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The organization of the elementary classroom delivery model

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Persky Find articles by Adam M. Pollack Find articles by Gary M. Abstract This paper reviews trends in higher education, characterizing both the current learning environments in pharmacy education as well as a vision for future learning environments, and outlines a strategy for successful implementation the organization of the elementary classroom delivery model innovations in educational delivery.

The following 3 areas of focus are addressed: Success, of course, can be defined in many ways: This failing is particularly problematic for programs that prepare students to pursue a specific profession, such as pharmacy, as compared to those that provide a broader liberal arts experience.

Instead of attempting to assess the true impact on students, educational programs at all levels have focused on easier, and arguably more objective, metrics: Students, for example, often focus on what is required to achieve a particular grade in a given course. How many times have we listened to our faculty colleagues complain about students asking the question: While this is viewed as providing the necessary foundation upon which students can build in a discrete discipline, valuable opportunities to help students learn how to think, rather than simply what to remember, are lost.

Chapter 3. Classroom Management and Organization

Students are recruited and ultimately admitted largely based on prior academic performance. Those of us involved in the recruitment and admissions processes of course believe we are pursuing a holistic approach that considers the full range of student attributes, from intellectual capability to communication skills to civic-mindedness. In the end, though, decisions are based predominantly on 2 factors: Grade point average GPA and test scores are reflections of a student's ability to master content and, to some extent, utilize content in limited technical ways.

As such, they are appropriate indicators of the likelihood of success in the next level of content acquisition, but do not necessarily reflect a student's capability of integrating that content, in a meaningful way, into a long-term professional career. We as an academy have made little progress in developing effective approaches to evaluating a student's critical thinking and problem-solving skills. These arguably are important characteristics that should be included in the recruitment and admission of students into a professional program.

Moreover, we tend to do little to develop these skills in our students once they have matriculated into a program. Faculty selection is typically but inappropriately driven by the need to deliver specific content so that students can master that content.

What happens in schools of pharmacy when the only faculty member with content expertise in physical pharmacy, for example, retires? The answer is both the organization of the elementary classroom delivery model and predictable — hire another physical pharmacist! Other, competing needs of the institution are ignored; the first priority is to hire someone, anyone, who can effectively deliver physical pharmacy content to students. Excite students about her or his area of expertise?

Model and develop critical thinking and problem solving in these students? Contribute to graduate education? As long as the standard practice in the academy is to focus on short-term educational outcomes measured as the lowest common denominator, simple content delivery and mastery will always drive decisions made by programs, by individual faculty members in the classroom, and by students.

Given the increasingly sophisticated nature of technology as applied to content delivery, together with the ever-expanding body of content that experts in each discipline believe their students must master, the importance of the classroom not to mention the campus will be in question. From the students' perspective, what value is added by attending class, if the primary or only activity is communication of content from the faculty member?

Oftentimes content can be acquired more efficiently, and sometimes even more effectively at least in the students' viewby means other than attending lecture. Will the standard become programs offered in the manner currently utilized by online degree-granting institutions? Is that the best we can do? We firmly contend that we can, and must, do better. How do we advance that lifestyle to our young colleagues without modeling very specific behaviors in the classroom, behaviors that go well beyond the simple transmission of factual information?

For those of us who practice our craft at public institutions, do we believe that the taxpayers who defray the costs of educating the young citizens of their state deserve better than what the predominant approach to classroom instruction can deliver?

We believe that the public deserves our very best effort. To provide that effort, we must rethink, reengineer, and recommit to a truly scholarly approach to education, but one that is consistent with contemporary society.

Contemporary society is addicted to metrics. In the particular case of higher education, the nearly single-minded focus on using GPA and standardized test scores to categorize student capabilities leads to a self-fulfilling cycle. We admit students who will perform well in the classroom, and we utilize instructional approaches that ensure those students will perform well.

When students perform well, we pat ourselves on the back and claim that we have been responsible stewards of our young charges. As is the case with society in general, we as an academy are addicted to numbers, simply obtained and liberally applied. If we hope to do better as educators, we must first accept that our focus on traditional metrics of student performance has been misleading, and we must commit to developing a better approach, one that focuses on the true outcome of the educational process rather than short-term, easily quantifiable results.

We therefore propose 3 areas of focus, each of which is necessary, but none alone sufficient, to achieve the true potential represented by higher education in the 21st century: The predominant use of classroom time for the simple transmission of factual information to students must be rejected. The most valuable commodity possessed by an educational institution is its faculty.

It is our task to teach students the how, and explore with them the why, in our various disciplines. The what can be provided in a variety of ways that do not consume the majority of contact time with the instructor. Students must be challenged to think critically, to communicate lucidly, and to synthesize broadly in order to solve problems within their discipline of study.

Rote recitation of factual information and limited ability to perform technical tasks are educational relics of the past century. Factual information is available to virtually everyone almost instantaneously. The modern practitioner, almost regardless of discipline, must be able to discern the important from the unimportant facts, and must be able to apply those facts in effective and strategic ways. A truly scholarly approach to educational reform must be adopted. We as an academy can no longer afford to make changes to educational practice in the hope that they will be effective, and then simply discard them when they fail to deliver.

We must commit to applying the same critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that we use in other areas of scholarship, and that we profess to value in our students, to evaluate and modify our approach to education. We must develop rational hypotheses, design effective approaches to evaluate those hypotheses, and communicate the results of that evaluation to our colleagues.

We believe that, if approached appropriately, these drivers will address many of the central issues facing higher education today.

The Committee suggested that pharmacy schools may not be making use of the best learning environments, and that new learning environments that optimize use of technology are needed. The Committee also noted that significant technological innovations are increasingly common; students today the organization of the elementary classroom delivery model technologically savvy, and want to learn by doing and through social interactions that can be facilitated or augmented by appropriate technological tools.

The organization of the elementary classroom delivery model, the Committee suggested that new research on cognition and learning supports the need to develop curricular innovations based on evidence about how students learn. To stimulate thought and discussion about future learning environments that are most appropriate for pharmacy education and optimal use of technology for curriculum delivery, we present a brief review of trends in higher education, we characterize the current learning environments and present a vision for future learning environments, and we outline strategies for successful implementation of innovations in educational delivery.

Throughout this paper, we provide recommendations for addressing the critical issues facing pharmacy education in the 21st century. Insight about these forces will help pharmacy educators envision how to optimally use learning environments for curriculum delivery. In recent years, much has been written about the new generation of learners. These students have grown up with interactive technologies such as computers and videogames. Of particular note is the increasing prevalence of mobile technologies in the form of such handheld devices as cell phones and iPods.

These devices have created mechanisms for facile interactivity and conveyance of information. This uneven playing field among learners must be taken into consideration when adopting technology-based solutions in the educational arena, just as a similar uneven playing field among faculty, with respect to their level of comfort in implementing such solutions, must be considered by the academic organization.

Pharmacy, as well as other science-based disciplines within higher education, faces the challenge of a continuously-increasing body of knowledge and only a finite amount of time in which to transmit that knowledge to the learner.

Roles of Innovation in Education Delivery

In the next 20 years, the knowledge technology revolution will result in a demand for graduates who are equipped to make the vast amount of information coherent by assimilating information and using it to solve real-world problems often requiring collaboration among colleagues. The importance of lifelong learning abilities, in the face of an ever-changing knowledge environment, is self-evident. Finally, with a profession such as pharmacy, professional socialization of students is crucial.

However, such socialization is inconsistent, in part due to the diversity of learning environments represented by online and other distance approaches. Nursing educators have evaluated the professional socialization of online nursing students. As new learning environments are implemented, pharmacy schools should evaluate the impact of those learning environments on all aspects of the educational mission, including professional socialization of the students as they progress across the curriculum.

Rising costs, shrinking budgets, and the increasing attractiveness of distance education are causing colleges and universities to reexamine the way in which curricula are delivered. In response to these changes, electronic learning e-learning is being implemented more frequently, creating new and exciting opportunities for educational institutions and students. The advent of the Internet, coupled with other changes decreasing costs of computer hardware, increasing computer literacyhas enabled tremendous innovation in the delivery of postsecondary education.

Proponents of e-learning see these trends as enabling collaborative teaching and learning across institutional boundaries and opening the marketplace for educational services. While providing access to potential learners is a matter of equity and justice, proponents argue that it also is a social necessity. The standard higher education model, in which individuals devote a particular, defined period of time to gaining knowledge and skills in preparation for their working lives, suited the needs of society throughout the 19th and the majority of the 20th centuries.

This model the organization of the elementary classroom delivery model increasingly inadequate to meet the needs of a society in which the pace of change is unrelenting and requires individuals to upgrade constantly.

Securing access to educational services is essential for the continued economic and social vitality of the knowledge-based society of the 21st century. Although visionaries focus on the social ramifications of e-learning, policymakers are more interested in what many believe to be the cost-cutting potentials of Internet-based education. There is a growing consensus that educational institutions can avoid significant capital expenditures by moving courses, sections, or class meetings out of the classroom and onto the Web.

Such considerations are becoming increasingly important as states grapple with significant budget deficits and private institutions deal with the decreasing value of endowments. The opportunities offered by e-learning do not come without challenges. What if hundreds of thousands of students suddenly demanded access? How do schools, often ill-prepared to deliver instructional material online, respond? The fact is that e-learning is expensive to develop: Although a variety of curricular delivery modes have been used, data comparing the cost-effectiveness of these various modes are sparse, and little is known regarding true cost-benefit ratios.

Institutions are increasingly faced with difficult decisions related to their technology investments.

  • Given the increasingly sophisticated nature of technology as applied to content delivery, together with the ever-expanding body of content that experts in each discipline believe their students must master, the importance of the classroom not to mention the campus will be in question;
  • Finally, programs should provide measures of recognition, with transparent processes that have clear criteria;
  • Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education;
  • Securing access to educational services is essential for the continued economic and social vitality of the knowledge-based society of the 21st century;
  • Instead, studies should explore in what ways learning differs when 2 modes of delivery are compared.

When costs associated with developing, delivering, and providing support services for e-learning are closely examined, the challenges become stark.

It is important, however, to recognize the potential for economies of scale. What might have once been limited to a single class, section, or course might be made sufficiently flexible to be used by a number of different types of students undergraduate, graduate, professional, lifelong learners across institutions and academic calendars.