Anderson, L.W. & Krathwohl, D.R. (2001). A Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. New York: Longman.
Instructional objectives are the exposure to terminology and scaffolded practice that build towards educational objectives. Educational objectives are the mid-level competency, which is the level at which assessment should culminate. Global objectives are the connection to the workplace – what a professional in the field should be able to do, or at a minimum, the big picture goal of a degree program. It may be described in the other direction as a cognitive mapping process where global objectives are deconstructed into educational objectives and educational objectives into instructional objectives utilizing a template representing the six levels of the taxonomy: Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, and Create. Objectives are what a student should be able to do but not a specific instructional activity or assessment activity.
Dupin-Bryant, P.A. & DuCharme-Hansen, B.A. (2005). Assessing Student Needs in Web-Based Distance Education. International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning 2(1).
Student needs assessment helps the instructor plan to facilitate a course learning experience. Learning objectives may or may not already be in place when the needs assessment is carried out, but the needs assessment will help refine the instructional objectives that need to be included to determine where to start. Areas to assess student needs include: computer skills, learning styles, available resources, desired outcomes, and prior experience. Computer literacy may be taught to the entire class or just the group that needs it or integrated into other learning activities. There is a larger debate on the usefulness of learning styles inventories, but the important concept is to ensure a variety of types of content and activities are provided. Available resources are probably more important in web-based education but important in any environment – do students have the hardware, software, internet access, or otherwise to be able to participate fully in all class activities? Course objectives are one thing, but students may be looking to get something else out of the class. Always build on what the students have previous learned, whether from previous classes or from experience in the workplace.
Fisher, D. H. (2012). Warming up to MOOCs. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved March 19, 2013 from http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/warming-up-to-moocs.
Hesitation to use materials available from other instructors in one’s own classroom may be due to insecurity around what others will think about using outsourced lectures and what to do with class time instead of lecturing. The author used the MOOC content as homework assignments, flipping the classroom to then allow for higher level discussions of the material, instead of just presentation of the material. By utilizing materials of other faculty and contributing back, the community of scholarship extends from the research component of the faculty role to include teaching, which is often ignored.
Fusch, D. (2012). Course materials for mobile devices: Key considerations. Higher Ed Impact. Retrieved March 19, 2012, from Academic Impressions http://www.academicimpressions.com/news/course-materials-mobile-devices-key-considerations.
People spend as much time reading on a digital screen as they do reading paper. The amount of content read through mobile devices will soon surpass what is read on a full size computer. Faculty need to consider the usability and accessibility of the learning resources they assign to ensure they can be effectively used on mobile devices. By assuming it will be accessed on a mobile device first, it’s easier to move from mobile to desktop than the other way around. Record short videos, don’t use PDFs, and break up the readings into smaller chunks. Copyright and licensing considerations are important, as different licensing may apply in the mobile realm. Using open content is one way to ensure it can be ported to other platforms.
Kirschner, P. A., Sweller, J., & Clark, R. E. (2006). Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: An analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based teaching. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 75-86.
One school of thought is that students learn by discovering or constructing concepts themselves, while another school says that direct explanation of concepts and related metacognition is the most effective. The assumptions at play in the minimal guidance approach are that experiential, self-constructed learning is best. The authors put forward that an understanding of human cognitive architecture is needed to determine the most effective instructional methods. They explain that long term memory permits experts to pull from vast experience to recognize a situation and know what to do. Given the limitations of working memory, the authors explain that minimally guided instruction taxes the working memory while pushing little into long term memory. They quote Shulman’s explanation of the difference between content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge and curricular knowledge (metacognition) as well as how one works in the field (epistemology). Studying worked examples reduces cognitive load for novice learners that are prepared appropriately for them. PBL research shows little or no gain in problem solving ability.
Reed, S. K. (2006). Cognitive architectures for multimedia learning. Educational Psychologist, 41(2), 87-98.
Six theories of multimedia learning are reviewed, the first three being memory studies and the last three in instructional contexts. Paivio’s Dual Coding Theory: visual imagery is an important method of coding concepts; dual coding refers to the use of both verbal coding and visual coding of semantic meaning. Baddeley’s Working Memory Model: verbal and visual coding, with a verbal focus on phonological learning; includes the need for a “central executive” that the learner uses to guide what modality to use in the moment; author later adds to the model the episodic buffer, where information from various modalities can be combined. Engelkamp’s Multimodal Theory: acting out what is being learned results in greater recall, as action implies understanding, assuming the action is relevant to the semantics. Sweller’s Cognitive Load Theory: Multimedia design may decrease extraneous cognitive load by integrating information that needs to be presented together, worked examples, and schemas; split-attention and redundancy effects are described. Mayer’s Multimedia Theory: utilizes recommendations from other models; seven principles – multimedia (learn better from pictures and words together), spatial contiguity (corresponding words and pictures should be close to each other), temporal contiguity (words and pictures should be presented simultaneously), coherence (extraneous words, pictures, and sounds should be excluded), modality (animation + narration > animation + text), redundancy (animation + narration > animation + narration + text), and individual differences (low-knowledge learners and high-spatial learners are more affected by multimedia presentation). Nathan’s ANIMATE Theory: visual representation through simulation to help model the solution to a problem.
Renninger, K. A. (2009). Interest and identity development in instruction: An inductive model. Educational Psychologist, 44(2), 105-118.
Instructional model that states both the interest and identity of a student are important to consider in developing learning activities. Interest relates to the desire of a learner to reengage with particular content after a previous experience. Identity is the learner’s self-representation as someone who engages with particular content. Interest needs to be cultivated and sustained throughout all stages of individual development. Interest requires some understanding of what it takes to engage, not just a baseless sense of euphoria around an interesting topic. It’s also important to consider interest in achievement, as opposed to interest in the actual content. Identity changes as learners mature and come to understand how much work is required to accomplish required education levels and goals.
Shute, V., Towle, B. (2003) Adaptive E-Learning. Educational Psychologist 38(2).
Early iterations of e-learning were concerned with simply getting information online, but the focus now is on improving learning and performance. In order to be the most effective for each individual learner, the characteristics of each learner should be assessed. One behavior a system should encourage is exploration, as students who explore and participate in optional material tend to perform better on assessments. The learner model represents what the individual learner knows, and the instructional model presents and assesses content in the most appropriate way. Adaptive e-learning should provide, not the same textbook in a scrolling page instead of a physical page, but rather dynamically ordered and filtered pages to present learners just what they need right when they need it.
Smith, L. (2003). Software Design. In Guidelines for Successful Acquisition and Management of Software Intensive Systems (4th ed.). Hill Air Force Base, UT: U.S. Air Force Software Technology Support Center.
Given the complex nature of programming, design is the key phase between gathering requirements and actual development. Design includes several iterations, including functional design (logic, desired outputs, rules, data organization, and user interface), system design (system specifications, software structure, security, and programming standards), and program design (software units, test plans, user documentation, install plan, training plan, and programmer manual). Design methods include structured design (functions and subroutines with an order), object oriented design (objects inherit from parents, changes can be pushed out to many related objects, and specifics about what happen in each object are not as important), and extreme programming (frequent code review, testing, and release iterations).
Stiggins, R. & DuFour, R. (2009). Maximizing the Power of Formative Assessments. Phi Delta Kappan 90(9). Retrieved January 31, 2013 from http://alaskacc.org/sites/alaskacc.org/files/Stiggins%20article.pdf.
Formative assessment helps to track individual student achievement and performance and drive continuous improvement. Common assessments are created by multiple faculty members teaching the same course. Common formative assessments can result in significant improvement of learning if they are specifically integrated into instructional decision making, high quality, and used to benefit student learning. Assessments may be at the classroom, school, or institutional level. No matter the level or how they are used, assessments need clear learning targets that are appropriately scaffolded and achievable, based on established standards, high quality and high fidelity, and are available in a timely and understandable form in order to help the learner do better next time. Common formative assessments can be used to determine how an individual student is doing as well as to compare classroom performance. The act of putting together a common assessment allows the conversation to happen regarding what is truly important to measure. The greater dialogue among faculty members results in a higher quality assessment than what any individual teacher might be able to create.
van Merriënboer, J. J. G., & Sweller, J. (2005). Cognitive load theory and complex learning: Recent developments and future directions. Educational Psychology Review, 17(2), 147-177.
When introduced, cognitive load theory led to new types of instructional methods, such as providing many worked examples instead of problems to solve. The theory posited that long term memory is made up of schemas, which make meaning out of complex structures. Working memory is limited when dealing with new content but not limited when working with schemas from long term memory. Cognitive load theory deals with the processing of content in working memory to create schemas stored in long term memory. In order to take a dynamic approach, where instruction is automatically tailored to the learner, the knowledge of learners must be assessed and methods of promoting effective instruction for each group of learners are needed. Assessment should include ability to generate correct responses as well as the mental effort required to accomplish that.
White, B., Frederiksen, J. (2005). A theoretical framework and approach for fostering metacognitive development. Educational Psychologist, 40(4).
Metacognition is crucial in helping individuals learn through inquiry and work together in teams. Understanding how to use inquiry learning will help the learner be more effective in using inquiry learning strategies. Inquiry then includes inquiry about inquiry and inquiry about the domain of study. Advisors to help manage metacognition may be automated tutors or other learners.
Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2006). Backward Design. In Understanding by Design (Expanded 2nd Edition). Upper Saddle Hill, NJ: Pearson.
When planning curriculum, it is important to pay attention to local and national standards but also to determining the specific understandings that are desired. The focus should be on learning rather than on teaching. By determining a larger purpose first, the best resources and activities can be selected to achieve the goal. Traditional design falls into the trap of providing interesting experiences that do not lead to specific desired achievements or that briefly cover all content without touching on any with enough depth to be meaningful. Start with desired goals and ask what appropriate evidence of achievement would look like and likewise what the assessment should consist of. Only after determining what the desired results are and what an appropriate assessment would look like can learning experiences be planned. Some sacred cows may be harmed in the process of ensuring all activities have a specific purpose with effectiveness in reaching our targets in mind. The textbook may become less important than its significant role in many classrooms.