Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Master Learners, Learner Centered Design and Master Courses

Will Richardson posts on the teacher as a master learner, inspired by some observations from George Siemen’s post ‘Teaching in Social and Technological Networks’.
This snippet gives an idea of what Will means by the teacher as a ‘Master Learner’:
“George goes on to suggest a totally different way of thinking about “teaching” one where instead of controlling a classroom, a teacher now influences or shapes a network.” And he discusses seven different roles that teachers will play, all of which are worth the read…we don’t teach subjects, we teach kids. And I’ll add to that: we teach kids to learn. We can’t teach kids to learn unless we are learners ourselves, and our understanding of learning has to encompass the rich, passion-based interactions that take place in these social learning spaces online. Sure, I expect my daughter’s science teacher to have some content expertise around science, no doubt. But more, I expect him to be able to show her how to learn more about science on her own, without him, to give her the mindset and the skills to create new science, not just know old science.“
The following are codified behaviours George advocates a teacher can adopt in the context of networked learning environments:
  1. Amplifying
  2. Curating
  3. Wayfinding and socially-driven sensemaking
  4. Aggregating
  5. Filtering
  6. Modelling
  7. Persistent presence
Read George’s teaching paper and Will’s ‘Master Learner’ post for an explanation of what they mean.

I'm going to try and model their ideas in Moodle 2.0, it makes sense to me, and as a teacher I’m asking myself how do l become a master learner? The answer for me is to model a learning design for myself based on my learning need.

At the moment I have a NEED TO LEARN how to grow food so I’ve therefore found an opportunity to participate in some hands on workshops organised by Sydney Carriageworks, Kitchen Garden Project, there I will learn about.
  • Composting
  • Planter boxes
  • No dig gardens
  • Seed saving
  • Planting
  • Harvesting
By participating in the Kitchen Garden project I am expected to share the application of my newfound skills and knowledge with a wider network (i.e. using Moodle 2.0, wikibooks, youtube, flickr networks etc.) I’ll use the opportunity to try and model the George Siemen's approach, with a learning design based on the practical Kitchen Garden tasks.

From this I will document and share my resources and networks, found, adapted, linked, embedded or created by me in Moodle 2.0. The learning design, resources and networks together will make up a narrative of coherence' or ‘master course’.

(Note: It’s good to model this approach outside the context of an education organisation in that for me the point is to demonstrate a move towards self directed learning in a LOCAL AND INDEPENDENT/ REAL LIFE CONTEXT (with RPL opportunities for VocEd sector).

This diagram from GnuChris’s twitter feed (Thanks!) sums up a good workflow for developing a master course:
Based on work from http://wikieducator.org/File:KtOER-Cycle-Find.png
“A master course is a complete Moodle course consisting of well designed learner centered activities and resources. A master course is typically developed by a team of teachers (with experience in learning design) and made available in a community repository.

A master course can be cloned from the repository and locally adapted to improve upon the learning design. There are regular reviews of local changes and where appropriate new learning design elements are incorporated into the master course as part of continuous improvement process.” Steven Parker 2010
Plannning & documenting my own learning design approach is an important part of this master learner process and I’ll utilise some fine, easy to understand templates developed by Vicki Marchant as part of her research into learner centred design. In these templates Vicki focuses on thinking and documenting 5 elements in relation to course design.
  • Task Design (Learning Activity, Sequence)
  • Tutoring (Feedback, Discussion)
  • Teamwork (Collaboration)
  • Topics & Tools (Content/Resources/Tech)
  • Reflection (Review, explanation)
As part of my SWSI work training teachers in innovation and technology enhanced learning I advocate teachers document and share their learning designs as part of the course they deliver to students. Students can then explore and understand as to why? they are asked to do the learning tasks/ activities. Students may also see the value in developing their own learning design approach as part of their trade/business/ studies?

As said the platform I’m going with for my ‘growing food’ master course is Moodle 2.0 for its new network friendly features AND direction towards the community hub/ repository functionality. Also refer: http://tinyurl.com/repositoryexample .

As somebody who works day to day with learning platforms, learning design and networked technology I already have the prerequisite skills and knowledge to uderstsand where George Sienmens' is coming from, when teacher new to networking technologies clone my Moodle course they will have exposure to a variety of the networks which they can explore and connect to.
‘Master Learner’, nice idea I think...where to next?:
  • Design a master course for myself on growing food (based on Kitchen Garden tasks) and publish to Moodle + Wikibooks.
  • Explain my learning design.
  • Share my master course.
  • Open up lines of communication for feedback from others.
  • Let others clone a master copy of my course to build upon & adapt for their own learning needs.
  • Participate/ give feedback...learn more about growing food.
It's a draft for me but feedback is welcome.
"Leigh Blackall developed open education at Otago Polytechnic New Zealand over a period stretching 2007/2009. The Polytechnic signed progressive IP and copyright policies, and encouraged staff to use popular internet and social media to aid teaching and learning. Leigh is completing research measuring returns on this investment, and will describe the process and initial findings."
http://webconf.det.nsw.edu.au/p13103637/ - Leigh’s presentation.