Is there a template for online learning?


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THETA 2013 Point/Counterpoint debate presented by Cherry Stewart and Lindy Klein

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  • Consider a course you’ve experienced online… get a clear picture of it, jot down a few key features about it.
  • On the left we have a cookie cutter – a template for how the finished product will look. On the right we have a patchwork quilting pattern – a template for how components can be fitted together, with a degree of flexibility for the end user to be creative.Cookie cutter image courtesy schleicher -
  • On the left, we have a pictorial representation of what the finished product “should” look like. This specifies a set icing colour and width, set type of lollies and their positions. Combined with a recipe, these become templates for presentation, and quality assurance/compliance purposes. On the right, we have an example of a finished product, created using the more flexible quilting pattern.
  • This course screenshot demonstrates templates in action. There’s a fixed icon set, and a fixed “Quick check” quiz. The presentation template requires the images used come from a specified preset. The quality assurance and compliance template dictates we must have the help forum and quick check quiz links where they are.
  • The third template is for the learning design. This is much less rigid, and requires more thoughtful application from the learning designer.
  • Separating the elements of a course into the templates to which they belong.
  • From a teaching perspective, its disheartening to feel as though your course is just another object on the production line. Added to that, our students surely don’t want to feel as though the course were created with no thought for how to engage them meaningfully in the learning process. While consistency in presentation and compliance with regulatory requirements are necessities, something else is missing here…
  • Some projects have been enacted that have looked at patterns in learning design. The goal of these projects has been to assist with consistency but also to allow for pedagogical variety.
  • One such project provides learning patterns fully explained. These are based on the philosophies and work of Christopher Alexander and his colleagues and relate to architecture. Other projects have also related to architectural concepts (building). Perhaps we need to make a shift here and look at the human and the learning process. We need to return to the being (rather than the structure) that does the learning.
  • Zull’s metacognitive process. Biologist and TLC director researched neuroscience and has suggested that humans follow this pathway when learning.
  • FEEDBACK important at every step. Assessment is feedback. But honestly, how do we view feedback?
  • But it’s not just one – it’s a combination approach, and it needs to be recognized by policy makers, support staff, educational developers, and teaching staff.
  • Is there a template for online learning?

    1. 1. Templates For Online LearningLindy Klein Cherry StewartPukunui Macquarie University
    2. 2. Pause for Thought
    3. 3. Template metaphorCookie Cutter Patchwork Pattern
    4. 4. DiscoveryCookie Cutter Template elements enhanced combined
    5. 5. 3 layers of Template
    6. 6. 3 layers of Template
    7. 7. Pause for Thought
    8. 8. Joy/satisfaction
    9. 9. Structure the elementsVariety is endless Consistency evident
    10. 10.
    11. 11. Metacognitive processrandom action → discovery → joy →intentional action → integration →images → symbol → forming memories →predicting → experiential changeZull, J. (2011). From Brain to Mind Using neuroscience to GuideChange in Education. Sterling VA: Stylus Publishing LLC.
    12. 12. A Learning Story
    13. 13. ExperienceReality Perceptions
    14. 14. Intentional Act
    15. 15. A side track
    16. 16. Symbolic creation• Drawings• Doodles• Construction• Graphic representation• Written text • Formal • Informal
    17. 17. Forming memories
    18. 18. elements Zull’s process Learning Design• random action → discovery • Rewarded experimentation → joy → and enquiry + Feedback • Task to extend investigation• intentional action → + Feedback integration → • Symbolic representation• images → symbol → featuring graphics, images, forming memories → audio/video, text (new creations) + Feedback• predicting → experiential change • Documented reflection and recommendations + Feedback
    19. 19. Is there a Template? YES / NO