The other options that were chosen also produced viable results. For those who completed the homework assignment or an in-class project, this exercise served as an excellent instructional strategy for reinforcing and strengthening learning. Learners were able to build a product that verified learned skills and at the same time presented an opportunity for creativity. One learner mentioned that working on the project fit his learning style and supported his way of thinking through the skills learned. His project resulted in the creation of a comprehensive home budget spreadsheet utilizing the course concepts. The checklist helped him to ensure that all the concepts were used in the project.
Follow-up phone calls with learners who chose to track any incidence of learning transfer outside the classroom, revealed that, in the short time period following the end of the course, there had not been an opportunity for application of the learning yet. Although in a more recent class, one learner announced she would be using what had been learned on the job the next day. An interesting and unintended outcome of the action strategies revealed the importance of providing a take-home resource that learners could use as a reference outside of the classroom. Hand-outs are distributed to participants, and as expressed by many learners, are critically important. One learner commented if they didnt use the skill down the road, the hand-out was a useful guide. Attention to details of designing and developing an effective and well-organized hand-out or manual has the capacity to advance learning beyond the classroom.
A number of observations and conclusions about the process and outcomes of the action research project can be noted. The collaborative component to the action research process was an enlightening and gratifying experience for the instructor. For learners, their involvement through critical discussion and examination of their own learning, may produce a greater appreciation of learning dynamics in a think aloud way. For many learners, in a highly charged fast paced existence, taking time to reflect on what they learned is an uncommon occurrence with possible good results.
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