Designing courses to facilitate meaningful learning

Education is about conceptual change, not just the acquisition of information, the acquisition of information in itself does not bring about such a change, but the way we structure that information and think with it does.

(Biggs what the student does 1999).

It has been a while since I taught so I chose the 2 activities that I used with my students previously. After reading John Biggs “What the Student Does teaching for enhanced learning” It’s not what teachers do, it’s what students do that is the important thing. I can see now when I taught that a lot of the time the students didn’t always have a clear picture of what was expected of them. If I was to design the activities differently now in the role play activities I used in classes:

  • I would have considered them to re-act the role-play in their own language.
  • Have them maybe modify the role play activity themselves instead of me feeding them with the content and situations

 

Teaching and learning activities – 2 of the activities I used a lot see picture below 

What the teacher does

The activity

What the student does

  • Decide which reaching materials are to be used
  • Select a situation
  • Dialogue initiation
  • Evaluate effectiveness

Role plays

  • Interact
  • Decide on the roles
  • Improvise a dialogue
  • Listening to each other
  • Create a situation

What I wanted

  • Enable the quieter students to be heard
  • Listening, and understanding
  • Practice applying their new knowledge before they have to face the real world.

 

  • Set the writing task
  • Walking around
  • Observing
  • Encourage
  • Relate the students ideas to topics learnt

Group activity

”Think, Pair Share”

  • Make notes
  • Share ideas with each other and eventually to all the groups
  • Give feedback to each other

 

What kind of TLAs (Teaching & learning activities) is required for students to learn the desired outcomes effectively?

TLA

Various routes can be taken to reach a particular goal and students do not start from the same points of departure (P 190 in Academic Teaching) is a good start in defining the activities, learning activities are chosen both according to the outcomes and according to the students personalities.

“We have first to be clear about what we want students to learn, and then teach and assess accordingly in an aligned system of instruction” (Biggs, 1996), 

He then goes on in his article to talk about assessment is needed to address the objectives to see if they have learned what they are supposed to have learned. The assessment in a blended learning environment could come already within the lecture. Something that is close to my heart is blended learning. By using technology enhanced learning tools like clickers we can assess the situation on the fly, ask the student if he/she has understood by getting them to click yes or no during the lecture. The teacher will then know to move ahead with the lecture or go back on some points. Biggs call this network constructive alignment.

“There have been many valuable applications of constructivism, particularly to science and math teaching (e.g. Cobb 1994, Driver & Oldham 1986, Driver, Asoko, Leach, Mortimer & Scott 1994, Scardamalia, Bereiter & Lamon 1994, West & Pines 1985), but there have been few attempts to provide a framework that would generalise beyond the contexts or topics for which they were designed”.

If I were to design a course now I would try to use the technology available alongside face-to-face learning with the Intended Learning Outcomes.

Defining this course we would have to think about:

  • What are the intended learning outcomes?
  • Which would be better to do online and which are better doing F2F
  • What Learning activities should we use for online versus F2F
  • Online discussions as part of the learning activity? What challenges are there? We need to know how to facilitate and assess online discussions.
  • How will we structure the courseware what will be integrated and connected?
  • How will we decide the % of F2F and online?
  • Some students can have problems with the new technologies how will we address this problem, how can we support them?
  • How will we assess and evaluate in a blended environment?
  • We have to discuss with the students why their course is being taught blended and prepare them for their role in it

 

Active learning

TLA’s some ideas taken from Academic Teaching books chapter 7 on Teaching & Learning activities which I have connected to technology enhanced learning ideas to make the students more active in their learning.

 

Learning outcomes

Why

Activities – How

Technology to use

Getting Information,

Digital literacy

Finding resources & techniques,

 Referencing & managing information load

Connecting with outside experts

 Sharing and reviewing online resources

Google scholar
BlogsOnline articles
You Tube
Library

Taking own responsibility of learning

Reflection (p205)
Learning together


Giving and receiving feedback
(p214 & 257)
Co-learning

Understanding
Negotiation


Reflection on learning


As a group exercise to improve group problem solving

Problem/case based learning (p253)

LMS groups
Concept mapping


Online Quiz
Video with recorded lectures

Online resources
Mobile learning bringing tablets & smartphones to class

Giving and receiving feedback


Working in teams

 

Critical thinking

Performance feedback

Collaborative writing
Group negotiations

Planning
Assessment of team work

Reviewing
Reflecting
Debating

Discussion forums in LMS
Group web

Peer review in LMS
Blogs


Clickers
E-Portfolios

Let students teach & present assignments (p209)

Oral communication

Presentation skills

 

Sharing audio/video material


Presenting Audio/video
Discussions and feedback

Twitter
Adobe connect


Slideshare/You Tube
Video tool

 

References:

One thought on “Designing courses to facilitate meaningful learning

  1. Pingback: A sustainable future with Flexible learning | Maddy Tucker Smith

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