iPad tutorials: Refreshing learning
Teaching students new concepts and procedures is always a challenge, but the stakes are even higher when they are being shown how to operate industrial machinery. When Architecture and Built Environment Workshop Manager Domanic Lieb had thirty mechanical engineering students crowded around him as he demonstrated how to use a metal lathe, workshop staff decided there had to be a better way to conduct a safety induction.
Domanic contacted the Centre for Teaching and Learning’s BOLD Lab to see if they could record some safety demonstrations. The workshop, like any industrial workplace, has a detailed induction process that students must complete before they start work on-site. Safety protocols need to be clearly demonstrated and explained.
‘Incorporating this technology increases the learning experience of the students, and that’s what we’re all about’ says Domanic. ‘While the video tutorials don’t replace a face-to-face induction, they play a significant role in allowing students to refresh the information they have learned and save us from endlessly repeating ourselves.’
Instructional designers from the BOLD Lab used a number of cameras to film Domanic and the team presenting induction procedures on machines in the workshop. Using multiple cameras provided the opportunity to include close-up shots to highlight details that could be missed in a traditional induction.
To bring the resources within arm’s reach of the students, a number of iPads have been fixed to the walls throughout the workshop, close to machinery. Another iPad is attached to a portable stand so students can take it wherever they need it. So far, the students’ response to the iPad tutorial project has been overwhelmingly positive.
‘My generation doesn’t ask people for help, we just look up a YouTube tutorial’ says Callum, a fourth year Industrial Design student. ‘It’s good having the iPad set up with tutes on it. If it’s busy in the workshop, it gives you another option for getting help, instead of having to stand around waiting.’
One benefit of the tutorials is that students are able to direct the pace of their own learning and work through a video as many times as they like, while they are at a machine. Being able to access information means that students don’t have to be embarrassed to ask a question again, especially if the instructor has given them the information previously.
Hyperlinks for each tutorial are also embedded in each course’s Blackboard site, giving students the opportunity to access the videos at a time and a place that suits them.
This flexibility has proven invaluable to Victoria, an Architecture student on exchange from Sweden. Terminology in the workshop can include very specific, detailed language which can prove an obstacle for students with English as an additional language. ‘Being an international student, it’s good to be able to watch the iPad induction tutorials again, as Australians speak so fast, sometimes it’s hard to understand. This is the first place I’ve seen this kind of technology integrated into a workshop.’
Now in its second year, the tutorial library is expanding as staff respond to student’s feedback. While students are enthusiastic, academics can also see the benefits of incorporating new resources into learning.
‘In a busy workshop where there can be a high number of students compared to staff members, the iPad tutorials are another learning resource’ says lecturer Wyn Jones. ‘Students’ safety knowledge is tested, but they can also revisit the induction videos to find out where they might have made a mistake. The videos are a skill builder; they promote deep learning by being a tool that students can engage with again and again.’
While the iPad tutorials play an important supporting role, it’s clear that good teaching is the foundation of education. According to Industrial Design student Ash, having an authentic, trusted instructor is key. ‘Dom’s pretty professional in his presentation of information and it’s good to see his familiar face on the screen.’
How can you invigorate your teaching? Contact CTL to find out. 4921 5350.