Do short courses need a different pedagogy?

I’ve been teaching my 5-day 30 hour PTLLS course recently and I have been thinking about whether short courses require a different pedagogy to long ones. There is a lot of emphasis on:

  • knowing your learners’ needs
  • student interaction at the heart of learning
  • assessment for learning
  • establishing a learning dialogue with your learners
  • encouraging learners to take responsibility for their own learning
  • creating a positive learning environment
  • establishing effective ground rules
  • making the feedback process central to the learning process

But how does all of this work if your course lasts just a few hours, a day or even a week? I would like to come up with a pedagogy-lite approach which encourages my PTLLS students to incorporate these important principles but which recognises the time constraints.




  1. Hi John. Having looked up what pedagogy means (!), I can see your point and the difficulties this raises. For very short courses (1 day or less) I suppose there’s little you can do other than to ensure there is a positive learning environment and possibly gather information on your students in advance to try to best meet their needs.
    For longer courses (such as the 30 hour PTLLS Express I am currently doing with you) there is more that can be done and now that I know a bit more about the principles I think this has been effective on the course we are doing.
    I think a pedagogy-lite approach would be good to provide some guidance on how this can be tackled and perhaps transferred as far as possible into the one or two day courses. Good luck! Mike

  2. Hi John,
    I have considered your normal teaching strategies for long courses and indeed tried to fit as much interactive question and answer sessions with the learners as I can into my micro-teach, to enable feedback and vary the content to stop boredom.
    As you know I’m from a military back ground and more emphasis is spent on pitching information and rules at the learner in a very short time. Particularly the annual mandatory lessons and tests as these would be mostly refreshers. Most military courses are very express indeed. The military way seems to work, as all the students/learners are much the same physically, age and generally academically. This is not the case in “Civi street” as the learners could almost be any one from a myriad of cultures these days.
    After attending your course, I now feel that an even split of both strategies would work well and in the future I will plan my teaching/ training in this way adopting ideas from both camps as it were. I will go away from it with a much more open mind.
    I guess you would have to adopt a combination of strategies to suit the course but taking into account the final objective of the awarding body and learners abilities and their objectives. trying to fit all your techniques into a short course, I feel would be hard work and also blow the learners minds and may in fact hinder learning and understanding in the long run.
    Without prejudice I can say at times during the course my poor brain was in overload at the different teaching strategies put to us and confusion had set in. I think I began to miss some points or information overload let me forget them and they did not sink in.

    Your pedagogy for long courses seems fine as time allows for debate and assessment thinking. But for your express course I would prefer to have a little more direct behaviourism type teaching so I could have more definitive answers to follow and less wandering off at tangents because other learners ideas. The end result for me was confusion to the actual answer at times. I think this was evident with assessment 4 when most of us returned and said had we actually covered it?
    Or had you misinterpreted our initial assessment forms as to our abilities?

  3. Pingback: Emergent Pedagogy | Curriculum, Assessment & New Media II

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