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A Learning Experience

A lot of elements fit into effective learning in higher education. Knowledge of different learning styles enables students to find the most effective style that would fit his culture, schedule, and purpose so that the teaching will be unobtrusive. Academic writing skills are also important in higher education where students are required to research so that in the future they would be able to do their own research work. Subjects in higher education help the students learn about presentation skills, managing workload and stress, utilize journals, implement teamworking and practice reflection.

All these skills are important to students of higher education who are the closest to practicing their knowledge, skills and attitudes in the real world. Importance of elements of higher education may vary but assessment and grading takes lead. “The assessment and grading of students is one of the most important elements of higher education given its profound effect on students’ learning and their future careers and given the information it provides for institutions about the effectiveness of teaching and learners’ support.

It is an important factor in the effort to monitor and develop quality, as described and discussed in, for example, the “Standards and Guidelines” developed by The European Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA). It is also an important factor for discussion in the on-going Bologna Process in European higher education, given its relationship to concepts such as learning outcomes and competences to be acquired. ” (Aldermann, 2000) As such, in grading and assessment, higher education doesn’t assess via a one sided fashion but rather through complex activities that are innate to higher education.

Psychologist Erik Erikson in 1946 believed that as the concept of identity is formed in between late adolescent and early adulthood, a sense of personal and social identity is formed. Persistent same ness with oneself and sharing with others are two critical factors that help adults cope up. “Erikson theorized that identity develops best when young people are given a psychosocial moratorium — a time and a place in which they can experiment with different social roles before making permanent commitments to an occupation, to intimate relationships, to social and political groups and ideas, and to a philosophy of life.

” (Gurin, 2000) Institution of higher education provides this venue where learning adults are provided with a social milieu different from the learner’s home, community background and kept as diverse and complex to stimulate intellectual experimentation that will lead automatically to recognition of varied possibilities in the future. And these venues are nurtured with governmental policies that balance and watch over the curricula among the many elements of higher educations.

“The goals of higher education curricula should include mastery of basic skills, active participation in the learning process, in-depth study, critical thinking, understanding of a discipline’s characteristic methods, and a coherent and relevant course of study. The goals should also be consistent with NEA principles such as faculty control, equal access to quality education for all students, and multicultural understanding. ” (NEA, 2006) These skills must be incorporated into the curriculum so that the student can be effective as citizen and as participant to a diverse multi-cultural and multi-racial society.

With a united body of intellectual data inclusive of traditions and realities, knowledge of students will be enriched and their base knowledge will strengthened. Collaborative learning enhances the elements of higher education because it is basically student-centered. There are advantages and impediments but through research such as the Get Real! , learning outcomes were found to be highly effective and rewarding. “Get Real! provided opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Students participated in a project that as individuals, or as a member of their particular group, they could not have completed on their own. The collaboration was on many levels. Educators and students alike collaborated and learned a little of the other’s knowledge community. Through the project, the picture book became a more familiar art form, in its many stages from creation to published product. We respected and admired the skills and knowledge of each other, and we were all the richer for that. ” (Aldermann, 2000)

Narratives on the transformational effect of higher education on adults are documented. In this narration, not only learners, but teachers as well are able to realize various profits from higher education that they are willing to sacrifice their time. “Our stories revealed the high level of personal investment many actors have made to ensure that their e-learning innovations are realised, as one lecturer in Chemistry says: “But this takes a lot of time; it is fortunate that I enjoy it, because I have spent holidays, weekends and entire evenings working at this.

” (Glynius, 2004) From these narratives, all higher education students won’t feel alone in their tasks and responsibilities. It is evidently hard for student to balance between work, family and school and fatigue will get you. However, through the advent of more viable tools for communication and interaction, higher learning is able to survive disparities both in the social and political field. But technology is not asleep. It is actually awake 24 hours by seven days. Today, it is impossible to not know other learners in anyway especially with the invention of the internet.

With students of higher education, the element of collaboration cannot happen if there is mistrust with one another in the classroom whether the class is virtual or not. If the class is virtual, higher education is well adept with virtual classrooms for example classrooms in a lot of e-learning sites are online 24 by 7. Collaboration can only be done to a maximum only through the internet. And the internet is the primary tool most students use as much as alumni. More possibility of collaboration is possible in the internet that sometimes, regulation is needed. For example in the site of http://www. higher-ed.

org, much higher educational concepts are being accessed and is accessible to students around the globe. Collaborative education that promotes sharing and exchange will be effective in sites working and living inside the world wide net. The internet has been a mainstay in both basic education and higher education. Students with interactions to their collaborators acquire different perspective that lead to different insights spawned by these websites. Discussions with colleagues are seen as an integrative investment. “Student perspectives also reveal the investment that is required and beneficial to implementation.

One student story shows an awareness of themselves as a change agent when they uncover a useful e-learning tool and succeed in convincing the authorities to buy into it: “I tipped the IT University of the software, and for once they listened to me and had it installed in no time! From then on my learning situation changed completely. ” However, he soon had to navigate a cultural obstacle: “The big challenge was to get the teachers to use the software, and to get used to communicating in two or more physical spaces at the same time. ” (Glynius, 2004) My own learning experience in higher education proved more than worthwhile.

I did not regret the decision I made in getting higher education for myself. Among the many things that I appreciated learning was how to write my thoughts and opinions in research format. I am now abreast with style of referencing and have enjoyed researching to gain data and knowledge. One of the factors that affected my learning immensely is how I got into practicing collaborative learning. I took the initiative to form group discussions and schedule them especially in preparation for exams. At first, I had much difficulty in motivating my co-learners. Most of us either had work or needed to rush home to take care of our children.

However, when we finally managed to meet, my co learners and I had a fun time reviewing for the exams. It was very fruitful and our collaborative efforts proved helpful. My insight on the group discussion was if I didn’t continue to persevere, my classmates and I wouldn’t have discovered the strength in learning together. At first we thought that it would take too much of our time which wasn’t enough as it is. However, through group discussions, each one synergized with each other thereby taking so much lesser time to review and we ended up confident and we had more time to do other tasks.

My other tasks included hurrying home to my children. Time management is still a struggle for me. The challenge still lies in making time to look at feedback from my tutors and being not afraid of my own weaknesses in order to overcome them. I confidently know that if my studies pose no challenge on me, I will not grow as a learner nor change for the better. Higher learning, if I am to continue the journey, needs commitment, discipline, clear and sound goals and the drive to overcome the obstacles to achievement.

The world will remain continually evolving and it is my responsibility to my children to be able to bring my family to join this evolution. As theories on higher education continue to be researched, policies from stakeholders are continually lobbied, I, as student and learner have to do my part and role in higher education which is as important in contributing to the bigger knowledge based culture.

REFERENCES:

Alderman, B. (2000). Get Real! Collaborative Learning in Higher Education This paper examines the theory of collaborative learning, its advantages and impediments, then applies a Model of Collaborative Learning to Get Real!, a multidisciplinary project involving students from Graphic Design and Professional Writing. Gurin, Patricia. 2002. Diversity and Higher Education: Theory and Impact on Educational Outcomes. Harvard Educational Review Volume 72 Number 3 http://www. gse. harvard. edu/hepg/gurin. html Glynis Cousin NEA Policy Statements Curriculum Reform Theorising Implementation: Variation And Commonality In European Approaches To E-Learning http://www. higher-ed. org, NEA. 1201 16TH Street, NW Washington, DC 20036

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