Making learning processes explicit

One thing I really like about the eMM model is its emphasis on explicitly informing learners about the learning process. For example, two practices incorporated in the model are:

  • Students are provided with course documentation describing all of the communication channels used.
  • Students are provided with course documentation describing how different communication channels will support their learning.

In other words, good practice requires not just that learners are told how the course will be delivered, but given some justification for this in terms of how this will benefit their learning.

For some time, this has struck me as something that educators don’t always do very well – too often, the learning activities that teachers choose can seem arbitrary to learners. From my own experience as a learner, I know that knowing why I am going to be involved in a certain activity increase my motivation and engagement. Conversely, if the educational value of the learning activity is not clear, my motivation and engagement is decreased.

This is true of face-to-face (kanohi-ki-te-kanohi) or online learning – and given the lower motivation some online learners report, perhaps it is more crucial in that context?

Some years ago, an incident in my professional development work highlighted this issue: Open teaching

I’ve had lecturers say to me “What is good for students they often don’t like.” But I know that when I’ve been a learner myself, I don’t like not knowing where we’re headed and how, and I do like knowing why – that is, if I understand why it’s good for me, I’m much more inclined to like it!

2 thoughts on “Making learning processes explicit

  1. Paul Left Post author

    An interesting example where this could be applied is the Introducing students to social bookmarking project. The project’s objective is To embed an immersive pattern of social bookmarking which the majority of students will continue beyond the assessment period.

    My suggestion to the project is to rewrite the objective so that it clearly expresses a benefit to learners and communicate this to learners to ensure the justification for the learning process is explicit. That is, why is this project being implemented?

    I’d also suggest involving students in discussion of issues and solutions etc so that those who are interested can be actively engaged in the project.

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Providing clear structures and guidance for online learners | Verso

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