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Understanding your learners and their needs

Teaching does not automatically imply learning has occurred. Whilst there are a number of principles and strategies to create effective and quality teaching practices, the most significant is understanding how your students learn and what they need to succeed. With a 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 need to 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 includes 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 a range of learning theories to accommodate the diverse 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

  • Do the Bloom’s ‘levels of learning’ in your teaching activities support the course intended learning outcomes?

Preferences for learning

  • Are your students’ 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?
  • Are you utilising a range of teaching methods to accommodate a range of preferred learning styles?

Quality learning practices

  • Do the ‘levels of learning’ in your course intended learning outcomes match the ‘level of learning’ you intend on teaching and assessing?

Student diversity, equity and partners

  • Do you provide all students, regardless of background or ability, with an equitable learning experience?
  • Do you offer opportunities for students to guide elements of their own learning?

Work integrated learning

  • If your course has a work placement, how is it integrated for a holistic approach to learning?

Achieving 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 understanding your learners and accommodating their learning needs are embedded throughout all five focus areas.  View the BOLD Learning and Teaching Practices

Professional development opportunities

CTIQ offers the following ongoing professional development opportunities to support teaching staff with better understanding their learners and ways to support them:

  • L&T Webinars– Virtual | Quarterly. Check out the virtual webinars offered throughout the year to support assessment practices.
  • L&T Workshops – Virtual or face2face | On request. Workshops can be organised for your School or Discipline to address your specific assessment needs. View the School specific PD ‘menu’ for some examples. Contact your Associate Dean of Teaching Quality or School/CTIQ Learning Designer to see what is, or can be, organised for delivery in your area.
  • Learning Technology Hub - Online | Just-in-time. Information on how to use a range of functions within supported learning technologies to enhance your students learning needs
  • Professional Learning Modules – Online | self-paced | certificate of available on completion. The following modules are currently available.
    • PLM101: Student-centred learning (50 min)
    • PLM102: Contemporary tertiary learning environments (50 min)
    • PLM103: Learning Behaviours of the online student (50 min)
    • PLM104: Learning beyond the classroom walls (50 min)
    • PLM106: Learning considerations for international students (50 min)
  • 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 on assessment include the: Dynamics of assessment, Students as partners and Quality assessment practices.