Facilitating Individual Learning Processes with Advanced Instructions
By supplying various combinations of preparative instructions and continuative forms of exercises, individual learning processes within the impartation of basic knowledge can be activated and supported at the best. In this sense the presented didactic conception was developed to provide a compact, sophisticated and mainly successful access to spatial–geometric cognition for numerous first-year students in engineering sciences. Therefore, CAD software and soft skills are applied, trained and encouraged as basic qualifications for studies at university. Being an optional class for the “Introduction to spatial–geometric cognition using CAD in Engineering Sciences” at the RWTH Aachen University, Germany, it has to meet different capabilities and capacities of participants to minimize the number of breakups at an early stage. All attendants should be able to succeed - albeit through varying efforts - in the required level of proficiency upon completion of class. Processing appealing examples of extraordinary complexity increases the motivation of the attendants during a beginner’s course. Dealing with the contents is structured by considerations of the learning process instead of thematic taxonomy. By close description of all essential actions in the advanced instructions the collaborating participants however can be assured of feelings of success. In separating the impartation of knowledge from the application these learning processes are automatically facilitated and even more can be supported as needed.
To substantiate the prepared matters a construction method was developed by increasing the detailing. This at the same time corresponds to the development of the working material: decision for tasks, selection of examples, collection of material, definition of geometric structuring and complete documentation of software inputs. This advanced instruction is documented variedly for different educational programmes. Some types feature a direct execution without preparation, other types promote a first examination detached from software application, requiring more effort in time, but indeed creating solid basic understanding and long-term memory. According to practical experience the examination of knowledge is structured in different levels of learning with adequate instructional offers: The learner revises the prepared contents, at this building up competence and routine in experiencing and reflecting the actions, hence featuring profound knowledge. Most favourable terms for learning are realized, if one can cut his own path according to originality, necessity and capacity. The learner has to assume responsibility for his own learning process. This conception provides the participants with the possibility to use different offers during course of class, to evaluate personal experiences and to choose appropriate versions of learning. Various categories of problems can be differentiated during course. By repeating and reworking difficult passages with the advanced instructions the learner autonomously can specify certain issues. Adequate support services are provided in-class by learning groups and tutors, during E-learning by different interactive offers.