With the holiday season approaching, it’s good to add some fun into teaching to keep your students engaged and motivated. We’ve created 12 simple classroom activities and tips that you can carry out with your primary class to encourage them to be good.
How the GSE helped Salem State University meet learner needs
Salem State University is one of the largest and most diverse public teaching universities in Massachusetts. In total, it has about 8,700 students enrolled, 37% of whom are people of color. It also educates 221 international students from 59 different countries – with China, Albania, Brazil, Morocco, Nigeria and Japan among the most represented countries on campus.
The university runs an intensive English language program. Most students who enrol come from China, Brazil, Albania, Vietnam, and Japan. The program also has a number of part-time English language learners from the local community.
In 2016, Associate Director Shawn Wolfe and teachers at the American Language and Culture Institute did a review and found that areas for growth included establishing a universal documentation for identifying learner needs, goals and progress.
“The biggest challenge was that we needed to have a better way of placing students,” Wolfe says. “We also needed to have a way to have our curriculum, our assessment and our student learning outcomes unified.”
The team lacked programmatic data related to learning gains and outcomes. Additionally, they realized that assessments could be used to inform students about entry requirements at the university and other programs. And that’s where the Global Scale of English (GSE) came in, as a tool which enabled the staff at the American Language and Culture Institute to personalize and diversity their English teaching program to meet learner needs.
Cultural and linguistic diversity
David Silva PhD, the Provost and Academic Vice President, highlights the need for this type of personalization when it comes to education.
“We have to be prepared for an increasing variety of learners and learning contexts. This means we have to make our learning contexts real,” he says. “We have to think about application, and we have to think about how learners will take what they learn and apply it, both in terms of so-called book smarts, but also in terms of soft skills, because they’re so important.”
Silva makes the point that, as the world gets smaller and technology becomes a bigger part of our lives, we can be anywhere at any time, working with anyone from across the globe. “We need to be prepared,” he says, “for those cultural and linguistic differences that we’re going to face in our day-to-day jobs.”
The ability to change and adapt
So how does the curriculum at the American Language and Culture Institute help prepare students for the world of study and work?
At the Institute, the general review led to the realization that the program needed to be adaptive and flexible. This would provide a balance between general English and academic preparation and would also encompass English for specific purposes (ESP).
Wolfe says, “The GSE fit with what we were trying to do because it offers three different options; English for academic learners, English for professionals and English for adults, which is another area that we realized we needed to add to our evening program so that we can serve working adults that are English language learners in our community.”
The English language instructors at the Institute were also impressed with the capabilities of the GSE. Joni Hagigeorges, one of the instructors, found the GSE to be an excellent tool for tracking student progress.
“What I really like is that you can choose the skill – grammar, listening, speaking – and you’re given the can-do statements, the learning objectives that each student will need to progress to the next level,” she said.
Wolfe also commented on the GSE Teacher Toolkit and the way that it supports assessment and planning, allowing instructors to get ideas for specific learning objectives for groups or individual students. “It’s enabled us to personalize learning, and it’s changed the way that our teachers are planning their lessons, as well as the way that they are assessing the students.”
A curriculum that will meet learner needs
The GSE has allowed the team at the Institute to become more responsive to changing student expectations. The alignment of placement and progress tests to the GSE has allowed instructors to have more input into the courses they are teaching.
Elizabeth Cullen, an English language instructor at the Institute, said, “The GSE helps us assess the strengths and weaknesses of various textbooks. It has helped us develop a unified curriculum, and a unified assessment mechanism.”
This unification means that the curriculum can easily be tweaked or redesigned quickly to meet the needs of the students. What’s more, as Elizabeth points out, the students benefit too. “The Global Scale of English provides students with a road map showing them where they are now, where they want to go and how they’re going to get there.”
Standing out from the crowd
In this time of global hyper-competition, the challenge for any language program is finding innovative ways to stand out from the crowd while staying true to your identity. At Salem State, the staff found that the GSE was the perfect tool for the modern, data-driven approach to education, inspiring constant inquiry, discussion and innovation. It offers students, instructors and administrators a truly global metric to set and measure goals, and go beyond the ordinary.
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In the fast-paced world of business, there is one undeniable fact that holds true: employees are the key to success. Their commitment and expertise propel organizations towards their objectives, which is why investing in a learning culture is essential. The advantages are numerous and include improved staff retention, increased productivity and the goal of higher employee engagement.
You may have heard the term learning management system (LMS) at work or perhaps during your time in education. For many, this throws out images of clunky, outdated systems that clumsily distribute course materials and are tough to use. But that is no longer the case. Modern LMS's are far more user-friendly, and it's time to relearn what you thought you knew about these tools.
In this ultimate guide, we will look at everything you need to know about learning management systems and why they are so beneficial.
What is a learning management system?
The idea is that these LMS platforms offer one central place for users to manage and access courses and learning materials. Depending on the user, this could be anything from self-paced e-courses to classroom training.
This can help facilitate a range of training, studying and skills development, as well as assessments, exams and certification management.
Who uses LMS's and why?
There are many great uses for learning management systems but these are used primarily by businesses and educational establishments. Here are some of the most common use cases for these platforms:
HR and management - The HR and management team might implement these across the business to help with learning and development and make sure that organizational goals are being hit
Employee onboarding - Those starting a new job may be given training via an LMS; this can make the onboarding process much quicker and simpler
Compliance training - Lots of roles require compliance training, for example health and safety training, and this is a great way for businesses to stay up to date and ensure everyone complies with regulations
Customer support - Some businesses use learning management systems to onboard customers or clients. This might include sharing user manuals and product guides. Plus, sales professionals might also use them to train new partners or clients in using their services or platforms.
Classroom learning - Lecturers and teachers can create and share course materials and align content and tests from one place. These can also be used to put a twist on traditional classroom learning.
Blended learning - Schools, colleges and universities may use these for online lessons and blended learning, particularly for remote students
Volunteer training - Charities and non-profits may also use an LMS to educate volunteers and keep them motivated about the cause
Of course, these platforms can and will be used in other ways, but these are some of the most common and beneficial uses for LMS's.
Who has access to LMS's?
In most cases, learning management systems will have two primary user groups: administrators and learners.
Administrators are the people who create, manage and deliver e-learning. They may use these platforms to upload their own learning materials, or they may select courses and materials from an existing list given by the provider.
On the other hand, learners are the professionals or students who will use these platforms to train, study and gain new skills. Many modern LMS's allow multiple learners to train or access materials at the same time.
However, there is a third and final group that we have yet to mention: the parents of students using LMS's, particularly outside of school hours. In some cases, parents may have access to these systems to support students, track their progress or look at feedback from the teacher.
Key features in modern LMS's
There are a variety of learning management systems out there and some are more advanced than others. That being said, many modern platforms will share similar features to ensure they stay competitive. Some of these key features may include:
Authoring tools that allow administrators to upload or build their own courses
Access to subject matter experts who can contribute to learning and development activities
Automated workflows that allow for the creation of personalized learning journeys
A resources library that holds all relevant learning materials, such as guides, video clips and courses
Quizzes and surveys for a more fun and engaging way to assess learners
Compliance features, such as automatic reminders that notify learners when it is time to retrain
Certificates and diplomas that give learners recognition as they study and meet their targets
Insights and analysis for individual progress and results, allowing administrators to identify gaps or areas where support is needed
Compatibility with mobile devices for studying on the go
Integrations with other internal systems and software
This is by no means a complete list and different platforms will have different functionality. However, these are some of the most common and beneficial features of many modern LMSs.
The benefits of using learning management systems
Saving time and money
First and foremost, an LMS can be an excellent way for businesses to save time and money on training.
Of course there is an initial investment in the platform, but training can be expensive and time-consuming, particularly if it must take place in a location outside of the workplace. Therefore, this can be the more cost-effective solution. Not to mention, the materials are quick to access and can save time and effort.
Ensuring compliance training is completed
These platforms are an excellent way to ensure that all mandatory training is completed on time and to the highest standard. For example, industry-specific training such as fire safety or cybersecurity training.
Provide accurate data
Administrators can access data and insights into their employee's learning. This can be a great way to see where more support is needed and to identify any skills gaps that need to be filled. Similarly, teachers can get to grips with how well their students are doing and if they need extra help in any subjects or areas.
Improves the learning experience
Whether in school or the workplace, LMS's can be a great way to improve the learning process. It allows users to study and access learning materials from one accessible location. Plus, through a multimedia approach, they can use guides, videos and more to help them learn. This can ensure they engage with the materials and stay motivated.
Finally, an LMS can make communication between students, teachers, employees and employers far simpler. For example, automated reminders keep everyone in the loop and ensure all training is completed on time. But more than that, there is one central place to communicate, review feedback and access the same materials.