Teaching and Learning Activities
Online learning and teaching methodologies
Behaviourist approaches to learning
Behaviourism equates learning with observation. You are creating a learning environment which exacts changes in behaviour, where students often learn skills one at a time, after having previously been shown or delivered the learning.
Generally, behaviourist learning is constructed with a model which introduces the content, gets students to practise or apply that learning, and then reflect on that learning.
Most of our learning content reflects the following ICARE model.
K. Anagnostopoulos 2002. "Designing to learn and learning to design: an overview of instructional design models"
Constructivist approaches to learning
Constructivism is the process whereby learners construct their own knowledge and understanding, based on their personal interpretation. In this model you would not usually present the student with delivered learning content; instead you would provide opportunities for the student to create their own conclusions, solve problems themselves, and identify knowledge, skills and learning points from those conclusions and solutions.
Generally, constructivist learning follows the experiential model of learning.
CREES, 1992. Curriculum Development for Issues Programming: A National Handbook for Extension Youth Development Professionals, Washington, D.C.
Applying these methodologies to online learning
When following the ICARE model:
Connect/Content – Apply – Reflect
This is then translated into the following design depending on the type of learning employed:
The premise of this model is that the theory and concepts of the topic are presented to the student using pre-prepared material with the tutor absent, and the tutor is then 'present' during the activities which demonstrate application of the knowledge and understanding (primary giving feedback and moderating peer-led discussions).
This model is heavy in advance preparation, but allows the tutor to concentrate on activities and feedback during the delivery of the content. Remember to design activities to be time efficient whilst allowing for a variety of feedback.
Problem-based learning topics present students with a problem which allow the students to discover the theories, concepts and applications by themselves rather than being delivered. This methodology often uses groupwork – so please allow for the timezones and other commitments of your students.
For problem-based learning, you would design:
• The problem and how to present it
• A collaboration area for students
• A resource area for students to utilise to explore relevant concepts
• A way for students to present their solution and share with other students.
This model supports work-based learning, where the academic creates the framework that a student must fill out during their study period. Often this model is characterised by the production of a reflective portfolio demonstrating the application of concepts and theories in real-life situations.
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