04. August 2010 · Comments Off on Why should I learn that? · Categories: educationaldesign, My personal learning journey
warning label by nerissa's ring CC (by)

"Warning Label" by Nerissa's Ring CC (by)

I’ve been doing some thinking around engagement lately. My own engagement in online tools. Educators and why or why not they might or might not want to try new tools and techniques (online or otherwise). How to translate face to face training and resources into online activities and experiences that help learners apply learning.

Part of my new role at Bright Cookie (yes, I’m back in the education sector and happy to be back)  is translating learning materials used in face to face instruction into online learning experiences in the Moodle environment. In researching this, I came across a 2003 paper by Ron Oliver titled “Factors impeding instructional design and the choice of learning designs in online courses”. One point that stood out for me was that in order to write meaningful learning objectives for an online course – you need to put the knowledge you wish to impart into context.

So, if the aim of a particular course is for learners to be able to do something concrete at the end of it – then the learning objectives for the various modules should be tied back to that overall outcome. An objective that is stated as “gain a better understanding of X” is not useful – even in a purely academic discipline (at least in my humble opinion). An objective stated in terms of how to apply that understanding to the ultimate aim of the course is far more valuable both to the learners (because they see the point in learning what you’re dishing out) and to the e-learning design process because there is a clear path to construct activities that enable learners to attempt application of the knowledge and receive feedback.

In academic study, I think there is still validity in considering learning objectives that are purpose-driven beyond just creating an understanding of a topic.  I recently read a book on eight major world religions titled “God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World–and Why Their Differences Matter” by Boston University Religion Professor Stephen Prothero. Hey, just the title alone is a great hook. He doesn’t leave it at what you’re going to learn — he tells you there’s a reason to find out.  I became intrigued based on an interview of his with Jon Stewart.

I didn’t read it simply to pick up knowledge – I had several reasons it was of enough interest for me to traipse down to Borders and pay for it (it wasn’t out on Kindle).  No matter what I choose to learn, I do it in order to be able to DO something with that knowledge.  What about you?

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