Design for Learning
Learning is an active, cumulative process of knowledge-building, including the attitudes, values and skills that help students develop graduate attributes.
This phase is about ensuring that your teaching practice is responsive to the context. This is about yourself as a teacher, understanding your students, the SU environment, the national HE context, South Africa and beyond.1 of 6
Outcomes are the end goals of the learning process. They are formulated to describe the result of student learning at the end of the learning opportunities. This is not about content but rather about the concepts and underlying principles of the field of study.2 of 6
Assessment is about how well your students achieve the intended learning outcomes. This is not about them reporting back what you have taught them, but rather about how well they demonstrate their understanding of the key concepts and underlying principles of their field of study.3 of 6
Learning is about what the students do, not about what you do as the teacher. Your role is to design learning opportunities that engage students and enable them to access disciplinary knowledge.4 of 6
This is where you consider whether you have achieved what you had set out to achieve with your module.5 of 6 YOU ARE HERE 6 of 6
Learning is an active, cumulative process of knowledge-building, including the attitudes, values and skills that help students develop graduate attributes. The facilitation of meaningful learning, therefore, implies the creation of learning opportunities that will support knowledge-building. Knowledge goes beyond disciplinary content, however. It also includes the principles, concepts, procedures and practices underpinning how knowledge is constructed within and across disciplines.
Actively engaging students in the learning process is an important prerequisite for knowledge building, and is essential for meaningful learning. Engagement can occur through the implementation of various strategies, such as active learning, cooperative learning, collaborative learning, service learning, problem-based learning, group work or group projects, and research-based learning (inquiry). The level of engagement created by the learning opportunities is linked to the stated learning outcomes.
Learning opportunities can be designed for student-student, student-lecturer and student-content engagement, and could take place F2F or via technology. Consult the article “Pedagogies of engagement: classroom-based practices” by Smith et al. (2005) for more background and information.
Design for Learning
Learning is described as an active, cumulative process of knowledge building. Facilitation of meaningful learning therefore implies the creation of learning opportunities that will support the building of knowledge. Engaging students actively in their own learning process is an important pre-requisite for such knowledge building.
Dale’s cone of learning or retention gives a concise summary of how much we remember based on our level of engagement. The level of engagement created by the learning opportunities is linked to the stated outcomes. Outcomes on the level of knowledge and understanding might lead to low levels of recall based on limited engagement while outcomes on the higher cognitive levels might lead to more active teaching and learning engagement which could lead to higher levels of recall.
Student engagement is essential for meaningful learning. Engagement can happen through the implementation of various strategies e.g. active learning, cooperative learning, collaborative learning, service learning, problem-based learning, group work or group projects, research (inquiry) based learning.
The article (see below) entitled Pedagogies of engagement: classroom-based practices by Smith, Sheppard, Johnson and Johnson (2005) gives more background and information. Various methods or techniques can also be implemented to elicit interaction.
Pedagogies of Engagement
In their ground breaking paper on Pedagogies of Engagement, Smith et al (2007) states that: “Educators, researchers, and policy makers have advocated student involvement for some time as an essential aspect of meaningful learning.” They speak about the work done in Engineering, where several means of improving student engagement in undergraduate courses, “including active and cooperative learning, learning communities, service learning, cooperative education, inquiry and problem-based learning, and team projects” have been used. The paper “focuses on classroom-based pedagogies of engagement, particularly cooperative and problem-based learning. [It] includes a brief history, theoretical roots, research support, summary of practices, and suggestions for redesigning engineering classes and programs to include more student engagement. It also lays out the research ahead for advancing pedagogies aimed at more fully enhancing students’ involvement in their learning”, and is a worthwhile read on the topic.
Types of interaction
Through extensive research, Chickering and Gamson (1987) identified seven principles that can improve undergraduate education.
Based on their research, good practice in undergraduate education:
- Watch a video
- Do a play
- Draw a filmstrio
- make a poster
- Make a presentation
- Look at each other’s notes
- Complete a questionnaire
- Write an abstract / conclusion
- Peer assessment
- Formulate questions for the test
- Interview somebody
- Complete an e-portfolio
- Find information on the internet
- Service learning
- Site visit
- Read something
- Find an article in a newspaper/magazine
- Discuss with colleagues
- Write something in their own words
- Make a summary
- Give and example
- Group discussion
- Self assessment
- Do an assignment
- Write a test
- Write a blog
- Comment on a piece of work
- Draw up a memo
- Build a model
- Online discussion
- Clickers (after discussing idea, show results on board)
- Oral exams
- Self-study on topic (answer questions)
- Proposal writing (for own practicals)
- Problem-based case studies
- On-line questionnaire (e.g. on SunLearn)
- Students setting own tests that counts
- Peer-evaluation (of written essays)
- Projects / project presentations
- Run the practical
- Group test (write test in groups of two)
- Group work (students give each other marks)
- Buddy-rating system
- Give students rubric, they assess own work, then lecturer
Lecture: The lecture is still the most utilised method for teaching and learning at SU. If a conventional lecture is presented the question is how to make it more effective. The flipped classroom technique can perhaps be used. Links to resources on other ideas and suggestions can be found below: