Strategies to Approach Situations with WASs in the
By Prof. Jonathan Acuña-Solano, M. Ed.
School of English
Faculty of Social Sciences
Universidad Latina de Costa Rica
Sunday, November 27, 2016
currently living in what it has been labeled as Knowledge Societies. This new
vision of our current societies’ living has permeated into every single aspect
of the lives we live today, especially in the area of education where it is
more than evident when one considers the amount of working adult students
(WASs) we get to see in our brick-walled classrooms or virtual learning
But what are those Knowledge Societies we are now living in? A Knowledge Society like ours and
yours is “a new society formed as a result of the contemporary societal change
pushed by technological innovation and institutional transformation, which is
not only about technological innovations, but also about human beings, their
personal growth and their individual creativity, experience and participation
in the generation of knowledge” (Knowledge-Based
Urban Development, 2015) and the way they are being taught and trained
nowadays through F2F sessions or through virtual classrooms to develop
competencies. “The primary role of cities in a knowledge society is to ensure
that their knowledge sources are passed on and advanced by each generation” (Knowledge-Based Urban Development, 2015), and
that this knowledge is used to instruct the new members of these cities to
guarantee success in their working spaces and economy. The panorama in
which we are now teaching is particularly different to the times in which we
were the learners in the classrooms.
development of competencies among WASs and any other traditional student, we
are faced with many situations. The situation below is quite normal now in many
of my courses at the university where I currently work. Though my courses are
meant to be F2F, somehow I have managed to change them to a hybrid model where
most of the information concerning learning tasks is available for students
since day 1 onwards. So basically, the situation presented in my courses pretty
much looks like follows:
You are teaching a course with a mixed format; that
is, a traditional course with virtual support for some activities. Attendance
monitoring shows you that there has been a decrease in attendance, but
logging on to the virtual classroom has remained stable.
to make sense of this situation, the following variables need to be considered:
a) time and learning pace control, b) geographical dispersion, and c) competition vs. collaboration. Each
one will be analyzed separately though the fact is they possibly intertwine
with one another or just overlap.
learning pace control
are missing class not because content discussed in class is not important,
but since several learners need to work to pay their tuition, they can make
decisions whether they want to attend class or not and still catch up on
course content and assignments by logging in on our Moodle LMS.
suggested strategy to cope with this behavior is to prepare “executive reports” of the main
contents covered in class to have them posted and available to be downloaded
from the course virtual classroom.
possibility is the chance for learners to write to me via the Moodle system
to catch up on content they missed due to its absence. This helps them feel
in control of their time and learning pace, and that they can continue with
their development any time, anywhere.
variable intertwines with the one described above; for many of my WASs, and
due to the obscene traffic jams our
capital city has, it is much easier for these students to go back home than
to come to the university after an 8-hr shift at work. This is indeed part of
their attitudes when it comes to discuss WASs’ needs. And since they believe
it is not strictly necessary to be in class at all times, they prefer to get
home, log on the platform and work on course content on their own (learner
are two basic channels of communication that need to be opened and ready for
WASs. Bearing in mind the service leadership in mind, one can foster learning
in a hybrid context by having some sort of virtual student hours for learners to ask questions regarding
content being covered along the course in case they get absent. On the other
hand, another channel of communication with WASs is to make good use of platform forums where one can have a
section such as “Ask the Instructor” for other students to benefit from this
information as well.
the idiosyncransy of my learners, one tends to hypothesize that competition
is by all means something they have as part of their “high school training.”
Students are mostly taught to be very individualistic, and as it can be seen,
collaboration is not yet part of their 21st Century skills. This
soft skills needs to be develop in them as part of the Knowledge Societies.
order to have learners really profit from collaboration and comprehend that
this is a highly desirable skill at work, learners can be asked to
collaborate in the creation of a class wiki where content can be shared, edited,
and enhanced so everyone can use it for their understanding. There might be
different kinds of wikis that can be perfectly used with WASs and traditional
learners for them to collaborate in the building of their knowledge and
no doubt that WASs can be understood and helped to learn in the structure of
our Knowledge Societies nowadays. If the ultimate reason for education is to
assist students to develop their learning, finding ways to help them –by means
of leadership styles- can be widely beneficial for instructors and learners
whether they are in a brick-walled classroom or in a virtual learning space.
Not trying to help them is an act of sabotage from the faculty member who is
not interested in the learning well-being of his/her learners.
Knowledge-Based Urban Development. (2015). Retrieved from IGI-Global
Disseminator of Knowledge:
Sunday, November 27, 2016
0 responses to "Strategies to Approach Situations with WASs in the Knowledge Society"