Brain Based Learning, E-learning and Mobile Learning
Brain Based Learning, E-learning and Mobile Learning
Learning refers to the process of obtaining new, or altering existing, preferences, values, skills, behaviors, or knowledge and may entail blending different forms of information. The aptitude to learn is held by animals, some devices and humans beings. Development over time has a propensity of following certain learning curves. Learning is not mandatory; it is dependent on the context. It does not occur in one sitting, but accumulates gradually and is influenced by the information that is already known. To that end, learning may be perceived as a process, rather than a compilation of factual and routine knowledge. Learning is dependent on experience. Learning also inspires changes that are relatively permanent within the individual (Bacon, 2010).
Brain-based learning has been cited as an amalgamation of mental science and common sense. Crossland (2008) termed the brain as the main organ of learning. He proposed understanding the operation of the brain in order to formulate effective learning settings. Norman (2004) came up with several principles that applied to the functioning of the brain to learning and teaching and included different descriptions and features of the brain. Emerging field such as neuroscience and psychology investigate how the brain receives, stores, recovers and applies information. These new developments have been adopted by educators to improve on the teaching and learning experiences for teachers and students alike.
The knowledge of how the brain works is very important in the learning process because of its extraordinary abilities. Among proponents of this approach, there are several assumptions concerning the theory. It is assumed that the brain can process several activities in a parallel fashion such as discerning words and numbers, writing, application and even verbal response (Knight and Elliot, 2011). It is also assumed that emotions play a major role in determining the effectiveness of the learning process. According to Crossland (2008), emotions that each student adopts during the learning process will determine how well they grasp the concept being relayed. These assumptions are vital in understanding how brain-based learning is administered.
Therefore, the three main techniques of brain-based learning are based on the mentioned assumptions. The orchestrated immersion technique allows the teacher to create a setting that engrosses the student in the learning experience completely. The next technique involves relaxing the mood of the students while maintaining their alertness (relaxed alertness technique). Students are able to eliminate their fears but still sustain their aggression and competitiveness. Lastly, the active processing method that allows students to consolidate information by processing it (Norman, 2004).
E learning refers to the application of an assortment of electronic devices and information and communication technologies (ICT) in the learning process. The main elements of E-learning comprise of several media types that work to generate animation, video, images, text, and audio, and include computer-based and web-based learning (Arsham, 2012). The main advantage of E-learning is that it is efficient for distance and flexible learning. In more developed systems, it is alongside face-to-face teaching in a complimentary fashion that creates a new phenomenon called blended learning. I most educational institutions, it is currently mandatory for all instructor to be well versed in the technological instruments that refine the learning process. There is a general discussion concerning the ability of e learning to replace face-to-face teaching within the conventional educational system. While web-based learning is effective, resourceful and less expensive, it lacks several elements. One, e learning has some degree of rigidity that makes it slightly ineffective. Students have different learning abilities, skills and preferences. While a teacher can address these issues on a personal level, the e learning system attempts to group such unique students and administer a standardized technique that may not apply to all of them (Herrington et al, 2004).
Most of the demerits of online learning are associated to the one overall feature of e learning that is the decreased personal interaction natural in all online learning systems. Students can only obtain information from specific sources that are limited to either the instructor or the Internet. These two sources usually have an exhaustible chance of sharing information and thoughts with other students. Therefore, they cannot learn from their experiences and mistakes like students in a normal class (Wijekumar, 2002). The nonexistence of non-visual signs may bring impediments or misinterpretations when information is conveyed, as well as robbing students the opportunity of practicing vital interpersonal skills and self-esteem. One of the benefits that attract students to this form of learning environment is the program flexibility and the decreased time requirements when setting up at the initial stages. Making huge savings on the hours spent commuting as well as maintaining full employment are definitely attractive aspects, but many students err by awarding little time for school-related responsibilities from the start. In the end, they may keep their jobs but the quality of education received would be substandard. Nearly all modules at the tertiary level of learning require a minimum number of study hours that individuals studying through web-based systems fail to achieve (Herrington et al, 2004).
Mobile learning (m learning) is distinctive in its concentration on learning using mobile devices. Therefore, any type of learning that occurs when the student is not located in a fixed location and is applied mainly using mobile technologies can be considered as mobile learning. M learning concentrates on the student’s mobility, interaction with portable technologies and learning that reflects the ever-increasing mobile population. There is also a new approach in M-Learning that allocates the tutor greater mobility. With the advancement of mobile tools, instructors can create learning aides and materials that contributed a significant part of learning. One of the benefits of this technique of learning is that it is convenient and easily accessible from any location globally. The introduction of social media has allowed almost immediate collaborative behavior among students accessing the same content that can promote a tradition of instant feedback and guidelines (Singh, 2010). Combined with the vast storage and retrieval capabilities of mobile phones and other handheld devices, students have learnt to access the services of several libraries and tutor at the touch of a button (Kahle-Piasecki et al, 2012).
While the innovation has been very beneficial, mobile learning has also experienced several challenges. Technical challenges include the size, longevity and battery life issues all of which limit the effectiveness of learning. Most mobile phones also fail to provide nonstop streaming because of bandwidth issues. The multiplicity in the range of products, operating systems and platform also makes it difficult to develop standardized learning programs that can be accessed by a large population (Elias, 2011). Educational challenges that surface because of using mobile learning include the cost barriers that create the digital divide among students. Individuals from developed and rich regions might afford to maintain mobile learning systems while those in developing areas may lack the income or infrastructure to sustain the same (Elias, 2011). However, despite these challenges, the mobile learning option has grown significantly especially within specific areas such as mobile educational gaming, just-in-time (J.I.T.) learning and cloud computer file storage (Crescente & Lee, 2011). While in itself, mobile learning is useful, within the educational system, it is better placed to be applied as part of the blended learning elements due to the shortcomings mentioned (Lindun & Magnusson, 2003).
The three forms of learning discussed in the body are independently important and influential in their own way. Some methods use inherent qualities within students to maximize on their abilities to grasp knowledge. Yet, others use the technological developments within the society to enhance on the quality of learning. Whichever method is applied, it is imperative to know that for any set of students, no one method can be sufficient in imparting knowledge and skills. This is because of the unique nature of each individual that may not merge well with one kind of learning. For instance, among mentally handicapped children, basing most of the approaches on the brain learning theory will not be effective.
A solution to this problem would be for instructors to merge several approaches to come up with a unique system that works for all his/ her students. In this way, the learning approaches will compliment each other and cover the shortcomings that the other learning approach may have. This is the technique used in developing blended learning that comprised of two approaches: face-to-face and web-based learning. This hybrid system has the extraordinary features of shorter memorization time, cheaper operational costs, increased reach by the instructor, help, and support from online parties (Singh, 2010). It is also imperative to acknowledge the growing role of technology in the learning process. Through technological innovation, learning has migrated from the conventional classroom to industries, corporate headquarters and city centers. It has also developed other creative methods of acquiring information through global devices such as mobile and computers.
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