Thursday, March 24, 2016

Engaging New Learning Environments

As some of you know, I am now working full-time at SLC developing an End of Life Care Program.  As part of that I am developing learning opportunities that are both online and face-to-face.  To help me get a grip on this I am taking an online course called #BlendKit2016, to help me learn about course development and to develop my own practice in this new learning environment.  So this is my first reaction blog to a 5 week course that will end next week.  As a learner I am finding that I am able to put off doing online work almost indefinitely.  This is important self-reflection for designing for students who may be like me -- late middle-aged, abundantly degreed, easily bored.

Anyway.  The most striking statement in the first chapter of readings was to "Begin with relevant metaphors for learning" (Thompson, ed., Reader BlendKit Learning Toolkit,, p. 9).  To me this is the second starting place.  The first is the "relevant metaphors" for learners.  Individual need is highly valued in the theorizing so far.  This is important but I am equally concerned about building learning community and how adults, especially, come together to learn and solve problems. Transmission of information is important, and addressing barriers to learning for individuals is the obvious task of any teacher.  So I will reflect on these two metaphors and get back to you.

In the case study #2 the chart on critical design decisions is immensely helpful, as is the description of studio-based instruction. Both case studies used a similar design strategy, beginning with "learning and teaching principles" (p. 10), suggesting what is specific to the field or discipline, choosing the learning technology that fits the field, the setting, the teaching capacity and the principles, and then describing how online and face-to-face will interact and complement each other.

There.  I did my assignment.

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