This is an archive of the 2013 version of ocTEL.

#ocTEL MOOC (week 3 A31) Isn't learning always active?

"Designing active learning" is the theme of the week. This title surprises me since indeed learning is always active. Whatever they are, leaning requires activities, actions and decisions on the side of the learner. Indeed, these are not of the same nature for rote learning and problem-based learning. Actually, this title is meant to exclude certain types of design (e.g. instruction) and favour those in which learning is the outcome of a creative activity (e.g. problem-solving, inquiry, design of a project, making an experiment or exploring a situation). This is well illustrated by the list of the learning theories the proposed material introduces which includes collaborative learning, experiential learning, enquiry-based learning and problem-based learning. In short, to be active means to have something to find or to construct as the ground for the learning process.These theories are pedagogical in nature; they induce very naturally a certain type of design of the learning situations. Other theories mentioned in the list, namely cognitivism, connectivism, constructivism, as well as the concept of zone-of-proximal-development are much more difficult to mobilize since they are general psychological theories with no straightforward translation as pedagogical theories. More often than not the so-called constructivist teachers design and implement situations around problem-solving, inquiries or projects following the principles of the corresponding learning design principles... even instruction, in particular for most best practice in higher education, is designed taking as driving force constructivism principles...

What would be helpful would be to have a reading grid for those learning theories, including indication on their limits as well as benefit depending on the content at stake and the more general constraints one my encounter in a classroom or... with educational technology.
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