Learning is effective in a better environment

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Students from the Medical School at the University of The Gambia Wednesday have undertaken a valuable service when they demanded that the better conditions for their academic programmes be improved.

The fact is that for any effective learning to take place, the conditions must be very conducive for learners and those that they learn from.

But what is absolutely relevant about the course undertaken by student protesters is that they are still open for negotiation with the university authorities over the matter. That is a sign of hope in the face of administrators who will be willing to listen to their demands.

Students outlined series of challenges such as absent of lecturers, which they said compromise their academic programmes and their outcomes.

“The current final year class is in their eighth-year and have still not graduated and the class behind have also incurred similar delays which might even extend their programme beyond eight years,” they queried.

But what students really fear is that if the condition persists, the most likely thing to happen is that most of them would go more than the stipulated seven years course – which will no doubt cause them huge sum of money. If that is the case, both sides should immediately come to the negotiating table and identify a suitable, tangible and sustainable solution to the problem.

University authorities must listen to their students who claimed that they have tried to speak with concerned stakeholders but there have been no positive outcome. They must not allow the situation spin out of control because academic issues are complex and dealing with them require some little bit of patience and willingness.

According to Ron Brandt, people learn what is personally meaningful to them. Researchers say that learning is most effective when it is “active, goal-directed,” and “personally relevant” (APA 1997). Because “the search for meaning is innate” (Caine and Caine 1997), learners concentrate most on the learning tasks that are personally meaningful to them.

Those who want to influence the learning of others should try to create as much correspondence as possible between institutional goals and learners’ goals. For example, with the approach called problem-based learning, students acquire valuable knowledge and skills as they investigate real, important problems, such as how to reduce water pollution in a nearby stream.

This evident when the Medical students of the University of The Gambia pointed out that lack of accommodation has reduced clinical exposure of students and travel constraints especially odd hours, making it unsafe particularly for female students.   

The students deemed it necessary that for an effective clinical rotation, it is essential for medical students to live at least a walking distance from the hospital as it will allow them easy access to patients and learning of clinical skills.

“The fact is that for any effective learning to take place, the conditions must be very conducive for learners and those

 that they learn from.”