Teaching/ Learning Process - Essay Example

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Needs assessment denotes a methodical approach used in studying the condition of knowledge, ability, interest, or attitude of a defined target audience or group involving a particular issue. We use it to learn about important concerns and problems faced by the target group in…
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Teaching/ Learning Process
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TEACHING/LEARNING PROCESS Introduction Needs assessment de s a methodical approach used in studying the condition of knowledge, ability, interest, or attitude of a defined target audience or group involving a particular issue. We use it to learn about important concerns and problems faced by the target group in order to design effective educational programs.
It also provides a method of learning what has already been studied and gives information of the remaining gaps in learning. This enables educators to make informed decisions about needed investments hence extending the reach and impact of educational programming. Needs assessment is a recurrent process that occurs through out the instructional curriculum. The process is capable of influencing a student’s placement, curriculum design, materials selection, and instructional program.
At the start of the program, needs assessment can be used to decide the course content, while during the program; it assures the program goals and learners goals are being achieved, and permits any necessary changes in the program. At the end of the program, needs assessment may be used for setting up future directions for the program and the learners (Marshall, 2002).
Selecting learners and the learning topic
Consider first year undergraduate nursing students as the target group learning a topic on Pain Management. Their medical knowledge is still shallow / basic; therefore, the language to be used should avoid ambiguous and contradicting word. They need as many examples as possible in order to understand the topic.
Pain Management refers to a branch of medicine that uses interdisciplinary approaches for reducing human suffering and improving their quality of life (Billings & Halstead, 2009). Having understood its definition, the students should identify the cause of pain, so they may be able to accord the necessary measures in alleviating the pain.
How you would assess the learners’ needs appropriately and efficiently. What kinds of information are you looking to find? What methods would you use?
In order to carry out learners needs assessment appropriately and effectively, it is extremely vital to develop an assessment plan to guide you through the whole process. Thus, you will be able to describe the learners by asking oneself, who are they? When will the assessment be conducted? Who will do the assessment and how will he do it? Why conduct the assessment? Etc.
An assessment plan begins by stating the objectives: this is done in order to understand and answer questions like; what is it that I desire to learn from the needs assessment? What task should be accomplished? Objectives must be measurable, specific, reliable, and time conscious.
This is followed by defining the target audience whose needs are being measured and clearly stating who is to receive the essential information, which in our case, is the school administration. By doing this, I will know the nature of my audience for instance; how many they are, their sex, age, special needs, and cultural characteristics, among others, find out their background knowledge on the topic. This is achieved by previewing their academic records, observing their physical appearances, conducting oral interviews or asking them to fill questionnaires.
The third step will be to collect data: One has to select the methods/ instruments that will be used to get the information from the target audience. There are several basic Needs Assessment techniques than one can choose from or combine some of them, as appropriate: questionnaires, direct observation, and/or with specific knowledge, consultation with persons in key positions, interviews, focus groups, tests, review of relevant literature/records, report studies and work samples. The rationale behind data collection is to acquire information needed for keeping records, making decisions about key issues and helping to the next step- analysis.
Finally, we have data analysis: it involves the interpretation and explanation of those patterns and trends. Analysis helps one determine the best course of action and /or make conclusions. During the finishing stage, the results of the preliminary data analysis should be documented, and the necessary, preferable, and possible corrective actions taken. In this step, one can use charts, graphs or other recording materials like tapes to document the information.

The kinds of questions you would want to know from the students and how to go about obtaining this information from them about the topic- Pain Management, keeping in mind the cultural diversity of the learners.
You would like to know what they understand by the term- ‘Pain Management’. The information can be obtained by asking the question orally or even giving out a written exercise after which you compile the feedback.
One may develop interests to know the different kinds of painful experiences underwent by different students given that they emanate from varied cultures and backdrops, and also how different cultures tackle/manage some of collective pains like: headache, labor pains, and pain from cuts among others. Such examples enable learners to gain knowledge from one another and be attached to the topic. To obtain such information, you may choose to conduct a survey, use oral questions (interviews) or make a review of relevant literature/records belonging to different cultures.
Identify three kinds of learning needs you expect to discover as a result of your assessment. Evaluate their relative importance and explain how you would prioritize those needs in a lesson. That is, given these various needs, determine what would be most and least important to address in a lesson? Explain your reasons.
Different learners portray unique needs in any educational setting hence each need should be addressed diversely (Bastable, 2007). The first priority should be accorded to special needs of learners. Some learners may display physical impairment like visual, hearing or even multiple disabilities. In cases of students with visual impairment, one should consider using body language training or specialized computer programs that facilitate their learning.
Secondly, being a medical class I expect to find learners with different educational /experience background knowledge, therefore, displaying different instructional needs. For example, some will have a hint of what entails the already mentioned topic - Pain Management, whereas some may have no idea. This can be equalized by keeping clinical terminologies to a minimum, and constantly explaining the content in simple language, so that everyone can understand (Bastable, 2007).
Thirdly, I would consider the social-cultural needs of the students. From data gathered, it may arise that a majority of the students have common beliefs and practices, therefore, while giving examples it will be justifiable to demonstrate using such beliefs.
In conclusion, needs assessment should be considered an important tool in the learning process. This is because it facilitates easy learning and promotes understanding and retention of the content learnt.
Bastable, S. B. (2007). Behavioral Objectives. In S. B. Bastable (Ed.), Nurse as educator (3rd
ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
Billings, D., & Halstead, J. A. (2009). Teaching in nursing: A guide for faculty (3rd ed.).
St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders.
Marshall,B.(2002) Preparing for success: A guide for teaching adults ESL Learners. Read More
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