Muscat, Marhc 29
The Centre for Preparatory Studies (CPS), Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), organised Active Learning Awareness Raising Day at Al Wahat Club last week. The event is considered a training opportunity aimed to raise teachers’ awareness about active learning and improve teaching practices. There were a number of activities during the day.
Dr Badriya al Shihi, the Deputy Chairperson of State Council and the CPS Director, delivered the welcome speech in which she emphasised that this awareness-raising day is in line with Oman Vision 2040 since we are committed to improving educational outcomes and increasing the quality of foundational and higher education. She also stressed that learning and learner centred approaches to education should be employed to facilitate the development of life-long learning and skills of communication, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity.
Dr Zahra al Lawati, CPS Deputy Director for Academic Programmes, introduced the SQU Operational Plan in relation to Active Learning and the CPS measures. She said that the first strategy prioritised by order on the second SQU Operational Plan of 2021-2025 is “Enrich curricula with active learning techniques and student-centred activities”. The Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is the percentage of courses with active learning techniques and activities. The target for 2025 is to have at least 40 per cent of the CPS courses implement active learning in their teaching, materials, and assessment.
Dr Khalid Al Saadi, Assistant Professor at the College of Education, Department of Instructional and Learning Technologies, delivered a plenary training session in which he shared his experience and expertise in using active learning strategies and techniques, encouraging attending teachers to apply them in their teaching practice.
The CPS Active Learning Team who organised the event were Dr Nazanin Dehdary, Dr Zakiya al Nadabi and Sally al Hurmuzi. The team briefed attendees about the active learning project findings and achievements as well as future plans for enhancing active learning at the CPS. The team reported the outcomes of the multi-phased active learning project they have been working on since Spring 2021 including the findings in relation to the status of active learning in the CPS curricula, the challenges reported by teachers and the actions taken by the CPS so far and future plans. The team also introduced some examples of active learning strategies and techniques.
A published Google Site on active learning at the CPS was launched at the event. The site has been developed by the team to facilitate the integration of active learning into courses by providing resources and information about active learning, its importance, strategies and techniques that promote active learning, and so forth.
The CPS Active Learning Team also introduced the initiative, a Technology-Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) classroom and how it is planned to be set up with furniture and technologies that support active learning and student-centred activities. The team then moderated a focus group activity called Discussion Circle, in which teachers worked together in teams as they engaged in discussion circles to do the following tasks: design active learning activities aimed to achieve learning outcomes; identify opportunities provided by their suggested active learning activities; evaluate the implementation challenges; and recommend ways to mitigate these challenges. The teams for the discussion circles were formed based on the teachers’ programs, i.e. English/Math/IT.
The team emphasised that this active learning awareness-raising day event is one of the training opportunities that are aimed to raise teachers’ awareness about active learning and improve teaching practices.