One step further: Type of Learning Activities

While driving today, I got some refinement to the idea I presented earlier. This came as a result of some discussion with Ann about her Program Concept restructure. My new idea relates to Blooms Taxonomy. Traditional learning program structure suggests that programs should have objectives. Courses should have a set of objectives that align with the program objectives. The course objectives should use the right frame: an action verb, a quantifiable criteria and an environmental condition. Google Bloom for more details.

My idea builds up on this concept and suggests assigning to each course objective an activity type that comes from one or more of these categorizes:

1. Behavior: is an activity that involves a behavior change based on the instructor’s value set. Examples: soldiers in an army, medical interns, religious followers, wiki users.
2. Experience: is an activity that enhances the knowledge and or skills of the person. Example: learning Math formulas, laws of physics, Social Studies facts, Wiki tools and rules.
3. Creation: is an activity that encourages a student to create their own knowledge. It is experiential activities that creates personal knowledge. Examples: (TBC)
4. Networking: is an activity that that encourages students to create preset knowledge based on group interaction. Examples: brainstorming.
5. Bohemic: is a free form networking activity that allows the group interaction to create new knowledge which does not conform to a predetermined structure.

These are progressive activities. Carrying any higher activity embeds activities from the lowers ones. For example, creation activity includes behavior and and Experience activities.

As you can tell, the terminology have evolved from the previous post. I assume it will continue to evolve as the idea matures.

The next 2 steps:
(1) Create a set of action verb that could be used for each category and a set of classroom and online activities that could be used with each type.
(2) Relate the action verb and sample activities to online courses.

Detect language » Arabic

Detect language » Arabic

Detect language » Arabic


Detect language » Arabic

Detect language » Arabic

New Idea: How to determine if a course is onlineable?

I was preparing for a workshop about online training. The audience were teachers who never created an online material. I was wondering how can I tell them that not all courses could be converted to online courses. Then, an epiphany came. It is simple and based on known theories. But its uses are limitless.

The idea is to classify every course objectives into one or more of the following:
1- Behavior: if the objective encourages behavioral change.
2- Information: if the objective focuses on acquiring information.
3- Constructive: if the objective entices the learner to create their own knowledge.
4- Networking: if the objective aims at building knowledge through communicating with others.
5- Rhizomatic: if the activity is …

oops… my son is calling be to drop him at work… I will continue later…

TEDx: An effective Teacher must be less helpful

Watch Dan Meyer video (11 min). He is advocating teaching Math in a new way where students define the problem. One interesting outcome he suggests is that teachers should be “less helpful”… How can being less helpful more effective in teaching!? Could this concept be applied in subjects other than Math? What are your thoughts?

Anas’ KWL

I have uploaded my KWL chart in Bubbl.us format on my site because EDDL 514 blog system does not support embedding. Let me know your thoughts by commenting here.

Michelle/Tracy: Is Bibbl.us format acceptable or do you still want me to publish a tabular form?

Berge’s Types of Interactions: Add Intrapersonal Interaction

Berge (1995) identified 2 types of interactions in learning: interactions with content and interpersonal interactions. I think we need to add a third one: intrapersonal interaction (i.e. self-reflection) since reflection is an essential learning activity that leads to understanding and appreciation (Boud, 1985; Schön, 1991). Otherwise, we will limit the learning to rote learning!

As such, I would like to paraphrase Berge’s statement to read:

An educator designs a course that is to promote higher order learning, such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, rather than rote memorization, it becomes important to provide an environment in which [the three] kinds of interaction [interaction with content, interpersonal interaction and intrapersonal interaction] can occur. (Berge, 1995, p.22).

Our online courses, like our classroom delivery, should include e-tivities that intice self-reflection as well as presenting suitable content and facilities for interactions among individuals.

Your thoughts?

References:

Berge, Z.L. (1995). Facilitating Computer Conferencing: Recommendations From the Field. Educational Technology. 35(1) 22-30.

Boud, D., Keogh, R. Walker, D., (1985). Reflection: Turning Experience into Learning, Routledge Imprints.

Schön, D. A. (1991) The Reflective Turn: Case Studies In and On Educational Practice, New York: Teachers Press, Columbia University.

Autopilot Mode

We live our life in Autopilot mode. This is when we allow our subconscious to take the lead. Some call it gut feeling. Other call it irrational behaviour. But most of us spend 90% of our life in the mode.

What is the other mode? The conscious mode. The reflective move. I call it, the Learning Mode. It is when our brain is analyzing and reflecting on a concept using brain power.

The autopilot mode is driven by controlling instincts. Like an airoplane that is in autopilot mode, is driven bu software and external triggers. Our learning should be a chance to program the drivers of the autopilot mode… what I call controlling instincts.

Learning Desire

I was asked:

For learning to take place do we have to have a teacher? Customized teaching or customized presentation of information for student acquisition?

I replied:

No… we do not need a teacher to learn. Learning is an individualized process. Except for Pavlov approaches, there is nothing that can make us learn except us. This is why I believe that the only thing a teacher can do is ignite the desire to learn (i.e switch to learning mode) and offer the right environment for the individual to learn on their own (i.e the experience and information). Once the student becomes in the “learning mode”, she will interact with the teacher and other individuals to clarify the vague idea while building up her knowledge.

Igniting the desire to learn happens instantaneously when the topic aligns with the individual’s personal intelligence, talent and values. This is what happens with life-long learners!

Knowledge, Talent and Intelligence

In my last article, I mentioned that learning is the process of creating knowledge through personalizing information. Then I touched on talent and intelligence. This morning, I was thinking if the created knowledge persevere. I though not. Then, I started thinking about knowledge on demand which is creating the knowledge as needed and discarding it when it is not! This lead me to think: what is the knowledge that is retained. Reflecting on myself, I discovered that I retain the knowledge that interests me. I discard the other. Then I thought what interests me. I concluded that my talent (set of strengths) and the set of my intelligence (according to MI) determines my interest. Then I recognized that my values and controling instincts have roles to play. This made me come up with the following theory:

Learning is the process of converting information to knowledge. Retaining knowledge is another process that relates to intelligence and talent. It requires a name. Applying the retained knowledge requires a third process (that needs to be named!). Consistently applying the knowledge is the geniusity!

Data > Information > Knowledge > *retained knowledge* > *applied knowledge* > *the knowledge becomes controlling*

This theory needs more work. I need to find terms for the missing names from the literature. I need to relate talent/intelligence/values to it. I need more readings.

Customizing Teaching for Personalized Learning

Philosophy Statements about Teaching and Learning, v. 4.1

I. Abstract

In my opinion, the best instruction is the 1-1 approach. Not in the traditional sense where a teacher teaches one student. This is not feasible using traditional teaching methods. In an ideal teaching scenario, the learners need to have “customized”, “personalized” and “individualized” teaching that caters for their learning style and talent through the innovative use of technology in all its facets. This applies in the face-to-face setting as well as online teaching.

II. Concepts and Values

This post highlights the set of values and definitions that governs my philosophy about teaching and learning. It includes a set of practices I follow when designing as well as delivering my courses, whether face-to-face or online.

Role of Teachers: Following Entwisted (1990) line of thought, I believe that the primary professional responsibility of teachers, trainers and online courses is to maximise the learning opportunities of their learners. Some would use the term “facilitator” but I still like to use the traditional term, teacher, with added contemporary connotations.

Learning, Information and Knowledge: Information, knowledge and their relation to learning is one of the vaguest concepts in the literature (Fox, 1991). Harris supplied the definition which is closest to my heart:

“knowledge is private, while information is public. Knowledge, therefore, cannot be communicated; only information can be shared. Whenever an attempt to communicate knowledge is made, it is translated into information, which other learners can choose to absorb and transform into knowledge, if they so desire” (Harris, 1995, p.1)

According to this description, I believe that learning is the process of personalizing information and experience thus creating knowledge. Collective knowledge includes skills, attitudes and beliefs. Teachers’ role is to create the desire in the learner to absorb and transform the information and experience into their own knowledge.

Assessment: is defined as “the process of documenting, usually in measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs” (Wikipedia, Assessment). I believe that this definition mixes up between knowledge and information. In my courses, I like to define assessment as “the process of documenting, usually in qualitative terms, the incremental knowledge attained during the teaching process”. How to do this? I have few ideas that I hope will be firmed in version 5 of my philosophy.

Curriculum: I like to categories the curriculum into two types: the regulated curriculum where outcomes are clearly quantified and regulated (like army training, government regulated courses, professional tests) and free-form curriculum where the outcomes depends on the learners’ achievement within clear guidelines (example: art classes, architecture and medicine). I believe courses in the regulated curriculum address learning at the information level. Free form courses tackle the learning at the knowledge level. Each of these two types requires different teaching styles and methodologies. The difference is recognized in the design and delivery of each type, although, personally, I avoid handling regulated courses as an online course.

Learning Spaces: Brown (2005) used the term “Learning Spaces” to replaces the traditional classroom term. I like to use the same term to indicate any space that induces learning in individuals: a classroom, my office, a cafe, over the phone, on a forum, blog, wikipage, online, offline, and all the new medium of learning that is available.

Learning Styles: My teaching recognizes that individuals learn in multitude of ways. Consequently, the process of creating the desire in learners to learn should match the learners’ style. The literature offers at least 13 different schools of thought in this area (Coffield et al, 2004). Out of these schools, I find that Allinson and Hayes Cognitive Style Index to be the most suitable because it has “the best psychometric credentials” (Coffield et al, 2004, p139). I believe, to use learning styles as motivators to learning, I must include other factors like the set of intelligences acquired by the learner (Gardner et al,1995) and the set of strengths that determines their talent (Clifton & Nelson, 1992). My teaching should include drivers that ignite the learning desire based on the learners’ profile. Technology makes achieving this approach more plausible. I find the 4MAT approach to learning styles (McCarthy, 1990) the most suitable. This approach advocates that teaching should:

(1) Promote self reflecting, analysing, and experiencing.
(2) Inspire transitioning of information into knowledge
(3) Allow the individuals to digest and create content
(4) Encourage learners to express themselves

And I like to add a fifth one:

(5) Facilitate creation of knowledge through collective collaboration and network communication (Tapscott and Williams, 2010)

Learning Theories: As outlined by Anderson in his CIDER Webinar of April 2010, effective teaching should apply a mix of learning theories (behaviorism, cognitive, constructive and connectivism). I am a strong believer in this approach.

Generational Differences: Tapscott (2008) coined the term NetGen to describe individuals who were born in the digital age. I agree with him that NetGen learns in ways different than what traditional education is able to offer. Consequently, my delivery will recognize the different learning drivers dichotomies as presented by Coffield, (2004).

Parallel Education: As suggested by Brown (2010) and McGonigal (2010), new learning paradigms are emerging where the younger generation are building their knowledge outside the traditional educational systems. Some refer to this as the parallel education. The learning in this paradigm is naturally motivated and based on discovering personal talents through “virtual-real-life” experiences in areas not recognized in the traditional educational understanding. In my courses, I need to identify learners who are following this approach and encourage them to exploit it in the learning of the material. This is not easy especially that the concept is new. Maybe it will be the core driver for my philosophy version 5!

Technology in Learning: In my educational realm, technology helps to customize, individualize and personalize learning. For many thousand years, human learned based on one-to-one teaching (Toffler, 1980) until the industrial evolution came up with the idea of mass production that shaped our present educational system (West, 2001). This method is becoming obsolete to meet the new challenges (Tapsott & Wilson, 2010). With the advancement of the technology, we can go back to the natural way of human learning, i.e. one-to-one by customizing teaching to satisfy individualistic learning drivers through online courses and activities.

Continuous Improvement: My courses will always contain learners feedback to continuously evaluate means of improvement. This philosophy will continuously evolve based on new discoveries, emerging technologies, my acquired knowledge and interactions with my learners.

III. References

Brown, D., (2010), An Open Letter to Educators, YouTube Video.

Brown M., (2005), Learning Spaces, Educating the Net Generation, Educause eBooks.

Clifton, D. O., & Nelson, P. (1992). Soar with Your Strengths, Dell Publishing.

Coffield, F. J., Moseley D. V., Hall .E & Ecclestone, K. (2004). Learning styles and pedagogy in post-16 learning: a systematic and critical review. London: Learning and Skills Research Centre/University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Entwistle, N.J. (1998). Improving teaching through research on student learning. In JJF Forrest (ed.) University teaching: international perspectives. New York: Garland.

Fox, S. (1991). The production and distribution of knowledge through open and distance learning. In D. Hylnka & J. C. Belland (Eds.), Paradigms regained: The uses of illuminative, semiotic and post-modern criticism as modes of inquiry in educational technology. Englewood Clifs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

Gardner, H., Kornhaber, M. L., & Wake W. K. (1995). Intelligence: multiple perspectives, Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Judi H. (1995). Educational Telecomputing Projects: Information Collections, The Computing Teacher journal, published by the International Society for Technology in Education.

McGonigal, J. (2010). Gaming can make a better world. TED Presentation.

Tapscott, D. (2008). Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World, The McGraw-Hill.

Tapscott, D., & Williams, A. D. (2008). Innovating the 21st-Century University: It’s Time!, EDUCAUSE

Toffler, A., (1989). The Third Wave, Bantam Books.

West, E. G. (2001). Education and the Industrial Revolution, Liberty Fund Inc.

Wikipedia, Assessment, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assessment

Zukas, M., & Malcolm, J. (2002). Pedagogies for lifelong learning: building bridges or building walls? In R Harrison, F Reeve, A Hanson and J Clarke (eds) Supporting lifelong learning. London: Routledge/Open University.

IV. Appendix: History of the versions of My Philosophy

Version 1: articulated in 1981: The focus was on curriculum and teaching.
Version 2: articulated in 1992: The focus was student learning and success.
Version 2.5: articulated in 1996: The focus included the use of Technology.
Version 3: articulated in 2000: Constructivist concepts were adopted.
Version 3.5: articulated in 2008: Web 2.0 concepts were included.

It’s Here: Next Generation of Online Learning

Tomorrow is here now: Free courses with no instructors, no credits, no charge and from Carnegie Mellon University! The future of teacherless courses is emerging… not there yet, but I see the light at the end of a loooong and winding tunnel!

From their site:

Using intelligent tutoring systems, virtual laboratories, simulations, and frequent opportunities for assessment and feedback, the Open Learning Initiative (OLI) builds courses that are intended to enact instruction – or, more precisely, to enact the kind of dynamicflexible, and responsive instruction that fosters learning.

The URL is: http://oli.web.cmu.edu/openlearning/forstudents

Regulated Online Courses

This was my reply to a post about “difficulty in creating online courses for regulated courses and programs”.

Doug: This is so very true. We have a dilemma. Trying to use the wrong tools for the solution. It is the curse of living at the verge of change.

This reminds me of an Australian movie about something that happened in 1920’s. The scene shows a farmer who owns a lot of horses and oxen that he use to plow and harvest his field. His young son, who just graduated, came back to the farm driving one of those newly invented cars. He told his father that this machine is the future and it will replace the animals in the field work. His father rode on a horse and told him “show me”. Obviously, the horse was much faster running on the field terrain and the car got stuck in the mud after few yards. The father sat triumphantly on his rocking chair and cynically asked his son: “It will never replace my animals. How do you feed hay to this machine?”

Obviously the car was the wrong tool for the period. Few years down the load, the car evolved into a tractor and replaced the animals and changing the farming industry and proved Malthus wrong. The son was right, but the father did not see at the time.

We are in a similar situation. Online courses and technology are not the solution for everything yet. We still have to use the horses until online courses and education evolves to become suitable. Until then, we have to use the “cars” where they are applicable. Like driving from the city to the farm and not more.

Week 3, Q1 Revisited: Assessment

I know that Question 1 asked for “the single most significant difference between teaching and learning online as compared to in a face-to-face environment” and I replied: Learning Ownership. But I believe there are more than one significant difference. So, in the name of “changing my mind and evolving my thought”, I want to retract my initial answer and say that it is the “Assessment”.

The Face to face assessment is reliable in the sense that we have certainty about who is doing the work. While, with online courses, there is no way to know who is the person doing the work. For example, I might be my son taking the course on behalf of my father so he can have advanced credential in a topic that he is not competent with it. Right?

This imposes a serious doubt about the validity of the online credentials. Your thoughts!


PS: Sorry I gave two “single most significant difference”, but I could not keep my mouth shut!

References: 1, 2

Dialogue about Subways and Mac’s

The below is a dicussion that happened around my “Subways and Mac’s” post on another blog. I thought to copy it over here for the records. Oxana commented:

Anas, I like your analogy. It shows some of your goals you are striving to achieve. Did you think of the “counter”/delivery people? Who will serve your course, you alone or other tutors ? Are you aiming to franchise it and give other people to run it with consistent quality and outcome? Cheers

Then Doug posted:

Anas: Its a daydream because like Oxana pointed out the servers will be in control. As you must realize the objectives and outcome system is to satisty government requirements and once the funding is in place the who knows what the assessment process will provide. Teachers like MDs are controlled by a government bureaucracy. Just calculate how much is paid to institutional Presidents for X universities in Alberta…why not have X-y and put the money into back into teaching and instruction? have fun Doug
PS its all about the beef.

Then I replied:

@Oxana: (1) no servers. Learners pick and choose. There will be the cooks who are usually invisible that prepare the material, and support staff who keeps cleaning stuff and answering odd questions. (2) no franchise. It GNU based.

@Doug: (1) Servers will never be in control. Look at our course, are our Facilitators in Control? They just ensure we adhere to goals and give us support if we ask for it. Beyond that, they are almost invisible… right? (2) This is the beauty of dreaming: You don’t have to worry about what would go wrong. I understand where you come from about regulated studies. This is why I believe there must be other “restaurants” to cater for these cases. I, myself, will always avoid creating online courses for them, although in my heart, I am sure we can use the Subway method as well… but it is headache… and as Dawnn suggested in her video, I want to be happy!

Oxen, cars and Education

This excerpt was a rely to one of my colleagues who shed some doubt about the effectiveness of online courses in regulated courses:

Doug: This is so very true. We have a dilemma. Trying to use the wrong tools for the solution. It is the curse of living at the verge of change.

This reminds me of an Australian movie about something that happened in 1920’s. The scene shows a farmer who owns a lot of horses and oxen that he use to plow and harvest his field. His young son, who just graduated, came back to the farm driving one of those newly invented cars. He told his father that this machine is the future and it will replace the animals in the field work. His father rode on a horse and told him “show me”. Obviously, the horse was much faster running on the field terrain and the car got stuck in the mud after few yards. The father sat triumphantly on his rocking chair and cynically asked his son: “It will never replace my animals. How do you feed hay to this machine?”
Obviously the car was the wrong tool for the period. Few years down the load, the car evolved into a tractor and replaced the animals and changing the farming industry and proved Malthus wrong. The son was right, but the father did not see at the time.
We are in a similar situation. Online courses and technology are not the solution for everything yet. We still have to use the horses until online courses and education evolves to become suitable. Until then, we have to use the “cars” where they are applicable. Like driving from the city to the farm and not more.

W1Q1: Assessment

I know that Question 1 asked for “the single most significant difference between teaching and learning online as compared to in a face-to-face environment”and I replied: Learning Ownership. But I believe there are more than one significant difference. So, in the name of “changing my mind and evolving my thought”, I want to retract my initial answer and say that it is the “Assessment”.

The Face to face assessment is reliable in the sense that we have certainty about who is doing the work. While, with online courses, there is no way to know who is the person doing the work. For example, I might be my son taking the course on behalf of my father so he can have advanced credential in a topic that he is not competent with it. Right?

This imposes a serious doubt about the validity of the online credentials. Your thoughts!


PS: Sorry I gave two “single most significant difference”, but I could not keep my mouth shut!

Subways and Mac’s

Daydreaming

I want my online courses to be like Subway sandwiches and not like MacDonald buns! I want the learner to choose the ingredients of the course. To choose the style of activities that makes them learn. They cannot choose the objectives nor the duration. Subway and Mcdonalds have the same objectives: to give you calories and nutritions. One style allows you to choose the ingredients that the you want. The other gives you limited alternatives to choose from.

At Subway, if you aim is to lose weight, you choose more vegies than bacon. If you want to put on weight, you double the cheese, bacon and mayo’s. At Macdonald, you do not have this flexibility. I want my online courses to be the same. They should have clear objectives: (1) the learning outcomes dictated by the curriculum; a and (2) a fixed duration by which the learner should complete the outcomes*. The course will offer a variety of activities. Paced and self paced. Traditional sequential reading material and leaping hyperlinked reading material. Videos and handouts. Synchronous and Asynchronous interaction. Learning by doing and learning by observing. Self reflection and networked interaction. Mayonaise and Catchup. Peer learning and self-learning. The list need to be completed.

The one who chooses to learn using my online course should know what they want and how they learn. Like the Subway customer: they know what they like to eat and know how to choose. For the others, let them go to a Mac restaurant (i.e. packaged courses) or to a fancy restaurant (i.e the structured-constructivist-interactiving course) . Not mine. I want my student to “Learn Fresh”. … and I woke up!

Questions: Was it a daydream or something that I can really make? Do you think there must be more objectives? Like assessment? Any suggestions for more ingredients I need to add the “menu of the course”? I know McDonals is far more popular and profitable than Subway around the world! Do you think traditional online/distant course delivery will prevail over my styles?

TAP: Subways and Mac’s

Daydreaming

I want my online courses to be like Subway sandwiches and not like MacDonald buns! I want the learner to choose the ingredients of the course. To choose the style of activities that makes them learn. They cannot choose the objectives nor the duration.

Subway and Mcdonalds have the same objectives: to give you calories and nutritions. One style allows you to choose the ingredients that the you want. The other gives you limited alternatives to choose from. At Subway, if you aim is to lose weight, you choose more vegies than bacon. If you want to put on weight, you double the cheese, bacon and mayo’s. At Macdonald, you do not have this flexibility.

I want my online courses to be the same. They should have clear objectives: (1) the learning outcomes dictated by the curriculum; a and (2) a fixed duration by which the learner should complete the outcomes*. The course will offer a variety of activities. Paced and self paced. Traditional sequential reading material and leaping hyperlinked reading material. Videos and handouts. Synchronous and Asynchronous interaction. Learning by doing and learning by observing. Self reflection and networked interaction. Mayonaise and Catchup. Peer learning and self-learning. The list need to be completed.

The one who chooses to learn using my online course should know what they want and how they learn. Like the Subway customer: they know what they like to eat and know how to choose. For the others, let them go to a Mac restaurant (i.e. packaged courses) or to a fancy restaurant (i.e the structuredconstructivistinteractiving course) . Not mine. I want my student to “Learn Fresh”.

… and I woke up!


Questions:

  1. Was it a daydream or something that I can really make?
  2. Do you think there must be more objectives? Like assessment?
  3. Any suggestions for more ingredients I need to add the “menu of the course”?
  4. I know McDonals is far more popular and profitable than Subway around the world! Do you think traditional online/distant course delivery will prevail over my styles?