Designing Learning Environments for a Digital Age - Tony Bates #eden16

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Thompson Rivers University 22 February, 2011 THE DIGITAL FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE

EDEN 2016 Annual Conference

Re-imaging Learning EnvironmentsBudapest, 15 June, 2016DESIGNING LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS FOR A DIGITAL AGEDr. Tony Bates,Research Associate, Contact North Distinguished Visiting ProfessorThe Raymond D. Chang School of Continuing Education, Ryerson University1

Learnercharacter-istics

Content

Skills

Resources

Assess-ment

Learner support

Culture

OutlineThe learning demands of a digital ageLearning as development and growthKey components of an effective learning environmentCourse design and learning environments2

Demands of a digital economy

Resource-based/energyManufacturing

Health/educationIT/media/entertainmentRetail/financial/servicesKnowledge-based componentWhere will the jobs be?

421st century skillscommunication skillsindependent learningethics/responsibilityteamwork and flexibilitythinking skills (critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity)IT skills embedded in subject areaknowledge management4

Learning and knowledge

What is knowledge?How does learning occur?Analogies:knowledge as coal (objectivist)knowledge as developmental (constructivist), e.g. heatTeaching as gardening: creating the right environment

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Questions

Do either of these analogies work for you?Are they helpful in thinking of teaching and learning?Can you think of a better analogy to describe learning or knowledge?

6

Alternative learning environments7

Nature as a learning environment

Military trainingOnline courseCan you think of others?

Technology-focused learning environments8

User-centered design: Peter Morvilles UX Honeycomb

A personal learning environmentimage: Janson Hews, Flikr

Technology and learning environments9Technology provides different contexts for learning environments, e.g.Learning management systemsVirtual worlds (e.g. Second Life)Personal learning environmentsThese contexts still need to be filled with the components of a learning environment: teachers responsibility

Many possible learning environments

The campus or schoolOnline courseExperience (work, family, life)(online) personal learning environments (technology)All need certain common elements that support learning

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One learning environment from a teachers perspectiveC

Learner character-istics

learn-ing contexts

learners goals

prior know-ledge

diversity

Digital natives?

Content

structure

sources

quantity/depth

activities

Content goals

Skills

thinking activities

discussion

practical activities

skills goals

facilities

tech-nology

my time

Resources

assis-tantsAssess-ment

projects

E-portfolios

essays

tests

Learner support

feedback

counselling

scaffol-ding

other studentsCulture

Content and skillsContent = facts, ideas, principles: knowingSkills = understanding, analysing, evaluating, applying: doingBoth necessary in todays societyBUT: content has been the traditional priority in HE12

Content and/or skills

We know a lot about how to teach skills:Context-specificLearners need lots of practice Small stepsRegular feedback from expert13

Content and/or skills

How do you develop skills? What teaching methods?Relationship between content and skillsWhat role can technology play in developing and assessing skills?What do we assess and how?14

Content and skills

Skills = teaching methodsDiscussion, social learning for testing and developing ideasExperiential learning: learning by doingCommunities of practiceCompetency-based learningProblem-based learningKnowledge management16

Culture and learning environmentsCulture = dominant values/beliefs that influence decision-makingResidential schools; public boarding schools; elite universitiesDifficult for an individual to changeOnline learning environments = opportunity to create new culturesWhat values and beliefs are important in your learning environ.?

17

Learnercharacter-istics

Content

Skills

Resources

Assess-ment

Learner support

Culture

Culture and learning environmentsMy values in teaching an online course:Student collaboration/mutual respectOpen-ness to differing viewsEvidence based argument/reasoningStrong instructor presence/learner supportMaking explicit subject epistemologyThe integrity of the learner

18

Learnercharacter-istics

Content

Skills

Resources

Assess-ment

Learner support

Culture

Learning environments and course design19Necessary but not sufficientStill need good course designempathycompetence (e.g. subject knowledge)imagination to create contextthe learners have to do the learningenvironment creates conditions for success

From learning environments to course design20

Learnercharacter-istics

Content

Skills

Resources

Assess-ment

Learner support

CultureADDIE: Design processCreating an effective learning environment

graduate pre-service professionals core skill: knowledge managementopen content within a learning designstudent-generated multimedia content: online project workassessment by e-portfolios21Advanced online course design

Learnercharacter-istics

Content

Skills

Resources

Assess-ment

Learner support

Culture

New teaching approachesfrom information transmission to knowledge managementskills development + contentlecture-based courses replaced by student projects, problem-based learning, collaborative learninggoodbye written exams: replaced by e-portfolios demonstrating students knowledge/skills22

New faculty rolesTeaching performance will be a major competitive advantageInstructors need pedagogical knowledge + technology skillsRequires pre-service + in-service training + tenure/promotion rewardLearning technology support (instructional designers + media designers) + team-work

23

ConclusionsDigital economy requires high-level intellectual skillsTeaching methods must include opportunities for skills developmentTechnology enables more flexible delivery and ways to practice skillsBut all within a specifically designed learning environment that supports learners

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Questions25Is thinking about what constitutes an effective learning environment helpful?What other components would you add?Could you design an effective learning environment for your own courses? What would it look like?Other comments and questions

Learnercharacter-istics

Content

Skills

Resources

Assess-ment

Learner support

Culture

26Teaching in a Digital Age: https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/Blog: Online Learning and Distance Education Resources: http://www.tonybates.ca/E-mail: tony.bates@ubc.ca