Tag: learning space

This is an archive of the 2013 version of ocTEL.

#ocTEL MOOC (week 3 A33) Learning forward, designing backward

The third activity for this week 3 on Designing active learning is to design an activity and to review a learning activity. I didn’t design one specifically for this MOOC, but I am happy to share one which I designed for a Doctoral school a few years ago, it was about the design of learning game, starting by inviting students to play a game…

The idea is simple: invite students to play a game first alone against the teacher who manages to sometimes loose, sometime win. This the time to acquire the rules. Then the students play against each other, first alone, then in team with a spokesperson who will play the strategy of the team. There are two levels of debriefing, the first one specific to the game as such, the second to understand the structure and the function of the game as a learning situation. Eventually, students are invited to analyse a simulation game in epidemiology. The sequence closes with a more theoretical analysis of the role of games in learning.

The lesson learned from this exercise is that while learning goes forward from action to articulated knowledge, the design of a learning situation must go backward from the targeted learning outcome back to the optimal situation to engage learner in the process. This situation could be a game but not necessarily, it must essentially be a situation which allows learners to mobilise what they know, whatever it is, in order to make the first step towards the target. The sequence of situation is a journey allowing the construction of the required mental constructs, then language, then means to evaluate and ground the piece of knowledge which has emerged.  This is a quick summary, but the essential is there.

It is with this in mind that I reviewed two activities proposed by (@James Kerr), History of Educational Technology-A Collaborative Timeline Project, and (@ElizabethECharl), Webquest – a hunting we will go. In both cases, the difficulty is to figure out precisely what will be the learning outcome and how the situations are appropriate for this objective. Kerr activity is interesting as such, it could stimulated conversations on the history of educational technology and beyond on the role of technology in education. It is an open situation which could give ground at several different learning objective. Elizabeth activity is more focussed on information search on the net. It is a starter, and actually presented as such, which fruitfulness will depend on the follow up either by new situations or by the teacher — here a librarian. As a learner, I am now in standby in both cases…

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