Chapter 3: Methods of teaching: campus-focused

Purpose of the chapter

This chapter discusses a range of teaching methods commonly used that are focused on a campus-based learning environment.

When you have read this chapter you should be able to:

  • describe several different methods of teaching used in campus-based teaching;
  • discuss the general strengths and weaknesses of each approach;
  • identify the extent to which each approach meets the needs of learners in a digital age;
  • choose an appropriate teaching method (or mix of methods) for your teaching context.

What is covered in this chapter

Five perspectives on teaching are examined and related to epistemologies and theories of learning, with a particular emphasis on their relevance to a digital age. In particular this chapter covers the following topics:

Also in this chapter you will find the following activities:

  • Activity 3.3 The future of lectures
  • Activity 3.4 Developing conceptual learning
  • Activity 3.5 Applying apprenticeship to university teaching
  • Activity 3.6 Assessing experiential design models
  • Activity 3.7 Nurturing, social reform and connectivism

Key Takeaways

Most instructors will mix and match different methods, depending on the needs of both the subject matter and the needs of their students at a particular time. There are though some core conclusions to be drawn from this comparative review of different approaches to teaching.

  1. No single method is likely to meet all the requirements teachers face in a digital age.
  2. Nevertheless, some forms of teaching fit better with the development of the skills needed in a digital age. In particular, methods that focus on conceptual development, such as dialogue and discussion, and knowledge management, rather than information transmission, and experiential learning in real-world contexts, are more likely to develop the high level conceptual skills required in a digital age.
  3. It is not just conceptual skills though that are needed. It is the combination of conceptual, practical, personal and social skills in highly complex situations that are needed. This again means combining a variety of teaching methods.
  4. Nearly all of these teaching methods are media or technology independent. In other words, they can be used in classrooms or online. What matters from a learning perspective is not so much the choice of technology as the efficacy and expertise in appropriately choosing and using the teaching method.
  5. Nevertheless, we shall see in the next chapter that new technologies offer new possibilities for teaching, including offering more practice or time on task, reaching out to new target groups, and increasing the productivity of both teachers and the system as a whole.


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Teaching in a Digital Age Copyright © 2015 by Anthony William (Tony) Bates is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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