Apply theories

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In the two scenarios earlier in this section, we provided you with two examples of proposed learning environments and asked you to critique them and share your thoughts in the Moodle forums.

Some key points:

  • The scenarios reflect models such as constructivist learning, behaviourist learning, information-transfer models and social learning models. Did you find all of these? What others did you find?
  • Each scenario does not necessarily reflect just one approach. For example, the different aspects of Brett's proposal in Scenario 2 link to different theories and models. Did you identify these differences?
  • Each scenario will have implications for how the course is delivered and how assessment will take place. Did you find these implications in Brett's proposal?
  • Each scenario will provide a degree of flexibility - see A practical guide to providing flexible learning in further and higher education by Casey, J. & Wilson, P. (2005). How are the five dimensions of flexibility and the seven-stage continuum of flexibility incorporated in each scenario?

You may need to review the sections on educational theories and learning design.

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Please note

The two scenario activities are important preparation for writing the critique which you need to include in your portfolio.

Before you go on, make sure you have completed the two scenario activities and reviewed the contributions of others to the forums.

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  • Select a learning environment from your own organisation or externally - on the web or through your networks. Choose carefully, and consider any ethical aspects - will you need to negotiate consent to carry out a critique?
  • Explore the learning environment thoroughly - you need to have an in-depth understanding of its design.
  • Describe its key details:
    • Who are the likely target group of learners ?
    • What is the delivery mode - is it fully online, or some form of blended learning?
  • Analyse the learning environment's content resources, learning activities, interactions and assessment, and how each of these relates to specific learning theories and models.
  • Analyse the flexibility (eg in terms of Casey and Wilson's five dimensions of flexibility and the seven-stage continuum of flexibility that has been incorporated.
  • Investigate the learning design models (eg ADDIE, OTARA, ... ) that appear to have been used and how effectively these have been applied.
  • Discuss the effectiveness of the learning environment's content resources, learning activities, and interactions.
  • Critique the effectiveness of the assessments - that is, how they meet the principles and values of assessment, and the appropriateness of the methods and tools.

(Analyse: to examine critically, carefully and in detail.)