Design principles for developing blended learning environments

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  • Design principles fordeveloping blended learning environments

    Michael RoweDepartment of PhysiotherapyUniversity of the Western Cape

  • Background

    Technology in education is about engendering transformative learning.

    Wilson, Parrish, & Veletsianos (2008)

    It is not about reinforcing current educational structures and making them more efficient.

    Veletsianos (2011)

    Or, about controlling access to expert knowledge.Herrington et al., 2009

  • Blended learning

    Integration of online & physical spaces;where the learning experiences move between

    spaces;and the teacher makes use of the affordances of

    each space;to achieve objectives that would be difficult or

    impossible to do otherwise.

  • Aim

    The aim of this project was to develop a practical framework for the design and implementation of a blended learning approach in the context of health professions education.

  • Method

    Design-based research adapts to the non-linear dynamics of complex systems, and does not lead to judgements based on performance against predetermined criteria.

    Herrington, Reeves, & Oliver (2010)

  • Phase 1: Problem analysis

    Phase 2: Development of solutions

    Phase 3: Iterative testing

    Phase 4: Design principles

  • 1. Facilitate interaction

    Interaction can be between people, content and devices

    Digital content is not inert; transforms interactions by responding and adapting over time

    Content is a framework around which interaction can take place; can be distributed over networks and devices

    Interaction happens in a range of contexts; not limited to time or space

  • 2. Require articulation

    Articulation gives form & substance to ideas; exposes understanding

    Committing to a statement, supported by evidencePublic accountabilityAllows thinking to be challenged / reinforcedIncomplete understanding is not a point of failure

  • 3. Build relationships

    Knowledge can be developed through interaction between people, content and devices, over networks

    Relationships are built in collaborative activities where responsibility for learning is shared

    Facilitators are not gatekeepers; they are locksmiths

    Create a space where not knowing is as important as knowing

    Relationships = changing power differentials

  • 4. Embrace complexity

    Develop spaces that are more, not less, complexCreate activities that have poorly defined

    boundaries that defy simple solutionsReflect the dynamic & complex environments in

    which graduates must practiceIncorporate multiple perspectives

  • 5. Develop artifacts

    Artifacts representative of personal knowledge creation

    Created through iterative activity that includes discussion and feedback

    Should be progressively shared with others; enables interaction around products & process

    Scaffolding for development of artifacts should be appropriate to the students' level

  • 5. Incorporate feedback

    Feedback is integrated into the activity, not tacked on at the end

    Feedback is a step towards another activity, or an iteration of the previous one

    Feedback should be given by peers as well as facilitators

  • 6. Stimulate reflection

    Reflection should be built in from the startIt should have a consequence; the outcome of the

    reflection should be an action towards an objective

    Must be modelled by the facilitatorShould be shared with other studentsThe value of the reflection is determined by the

    student, not the facilitator

  • 7. Acknowledge emotion

    Create a non-judgemental space for students & facilitators

    Validate students emotional responsesFacilitators should share personal values and their

    own emotional response, normalising and scaffolding the process

    Cover sensitive topics in face-to-face sessions

  • 8. Design for flexibility

    Anticipate change and design the learning environment to respond to it

    The learning environment should be flexible enough to adapt to students' needs but structured enough to scaffold their learning

    Facilitators should be flexible so that they too can adapt

  • 9. Immersion

    Activities should be cognitively realThey should enable students to think and behave

    as they would in the real worldActivities should use the social norms and

    discourse of the profession to introduce students to the culture of the profession

  • Conclusion

    Design-based research is a useful method of conducting research in the educational context.

    These guidelines represent a generic framework for the development of blended learning environments

    They are agnostic with respect to technologyThey highlight that the relationship between

    teacher and learner is paramount.

  • Thank

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