Proper learning and knowledge retention rely on two factors: how well the learner studies the material and how teachers teach to retain learner engagement. Where there are different learning styles, there are also other methods of teaching students. The art and science of teaching styles are referred to as Pedagogy.
What is Pedagogy?
Pedagogy describes the different methods instructors use, where an educator’s teaching beliefs intertwine with students’ learning styles to form meaningful classroom relationships. Pedagogy is coined from the Greek terms ‘paidos,’ meaning child, and ‘agogos,’ meaning leader.
In the traditional sense, pedagogy is often associated with school education. However, pedagogical practices can be used beyond the mainstream learning community in workplace training, skills training, personal development, vocational education and training (VET), and other areas outside of the typical classroom setting.
The Pedagogical Approaches
The pedagogical approach reflects an educator’s teaching preferences and how different students learn best. The practice is often based on pedagogical principles or even the personal beliefs of the educator but can be customised for targeted learning outcomes as well.
Pedagogical approaches often depend on the instructor’s style of teaching and trainer skills, but they may also be tailored according to the learning material and types of learners. For instance, instructors may use a traditional approach to teach children reading and writing but may opt to use the liberationism approach to teach illiterate adults the same material.
Some common pedagogical approaches include:
The Traditional Approach – The traditional, or teacher-centred approach refers to the typical learning environment we see in a classroom setting. The educator provides information through direct instruction and lecture-based lessons.
Critical Pedagogy – Refers to a progressive teaching style where students learn critical thinking skills. Critical pedagogy encourages students to analyse and challenge oppressive structures by being aware of diverse perspectives, societal forces, and power dynamics.
Social Pedagogy – Social pedagogy involves moral education, teaching learners social development and awareness.
Project-based Learning (PBL) Approach – Learners utilise theoretical knowledge in real-world situations, filling the gap between theory and practice. Students develop constructive thinking skills, enhance their problem-solving and develop social skills through this learning experience (LX).
Culturally-responsive Approach – Culturally-responsive pedagogy aims to engage students from different backgrounds to collaborate. Instructors recognise and understand the cultural and ethnic diversity of their learners as they aim to promote an inclusive learning environment with a culturally-responsive approach.
Inquiry-based Learning Approach – Also known as the Socratic method, the inquiry-based learning process is ideal for students who learn best through questioning. Students develop skills and gain knowledge by asking questions.
While these are common pedagogical concepts, they are not the only ones. There are many different teaching and training methods based on an instructor’s specialty or preferences, and learners’ engagement styles. Other pedagogical approaches may include the behaviourist pedagogical approach, where the instructor assesses the students’ learning abilities through observation.
Pedagogical strategies are not limited to the school setting as they can be used in deep learning contexts as well. Instructors may use these theories to teach higher education and even in workplace settings through training programmes.
What is Pedagogy in the Workplace?
Pedagogy plays a critical role in the workplace, whether it’s for onboarding new employees, developing new skills, disseminating information, or vocational training. Learning outcomes may rely on the individual’s ability to process information, and the teaching methods utilised in the process. How quickly students forget knowledge also plays a crucial role in the learning process.
Understanding the role of deploying the right kind of teaching method in training learners for the workplace setting can help organisations optimise their material, and equip them with adequate knowledge and skills for the role. This leads to enhanced performance at work and ensures that learning material stays relevant to the industry.
Key Pedagogical Approaches for the Workplace
VET, workplace learning, skills development, and other similar sessions directly affect the work performance of employees in an organisation. With more than 70% of firms offering training to their employees, it is imperative to know what teaching method works best to optimise learning outcomes.
Oranganisations that implement the right pedagogical approach can improve overall job performance and competency of their workforce. They can also assess the skill sets of potential candidates before recruitment, managers can provide reskill training to existing employees when skill gaps are identified, and educators can ensure their students can apply the vocational material they teach.
Here are some of the common pedagogical approaches used in the workplace:
1. Constructivist Training Strategies
Constructivist pedagogy encourages active learning through hands-on learning experiences. This active teaching approach is often implemented during onboarding, where new employees get on-the-job training to swiftly train them for their roles.
Constructivist pedagogy can be helpful in VET as well, where instructors provide situational training and assessments for students to learn the role better. This strategy prepares VET students for the real world and enables them to seamlessly apply their theoretical knowledge to practical situations later on.
2. Collaborative Learning in Professional Development
Collaborative learning is ideal for teams that have to work closely together throughout their employment. In this learning approach, individuals are grouped to work on specific tasks or projects, and the instructor evaluates the collaborative effort of each team member.
Collaborative learning can also train individuals to promote a more inclusive workforce as they work together with different people from all backgrounds.
3. Personalised Learning Paths
Different people learn differently, which is why organisations are implementing personalised or bespoke training material for their employees. Customised training material can be tailored to suit the needs of an organisation, or to cater to the learning preferences of its employees.
This offers personalised LX to workers and enables them to study the course material at their own pace. Personalised learning courses can make vocational and workplace training more effective as learners can easily retrieve the information needed in their roles later on.
Real-Life Applications of the Pedagogical Approach
Organisations can craft training programmes that capture the attention of their trainees. Using a pedagogical strategy can enable learners to fully understand and absorb the training material provided. By designing engaging content, organisations can ensure that they are training their workforce effectively, minimising work-related risks, and filling in skill gaps in their workforce.
2. Incorporating Feedback Loops
Continuous assessment helps to provide feedback to workers throughout their employment. These evaluations not only present the employees’ strengths and points for improvement, but they should also include guides on how to improve job performance moving forward.
The right pedagogical approaches should integrate regular feedback mechanisms into training programs, allowing employees to rectify any gaps or areas for improvement. This way, employees take assessments seriously and learn from their results, encouraging their self-improvement.
3. Blending Learning Environments and Flexible Learning Pathways
Students undergoing VET come from diverse backgrounds and may already possess some knowledge of the industry they’re learning. Instructors may provide a flexible learning environment to encourage self-learning. They may opt to integrate self-paced learning modules, modular training programmes, microlearning sessions, and other approaches that can accommodate the different needs of learners.
Besides flexibility, instructors can also make use of eLearning software and online resources to supplement in-person sessions. This blended delivery approach can enhance VET as learners set their own pace to fully absorb the material provided to them. This can help them with memory retention and retrieval, which would ease their integration into the workplace setting.
4. Contextualised Learning
Contextualised learning in VET refers to programmes that include situational learning that reflects real-world scenarios learners may encounter in the workplace. This approach is especially useful for learners looking into working for specialised industries or industries with occupational hazards as it will provide them context in handling common situations.
Contextualised learning enables instructors to teach learners to apply their knowledge and skills in scenario-based learning so that they may apply the same theory in practical situations later on.
Overcoming Challenges and Maximising Results
Pedagogy is not a cure-all solution for workplace issues as it has its fair share of challenges. Organisations may face resource constraints or have difficulties in maintaining learner engagement. Here are some common challenges and solutions to maximise the results of workplace learning:
Challenge: Organisations may find that creating optimised training programmes, whether for workplace training or VET, requires additional resources, time, and effort. This challenge can discourage organisations from implementing pedagogical strategies.
Solution: Allocating resources effectively is part of designing optimised training programmes. By prioritising necessary content, using eLearning software, and doing phased learning sessions, organisations can integrate pedagogical strategies in their training material without going over their resource budget.
Individual vs Group Learning Preferences
Challenge: Organisations may find it difficult to personalise training programmes to cater to each learner’s preferences. On the other hand, group learning may not be as effective as it generalises the group as a whole.
Solution: Balancing individual learning and group work provides the best mix of self-learning and collaboration for all. This way, learners can adapt their learning preferences as necessary, depending on the task or activity at hand.
Challenge: Instructors may find it difficult to retain learner engagement, particularly for niche topics, and lengthy training sessions.
Solution: Pedagogical strategies can help instructors design effective yet engaging learning modules to give learners the motivation they need to complete their training.
Challenge: Finding a quantitative measure of the effectiveness of a training programme may present challenges, especially when these are tailored to each learner’s preferences.
Solution: Continuous assessment is the key to measuring the effectiveness of a training programme. Through assessments, organisations can determine whether the individual can retain and retrieve information as necessary. Evaluators can include strategies like active or scenario-based assessments for more accurate results.
Improving the Learning Process
Modern education is continuously evolving. Teachers and students engage in different approaches to learning to improve their outcomes. Implementing the theories in pedagogical research into practice can help your organisation improve its performance, leading to its growth and success.
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