The use and perceived effectiveness of instructional practices in two-year technical colleges
Smith, Daniel Jerome
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This study obtained data from full-time and part-time faculty at eight member institutions of the Technical College System of Georgia on the instructional practices they used most often to engage students in course content. The goal of the study was to determine whether survey respondents used traditional teacher-centered practices or active and collaborative techniques associated with the learner-centered paradigm. The survey also collected data on whether survey participants perceived the instructional practices as being effective in aiding students in mastering three student learning outcomes situated in the work of Verner, a pioneer in the field of adult education. Specifically, respondents were asked to evaluate the practices in terms of their effectiveness in aiding students in acquiring knowledge, in solving problems, and in performing tasks. Finally, the study sought to establish whether the propensity to use specific instructional practices was predicted by personal characteristics and situational factors. Survey results indicate that technical college faculty lectured in the majority of class sessions; however, survey respondents rated this traditional teacher-centered practice as somewhat effective in aiding students in mastering the three learning outcomes. On the other hand, respondents ranked simulation activities and one-on-one discussions between instructors and individual students as two of the most effective instructional practices in accomplishing the three student learning outcomes. The data show that the survey respondents used these items in less than 50% of their class sessions. The employment status and academic discipline of survey respondents were the two factors that indicated significant differences in levels of use by subgroups of instructors.
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