Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rethinking Pedagogy - First four chapters

As I mentioned in a previous post the publishers of the Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age have asked me to give suggestions on changes for the second edition. This is the first proper post looking at this.

In this post I am briefly going to look that the first four chapters. So here goes:

Learning and e-learning - The role of theory by Terry Mayes and Sara de Freitas 
This chapter looks at the place of learning theory in e-learning. It introduces the reader to three perspectives on learning theory - assocationist, cognitive, situative - which is useful. I think perhaps more on this is warranted as a lot of e-learning researchers find it hard to understand all the various learning theories and how they sit with each other. The authors introduce the idea that each perspective has its place in the learning cycle. It would be great if there could be a diagram included to depict the learning theory perspectives. Also a diagram on the learning cycle would be good in the second edition. 

An Approach to Learning Activity Design by Helen Beetham
This chapter considers the design of learning activities. A learning activity can be defined in terms of learning outcomes, learners, digital resources and technology, and interaction with others. This is a good concise chapter that captures the key aspects of a learning activity.

Designing Courses for e-Learning by Rhona Sharpe and Martin Oliver
This chapter takes a macro view of course design whereas the previous chapter takes the micro view looking at learning activity design. The chapter begins with looking at approaches to course design and the problems with using learning outcomes and constructive alignment where 'assessment always defines the curriculum' and learning outcomes become essentially a straight jacket for the learner. The chapter then looks at models for course design. To be honest I would have liked a lot more detail here - each model could be a chapter on its own. This chapter also notes that its not by virtue of any pedagogical affordances that technology is integrated into course design - its by necessity to deal with some of the challenges in the classroom like growing class sizes. The chapter finishes with a brief outline of how to go about course redesign. This chapter is a key one for me and I would like to see a lot more detail in two areas - the models for course design and on the process of course redesign - perhaps new chapters for the second edition?

Practices and Processes of Design for Learning by Liz Masterman and Mira Vogel
This chapter looks at what e-learning designers are actually doing in the field in designing courseware and learning activities. The chapter draws on 3 JISC funded projects one of which is centered around the tool support provided by LAMS. The chapter looks at how learning designs can be represented. The goal of this should be the sharing of good learning design, which the authors look at in one of the final sections. I think if this chapter was more generic, not discussing LAMS so much, it would be much improved.

That's it for the first four chapters. I should have the next four in a week or so. 

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