Evidence: Topic 3 Learning Activity: Your Online Learning Design model (Sept, 27, 2013)
OLTD Learning Outcome addressed: Integrate current cognitive learning and brain-based learning theory
Reflection to Support Evidence:
Creating an online learning design model involved careful consideration of my own teaching philosophy relative to different learning theories. I used SmartArt, a tool in Microsoft Powerpoint, to create a visual model that represented my ideas around learning. I then explained my model in a short summary. The files for each are linked below.
When I first attempted to create a visual model, I struggled with how I could get everything to fit neatly together. I had never used SmartArt before, so there were a few bumps along the way as I became familiar with the tool. I knew how I did things in the classroom, but I had never been asked to articulate it in any way, and I found it incredibly challenging to put my thoughts on (digital) paper. There were several false starts.
This learning activity was assigned after spending time discussing different schools of learning and learning styles. I revisited this information and thought about how it applied to how I teach. Effectively using brain-based learning requires an understanding of your student and their learning environment. I incorporated this idea in the design step of my learning model, where I consider who my learners are, where they come from and what they value. I integrate three different schools of learning throughout my courses (behaviourist, cognitive and constructivist), although I would like to improve upon using the constructivist model and include more case studies or project style learning. I also learned that assessment (or evaluation) is not only a measure of achievement but can also provide motivation. Brain-based learning suggests that students’ motivation is increased by immediate, constructive feedback. I included this idea in my evaluation portion of my learning model, providing learners with both formative and summative assessments. I also felt it was important to allow the learners to evaluate me and the way they were learning, so I included evaluation “by learners” in my process. In the end, I feel I created a learning model that integrates cognitive learning and brain-based learning theory.
Much research is currently being conducted on how the brain learns, and it is important to integrate current learning theory into your teaching. Understanding that learning improves when students are engaged and feel safe and relaxed helps to shape the way an instructor designs a course, course content and activities. One way of implementing this outcome in my practice is to lead discussions with my students regarding the connection between nutrition, adequate sleep and learning. I will also continue to reflect on brain-based learning theory when I create new activities for my courses.
A good summary of Key Findings on Brain-based Learning can be found here.
Evidence: Topic 2 Learning Activity: Script writing and narration of “eLearning Sucks” slidedeck presentation (see below for a link to this evidence) (Sept. 20, 2013)
OLTD Outcome addressed: Select strategies and resources appropriate for environment, learners and learning outcomes
Reflection to Support Evidence:
The narration project addressed the learning outcome in two different ways. Creation of a narration introduced me to a learning strategy that I had not previously been exposed to. I had to learn a new skill of recording my voice, along with practicing speaking slowly and clearly, something I often have to remind myself to do in the classroom. I began to think about how this learning strategy could be applied in my own classroom, perhaps as a project or a review activity. This strategy would allow for all different levels of learners and styles of learning, such as auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Creating a narration tends toward a constructivist school of learning, as the interpretation of the slideshow relies on the students own perspectives and connection to their reality, allows them to personalize the meaning and is active learning.
The second way the narration project addressed the learning outcome is through the content of the slideshow. The first 14 slides identified lecture as a poor choice for learning. While preparing the narration, I spent some time investigating different learning styles and attention spans of the average adult. Having a better understanding of how learners learn will help me make better choices in the strategies and resources I use in my instruction. In addition, my research opened my eyes to other strategies that I have not used in my teaching such as gaming, discussion groups (locally and globally), blog posts, or WordArt.
This learning outcome is important as it is easy to fall into a rhythm of teaching that, while comfortable, does not always address the needs of the students. Learning happens in different ways and at different rates, and instructors need to be able to provide learning strategies that address learning styles across the spectrum. Successfully selecting appropriate learning strategies and resources that engage the learner while meeting learning outcomes is a skill that any instructor, including online, should strengthen. I will continue to explore different ways of learning for both my face-to-face classroom as well as the online environment.
Audio file for Slides 1-14 “E-learning Sucks”