Our next MoodleMoot in Utrecht will be about social learning in Moodle. We will look at this form different angles. In our framing of this term we stay close to the description of social constructivism you find on this site.
One of the angles of course course design. How can we present resources and activities to accommodate Martin first axioma:
All of us are potential teachers as well as learners - in a true collaborative environment we are both
as best as we can?
I already had an interesting talk with a course designer who has developed a course on the skills for Collaborating online. He separated resources by type and distributed them over different sections, so firt a video lesson to introduce the topic and then a section with a Book with a variety of resources. Then follow sections for:
- all the assignments, numbered 1 to 10, mostly individual reflections on tasks carried out outside of Moodle
- all forums, some of them have to be used in an assignment
- a quiz
The course opens with a pdf explaining the possible learning path. This basically says: you can work in any sequence you like, you can start with the quiz if you want. But, there will be decided upon some deadlines in the group and their manager for finishing the assignments in timed segments.
He thinks this is the most flexible and most open design for learner centered learning. The easiest way of presenting R and A to adapt to needs of different groups of learners who want to work on their online collaboration skills.
Now I would never separate learning functions and put them in different sections. I usually follow a pattern in which output from one activity is input for the next. I dress a topic up with circles of activities and resources and make sure their links are logical. Having done most of the stuff in a section you have found out to what level you reached the goal set for that section.
I can see this is less flexible but it does give more structure. If you want a group of learners to work together in the course it is useful if they have a backbone. I must say I usually cater for learners who spend little time in Moodle, think of professionals who use it as a platform to work for a few weeks on a particular skill and maybe never come back.
Starting with the resources to me is not very inviting. I want to know what I can learn form them. So give or "suggest" me a task and then I will see what the resources can contribute to this task. I also want to know what I get feedback on. I think my learners want the same. And of course they are always free to decide to not take part in an activity. As long as they feel a co-learner might need their help, so they are concious of learning together.
Am I stuck in a pattern?
We are all searching for a fine balance, but this can be bloody hard. What would you choose: dividing resources, instructions for activities, communcation facillites etc or keep them together built around a topic?