Topic 4 – “Design for online and blended teaching!” – has, without any doubt, been the most challenging one so far. In PBL-group 5, of which I am a proud member, we have been struggling quite a bit. Luckily, however, the group has become stronger during the course of the course (which indeed indicates that ONL is a good course).

After lengthy discussions we decided to try to design a learning activity aiming at promoting ”active learning,” and to use “The ADDIE model” as a template during the design process (see video below).

That we chose the ADDIE model was actually a result of the fact the we are really committed to active learning… Many of us were already familiar with other models (such as “constructive alignment”) and argued that we would learn more if we challenged ourselves by chosing to explore a less well-known model.

And, a challenge it was. The ADDIE model is very detailed, but doesn’t give much support in terms of pedagogical principles. (It is also very instrumental, I would argue.)

In addition, we soon realized that the concept of active learning is very vague, or – as one could also put it – that it “goes by many names and can assume many forms.”

Personally, I think that increased activity may involve such things as complementing the reading of course literature and the listening to lectures with participation in seminars, group work etc. In other words: there are lots of old-fashioned learning activities that are designed for active learning. (And there are many newer activities, that do not promote activity).

In our group we decided to define active learning as an outcome of students being engaged and motivated. Engagement, defined as “the tendency to be behaviourally, emotionally, and cognitively involved in academic activities” is considered to be “a key construct in motivation research.”

Motivated and engaged students, we argued, take part in learning activites in an pro-active, as opposed to re-active, way. Instead of just responding to instructions, they are actively looking for activities to engage in in order to learn more.

Thus, when designing learning activitites amining at promoting active learning, the goal/outcome should be that students:

– show awareness of their level of activity in learning

– demonstrate the ability to participate actively in a collective learning activity

However, motivation and engagement are, to a significant degree, dependent on “teacher- and classroom-level variables.”

In other words, active students are not (only) a prerequisite for good teaching, they are (also) a result of the appropriate design of learning activities. Therefore it is not enough to assess the students’ performance. The, design of the learning activity must also be examined. The goal for the activity shoud be that it facilitates the development of active learning among the students.

Working with theme 4 has made me think a lot about my own on-line teaching. Gouíng through “The 10 Fundamentals of Teaching Onine for Faculty and Instructurs,” for example helped me gain a perspective on my own work. And it actually made me realize that some of the things that I do actually harmonize with what I have read.

One example of this is that my online lectures are made up of shorter film clips, between which there are texts, images etc. (Se image below.) Intuitively I have suspected that long filmed lectures are not very interesting. Now I can talk about this in a more informed way.

skarmavbild-2016-11-24-kl-13-27-23
A film clip of two minutes, followed by a short text. Excerpt from a two hour lecture, that also contains images, hyperlinks etc.
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