There are many strategies for facilitating learning both inside and outside of a classroom setting. Determining learning styles, focusing on teamwork, and promoting active learning strategies will help strengthen effective teaching. Some teaching approaches will involve small group work, student presentations, and peer instruction, and others might focus on facilitating learning through activities such as hands-on experiments or in-class projects and films.
Small group work and peer facilitated learning strategies have been found to be incredibly successful in many settings. Students as young as grade school can benefit from this learning method, and it is also increasingly common in university settings, especially for science and engineering problem sets. The peer facilitation setup usually involves groups of four to eight students and one facilitator or mentor for each group. Working in teams, the students can conduct experiments, hold discussions, or solve complex problems sets with the help of the facilitator, who is also sometimes another student.
Facilitators generally focus on guiding the group’s discussion rather than simply lecturing or explaining all of the concepts. Instead of directly answering students’ questions, facilitators will often direct the question back at the group, encouraging others to work out a response. This strategy allows students to take a more active role in their own learning, both by figuring out answers on their own and by explaining those answers to the group. Students in these settings will often be asked to give brief, informal presentations or work one-on-one with other group members to explain difficult concepts. This teaching style often helps to prepare students for the professional world, where peer learning and collaboration happen on a daily basis.
Many individuals also benefit from understanding their own unique learning styles. Those with auditory learning styles might benefit from lectures, while slide presentations might be more effective at facilitating learning for those with visual learning styles. Hands-on teaching strategies have also been found to be effective because they frequently incorporate multiple learning styles as well as group work.
Individual work is also an important component of successfully facilitating learning. Not only will it benefit students in the short-term by providing extra review time for difficult concepts, but it will also help them in future higher education and professional settings when they will be more responsible for their own learning. By reinforcing course concepts multiple times in different ways, teachers will be able to better ensure that their students are learning effectively and building solid study habits for the future.