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Designing Learning Environments for a Digital Age - Tony Bates #eden16


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Presentation shared by author at the 2016 EDEN Annual Conference "Re-Imagining Learning Environments" held on 14-17 June 2016, in Budapest, Hungary.
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Designing Learning Environments for a Digital Age - Tony Bates #eden16

  1. 1. EDEN 2016 Annual Conference Re-imaging Learning Environments Budapest, 15 June, 2016 DESIGNING LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS FOR A DIGITAL AGE Dr. Tony Bates, Research Associate, Contact North Distinguished Visiting Professor The Raymond D. Chang School of Continuing Education, Ryerson University 1 Learner character- istics Content Skills Resources Assess- ment Learner support Culture
  2. 2. Outline • The learning demands of a digital age • Learning as development and growth • Key components of an effective learning environment • Course design and learning environments 2
  3. 3. Demands of a digital economy Resource- based/energy Manufacturing Health/educati on IT/media/entertai nment Retail/financ ial/services Knowledge- based component Where will the jobs be?
  4. 4. 4 21st century skills communication skills independent learning ethics/responsibility teamwork and flexibility thinking skills (critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity) IT skills embedded in subject area knowledge management 4
  5. 5. Learning and knowledge • What is knowledge? • How does learning occur? • Analogies: • knowledge as coal (objectivist) • knowledge as developmental (constructivist), e.g. heat • Teaching as gardening: creating the right environment 5
  6. 6. Questions • Do either of these analogies work for you? • Are they helpful in thinking of teaching and learning? • Can you think of a better analogy to describe learning – or knowledge? 6
  7. 7. Alternative learning environments 7 ‘Nature’ as a learning environment Military training Online course Can you think of others?
  8. 8. Technology-focused learning environments 8 User-centered design: Peter Morville’s UX Honeycomb A personal learning environment image: Janson Hews, Flikr
  9. 9. Technology and learning environments 9 Technology provides different contexts for learning environments, e.g. • Learning management systems • Virtual worlds (e.g. Second Life) • Personal learning environments These contexts still need to be filled with the components of a learning environment: teacher’s responsibility
  10. 10. Many possible learning environments • The campus or school • Online course • Experience (work, family, life) • (online) personal learning environments (technology) • All need certain common elements that support learning 10
  11. 11. One learning environment from a teacher’s perspective C Learner character- istics learn-ing contexts learners goals prior know- ledge diversity Digital natives? Content structure sources quantity/dept h activities Content goals Skills thinking activities discussion practical activities skills goals facilities tech- nology my time Resources assis- tants Assess- ment projects E-portfolios essays tests Learner support feedback counselling scaffol- ding other students Culture
  12. 12. Content and skills • Content = facts, ideas, principles: ‘knowing’ • Skills = understanding, analysing, evaluating, applying: ‘doing’ • Both necessary in today’s society • BUT: content has been the traditional priority in HE 12
  13. 13. Content and/or skills We know a lot about how to teach skills: • Context-specific • Learners need lots of practice • Small steps • Regular feedback from expert 13
  14. 14. Content and/or skills • How do you develop skills? What teaching methods? • Relationship between content and skills • What role can technology play in developing and assessing skills? • What do we assess – and how? 14
  15. 15. Content and skills
  16. 16. Skills = teaching methods • Discussion, social learning for testing and developing ideas • Experiential learning: learning by doing • Communities of practice • Competency-based learning • Problem-based learning • Knowledge management 16
  17. 17. Culture and learning environments • Culture = dominant values/beliefs that influence decision-making • Residential schools; public boarding schools; elite universities • Difficult for an individual to change • Online learning environments = opportunity to create new cultures • What values and beliefs are important in your learning environ.? 17 Learner character- istics Content Skills Resources Assess -ment Learner support Culture
  18. 18. Culture and learning environments My values in teaching an online course: • Student collaboration/mutual respect • Open-ness to differing views • Evidence based argument/reasoning • Strong instructor presence/learner support • Making explicit subject epistemology • The integrity of the learner 18 Learner character- istics Content Skills Resources Assess -ment Learner support Culture
  19. 19. Learning environments and course design 19 • Necessary but not sufficient • Still need • good course design • empathy • competence (e.g. subject knowledge) • imagination to create context • the learners have to do the learning • environment creates conditions for success
  20. 20. From learning environments to course design 20 Learner character- istics Content Skills Resources Assess- ment Learner support Culture ADDIE: Design process Creating an effective learning environment
  21. 21. graduate pre-service professionals core skill: knowledge management open content within a learning design student-generated multimedia content: online project work assessment by e-portfolios 21 ‘Advanced’ online course design Learner character- istics Content Skills Resources Assess- ment Learner support Culture
  22. 22. New teaching approaches • from information transmission to knowledge management • skills development + content • lecture-based courses replaced by student projects, problem-based learning, collaborative learning • goodbye written exams: replaced by e-portfolios demonstrating student’s knowledge/skills 22
  23. 23. New faculty roles • Teaching performance will be a major competitive advantage • Instructors need pedagogical knowledge + technology skills • Requires pre-service + in-service training + tenure/promotion reward • Learning technology support (instructional designers + media designers) + team-work 23
  24. 24. Conclusions • Digital economy requires high-level intellectual skills • Teaching methods must include opportunities for skills development • Technology enables more flexible delivery and ways to practice skills • But all within a specifically designed learning environment that supports learners 24
  25. 25. Questions 25 • Is thinking about what constitutes an effective learning environment helpful? • What other components would you add? • Could you design an effective learning environment for your own courses? What would it look like? • Other comments and questions Learner character- istics Content Skills Resources Assess -ment Learner support Culture
  26. 26. 26 • Teaching in a Digital Age: digitalage/ • Blog: Online Learning and Distance Education Resources: • E-mail: