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Introduction to the Project on Bioethics for Informed Choices - page 100 / 115





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630Challenges for Bioethics from Asia

Learners’ Needs


Learners should be afforded experiences exploring and finding out one’s own aspirations, needs, interests and learning styles.


Learners need explicit instruction and experience in planning for carrying out individual and small group instruction.


Learners need to be taught to evaluate their work and progress.

Modular Approach

According to James Rusell (1974) “A module is a short unit of instruction dealing with a single conceptual unit of subject matter’.  With such modular units, it is possible to individualize learning by enabling the student to choose and master one unit before moving to another.

Each course is built up of a ‘bank’ of number of modules and each module is designed around a list of objectives and student projects. Variety of learning activities centered around the learner and incorporating a  multi-media approach are provided.  The components of the modules include-modular lecture units, group discussion units, role play unit, laboratory units, programmed instruction units, workshop units, individual study unit, film unit, audio tape unit, video tape unit etc.

A mastery approach to evaluation is employed; the learner chooses from a variety of evaluation techniques-such as quizzes, projects, oral test, written test-and tests himself on each module and if he finds he has failed to master, he may retest himself after some more study.

Some of the modules are basic modules and required of all students; others are elective modules, out of which the learner is free to choose according to his needs and interests.  The able student is encouraged to take as many elective modules as he is able to and he gets more credits.  The less able student work at his own pace and gains a mastery of what he learns.  Since each works to one’s own pre-established criteria, he competes with himself and not with his classmates’.  Any student may re-study a module by using a different technique and different learning material and retest as often as he chooses without penalty.

To summarize, modular approach of individualized instruction is a dynamic, flexible, multi-dimensional approach to education.

It emphasizes working to stated objectives, student-progress at their own rate towards mastery, using a variety of instructional materials, a multi-media approach and self-assessment through a variety of proctoring techniques.

Values of Individualized Instruction


Students are encouraged to assume responsibility for their own learning.


Little time is spent in passive listening and more time in co-operative learning activities.


Self-disciplined approach is used in management of classes.


There is recognition of each individual student, his needs and interests.


A key element of this learner-centered modular scheduling is success-orientation; when students do not achieve, the implication is that the course has failed.


Peer tutoring is encouraged and this leads to increased co-operation among the members.

Programmed Learning

Programmed learning or programmed instruction which is one of the components of modular approach is a relatively new technique through which the learner receives instructions by means of specially prepared and validated texts, known as programmes. These programmes are different from the ordinary text books in that the former are prepared to suit the needs of particular students and to achieve specific objectives whereas the latter are intended for more general use. In my opinion since the main subjects of specialization are highly formal in their nature, bioethics education should be introduced informally and in a way easier to learn by the students. If the study material is introduced in the programmed learning technique it will be highly effective in achieving the objectives.

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