2classroom? Peekaboo?! What if you take some time to explore possibilities and approaches togetherwith the students? From ...
3running over and over the PDCA together with the students, is very related to the challenges in stars2, 4 and 5.4.      M...
4how you learn/work better, you ‘ll find the right flow to make the first layer of the dimensionstronger.In search of the ...
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20130205 tuneupyourlearningenvironment


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Educational challenges... Inspiration and ideas for teachers and trainers. This trip takes you to a reflection on the use of learning outcomes, the role of the learner, quality assurance, sparkling learning environments and interconnection... 5 stars, 5 recommendations!

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20130205 tuneupyourlearningenvironment

  1. 1. 1 UP TO A 5 STAR LEARNING ENVIRONMENT! - A SHORT REFLECTION ABOUT EDUCATIONAL CHALLENGES FOR 2013 – See slides: http://www.slideshare.net/filip.vervenne/tuneupyourlearningenvironment Filip Vervenne, VIVES (KATHO), BelgiumABSTRACTTrial and error, research and evolution took us to as to a solid level of education in general. Educationhas gone through huge changes since the sixties… Yet, there are still some interesting challenges.Check out with me 5 major suggestions to create a future proof instructional and curriculum design…1. FORGET ABOUT LEARNING OUTCOMESHonestly, I’m bored… to hear about learning outcomes. For too many years now, people have beenfocusing on this as if it is or can be the (only) drive for good education! From the Ministry ofEducation to universities, headmasters, teacher trainers, teachers... everybody worries aboutrefining, updating, implementing learning outcomes. Is there any scientific proof of extra added valuecentring your whole educational project around learning outcomes?Sorry, for me it’s enough,… forget about learning outcomes! Why? In my opinion, learning outcomesare pretentious, unrealistic, endless listed, useless and simply creepy for students. They do not matchwith diversity of the learners and complexity/reality of the context.Our educational system is - or should be - ready for a decided shift towards a more humanistic,holistic and organic approach of learning environments. A first step in the good direction is leavingthe learning outcomes for what they are. Don’t waste your time and just draw some generalcompetences based on the well-known BLOOM-matrix: goals, aims for knowledge, skills,attitudes…linked to your discipline / course / training. Put your energy in what really matters, thenext stars,…2. “ENGAGE ME OR ENRAGE ME”Try to engage the students in the whole cycle of the learning process. Nowadays it’s very commonto engage the learner in the learning activities with assignments, group work, collaborative tools andtasks. Good! Of course!However, three interesting challenges remain and they are situated, where you would less expectthem: in the preparation and the tail of the learning event… (let’s call it an event: the course,training, methodology, interaction,…)First take your time to draw together at least some essentialcompetences. Work together on anagreement about the competences you want to explore together. Avoid the word “learning”, I preferto talk about observation, exploring, investigating,… It helps to get the right trigger and spirit forlifelong learning.The second recommended mutual engagement can be the design of the learning event. Everwondered why the teacher always prepares his class behind the screen and then rolls it out in the
  2. 2. 2classroom? Peekaboo?! What if you take some time to explore possibilities and approaches togetherwith the students? From voting on some different designs to creating from scratch the steps towardsthe perfect learning environment. The win-win is the mutual learning effect and the honest sharingof responsibilities.The third challenge and, probably the most difficult one - because it is a delicate matter : engage thestudent in the design of the assessment. I’m not referring to the questions – although could be – butabout when, where, how (…) the assessment will take place. Shape the assessment together and, themost tricky level, assess your assessment together!3. THINK DEMINGWe are overwhelmed by pedagogical and didactical models, theories, instructions. Especially forstarters in the educational and training world, it’s rather confusing how to deal with this overload ofpedagogical information. Luckily enough, there still exist simple tools to help us to raiseeffectiveness. Remember, KISS: Keep It Simple (and Stupid - but I don’t agree with this extra ‘S’).The best theoretical models are modest and a very good example is the Deming circle.Figure 1 Deming circlePlan-Do-Check-Adjust your instructional and curriculum design and engage the learner in each stepyou make. This model for reflection is well known in its applications of Quality Management but it isa perfect and in fact a wonderful basic tool for the instructional designer. Whenever and whateveryou undertake: think PDCA! Think Deming and link, connect, realize each step of the PDCA with thelearner. Check this simple framework on different levels: a single activity, a course, a series of events,a curriculum design,… In the literature the circle is Plan Do Check Act but I prefer Plan Do CheckAdjust to avoid the confusion between Act en Do.Using the Deming circle is very 21st century because it is concrete and yet holistic enough to beapplied and transferred in very different (educational) contexts. It confirms that learning is a processand integrates different learning theories. It is a simple key to better quality. The philosophy of
  3. 3. 3running over and over the PDCA together with the students, is very related to the challenges in stars2, 4 and 5.4. MAKE LEARNING EXCITINGCreativity is the drive and the spirit to establish an attractive and exciting learning environment. Anattractive learning environment leads to the second star: engaging the student.How to make learning exciting is, however, a very tricky question. Books and books have beenwritten about the added value of using new media. Well, OK. Although,… don’t get lost in games,social media, learning management systems and other digital torture… More or less the samesituation occurs with methodologies. Books and books about new methodologies. Well, OK. Veryinspiring but once again, some trainers get dragged into a flashy whirlwind of methodologies…and sodo…the learners!Don’t get lost in the wood, never able to find the treasure… Making learning exciting is not abouttrying out as much as possible, using loads of tools and methodologies you don’t connect with… It isall about the right and well-balanced cocktail of approaches and methodologies! Not flashy buteclectic. This will make the learning effect stronger.5. INTERCONNECTTry to connect.. or even more: interconnect! Star 1 – 4 are about connecting too, but there is more…There are 2 dimensions and 3 different layers in this connection. That’s how it became… aninterconnection.A first dimension or connection is the connection with the learner.Try to connect with the learners’1) Experience2) Talents3) Learning styleThose three are interrelated and that’s not a coincidence.Connecting with the experience is really taking into account the knowledge, skills,… the studentmasters. Connecting with the talents will bring out the best of the learner. What are his/herstrengths, natural talents/gifts,… Taking into account how he/she learns best is connecting withthe learning style. Creating a learning environment where you connect with those three layers is verymotivating and will bring a perfect leverage for effective learning.The second dimension is not less important… the connection with yourself. Connect with your own1) Experience 2) Talents 3) Learning style. This is very similar to what is mentioned in the 4th star: itdoesn’t make sense to use methodologies or media you don’t connect with.Creating a rich learning experience is guaranteed when you make the event a celebration with yourexperiences, your talents, your learning style. The whole picture makes your own proper teachingstyle and it is important to figure out exactly what it is. This self-reflection will bring out the best inyou. Very often teacher trainers will try to make you do things you can’t do. Or worse, things youreally shouldn’t do. Once you know who you are, what you’re good at, what kind of teacher you are,
  4. 4. 4how you learn/work better, you ‘ll find the right flow to make the first layer of the dimensionstronger.In search of the right learning leverage , we can summarize that the right way to a 5 star learningexperience involves also connecting your strengths to those of the learners. This will generate thebest basic conditions for learning: support, feedback and challenges.In a 5 star learning environment… we should aim for individual matches. That’s when learningbecomes really exciting, for both, the teacher/trainer and the learner. And that’s exactly how itshould be. In the end, both are learners! Reflected?! Feedback / connect / tweet  filip.vervenne@katho.behttp://www.linkedin.com/in/filipvervenne 0032474725009 @filipvervenneReferences1. DEWULF, L. (2012). Ik kies voor mijn talent