Here is the info about the next face to face workshop on 23 May.

Everyone can choose to come to one of two sessions: 9-12pm (H608) OR 1 - 4 pm (H206A).

Programme for the day

Instructional Design (educational design)
There is a very good article about instructional design (ID) on Wikipedia. I like the introduction to the article: "Instructional design is the practice of arranging media to help learners and teachers transfer knowledge most effectively."

The article is useful as there is a description about the history of ID which started with wartime training and moved into business and industrial training and mastery models. Design and the presentation of materials then became popular and studies found that the format of learning materials did influence performance of learners. There was a number of years where ID leaned heavily towards materials designed for computer-based learning and the influences which media had on learning.

There has now been a move towards cognitive load theory "defined by Sweller (1988) who states that optimum learning occurs in humans when the load on working memory is kept to a minimum to best facilitate the changes in long term memory."

In other words we shouldn't be overloading our learners with unnecessary content, and we should be using the most effective means to present the content. For example why describe a chair when you can show a picture of a chair. The use of "chunking" can prevent overload. Also interesting and relevant learning activities are more likely to promote engagement with content than wads of text i.e. lecture notes.

Instructional design was historically steeped in behavioural (observable changes) and cognitive (thinking processes) psychology. Information about instructional design and learning theory as well as clarification about the difference between a theory and a model is covered in an article called: Instructional design and learning theory.

More detail about the programme
At the start, we will have a brief catch up about what you have been doing, and then look at some examples of flexible learning in action. We will also be talking about models of educational design which you can use in your planning. Leigh, Terry and I all have a slightly different focus, so there is sure to be something which you think is relevant to your area of interest.

Issues and considerations (fish hooks) for your learners will also be a focus for the day as they need to be thought about when designing a plan.

I would also like to spend 20 minutes going over use of the reflective framework for writing in your blogs; we will have a practice run using the template (I will bring this along).

Preparation for 23 May: Now here's the thing. We would like you to think about who your learners are before they start your course, and who you want them to be (graduate profile). Prepare something tangible - a list, a concept map (see example), the audio interview with an actual student. It would be great if you could all have a go at interviewing someone. It only needs to be a few minutes. Examples of profiles are on Blackboard.

Prepare your learner and graduate profiles and bring them along or post to your blog or the Blackboard Discussion Forum called: Learner|Graduate Profile.

How to go about doing the interview: You could have a short conversation with them. Here are some things you might like to find out to build a profile about them.
  • Do they prefer to study full-time or part-time.
  • What helps them as a student with their learning - e.g. access to a computer, family support, other students, interaction f2f with teachers.
  • Ask about learning styles (reader/writer, kinaesthetic, audio/visual, reflective/active etc.) and preferences (lectures, self-directed, group work, individual etc).
  • Do they have to work to support themselves.
  • Are they studying in the workplace.
  • Is their course vocational - trade, profession, arts etc.
  • Do they need offsite access to learning materials?
  • Have they come from school or have they been in the work force?
  • Do they travel to campus?
  • Do they have a disability, language needs, children, other committments e.g. sport, art, job.
Pick a few things to focus on and have a chat with them using some loosly structured questions or just let them ramble. It would be great if you could get this.If they don't want others to hear the recording you could use the information anyway for the Learner Profile you need to prepare.

It is much easier to design a relevant plan for flexible learning if you prepare a profile.

See you all Wednesday.


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