Finding your way through a learning path can be challenging, as we all differ in the way we approach learning. On top of that, expressing what we have learned might not be an easy endeavour for all of us. Language barriers, lack of organizational abilities, fear of public speaking or even movement impairments can hinder how we tackle a learning task — as such, providing options for action and expression is crucial for a learning program that wants to reach its entire audience.
We all learn differently, among other things, depending on how the information is presented to us. Moreover, having any sensory disabilities (e.g., blindness) might prove that trying to deliver education in a unique format, however optimal that might be, will never reach its entire audience.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that uses scientific insights into how people learn to help optimize learning experiences by meeting the needs of all students (The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) (2018)). In this article, I would like to expand a little more on the Multiple Means of Engagement guideline of UDL and its implementation.
The importance of self-efficacy can be summarized by saying that if you don't believe you have what it takes to achieve your goals, you are unlikely to succeed... More relevant than ever and used in many fields, this theory is also applied in education. Here's what every teacher needs to know about self-efficacy in the context of learning and what they can do to foster it in their learners.
We talk less about the importance of taking time off work than we do about eating well or being physically active. Our demanding lives and the performance culture we struggle to break away from mean that we too often ignore our signs of fatigue and persist as best as possible in our daily activities, whether we are workers or students. Difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation and mental wandering are part of our normality... However, numerous studies that have examined the consequences of depriving ourselves of rest and vacation time indicate that we put our mental and physical health at risk by ignoring these necessary periods of disconnection.
It is vital to fully understand that integrating accessibility principles in online learning is not an easy fix; it requires proper modelling. Furthermore, accessible instruction does not simply consist of telling professors what accessibility is and expect them to do it all on their own; it is about inclusion and the benefits it can bring to all students in a class.
Higher education is a luxury that’s not available to everyone, or, at least, it is a luxury that is more available to some than others. And although financial limitation is certainly an inhibitor, it is not the only one. Think, for example, of the cultural acclimation an international student might experience if they were to relocate to, say, Montreal for their post-secondary studies.
Over the last few decades, neuroscience has begun to confirm or refute certain hypotheses we had about how the brain works, in addition to leading us down new paths of knowledge. Given the complexity of this fascinating organ, we are only at the beginning of this promising exploration. However, thanks to brain imaging, we know a little more about some of its particularities at different stages of life and their links with learning.
The recent publication of a New York Times article brought a bit more light into this well-known feeling that lingers through some of these days: Languishing. According to the author Adam Grant, "languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you're muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021."
Observing our peers is not only our first mode of learning, but it remains one of the most effective even in adulthood. In the social-cognitive theory of psychologist Albert Bandura, this process at the basis of human development and behaviour is called "modelling" or vicarious experience. Three steps have been identified as essential for obtaining optimal results.