From a "Teaching" Paradigm to a "Making Learning Happen" Paradigm
It is a common-place to say that at university level the "teaching" paradigm is widely used. How can we be sure as university faculty that we are making long-lasting learning happen? An education expert (Saint-Onge, 1993) put the question very simply: "I'm teaching, but are they learning?" Whether we like it or not, as faculty, we have become one source of information among many others. Therefore, from now on, each one of us needs to be not only a discipline specialist but also a learning expert. It is more and more admitted that each individual learns according to his personal learning style. However, few faculty really consider this variable when they conceive, realise or assess learning activities. Kolb's Learning Styles Inventory (LSI) helps to understand how each person, faculty and undergraduate, learn as accommodators, divergers, convergers or assimilators in order to develop autonomous learning. Specific knowledge about these styles will increase awareness on individual differences and will lead to propose a broad repertoire of learning activities. Since 1996, a course entitled "The Pleasure of Making Learning Happen" is offered, once a year on a three week schedule in the month of May, to new faculty members at Université Laval, Québec City, Canada. The course aims to develop, among others competencies, undergraduate's autonomous learning. Up to now, 164 faculty members from more than 60 disciplines have engaged in this faculty preparation course. Each faculty has discovered his own learning styles as well as his colleagues'. The following semester, a majority of them use the LSI to draw the class' learning profile, have a deeper impact on the long-lasting learning of their students and get closer to the "making learning happen" paradigm.
Keywords: "Making learning happen" paradigm. Learning styles. Long-lasting autonomous learning. Meaningful learning. Active learning. Higher education pedagogy.
Dr. Serge Talbot
General Director of Undergraduate Studies, Undergraduate studies, Université Laval