Prior to the new course start up, an assessment was conducted of the participants needs, goals and prior learning experiences, educational backgrounds, and desired outcomes. The instructor used this information to make the necessary adjustments to the delivery of the content. Participants then began the program which was monitored over eight weeks with built in feedback opportunities. Within each session course delivery methods evolved giving attention to the expressed needs of the learners. It was noted that participants were more eager to ask for extra help or extra work in an area of difficulty. This aspect was very different from the other previously taught programs. The learner who sat in the new program also expressed great enthusiasm concerning the changes to the program and content delivery methods now being used.
Monitoring the Results and Reflecting on the Action Research Project
The three approaches used in monitoring the results of the action strategy were group discussions, the instructor logbook, and the feedback from the former learner. After the first eight weeks of the program were completed, and the assignments graded, the instructor asked the participants to evaluate their learning experience and the aspects of change made to the delivery of content. This was further complemented by the written evaluation provided by the participant who had previously taken the program. The monitoring exercise indicated that the content delivery of the program should be adapted and changed as the needs of the participants change. Overall, the participants felt that the instructor had addressed the needs and goals of the learners on a consistent basis which effected their progress.
Another result of the monitoring exercise was that the participants needed and relied on immediate feedback from their assignments. This kind of reinforcement encouraged them to risk moving onto new tasks. It also required the instructor to provide constant summarization and immediate correction of all assigned tasks so that participants would not become frustrated or loose interest in the content. Although this took a great deal of time on the part of the instructor, student risk taking behaviours increased.
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