Understanding your learners and their needs

Teaching does not necessarily imply learning has occurred. Whilst there are a number of principles and strategies to create effective and quality teaching practices, the most significant are understanding how your students learn and what they need to succeed. With this learner-centred approach to teaching, the focus is on acknowledging the student voice as central to the learning experience. Before, during and after any teaching activity, you therefore consider who your learners are, what they bring to the learning environment, and what their needs are in relation to engaging and succeeding in learning.

The following web pages include information, approaches and strategies to support you in understanding the learning process, how you can accommodate the diverse learning needs of your students, and what you can do as a teacher to enable a positive student learning experience.…

As you explore the tabs above, consider the information below to assist your ongoing professional development and learning needs.

Considerations for quality teaching practices

Quality teaching practices include an awareness and accommodation of your students and their learning needs for success. Do you know the answer to the following?

  • Delivery modes for learning - Have your students studied in an online environment before? What level of academic skills or digital literacy do they bring with them or require support with?
  • Principles for learning - Are you utilising learning theory to accommodate the diversity and/or range of learning needs of your students? What knowledge, skills or expertise are your students bringing into the learning environment that you can build upon?
  • Levels of learning - Does the Bloom’s ‘levels of learning’ hierarchy support the course intended learning outcomes in your teaching activities?
  • Preferences for learning – Are you utilising a range of teaching methods to accommodate a range of preferred learning styles? Do you offer opportunities for students to guide elements of their own learning?
  • Quality learning practices – Do the ‘levels of learning’ in your course intended learning outcomes match the ‘level of learning’ you plan to teach and assess?
  • Student diversity, equity and partners – Do you provide all students, regardless of background or ability, with an equitable learning experience? Are your student’s school-leavers, mature age or international students? Do you need to consider any additional resources or supports to enable these students to engage and succeed?
  • Work integrated learning - If your course has a work placement, how is it integrated for a holistic approach to learning?

Maintaining the BOLD learning and teaching practices

The BOLD Learning and Teaching Practices provide clear guidelines to support teaching practices for different delivery/study modes, opportunities for self-assessment and reflection on current teaching practices, and opportunities for collaborative discussion with peers and learning designers to enhance online teaching practices. The minimum course expectations for facilitating a quality learning journey to support student success are outlined throughout all focus areas of the BOLD Learning and Teaching Practices.

Professional development opportunities

The Centre for Academic Development (CAD) offers the following ongoing professional development opportunities to support teaching staff with better understanding their learners and ways to support them:

  • L&T Webinars– Offered monthly, these 30 – 40 minutes webinars provide information, approaches and strategies to support a strong learner presence in your course.
  • L&T Workshops – Contact your Learning Designer to find out what is currently (or can be) organised in your Institute.
  • Professional Learning Modules – Self-paced, 60 minutes online modules that you can complete at any time that provide strategies for enabling successful student engagement and learning outcomes.
  • Learning Technology Hub - Just-in-time online information to support you in the use of Moodle, Turnitin, H5P, Adobe Connect, Kaltura, Audacity (and more) learning technologies to enhance your students learning experience.
  • Graduate Certificate in Education (Tertiary Education) - This postgraduate award course is designed to support tertiary teachers deliver quality, contemporary teaching practices in the higher education setting. Modules that focus specifically on learning and learners include: Dynamics of learning, Students as partners, Student diversity and equity.