution of technology and daily use of computers in the workplace has already impacted how employees receive training. Many e-learning providers are responding to workplace needs or legal mandates to provide specific training to employees. In 2006, in the state of California, AB 1825 went into effect, mandating that sexual harassment prevention training must be conducted for supervisors at least once every two years. Many law firms and e-training providers have jumped on the bandwagon to develop "interactive" e-learning programs that can satisfy a portion of the mandated new training requirement. Employees can use self-paced, technology-based training to learn course content, ask "on-line editors" questions, and take a test at the end of the section to show what they learned. Programs like this can also track participants and generate hard copy reports to demonstrate a company's compliance with the mandated training.

The Department of Homeland Security is uses new simulation and modeling software to conduct homeland security training in a cost-effective manner. Trainees use reality based simulations to learn critical information. New recruits learn their success and failures before they experience them firsthand in live combat. Wired magazine's article, "The War Room" describes how f/x artists, research scientists, Pentagon experts, and videogame developers came together to create the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), a research and development group at the University of Southern California. ICT's virtual training uses an old forum to teach soldiers how to best navigate difficult combat situations involving tiers of decisions for reacting: storytelling.

The New Training Paradigm

Professors from Indiana and Warwick universities (Kim et al.) titled, "Surveying the Future of the Workplace: E-Learning: The Rise of Blending, Interactivity, and Authentic Learning." Companies answered 49 questions related to e-learning. Their responses were overwhelmingly optimistic, indicating they support and embrace e-learning or blended learning. Blended learning is a marriage of traditional, face-to-face lectures and and online training. Today's conventional wisdom on workplace training says that blended learning presents alternative venues for companies to train employees. It reinforces key messages and reaches people with different learning styles through a variety of learning opportunities.

Companies were asked what technology-based applications and instructional methods would be used in the future. They indicated " ...authentic cases and scenario learning, simulations or gaming, virtual team collaboration and problem solving, and problem-based learning would be more widely used in the coming decade." (Kim et al.) Distributed learning environments can be represented by virtual communities, blogging, instant messaging, and computer-supported group collaboration and problem solving (Bonk & Graham). Predictions of "environments that simultaneously facilitate both distributed environments and face-to-face interactions are on the horizon requiring that e-training facilitators assume broader and varied roles."

E-learning facilitators "wear four pairs of shoes," according to e-learning experts Ed Hootstein and Zane Berge. They assume the roles of instructor, social director, program manager and technical assistant. E-learning facilitators can create examples for situational and authentic learning in addition to traditional instruction through a variety of e-technology applications. These include e-mail, groupware, audio and video conferencing. "The vast array of electronic tolls available for analysis, design, planning, problem solving, and giving presentations enable learners to perform sophisticated and complex tasks and solve problems in creative ways." (Hootstein)

The ultimate goal in developing technology based training according to Berge is "to make the technology transparent." Because of advancements over time in the availability and economy of technology in today's workplace, the e-learning facilitator can focus on the content and delivery of the materials to teach key learnings.

Authentic, or experiential learning has also come into vogue. We draw upon our knowledge and life experiences to learn and understand, and personal behavior can be changed as a result. This learning is based upon "consciousness, experience, and reflection." (Grimmett) It's about making a connection, bringing home the example at hand to resonate with the participant in a meaningful way to change a person's perception and belief system.

Next Steps and Summary

Major corporations such as Sun Microsystems, Cisco, Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft already use blended, authentic learning in their training systems (Bonk & Graham). This emergence of blended learning provides the next generation of training application and delivery systems. It teaches employees key lessons in a variety of ways. It provides a greater opportunity for learning through technology, face-to face situations and authentic learning experiences.

E-learning will need to be evaluated to determine " ...online learners' achievement and satisfaction, followed by clearer reward systems and incentives for e-learning completion, and training that helps learners self-regulate their learning." (Kim et al.). These thoughts reflect the next steps for companies to develop to encourage employee's participation in blended learning programs. Even so, blended learning using authentic situations now represents an opportunity for companies to build their own training and development function and take advantage of the myriad of resources that are available through this new and evolving training paradigm.

© 2007- Regan HR, Inc.

Becky Regan, M.A., CCP began her own consulting practice in 1995, Regan HR, Inc. to provide human resources consulting services to businesses in California. She has been successful in growing her business through reputation and client referrals. Her work as a consultant includes the full spectrum of HR technical expertise, including C-level recruitment, compensation studies (design, market and executive pay studies, sales compensation plans), training & teaching, interim assignments as a HR Director for organizations, and employee relations, including workplace investigations and written responses to formal complaints.

For more HR tips and to receive my FREE "The Top 5 Secrets to Building a Better Organization that Every HR Pro Must Know" report go to [http://www.ReganHR.com

Effective Teaching And The Three Pathways To The Brain

There are three main pathways to the brain when it comes to learning. Information can reach your brain through what you see, what you hear and what you do.

Think of the last time you learned something. It could have been a recipe you followed, a computer program at work, a video game you learned, or how to use your mobile phone. Did you learn it quickly and efficiently?

Chances are you learned it best if the information was presented to you using all three pathways to the brain. If you didn't learn it well, or it led to frustration, then perhaps there was a pathway to your brain that wasn't being utilized and that was the missing piece.

Students are no different. In order to provide the best chance for learning the information needs to be presented using all three pathways. It automatically takes into account different learning styles, and ensures learning is an active process.

Let Students "See" by Showing Them.

When appropriate, the items students are learning about need to be available within the classroom. In some form or other, students need to "see" what they are learning. In science it means have models of things. In geography it means having maps and atlases. In math it means displaying examples on the board. In spelling it means showing examples of a spelling rule. Even if material items don't seem applicable or aren't available, using gestures or role play to act out what is being taught can also be effective. In fact, it helps to engage students because they need to use their imagination.

Unlike "looking", which is more passive, "Seeing" is an active process. As teachers and parents we can help support the active process of "seeing" by making sure the information is not just displayed, but that we are actually "showing" our students something. "Showing" our students what we want them to learn also provides a shared experience.

Let Students Hear the Information

Telling your students the information they need to know is important. While learning through discovery and problem-based learning is valuable, there is some information that students need to hear explicitely. While I am absolutely a proponent of discovery based learning, the processes involved in learning and assimilating, hypthesizing and testing, theorizing and generalizing are extremely complex. Some students have difficulty learning through discovery alone, especially if not properly supported. Be sure to tell your students the information they need to learn what they need to learn and do what they need to do.

Let Students Experience the Information

If you've ever tried to cook a recipe or tried to drive to a place you've never been before you know that success can have little to do with having the right information. You may have been following a recipe from a book or had a map right in front of you ("seeing" the information), and your friend may have given you a bunch of extra pointers over the phone ("hearing" the information), but somehow, things go terribly wrong!

It is important to let students use, and experience the information being learned. Make sure there is something students and children can "do" with the information or concepts that they are learning. Let students try, experiment, and apply concepts on their own.

The process of learning by using the three pathways to the brain, seeing, hearing, and doing, is important at any age, kindergarten through adulthood. With a bit of creativity the idea of teaching via the three pathways to the brain can be applied to any subject and any unit of study, in every lesson.

For more great tips and friendly advice on great ideas about how you can engage your students, help your students reach their potential and be a more effective teacher visit http://sarahhammondlearning.blogspot.com/.

First year teaching, or feels like it? Get the support you need to survive your first years of teaching: http://www.squidoo.com/surviveyourfirstyear

Winning Tactics For Choosing the Best Medical Schools

Students who are planning to apply for admission in a medical school in the near future will always be looking to filter out their list of schools to apply for. The application and admission process can be tedious and time-consuming at best, so having a list of the best medical schools important. Targeting only those schools will save you precious time and effort that can be spent elsewhere. Here's a look at some important factors in choosing the best medical school.

The institution that a student chooses makes a lot of difference in the future, particularly in terms of career networking. Technically speaking, the more prestigious and credible your medical school is, the better your chances at employment once you become a licensed doctor.

There are several factors in choosing the medical school that is right for you, but the biggest and deal-breaking factor is the curriculum. Interviewing other students and visiting the school itself can ascertain a school's style and curriculum. Students usually have a choice between traditional approach, which relies heavily on lectures and is composed of a number of distinct courses in different disciplines, or, the newer, non-traditional techniques being employed by a number of schools, such as the PBL or problem-based learning, which decreases the amount of lecture time and focuses more on group exercises and case studies. In choosing based on curriculum, a student needs to rely on preference and subjective opinion, since there is no clear-cut advantage between the different styles of teaching.

The next factor that a student should consider in choosing medical schools is the finances. It is common knowledge that the top medical schools can be expensive, and the quality of education is correlated with the amount of fees a student needs to shoulder. However, schools have their own financial aid packages. Institutions have their own financial aid procedures and it becomes a choice of which ones a student can handle.

The next factor in choosing the right school for you is their location. The farther a school is, the more expensive and tedious the application and interview can be. However, this factor is only temporary because if a student is willing to bear with these things and manages to get accepted, he can choose to stay in a dormitory or a nearby apartment.

As far as personal factors go, it involves introspective choices such as whether the school is in close proximity with family members, which allows regular visits, or whether the climate in the area is a bit harsh for the student's health, and may even include factors such as the school's societal functions and if the student likes it. This part is largely dependent on the student himself.

Last, but certainly not the least in factors to be considered is the school's reputation. A school's name matters a lot especially in the future as a medical school graduate starts to look for career opportunities. The name of the school on your diploma will also greatly help during the residency match process. In fact, some Duke students recall receiving interview offers literally within minutes of submitting their applications electronically. This is confirmed by many residency program directors.

Ultimately, the choice still rests on student preference, and while not relying on the above can land you in some of the best medical schools that are not in the top list of institutions, whether or not you will succeed still relies on your skill and determination.

You can find out more about the Best Medical Schools as well as much more information on everything to do with medical schools and programs at http://www.MedicalSchoolReviews.com

KEWL Learning Management System

The widespread use and prevalence of the internet has greatly facilitated learning and the spread of education. This has been made possible by the introduction of various online degree courses by various reputed universities of the world which depend upon online interaction between the students and tutors. It is interesting to note that with the progress of time it has been noticed that online education has grown immensely in terms of popularity and many prefer online educational courses in comparison to traditional schools and colleges as these online courses allow one to engage in education according to one's convenience and at the same time enables them to have an alternative professional life. Moreover, no physical movement to a distant location is required in case of online learning and one can operate form home in the presence of the personal computer with an internet connection.

In order to facilitate online education, several software tools and applications have been devised which aid the tutors and students considerably in their interaction and conducting of assessments and coursework. Such applications are known as Learning Management Systems. There are various such learning management systems which facilitate online education. One among these is referred to as KEWL. NextGen and it is an open source e-learning platform which was initially developed in 1991. But it was in 2005 that it was remodeled in PHP format to ensure that KEWL could function in Linux and other platforms meant for e-learning. The term KEWL is an acronym for Knowledge Environment for Web Learning and it was initiated by Professor Derek Keats. KEWL is available in various versions at present and it can function without any alteration in various operating systems that support the PHP format like NetWare, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Unix etc.

KEWL is comprised of various features that are essential to all the major online educational platforms and it enables the usage of multiple languages apart form offering the facility of full online survey. Content management is ensured by means of file uploads, wiki, RSS feeds, Google Maps, instructional design etc. while the main modes of communication is through podcasts, forums, blogs, instant messaging and chats. There are various modes by which tasks are assigned by the tutors to the students and on the basis of which assessments are made. These include writing assignments and essays, quizzes, problem based learning etc. Most of these assignments are analytical types and all these applications are supported by the GUI tools.

I got an online degree in under a year, and you can too by checking out http://www.an-online-degree-by-distance-learning.com/

The University of Phoenix Online MBA Degree

Attending classes online is the smart way for busy people to earn degrees to advance in their present career or furthering their education. The University of Phoenix Online has earned its reputation as the premier provider of E-distant learning degree programs and courses, and is the nation's largest accredited private university.

The University of Phoenix online program offers students the opportunity to achieve: Bachelors, Master's and Doctorate level degrees in the areas of: Business, Information Systems, Education, Nursing, and Technology at their own pace and from the comfort of home.

The Master of Business Administration program or MBA Online Degree Program offered by the University of Phoenix is designed to enable a student taking management courses, to gain or advance the skills needed to function effectively within an organization. Through specialized coursework developed to build and enhance these skills, students will create and defend solutions for problems in crisis management, profitable growth opportunities, and changes in leadership. Throughout the course of this program students will gain the knowledge and experience to turn volatile -situations into well-managed problems. Students will have the chance to apply different tools and concepts towards achieving this, as well as analyzing a variety of alternate solutions to common problems in management. Students will select a course of action for solving situations, and then defend their choice.

The Master of Business Program at the University of Phoenix employs the use of problem-based learning, where students can polish their problem-solving skills, as well as improve their communication, creativity, information processing, and critical thinking skills. Student progress is assessed by the student's ability to demonstrate effectively through classroom presentations: their skills in problem-solving, communication, and critical thinking.

Students are grouped together in 'learning teams'. These learning teams will apply the principles of 'benchmarking' throughout the course to research the most creative solutions to any given problem. This gives a learner a broader selection of alternatives for solving problems.

The MBA Degree Program offered by the University of Phoenix consists of 39 credit hours and includes 3 proficiency courses. These are (MBA501, MBA502, MBA503) which may be satisfied through an undergraduate business degree, undergraduate coursework, or graduate coursework. Students may also waive 9 additional credits through graduate courses and may even qualify for a 21-hour residency. Ask your UOP Online Education Counselor, for more details about this waiver and residency, if you think you may qualify.

Virtual Environments and 3D Models Help in Effective Learning

The extensive use of technology in the learning process has encouraged the virtual learning platform. In recent years, virtual environments offer a gaming platform in order to ensure audience engagement, thereby offering a convenient way for effective learning process. In this virtual gaming platform, students can play roles or create avatars, and virtual representations of themselves, and interact with their peers across the world to experience an enhanced experience of learning.

Over the past few years, the software developers and the researchers have discovered the potentiality the potentiality of utilizing 3D virtual environments in the Elearning domain. According to the experts, 3D environments are highly effective in enhancing students' learning experience. They offer an intensely interactive platform, which creates real-life problem solving situations. Primarily this would create a collaborative environment where students can be able to learn more than just grasping the bunch of information given in the traditional curriculum.

Nowadays, virtual learning environment is extensively used in academic and training organizations. In the undergraduate training courses incorporation of 3D models are effective in providing appropriate training, thereby sharpening the industry-specific skills of the students. At present, the 'internet generation' of students is becoming increasingly enthusiastic about the web-based learning and the incorporation of 3D modules in it.

Normally virtual modules don't involve the traditional set up of education, which requires students to attend the class on a fixed time. As a result, traditional set up becomes tiring and students lose interest in it. In a virtual medium, students get the opportunity to in learning while playing with the 3D modules. Thus, education can be more exciting and engaging.

However, 3D modules are not a very new concept. Over the past few years, it is being extensively used in pilot training, drivers' education classes and in the training campaigns for space rocket launches. In recent years, the potential of 3D virtual learning environments are also applied in teaching ordinary students, professionals and the disabled learners.

What Are the Benefits of Incorporating 3D models in Virtual Learning?

1. One of the primary advantages of using the virtual environment is its customizability. In a virtual environment, everything can be customized, objects can be moved, and a teacher can customize the tasks and lessons accordingly

2. Secondly, the virtual environment with 3D models can ensure increased interactivity among students and teachers. With continuous discussions and activities learning process becomes effective and interesting. It helps a student to get a detailed idea about the training session.

Those Big Words, 'Business School'

The ultimate goal for those who enroll in an MBA program is career advancement. What form this advancement will take depends completely on each individual's personal agenda. One student may plan to return to work for a former employer in a more sophisticated context, while another may seek to change careers entirely, transferring to a field that is more challenging or fulfilling. Other more entrepreneurial students may attempt to launch an independent business. Whatever the case may be, MBA programs are designed to guide the student toward the path of their choosing while providing the skills that will be required when they reach their destination.

How do they do this you ask? Well, the most successful MBA programs strive to gather groups of students with diverse backgrounds and goals and then facilitate the sharing of their experiences in the context of the study of theoretical business applications. Before we get in to the academic elements of the MBA program, let's first take a look at some of the different techniques schools are currently using to cultivate leadership qualities in their students (besides the standard lectures, papers, exams, etc?).

1) Problem-Based Learning (a.k.a Case Studies)

Rather than simply conveying material to the students through lectures, business schools are now using the problem-based learning format to force students to think for themselves rather than regurgitate material that they've memorized.

Classes are subdivided into small groups and each group is presented with a particular management issue or problem.

As a team, the students must research the case they've been presented with and apply what they've learned from their studies to come up with a solution to the particular problem.

This type of exercise forces students to become "horizontal thinkers" who must consider ALL factors related to a particular decision rather than simply looking at an issue from on particular perspective (ie. accounting vs. marketing vs. finance).

2) Studies in the Field

Many schools are now supplementing class lectures and individuals study time with studies in the field

Although most students coming into MBA programs already have significant work experience, schools continue to stress the importance of "learning from doing"

The interpersonal skills that are crucial to strong leadership cannot be taught in the classroom setting but rather must be observed first hand in the field.

3) Team-Based Learning

While many of the projects assigned in business school require students to work in groups, team-based learning focuses specifically on how to work as team.

The goal isn't so much to complete a particular assignment or project on some managerial issue, but rather the to learn how to work closely with others.

Setting goals, assigning responsibilities, and learning to rely on others are some of the skills involved.

Because team project and work groups have become so common in the business world, the schools are stressing teamwork abilities now more than ever..

The Curriculum

Now of course, underlying all of these different teaching techniques, is the curriculum itself. The first year courses of most MBA programs make up what is known as the core curriculum. While each school tries to present the material in what they believe is a unique or progressive manner, there remains minimal variation in these courses from school to school because every MBA student must ultimately have a fairly extensive level of knowledge in the following areas:

Business Strategy Analysis

Financial and Managerial Accounting

Management Statistics and Data Analysis

Managerial Economics

Marketing Management

Managerial Finance

Managing Organizations

Operations Management

For a detailed description of any or all of these courses, please browse through the course calendar or website of the particular business schools you are considering.

Once this core curriculum has been completed, most business schools allow their students to spend the remainder of their course time on electives. Many schools are recognized for particular programs that they offer and this recognition tends to revolve around these second year elective courses. Often business schools will have faculty who are eminent leaders in their field lecturing for these courses, providing the class with cutting edge research and the latest advancements in the area. Some of the areas that a second-year MBA student can specialize in include:


Arts Management

Educational Administration

Entrepreneurial Ventures Finance


Health Care Administration

Human Resource


Management Consultants

Management Information


Manufacturing Management


Not-for-Profit Organizations

Operations Management

Small Business Management

So as you can see, it's no longer possible to pigeonhole business schools as gathering places for society's elite, who put in a couple of years before taking over the family empire. A degree from a reputable business school can now place you on the fast track for a leadership position in any one of an incredibly diverse number of career paths. The MBA has become just as important in public service domains such as education, government, and healthcare administration as it is in the more traditional corporate sectors.

What to Expect for the Costs you have Sunk In?

Having established that going to business school represents a pretty serious financial burden, let's see what you're actually getting for all those dollars your laying out. What are the "frills" schools are using to attract students, and the impact that the program can have on your ability to attract employment and your earning potential once you've found the job you've been seeking.


Talk about plush. Be prepared to work extremely hard when you get to business school, but if your at one of the better ones, take solace in the fact that you'll be doing it in style. The fact is that many of the schools (and not just the powerhouses) are investing heavily in infrastructure to woo you. Remember, there's a definite element of reciprocity in the relationship between schools and applicants. To put it simply, they want you to like them just as much as you want them to like you. As a result a significant proportion of a business school's dean's time is spent fundraising. Many schools are building brand new buildings, with brand new classrooms, libraries, conference rooms, cafeterias and students lounges all supplied and state-of-the-art technology. Just as one example, Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management has built a simulated trading floor with the exact same technology being used by real analysts.


The business world is ALL about connections. We're not going to feed you the line that "it's who you know not what you know" but rather that it's "who you know AND what you know". For that reason, an MBA program has become incredibly important for young people trying to get their foot in the door. At business school you're going to educated in the "what" and immersed in the "who." Without even realizing it, you're going to be spending two full years networking. Whether it's faculty who have pivotal roles in major corporations, corporations who've formed alliances with the school, or fellow students, over the course of the program you're going to be in close contact with individuals who are currently, or will be in the future, extremely influential in the business community. Imagine your new best friend happens to be the next Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, David Filo, or Jerry Yang just waiting to surface. Well that's the kind of relationship that fortunes are built on.


The following excerpts come directly from the Business Week Guide to the Best Business Schools (6 th ed.). It summarizes the relationship between MBAs and corporate hiring so well that felt we should pass it straight on to you completely unadulterated. We further recommend that you find the complete article from which this excerpt was taken (available on the web) for supplementary reading and that you use the guide as one of your resources for choosing the right business school for you (in our opinions it's one of the most informative).

As we approach the millennium, the MBA is unquestionably the hottest degree you can hold, particularly from an elite school. The stats prove it: At virtually all of the best schools, GMAT scores and starting pay packages are setting records. Applications are too, although a large part of the boom is coming from overseas...The 61 schools surveyed by business week for its 1998 rankings waded through 116,912 applications for the Class of 2000, and the average GMAT score was 667 for those attending the Top 25 schools, up from 649 just two years earlier.

Today, the MBA is on its way to becoming a requirement for anyone who hopes to build a career in Corporate America, and, indeed, much of the world... Certainly, it's true that corporate recruiters can't seem to hire enough MBAs these days. The 259 recruiters who participated in business week's 1998 survey of the best business schools hired 10,348 MBAs in total, a 28 percent rise from 1996. And they would have hired even more if they could have: Grads of the Top 25 business schools averaged 3.2 job offers each, up from 2.3 in 1992, and compensation exploded. The median pay package (salary, bonus, and extras such as stock options or moving expenses) at the Top 25 hit $111,420, up 19 percent from just two years ago. Another telling figure: Median pay topped $100,000 at 18 of our Top 25-versus 5 two years ago.

For more about online mba degrees, visit us online.

----- About the Author

Samantha Sebring is an inhouse writer for Online Degree Today.com. She has been writing distance learning education pieces since 2005.

Diagnosing Learning Disabilities

When diagnosing learning disabilities, including auditory, visually or language based learning disabilities, the process can become complicated as well as costly for parents.

Parents soon find that there are a lot of professionals with a lot of opinions regarding diagnosing learning disabilities, dyslexia, brain impairment and a whole multitude of associated conditions. They need to appreciative that when it comes to diagnosing a learning disability, even the doctors agree that they often are not caused by one distinct problem, but by several problems, each overlapping and affecting the next. So if you have a child with a language based learning disability, there is frequently involvement from the auditory and visual systems, so that even in a mainly language based learning disability the other types of learning trouble should not be overlooked.

It can be quite invaluable to diagnose learning disabilities near the beginning in a child's life, as it can severely benefit their school life and everyday life. In this day and age, with new advancements in technology and research, there are things that can be done, and therapies which can be pursued despite whether the child has visual, auditory or language based learning disabilities.

The chief emphasis needs to be diagnosing learning disabilities as ahead of time as possible, for the reason that if we can do this we can reduce how far the child's performance slips behind that of their peers. Thus diagnosing learning disabilities in a preschool or prep child and helping them properly is far better than diagnosing them in a child who is in Grade 8, and facing years of catch up to get better their performance to that of the other kids in the class. Also, the long term detrimental habits, loss of confidence and loss of self esteem so often seen in older children can be avoided if we are diagnosing learning disabilities in children early in the school career.

Diagnosing learning disabilities can be made much easier if we view the individual areas as opposed to the entire difficulty. We have found that specific areas of learning difficulties may likewise truly help other seemingly non-related areas. So, for example, if we use vision therapy to instruct and progress a child's visual system, this may have the flow on effect of likewise helping a language based learning disability, even despite the fact that we may not have specifically targeted these areas in our therapy!

As a Behavioral Optometrist, I usually diagnose children with vision rather than language based learning problems. If I find significant language based learning disabilities, I continuously refer to local speech therapists who can work specifically in those areas. Some children, in reality numerous children, have a selection of these problems, but can only afford to do one type of therapy (usually the worst area). If we have found vision is the more key when diagnosing learning disabilities, then we may treat the question with vision therapy, just to find that the child's vocalizations and language difficulties start to develop as well.

Maybe a good problem would be, "which is the simplest and most cost effective problem to treat?" Until a short time ago, virtually all therapy alternatives were very high-priced, costing thousands of dollars and lasting years, but with the rise of the internet that has all changed!

But now you can gain access to a full 6 month, professional grade vision therapy course for less than $100, and this makes vision therapy an exceptionally cost effective and practical option for parents worldwide. If your child struggles with vision, auditory or language based learning difficulties, why not check out our site for free information and an 8 day mini course. Don't be diagnosing learning disabilities simply to do nothing to help your child when free information and very cheap therapies are now obtainable to help you.

Darin Browne is a Behavioral Optometrist who lives in Queensland, Australia. He has just designed an amazing Home Based Vision Therapy Course, which offers over 180 pages of teaching and exercises, empowering parents to train their own children's visual skills and see positive, sustainable improvement in their reading, writing and spelling. For a FREE Ecourse which includes some of these therapies, check out Diagnosing Learning Disabilities

Teaching of Sociology

I believe that there is a good case for the teaching of every social science. In particular I support the call for the teaching of sociology to all students in Grade 12 and above. At least one year of study will provide students with the knowledge and skills that will contribute toward their social and academic development. However, it can be offered as an elective to all others who wished to pursue it at a higher level of study. In some countries sociology is taught to students who are 16 and over on a voluntarily basis. I think it is much too important to be treated in this manner.

The Nature of Sociology

Sociology has been defined as many things. In its embryonic stages its founder Comte (1798-1857) thought it to be a natural science no different from biology, chemistry or physics. He believed that it was possible to predict human behavior and so control it in much the same way natural scientists controlled matter. Later on Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), another French sociologist, pioneered the use of statistical analysis in the study of suicide, a social phenomenon. Durkheim argued that in this way it was possible to determine the causal and correlation (al) relationships that exist between and among social variables. These he called 'social facts.' Suicide and marriage are examples of social facts because they have an existence outside the individual and their rates can be quantified so that their impact on human behavior can be ascertained via the use of inductive approaches.

Sometime later in Germany Max Weber (1964-1920) launched a scathing counter attack against the use of statistics in the study of human behavior. He claimed that the true goal of sociology is verstehen-interpretive understanding of the procedures people use to understand others during their interactions with them. In this way he provided the impetus for the development of the hermeneutic approach in sociology which proposed that the discipline was rather a social science aimed at understanding how behavior was understood using direct and indirect observation of social phenomena. Many others such as George Herbert Mead, Herbert Blumer and Alfred Schutz have followed Weber's lead and have promulgated the belief that interpretive approaches and perspectives such as Symbolic Interactionism and Phenomenology.

During the 1950s a group of French philosophers (postmodernists) embarked upon a severe critique of meta- cognition or the thinking of generalizability. This has been the general or overarching principle of both the natural and social science dogmas. The main similarity between them is the proclivity to generalize about the nature and direction of human behavior. This has influenced the writings of others such as Lyotard and de Baudrillard whose works have been applied to the study of sociology. They have argued that in contemporary times (especially since WWII) perspectives such as Marxism have become irrelevant to our understanding of social life. For them life has become centered round signs and symbols. Material goods only become important in so far as they convey specific meanings- signs and symbols. Language is ever more important since it is oft times used to perpetuate a duality. For example the sexual power duality is reproduced in society through language. Because of the verbal portrayal of differences in power between men and women, women are perceived as evil and bad and men as good and rational and this acts as a form of legitimization of sexual politics.

As a direct consequent of these three major debates about the nature of sociology it is extremely difficult to define sociology with any degree of certainty. We know more about what it is not rather than what it in actuality is. Despite this though there is an informal consensus of sorts among its adherents purporting that sociology is a social science in much the same way that psychology, anthropology, economics and political science are.

I have even noted that not much is taking place in changing the face of sociology. It has become stagnated not merely because of the centrality of classical themes such as the role of the bourgeoisie in modern capitalism and the social factors contributing to structured inequality.

Additionally not much has taken place by way of creative innovations in methodological, theoretical and practical shifts or focuses. Despite this drawback though the discipline retains much relevance to social life and should be taught formally in all schools at least from Grade 12.

Some Benefits of Teaching Sociology

These are based on my experience in teaching sociology at advanced level (Grade 13 and higher) for over 10 years in the island of Trinidad.

   1. It facilitates the all round development of the learner (providing ample opportunity for cognitive, affective and psychomotor development).
   2. Students learn analytical skills which help them appreciate the nature of social structure and individual interaction both between and within societies (most importantly theirs)

An example of this is de-constructing or analyzing issues or problems

   1. By practicing essay writing they (students) learn to organize and structure ideas logically (sequentially and chronologically if necessary). This is significant for building synthesis and critical thinking skills.
   2. Skills of note-taking and note-making are enhanced. However, those of the latter should be emphasized since they allow for the development of student autonomy.
   3. Students are allowed the opportunity to plan (for writing) and engage in abstract problem solving skills and competencies.
   4. Twentieth-first century skills such as cooperation, team-work and project management can be and are developed and enhanced.
   5. It provides opportunity for the enhancement of communicative competence since students participate in debates and discussion about research studies, theories and perspectives.
   6. Students are impelled to become more culturally relative and less ethnocentric since they come to appreciate that culture cannot and should not be judged in relation to another. It meets the needs of a particular society or subgroup.
   7. It teaches them about the nature and causes and consequences of different forms of inequality such as sex and gender, race/ethnicity, social class and age. Additionally, they learn to become empathetic about marginalized groups and individuals.
   8. Students develop citizenship values and attitudes, and decision-making. This helps them to function effectively as members of democratic societies.
   9. It allows for the appreciation of diversity in the presentation of 'social reality' so that they come to perceive the differences between universal and culturally specific features of social life.
  10. It provides opportunity to view knowledge in a holistic way since sociology is so multi-disciplinary as is social work for instance.

Some Suggestions for the Effective Teaching of Sociology

   1. Use students' experience to help them connect the theories to real world or life experiences.
   2. Use a combination of teacher-centered and student-centered approaches. Teacher-centered methods such as lecturing and note-giving are better to use for introducing topics, concepts and issues before deep understanding is developed via the use of child-centered methods such as projects, group work and field work.
   3. Use a variety of resources in the same lesson. Pictures, diagrams and audio material are excellent.
   4. Use cooperative learning strategies such as jig-saw to deepen student understanding and develop team work and shared responsibility.
   5. Provide opportunity for problem-based learning in which students will solve real world issues through the collection of empirical data and analysis of findings from research.
   6. Use the lecture method wisely. Do not talk for more than 15 minutes at any one time. Allow lectures to be interrupted by student activity since they like getting involved and having a say.
   7. Employ a variety of assessment techniques in your practice such as portfolios, graphic organizers, poetry and song and role-plays.
   8. Provide plenty of opportunity for the analysis of statistical data and report findings via graphs, tables, pictures etc.
   9. Plan and provide for student participation in activities where students will simulate qualitative data collection techniques such as in-depth interviewing and systematic participant observathon.
  10. Provide greater opportunity for student dialogue and always provide constructive feedback.
  11. Examine the best ways of helping students grow mentally, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.
  12. Invite guest speaker experts to shed light on diverse issues related to the content and everyday life.
  13. Make a written plan of the activities for each lesson and change them only if necessary.
  14. Use test and exam results to diagnose performance and provide accurate measurement of student performance.
  15. Test only what was taught in terms of content and skills.
  16. Practice chunking the content by breaking up large amounts into smaller manageable units in accordance to students' age and maturity levels.
  17. Ensure students participate in rubric and mark scheme design. This will assist them to understand the standards and benchmarks for academic excellence.
  18. Cater for a variety of learning styles in your lessons. Knowledge of the differentiated classroom is an asset to good teaching.
  19. Be firm but flexible.
  20. Always move from the known to the unknown. Emphasise should be placed on effective concept teaching.

I proffer the suggestion that students should be exposed to an introductory course in the sociology since it will assist them in developing a variety of skills, talents and competences which are critical for life in a modern society.

This article sought to provide some useful guidance for teachers of sociology at any level of academia. It began with summation of the three major polemics in the nature of sociology namely positivist, interpretivist and postmodern. Following this it provided a rationale for its inclusion in the high school or college curriculum and ended by examining some guidelines or useful tips for teaching sociology

Bennie Berkeley has attained PhD in sociology with high commendation from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. At present he lectures in sociology courses namely Introduction to Sociology and Caribbean Social Structure. Additionally, he conducts methodology seminars for graduate students about to embark upon their research projects in social work and sociology. He supervises a number of students from a cross section of the social sciences including sociology (criminology), social work and mediation studies.

Three Effective Techniques To Adopt In Science Teacher Training

The creation of an educational system capable of preparing people to live in the changing world is one of the crucial tasks of modern society. The rapid move over recent decades to a global knowledge economy, driven by constantly evolving information and communication technologies has created significant economic and social opportunities. Equally, it is creating enormous challenges, confronting, countries with the need to rethink their educational and social systems.

To participate in this global knowledge economy and improve their standard of living, there is a need for students to leave school with a deeper understanding of school subjects and with the skills needed to respond to an unbounded but uncertain 21st century-skills, to use their knowledge, to think critically, to collaborate, to communicate, to solve problems, to create and to continue learning.

Science education in the 21st Century must be oriented to meet the challenges of covering the entire population in promoting scientific literacy. The science teacher is the hub in this endeavor and therefore, a thorough understanding of the nature of science is a pre-requisite in this educational process. The science teacher must therefore be exposed to techniques that will help him or her to impart knowledge effectively since In this era of information technology, the role of teachers is changing from providing information to organizing a learning process. The responsibility is on teacher education institutions to rethink how they can most effectively prepare future teachers to teach for success in complex, rapidly changing world.

The following are specific techniques which are directly relevant to the teaching of Science, Mathematics and Technology that can be incorporated in the training of science teachers.

1.Cooperative learning
Peer interaction in small group work has become an important area of research in education and the opportunities for dialogue found in these cooperative learning situations are thought to provide a meaningful context for students to connect their new experiences to prior knowledge. Group dialogue permits students to present their notions about the world and have them challenged. The challenges can lead to cognitive development as individuals realign their thinking as a result of having participated in the dialogue. Cooperative group work also serves to build peer relationships that foster learning. This technique can be an effective strategy in teacher education courses. Because by working in groups, sharing ideas, and making and tasting conjectures, prospective teachers gain confidence in their own ability to develop a variety of useful problem solving strategies.

2.Problem solving
Problem solving has become the central activity in reform curricula in Mathematics science and technology because of its ability to facilitate students' construction of meaning. This impacts on teacher education programmes because if learners are to have opportunities to explore problems, then the instructor has to be able to engage learners in problems in context, push learners' thinking while their exploration is proceeding, and create a classroom environment in which all learners feel empowered to learn.

3.Problem based learning
Problem based learning is a constructivist approach, which combines problem solving and group work. It emphasizes the use of real life problems or scenarios as a stimulus for learning. The students are divided into groups of up to ten and meet twice each week under the guidance of a tutor. The process of problem based learning involves presenting the students with a scenario or case, which relates to real life, as a departure point for the learning process. The students then brainstorm themes and questions - this process is designed to allow them to clarify their preconceptions about the topic and to identify their learning needs. This technique has been used in medical and other tertiary courses, but not widely implemented in teacher education.

Arousing Interests of Science Subjects in Secondary Schools in Tanzania

Motivating young people to become more interested in science subjects in Tanzania raised the debate since the government decided to exercise authority in education sector at take-off independence. The driving un-implemented strategies are restructuring instruction into learner-centered approach, improving curricular materials and ensuring teaching and instructional personnel. There is no way to a single theory to govern this paper rather than eclectic approach being employed to help to draw-in important philosophical concept to the intended perspective.

The theories adopted in guiding this paper therefore are observed in how motivation can be employed in arousing learners' interest in science subjects. The theories include motivation as propounded by prominent behaviorist Abraham Maslow, learning theory by prominent constructivist paradigm including Piaget and Vygotsky and the theory of social cognition by its prominent proponent Albert Bandura.

As Maslow (1954) says, "If we are interested in what actually motivates us and not what has or will, or might motivate us, then a satisfied need is not a motivator." According to him and to other various theories, motivation may be rooted in the basic need to minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure, or it may include specific needs such as eating and resting, or a desired object, hobby, goal, state of being, ideal, or it may be attributed to less-apparent reasons such as altruism, morality, or avoiding mortality. Motivation is of particular interest to Educational psychologists because of the crucial role it plays in student learning. However, the specific kind of motivation that is studied in the specialized setting of education differs qualitatively from the more general forms of motivation studied by psychologists in other fields. Motivation in education can have several effects on how students learn and how they behave towards subject matter as for science subjects in our case. It can direct behavior toward particular goals; Lead to increased effort and energy; Increase initiation of, and persistence in, activities; Enhance cognitive processing; Determine what consequences are reinforcing and; Lead to improved performance. Because students are not always internally motivated, they sometimes need situated motivation, which is found in environmental conditions that the teacher creates.

There are two kinds of motivation: firstly, intrinsic motivation which occurs when people are internally motivated to do something because it either brings them pleasure, they think it is important, or they feel that what they are learning is significant, and secondly extrinsic motivation which comes into play when a student is compelled to do something or act a certain way because of factors external to him or her like money or good grades (Wikipedia, 2008). Young people can be motivated to perform science subjects as pleasure when they are supplied with quality, enough materials and sufficient facilitating situation through competition, science clubs, and any other situations where awards and prizes are provided for best achievers. Externally successfully scientists and best students in science subjects can be invited in science celebrations and exhibitions to demonstrate their achievements.

There are cognitive views of motivation by constructivists which stress that human behavior is influenced by the way people think about themselves and their environment. The direction that behavior takes can be explained by four influences which include; the inherent need to construct an organized and logically consistent knowledge base; one's expectations for successfully completing a task; the factors that one believes account for success and failure; and one's beliefs about the nature of cognitive ability (Biehler/Snowman, 1997). The impact of cognitive development view is based on Jean Piaget's principles of equilibration, assimilation, accommodation, and schema formation. Piaget proposes that children possess an inherent desire to maintain a sense of organization and balance in their conception of the world (equilibration). A sense of equilibration may be experienced if a child assimilates a new experience by relating it to an existing scheme, or the child may accommodate by modifying an existing scheme if the new experience is too different. In our case then love of science can be build to young people since their childhood through directing and provision of simpler experiments and observations on various matters and organisms.

In addition, individuals will repeatedly use new schemes because of an inherent desire to master their environment. This explains why young children can, with no loss of enthusiasm, sing the same song, tell the same story, and play the same game over and over and why they repeatedly open and shut doors to rooms and cupboards with no seeming purpose. It also explains why older children take great delight in collecting and organizing almost everything they can get their hands on and why adolescents who have begun to attain formal operational thinking will argue incessantly about all the unfairness in the world and how it can be eliminated (Stipek, 1993). This allows the room for these habits to be turned into science learning and observation interests.

Social cognition theory proposes reciprocal determination as a primary factor in both learning and motivation. In this view, the environment, an individual's behavior, and the individual's characteristics (e.g., knowledge, emotions, and cognitive development) both influence and are influenced by each other two components. Bandura (1986, 1997) highlights self-efficacy (the belief that a particular action say for science [as our case goals], is possible and that the individual can accomplish it) and self-regulation (the establishment of goals, the development of a plan to attain those goals, the commitment to implement that plan, the actual implementation of the plan, and subsequent actions of reflection and modification or redirection.

The first strategy is to deal with the policy effective implementation. Tanzania education policy (Education and Training Policy - ETP) highlights on: Access that encompass participation, gender and equity issues; Quality in internal efficiency, relevance and external effectiveness; and Management includes governance, decentralization and resource management. It is one of the best policies in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) as pointed by World Bank (2005); with well established strategic plans but had not yet been able to be implemented effectively.

Woods (2007) pointed out that the education system of Tanzania has made commendable progress in the period since 2000, especially in the introduction of free primary education, in steps taken to broaden access to secondary, and in the introduction of competence based curricula at primary and secondary levels. However, there are still challenges to improve system performance in terms of inclusion, repetition and completion at primary level, and to expand opportunity at secondary from the previously very low base. Pre-service and in-service training have lacked the necessary coherence with each other and with the demands of changes in the system, especially of curriculum and pedagogy in enhancing science and technology. Particular attention needs to be paid to equity and strengthening of financial management and mainstreaming of ongoing project and programs. These need to be pursued vigorously and implemented fully. A prioritized strategy for capacity building is required for these and all other major dimensions (World Bank, 2005). In this case there is no problem with the policy; the problem is in the implementation.

In enabling the Ministry to meet the goals the question of teachers concern should be addressed as the second strategy as the foremost activities to motivate teaching resource. Teaching resource elsewhere plays the big role in ensuring maximum success in education arena. Recognizing the unique motivational styles can also help to identify the types of educational products and problems that will satisfy respective needs (Tough, 1979). So, teachers' in-service training, teaching environment nourishment, reasonable payments and retain/recognition are important factors.

Learners are motivated by teachers so teachers should be motivated in order to transmit it to learners. Apart from sufficient pre-service and in-service training, capacity building and refresher courses provision; the availability of required teaching and learning materials in one hand build teachers' morale and motivate them. Struggle in finding teaching-learning for themselves, shortage of books and other supportive materials de-motivate teachers and encourage insufficient teaching and rote learning. Ibid (1979) remarked that someone can get easily distracted from the task at hand and become more motivated to do something else perhaps not on task.

Teachers need laboratory with recommended equipments to prepare and demonstrate practical and laboratory technician an assistant. In the past when schools were few, a science teacher needed to have a laboratory to work in and there were also a laboratory technician to work together (Guardian, 2009). Laboratory is compulsory for science subjects; there is no way, without their availability. But these days in some schools even science teachers do not have laboratories to conduct experiments and there is no laboratory technician to help the teacher.

Teaching environment improvements include housing water and sanitation. Research has shown that many teachers do not have houses, and those who do live in houses that are often in serious need of repair and most schools are in very poor physical environment. The challenges of school improvement in rural areas are associated with the presence of teachers, but many rural schools in Tanzania like other countries "serve disadvantaged populations, have great difficulty attracting and retaining qualified teachers and have management systems poorly adapted to their small size"(ADEA, 2006)

Pay reform to adequate salary in the other hand settle psychological and physical unrest of teachers and motivate them concentrate in their work accordingly. Teachers' low payment is a burning issue and recently caused periodic strikes. In most of developing countries including Tanzania, teachers' wages were considerably below the level necessary to ensure their adequate motivation (Fry, 2003). The government should revise teachers' pay reform and come up with solution otherwise academic fraud might emerge or persist. When teachers sell grades or require students to pay for private tutoring, most observers recognize it as corruption. But it is tolerated because everyone understands that it is necessary to survive (Fontana, 2008). Their practices may be interpreted by some as a reasonable adaptive response to a difficult situation. In some instances it is even tolerated by government, which sees it as the only way to maintain the number of teachers and the quality of teaching.

There is a need to train and retain enough teachers. Learning is a process of interaction between teachers and students as they both participate in the learning process, but with more weight given to teachers to show the way, for recommended number of learners in the class. Learning achievements can mainly "be determined in classroom by motivated teachers who plan for teaching, put into practice what they have learned" (ADEA, 2006). But teachers' motivation is critically ignored factor in all levels of policy choices including crowded classes (Ndawi, 1997). Motivation of teachers helps to retain them at their work places and it includes "materials and psychological needs" as pay on its own does not increase motivation among teachers; however pecuniary motives are likely to be dominant among teachers in less developed countries. In SSA, teachers' motivation is low and it has been detrimental to the quality of education" (Fry, 2003).

In motivating learners, as the third strategy, emphasis should be applied in approaches such as demonstration, case study and problem based learning. Their introduction or if have been introduced, could aim at increasing the students' interests in learning science subjects. Also a useful method of concept mapping would be given for assessment, particularly for the development of the students' self-directed learning skills and lifelong learning skills.

Demonstration as one of the approaches is very useful in arousing interest. According to Lagowski (1990) students retain 10% of what they read, 26% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, 50% of what they see and hear, 70% of what they say, and 90% of something they say as they do something. So if teachers show as many demonstrations as they can to the students as well as letting the students do demonstrations by themselves, students will learn more actively and effectively. Students also need more positive and realistic demonstrations of the scope and limitations of science and scientists.

Science historical stories are one of the methods which can be used elsewhere even in remote areas and is costless. According to Huo (2006) the development of science and technology can not be separated from the contributions of past scientists. The science stories will inspire students to overcome the difficulties and to gain success. So giving the relevant story will spark the students' inner-motivation. Only with inner-motivation will the students show their initiative and creative abilities in their learning and working processes. For instance 'Newton becomes a professor at the age of 25 years in Glasgow University and lately he formulated the law of gravitational force'.

Multimedia technology approach can be applied in areas where it allows. Although it is expensive and it requires power availability for schools that can afford is also recommended. With the development of computer technology multimedia methods are been increasingly used in teaching practice. A multimedia course can combine sound and pictures with knowledge. This reinforces the fact that students retain 50% of what they see and hear, as the use of multimedia technology gives students more information than just writing on the blackboard, and increase the chance of active learning (ibid). But on the other hand it can also makes a more boring lecture for the students, if too much useless information is given or if, when using the projector, the light in the classroom is too dim. To avoid these disadvantages the teacher can combine it with other strategies and gives students more opportunity to think and ask questions.

Case study is another interesting teaching-learning approach and also costless. Science is very relevant to our real life. It would be worthwhile to find some real cases before the teacher gives a lecture. When students find that what they will learn is useful to the society, they will be active learners (Lagowski, 1990). Case studies are capable of being delivered with a range of styles, they can be designed to complement (not replace) other teaching approaches, and focus on re-visiting topics rather than attempting to cover an entire syllabus. In addition, the contexts and delivery styles can be selected in order to be stimulating. It is crucial, therefore, to highlight the importance of science and its relevance to students' lives.

Problem-based learning (PBL) is a pedagogical approach based on recent advances in cognitive science research on human learning (Barrows, 1985). PBL has been widely used in undergraduate settings in Western countries but there is very little published on the application of PBL in science education in developing countries like Tanzania. A PBL class is organized around collaborative problem solving activities that provide a context for learning and discovery. The responsibility for learning is with the student; not with the facilitator. There are five well-defined stages in the PBL process: introduction, inquiry, self-directed study, revisiting the hypotheses, and self-evaluation (Ram 1999). This approach can be introduced in higher learning institutions although it is expensive, its return to education is more important.

Research shows that students do not like examinations and if their mark is low it may reduce their confidence to continue learning. It also can not reflect all the problems and may not show the abilities that the rtudents have gained (Huo, 2006). It is preferable to find other methods to supplement examinations. Concept mapping is an alternative method: it can show the teacher how much the students knew and how much they didn't know; and the students can assess their own learning. I don't suggest examinations to be eliminated completely but they can be reduced in number in levels of education. Elimination of National Standard IV Exam in primary school level and National Form II Exam in O-level is the exact instance. Concept mapping was developed by Professor Joseph D. Novak at Cornell University in the 1960s. The concept map is a knowledge representation tool in the form of a graph.

A Problem Based Approach to Language Learning

Problem-based learning is one of the most important strategies when it comes to acquiring any type of skill. Thrust in such a situation, people are able to integrate abstract concepts and apply them in the real world.

While it may not look like it at first glance, problem-based approaches also work very well in language learning. Over the years, in fact, I have found many tools that use this particular strategy to help students acquire specific language abilities.

Check out any of the top language acquisition software and look at the set of exercises they task students to do. More often than not, those are based on a problem solving approach to learning. Using what you've learned from the previous lessons, you are provided specific challenges that you can overcome by applying them.

When using this approach, you go beyond taking in concepts and ideas. Instead of simply committing them to memory, you are put in a situation where you have to use them to arrive at a result. Compared to merely sitting down to listen to lectures or read lessons, employing them creatively makes for a more complete learning experience.

You can think of the problem-based strategy as a partial form of immersion. Just like finding yourself amidst a crowd of native speakers, forced to use the language to communicate, this approach puts you in a position where you will need to apply what you learned. There is less pressure involved, of course, but the result could be just as effective.

Competency-Based Training - Teaching Employees to Problem-Solve Using the Competency Model

Every day, employees face challenges, problems and opportunities.

    * Typically, they require difficult decisions to be made within a short time span.
    * Typically, they all hit at once. 
    * Typically, there is no right or wrong solution, but multiple solutions requiring the skill of discerning outcomes and implications in order to make the best decision.

What if training was like that? What if training was like the real world? 

What if competencies and behavioral skills were learned using an application that challenged trainees to apply those skills to situations that mimicked the employee's every day work environment? 

In this paper, a problem-based training approach (PBT) is offered that is distinguished from action learning or case study learning. PBT engages employees through applying a different style of training. PBT is an adaptation of the principals of problem-based learning, an adult learning methodology common in academic arenas.(See reference 1.) The uniqueness of PBT is found in the modification of the academic classroom oriented learning methodology to the dynamic and diverse needs of corporate training.

PBT meets conditions defined as optimal for adult learning.(See reference 2.) In a training environment, these conditions would include: 

    * Freedom of expression and an acceptance of differences.
    * An environment where trainees perceive the goals of the learning experience to be their own goals.
    * A culture where trainees accept a share of responsibility for planning and operating the learning experience and therefore have a commitment to it.
    * A company where trainees participate actively and sense progress towards their own goals.

 How does PBT differ from other training models?

 In PBT, problems are created around specific learning objectives written to measure select competencies and behavioral skills. Thus, employees not only learn how to problem-solve, but learn competencies such as managing conflict, planning and organizing or developing talent. 

Using simulations to teach is not unique to PBT. There are several learning models that use problems within their curriculums. They include case study learning where the material learned is applied to solve a simulated problem, action learning where a problem is presented to a select group of management trainees, and problem-based training. A comparison of each of these as well as a comparison of PBT to a traditional learning approach may help clarify the uniqueness of the PBT method. 

Traditional Training Contrasted with PBT

Similarities: Traditional Training to PBT

    * Employees develop knowledge required by their job position.
    * Employee gain familiarity with resources, policies and procedures relevant to the job.

Differences: Traditional Training to PBT

    * Process goal: The goal of traditional training is to teach employees the knowledge, policies and procedures required for their job position. In PBT, the goal is to learn to solve problems by applying resources, policies & procedures to a wide range of situations likely to be encountered in the workplace.
    * Delivery of knowledge: In traditional training classes, information is given to the employee first, generally through a lecture, video, or e-learning module. The information always precedes quizzes or opportunities to apply their knowledge to work related situations. In PBT, a problem is presented prior to delivery of information needed to solve the problem. Knowledge is acquired as the employee self-identifies the process, the resources, and the best solution to the problem. The problem always precedes the delivery of information.
    * Learning concept: in traditional training classed, employees apply what was taught. In PBT, employees learn through struggling to solve problems.
    * Collaboration. Collaboration is not a feature of traditional training. Although use of teams is preferred in PBT, it is not required.
    * Use of resources: In traditional training classed, the resources or training content is delivered by the instructor. Employee then is tested to apply that content correctly. In PBT, identification and use of resources is self-directed according to what the employees decide they need to know in order to solve the problem.
    * Direction: Traditional learning is directed by an instructor. The "learned expert" imparts knowledge to the novice trainees. The PBT process is self-directed with a coach as a guide to ensure teams continue to refine their solutions until they attain a best practice solution.
    * Evaluation: In traditional training, evaluation methods vary. In PBT, multiple solutions are possible. Learning the process of problem-solving is more important than getting the best practice solution.

Case Study Learning Contrasted with PBT

Similarities: Case Study to PBT

    * Requires employees to tackle real world problems.
    * Places employees in problem-solving roles.
    * Develops critical thinking skills.
    * Develops analytical skills.

Differences: Case Study Training Contrasted to PBT

    * Process goal: The goal of case study is to apply knowledge to solve specific workplace problems. The goal of PBT is to learn to solve problem by applying resources, policies and procedures to specific workplace problems.
    * Delivery of knowledge: Knowledge in the case study method is given to the employee first. It precedes the case study. In contrast, in PBT, the problem is presented prior to delivery of information needed to solve the problem. Knowledge is acquired as the employee self-identifies the process, the resources, and the best solution to the problem. The problem always precedes the delivery of information.
    * Learning concept: In case studies, employees apply what was taught to a problem or case study. In PBT, employees acquire the knowledge as they struggling to identify resources and apply them to solve the problem.
    * Use of resources: In case study, resource materials are delivered in some format by instructor prior to application stage. Employee then applies the resources to the problem. In PBT, identification and use of resources is self-directed according to what the employees decide they need to know in order to solve the problem.
    * Collaboration: Case studies may or may not involve collaborative learning. PBT is usually a team process, although internet applications have allowed it to be an individualized training method too.
    * Direction: Case study is highly directed by an instructor. PBT is self-directed with a coach as a guide to ensure teams continue to refine their solutions until they attain a best practice solution.
    * Evaluation: In case study training, evaluation methods vary depending on the model. In almost all models, the end result is what is used to assess learning. In PBT, multiple solutions are possible. Learning the process of problem-solving is more important than getting the best practice solution.

Action Learning Contrasted with PBT

Many corporations are using a leadership training program called Action Learning.(See reference 3.) Although both these programs focus employees on real world problems, there are unique features to each as shown in the table below.

Similarities: Action Learning Contrasted to PBT

    * Work is usually done as a team rather than individually.
    * Employees are challenged to resolve real world problems.
    * Encourages collaborative learning.
    * Promotes global visioning: seeing the big picture and implications of decisions made.
    * Promotes development of critical thinking skills.
    * Promotes development of analytical skills.

Differences: Action Learning Contrasted to PBT

    * Goal: The goal of action learning is to develop a strategic action plan. Typically this is business process improvement oriented. In PBT, the goal is to learn to solve problems by applying resources, policies & procedures to a wide range of situations likely to be encountered in the workplace.
    * Focus: Action learning addresses large scale business challenges. Typically problems are written to be business process improvement oriented. The focus of PBT ranges from day-to-day problems typically experienced by entry level employees to large scale problems faced by management.
    * Learning concept: In action learning, finding a best practice solution to the problem is essential for completion of the task. In PBT, learning a problem-solving process that can be used with any workplace problem is more important than finding a solution to a specific problem.
    * Participant selection: Action learning pulls together the top performing company individuals and/or potential senior executives; most often individuals on the team start out with similar levels of expertise although they bring different backgrounds to the process. PBT works well at the management level, even when teams are from diverse background levels of experience. The more experienced employees become a human resource for the less experienced ones. Not limited to management level. Has been applied to new and inexperienced employees hired in starting positions in retail sales.
 +   * Direction: Action learning is more highly directed by a coach than PBT.

In conclusion, PBT teaches employees a problem-solving process. This process can be applied to train employees on any competency or behavioral skill. It empowers trainees by putting them in control of their learning process. It is challenging and messy. It is like the real world, where answers are not right or wrong, but appear in shades of grey with complex implications associated with each solution. Learning to analyze problems and apply corporate policies and resources in order to identify the best solutions is a necessary skill for managers in today's fast-paced world. It's time that employees learn to problem-solve.


   1. Martin, F & Saljo, R. 1976. On qualitative differences in learning: I-Outcome and process, British Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 46, pp 4-11.
   2. Knowles, ME. 1980. The Modern Practice of Adult Education, Cambridge/Prentice Hall.
   3. Marquardt, M. 2004. Harnessing the Power of Action Learning, Training & Development Magazine, pp 26-32.

© 2009 Interactive Training Simulations, LLC

I developed a problem-based training model as a way to teach managers how to problem-solve. As a consultant to Lowe's Companies and later with several other Fortune 500 companies, I found this problem-solving process for training synced perfectly with management competencies. It allows companies to teach competency-based behaviors through presenting workplace simulations written to address the behavioral skills that accompany each competency. It has been proven to be a highly effective and engaging model for global training. As the VP of Production for ITS, Interactive Training Simulations, http://itsimulations.com
I have applied this same problem-solving approach to internet training. We have created software that allows companies to deliver problem-based training programs, teaching employees through solving common challenges they face daily in their job positions. ITS leases software so trainers can develop their own problem-based training courses. ITS also sells a full line of fully developed on-line training courses designed for front-line and management staff. This includes training for hotels, restaurants, retail companies, banks and health industry customer service agents. Front -line employee courses cover customer service, professionalism, sexual harassment, reservation sales, retail sales, driving profit and a full array of management courses. Our prices are volume discounted allowing a company of 500 employees to train an employee for less than $3. For more information, go to http://itsimulations.com or call 307.733.4188.