Active Learning: 5 Tips for Implementing the Approach — from techlearning.com by Erik Ofgang
Active learning provides ways to get your students engaged without needing to revamp how you teach.

Excerpts:

However, neither listening to a lecture or reading a textbook is the most efficient way to learn or what active learning is truly about. “What exactly do we mean by active learning?” Deslauriers says.  “We mean that first, you have to be engaged. Obviously, that’s number one. Number two, you have to be engaged productively. And number three, the productivity has to be toward a goal that is deemed worthwhile*.”

— Louis Deslauriers, Director of Science Teaching and Learning
in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University


From DSC:
I appreciated seeing/reading this solid article. Just a couple of reflections and highlights here…


* But worthwhile for whom? For the faculty members? The teachers? The trainers? Or for the learners, the students, or the employees? Where is agency here? Where does more choice and control come into play here? Where’s the motivation for me to learn something if someone keeps telling me what’s important to THEM? What’s relevant to THEM? Why should I care about this topic? How is it relevant? How will it help me get a job and/or make a positive difference in this world? Can I choose how deep I want to dive in?

Later…Deslauriers goes on to make a great point when urging a pause for students to practice some metacognition:

  • Does this make sense to me?
  • How is this relevant? <– DSC: There it is.
  • Does it connect with something I already know? And if so, how do I integrate with what I already know?
  • What sort of questions do I have right now?
  • Can I repeat what the instructor just did? Or is it going to require a lot of practice?

“There’s no way you can undergo these mental processes when someone keeps talking,”  Deslauriers says. But if educators pause during their lectures and encourage this type of focus, they can help their students learn more efficiently.


 Instructors can hand out electronic clickers, use web-based tools such as Google forms, or even go completely low-tech by giving color-coded cards to students that correspond to different answers. 


Also see:

 

The Story is in the Structure: A Multi-Case Study of Instructional Design Teams — from the Online Learning Consortium by Jason Drysdale (other articles here)

Excerpt:

Given the results of this study, it is recommended that institutions that are restructuring or building new instructional design teams implement centralized structures with academic reporting lines for their teams. The benefits of both centralization and academic reporting lines are clear: better advocacy and empowerment, better alignment with the pedagogical work of both designers and faculty, and less role misperception for instructional designers. Structuring these teams toward empowerment and better definitions of their roles as pedagogy experts may help them sustain their leadership on the initiatives they led, to great effect, during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study also revealed the importance of three additional structural elements: appropriate instructional design staffing for the size and scale of the institution, leadership experience with instructional design, and positional parity with faculty.

Also see:

A Practitioner's Guide to Instructional Design in Higher Education

 

Top 300 Tools for Learning 2021 [Hart]

Top 300 Tools for Learning 2021 — from toptools4learning.com by Jane Hart

Excerpt:

2021 was the YEAR OF DISRUPTION! There were a substantial number of new tools nominated this year so the main list has now been extended to 300 tools to accommodate them, and each of the 3 sub-lists has been increased to 150 tools. Although the top of this year’s list is relatively stable, there is quite bit of movement of tools on the rest of the list, and the effect of the new tools has been to push other established tools down – if not off the list altogether. Further analysis of the list appears in the right-hand column of the table below.

This table shows the overall rankings as well as the rankings on the 3 sub-lists: Top 150 Tools for Personal Learning (PL150), the Top 150 Tools for Workplace Learning (WL150) and the Top 150 Tools for Education (ED150). NEW tools are shaded YELLOW, tools coming BACK on the list are shaded GREEN. The most popular context in which each tool is used is also highlighted in BLUE.  Click on a tool name to find out more about it.

 


Top 300 Tools for Learning 2021 -- from Jane Hart


 

 
 

10 Ways You Can Use Podcasts in Your Course to Engage Students — from barbihoneycutt.com by Barbi Honeycutt, Ph.D.

Excerpt:

Have you used podcasts in your courses yet? If not, you might want to consider it! Podcasts can be an excellent tool to add to your lesson to enhance a message, present more in-depth perspectives, and offer a different medium for students to engage with the course content.

And, podcasts are popular! There are more than 630,000 podcasts representing a variety of topics: current issues, education, writing, research, science, leadership, politics, management, business, skill development, hobbies, etc. The list just goes on and on.

I’m almost positive there is at least one episode in one podcast somewhere you could integrate into your course. And if there isn’t, then you and your students could create one!

 
 

For recalculating those due dates out there: timeanddate.com — with thanks to Lisa Smith at the WMU-Cooley Law School for this resource; Lisa showed how this was used with Cidi Labs Multi-Tool to batch change dates and times within Canvas

Days Calculator -- calculating days between two dates

From DSC:
Along the lines of time and tools for the classroom…I also find classroomscreen.com helpful in providing some solid timers.

classroomscreen.com

 

Thinking Full-Speed Ahead at Instructure’s Future of Education Collaborative — from campustechnology.com by Mary Grush
A Q&A with FIU Online’s Maikel Alendy

Excerpt:

Maikel Alendy: Our director of learning design and innovation at FIU Online, Gaby Alvarez, likes to use a word that I think was foundational to our strategy to navigate learning through the pandemic — that word is ecosystem.

Our approach, like many, was to leverage Canvas and Zoom, but we had a few processes in place that gave us really a big head start. First, we had piloted Zoom years before and had already rolled out Zoom Pro accounts for all FIU faculty and students. Of course, the initial adoption was nominal. Usage was fine for “BC” (Before COVID) instruction. Still, it was helpful, once in the pandemic, that we already had support materials and some awareness of the tools.

 

 

From DSC:
As I was traveling down one of the local roads the other day, the thought reoccurred to me …that driving along a road is such an apt metaphor for this idea of using the terms “learning objectives” and “learning outcomes.”

I’m going down the same road.

I can look ahead to see where I want to go. But that doesn’t mean that I’m for sure going to get there. That’s where I’m heading and I hope that I will get there, but several things will need to go right.

OR…I can look in the rearview mirror of my car and see where I’ve already been….what’s already taken place. I’ve already passed such and such a point (or points).

I can see where I've been by looking in the rearview mirror -- or I can look ahead to see what I'm traveling towards

That is, I can’t talk about learning outcomes if I’m just getting on the road. At that point, I can talk about where I hope to go (i.e., my learning objectives), but I can’t talk about my learning outcomes until I’ve been traveling for a while.

Where this gets muddy/tricky is when we discuss entire programs. Then the term “learning outcomes” is often used. I get that — it makes sense at that level of things. But if we are talking about an individual course as seen in Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard Learn, etc…then it makes more sense to me to continue to use the phrase “Learning Objectives.”

 

Elaboration Strategies That Benefit Learning — from theelearningcoach.com by Connie Malamed

Excerpt:

Although retrieval practice and spaced learning may be more well-known, elaboration is an instructional strategy worth our attention. Elaboration strategies refer to the many ways of connecting prior knowledge to what someone has newly learned. This has the potential to make the new material more memorable and meaningful.

We all know that new learning requires a foundation of prior knowledge. Elaboration techniques give people opportunities to make the connections stronger. In the book Make It Stick, the authors write, “The more you can explain about the way your new learning relates to your prior knowledge, the stronger your grasp of the new learning will be, and the more connections you create that will help you remember it later.” (Listen to my conversation with one of the authors of Make It Stick.)

 

What Is Instructional Scaffolding? — from edtechreview.in by Saniya Khan

Excerpt:

Scaffolding is a bridge used to build on what the students already know to get to something they do not know. If the scaffold is properly administered, it will act as a facilitator, not an enabler” (Benson, 1997).

The process of Scaffolding is based on Lev Vygotsky’s concept of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). This is the distance between what children can do by themselves and the next learning when they can be helped to achieve with competent assistance. Vygotsky said, “children who can perform their tasks at a particular cognitive level in cooperation and collaboration with others and with adults will be able to perform at a higher level. And this difference between the two levels is the child’s Zone of Proximal Development”. He defined scaffolding instruction as the “role of teachers and others in supporting the learner’s development and providing support structures to get to the next stage or level.”

 

IU researchers introduce ambitious new model for large-scale research on student learning — from news.iu.edu

Excerpt:

“The main conclusion of the study — to the great surprise of many teachers — is that there is no overall effect of feedback timing that spans all learning environments,” said Fyfe, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. “The findings should provide some comfort to teachers. If they take a few days to return feedback, there is no evidence that the delay will hamper their students’ progress, and in some cases, the delay might even be helpful.”

From DSC:
I must admit that I publish this with some hesitation, as I’m a big fan of personalized, customized feedback. I just hope that study doesn’t stop or reduce faculty members from providing such valuable feedback.

Also see:

The Science of Studying Student Learning at Scale — podcast and transcript — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly; with Emily Fyfe and Ben Motz at Indiana University

Excerpt:

MOTZ: So ManyClasses is really an attempt to try and expand the scope of research so that what we’re doing in asking a question of how people learn, is expanding beyond the boundaries of any single classroom, really aiming at developing inferences that could generalize beyond that narrow scope, but also that might be able to identify where a practice might have benefits.

FYFE: …I think when we are thinking of ManyClasses as a research team, we’re thinking of it as a new gold standard for how to conduct scientific research in classrooms

And so ManyClasses is a model for sort of combining the rigor of these randomized experiments within these authentic settings. And the goal is to sort of, as Ben said, to do this across many classes, so that we’re not just running one experiment, but we’re replicating it across all of these different authentic educational settings. And so really, at the heart of it, ManyClasses is a new model for conducting research in educational settings.

 
 

5 Considerations for Class Size in Online Asynchronous Courses — from onlinelearningconsortium.org by Rebecca A. Thomas, Ph.D.

Excerpt:

The following are important considerations related to class sizes in online courses that are part of higher education degree programs. This content is a result of a research study conducted by the Oregon State University Ecampus Research Unit, where I currently work as a Postdoctoral Scholar. We have published this study as an academic article in the inaugural issue of the Northwest eLearning Journal, and presented at the 2021 OLC Innovate conference. While I encourage you to reference the manuscript and presentation to learn more specifically about our research, the following are key take-aways that my team has gained from our analyses, the literature review, and conversations we have had with diverse stakeholder groups related to online class size.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian