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An Introduction to Online Teaching and Learning

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1 An Introduction to Online Teaching and Learning
‘Good teaching is good teaching, no matter how it’s done.’ 1

2 Instructional Method Workshop
Part 1 How do we learn?

3 OBJECTIVES Given an introduction to the different learning theories
Introduction to the pitfalls of online learning You will have an understanding of how human memory works Understand the basics of Cognitive Load Theory 3

4 Why do you teach this way? Do your students learn effectively?
How do you teach? Why do you teach this way? Do your students learn effectively?

Old Assumptions New Assumptions Knowledge transfer is easy Learning is decontextualised and abstract Learners’ are receivers of knowledge Assessment relies more on repetition of facts than application of knowledge Knowledge transfer is difficult Learning context and content is relevant Learners are active constructors of knowledge Assessment must be more holistic and relevant as well Objectivism Unfortunately this is the one main type of learning style where there are two clearly defined roles in the teaching process. The learner’s LEARN by being PASSIVE recipients of the information and the teacher TEACHERS by being the only active member in the relationship. Students are ‘vessels to be filled’ with often fairly dull information that is difficult to be retained. In a way, students are objects and are spoon-fed the information. Constructivism This is considered the antithesis of the previous learning approach. In this case, students have become actively engaged in their learning and as a result the role of the teacher is to assist the learners in constructing their own knowledge. Students became more engaged and motivated by the fact that they are playing a more collaborative role in their learning. A Constructivist approach should be taken into consideration in web-based online classrooms. Enough room should be given for students to explore the information for themselves and allow them to communicate with other members on the web-based system. The emphasis is on the idea that learning is a process of personal understanding and meaning making which is active and interpretative. In this domain, learning is viewed as the construction of meaning rather than as the memorization of facts (Oliver, 2005). Table 1: Old versus new assumptions about learning (Grabinger, 1996: p.667)

AUDITORY LEARNERS Lectures Discussions Presentations Tasks with Specific Answers Recitation READ/WRITE LEARNERS Read information for themselves Modeling Creativity Open-ended questions KINASTHETIC LEARNERS


8 Interesting Point to Ponder…
Mioduser et al. (2000) conducted a survey of over 400 science and technology educational websites Educational websites dominantly text based Only 31% used graphics commonly, and only 1% of the sites exploited interactive graphics Modern pedagogical approaches are far from being implemented appropriately in most educational websites 8

9 What are the problems with Web-Based Learning Systems?

10 Limitations of a web-based learning system
Refuse to accept online learning Lack of human element Concerns about clarification and understanding Miscommunication between perceived knowledge and actual knowledge Re-usability of web resources Student assessment and feedback is limited No interactivity Faculty availability Concerns about levels of computer literacy Information is presented in a manner that is difficult to understand Students might not actually like the course and prefer the face-to-face lecture format that they are used to. No human teacher expression and explanation. Often gestures and body language are important to the learning process. Those students who prefer to have a visual of a person will find it difficult to have a computer screen instead. This creates problems as you do need a certain level of human interaction. It also allows students to clarify straight away if they have any concerns or worries about something that they are reading and trying to learn. There might be a level of miscommunication between what a student thinks that they already know and what they are being taught on the web. This could because the course constructor has either assumed too much about their students or assumed too little. Making a web resource that can be used again and again is questionable. Particularly in the field of engineering, changes are continually being made so this might impact course creation. Student assessment and feedback is limited. Many, if not most, of today’s web-based training programs are too static, with little if any interactivity. Human contact is still required – can we replace that? A study done in 2000 at Brooklyn College found that most students expressed a desire for an increase in face to face communication with the instructor. However, this initial desire was reduced once the designers simplified the course. Each member of faculty need to ensure that they are available to talk to the student who is worried. Try not to have too many links where you are going back and forwards all the time. Your students will be concerned about the course content, so it is important that they can do the web-page navigation without too much worry. (Powell, 2000) 10

11 11

12 Before you do anything else there are a couple of things that ALL e-Learning courses need:
Title Page Table of Contents Instructor Information Course Objectives Course Structure Resources Readings Course Requirements Course Calendar Contact information How to be a successful online student 12

To increase knowledge in our Long Term Memories

14 The LEARNING PROCESS Sensory Memory Short-term Working Memory
Long-term Memory

15 Transferal and Retrieval
The Learning Process… . Transferal and Retrieval LONG TERM MEMORY WORKING MEMORY The modal memory model (Cooper, 1998) distinguished between three memory types (modes). These are the sensory mode, the short-term working memory and the long-term memory. The sensory memory deal with stimuli that are processed through our senses. These can be sights, sounds, smells, touches and tastes. They extinguish quickly – about half a second for visual information and 3 seconds for auditory information. Unless the sensory memory is attended to, it will be forgotten. So, if you are going to use onscreen images, they need to be shown for a longer period of time – otherwise they will be forgotten. The learner receives information from the words and pictures that they see in front of them. Working memory is NOT passive. The contents of the working memory can be combined with stored knowledge from the LTM and manipulate, interpreted an recombined to develop new knowledge, form goals and assist learning. Info is stored in the working memory in CHUNKS (we learn tel numbers by putting the numbers into CHUNKS not individual numbers). After being processed by the sensory memory, the information is then accepted by our working memories. A learner’s working memory is extremely limited in both DURATIION and CAPACITY. Info can not normally be held in WM for longer than a maximum of 20 seconds. Think about how we repeat telephone numbers to ourselves in order to remember them. However, it is also limited in terms of capacity. Our WM can realistically only process 5-9 elements of information (novel info). LTM refers to the immense amount of knowledge and skills that we hold in a more or less permanently accessible form. The information is then transferred into our long-term memories. The whole purpose of learning is to make the information retrievable and transferable. Learner’s can USE the information regularly and it can be accessed automatically. LTM has NO capacity and duration limitations. It is all the info that we are NOT conscious of, but yet are knowledgeable about. SENSORY MEMORY VISUAL STIMULI AUDITORY STIMULI 15

16 Sweller refers to these as SCHEMAS
VISUAL AUDITORY We integrate information from a variety of sources and are able to recognize numerous things and concepts because of the way in which we’ve built up our knowledge over the many years of learning. For example, we are able to recognize millions of trees, as trees, even though no two trees are identical. What generally happens is that when we are presented with a large set of elements to remember, it is often helpful to combine the elements to form a smaller number of groups. Each of the groups is referred to as a chunk of information. For example, it is common practice to combine the digits of a phone number into two or three chunks of several digits each, rather than listing all digits in one long sequence. The phone number is easier to remember if you CHUNK the numbers together than if you read Sweller refers to these as SCHEMAS 16


18 Your schemas are unlimited and continual…
CARS Your schemas are unlimited and continual… Makes Ford Etc…

19 And so on and so forth… Mechanics… Rules of Road Dangers…
Makes and Models Oil Overtaking Blind side Parking In this case, the information about cars is arranged in a hierarchical schema. Starting with the word car and a generalized image of one, your minds and memory can create a schema about ‘cars’. Obviously, individual differences exist in schemas. Someone who is employed as a mechanic and spends their pastime rebuilding vintage cars will have more detailed and complex schemas for cars than most people. Think about tasks that we have become experts in; walking, talking and reading. Three thigns we can do without problem – yet, these are three of the most difficult that humans ever master (acc to Copper). Our schemas in these areas have become so complete and our level of transfer and automation so high that we now find these tasks almost trivially easy. Fords Speeding Drunk Driving And so on and so forth…

20 In the same way, if we hear thunder and see lightning, we know that a storm is taking place. We impose meaning on the things we see or hear and integrate that information into our working memory. = Storm


22 The 7 + or – 2 Principle Introduced in 1956 by Miller
Early introduction to CLT Our STM can handle between 5-9 new bits of information, and no more A little experiment… Remember the following numbers: 3 2 – write them down 8 5 2 – write them down – write them down – write them down –write them down It’s easier to remember smaller chunks of information and NOT overload our Working memories… which are restricted in the amount of information they can remember

23 The number’s game… 3 2 8 5 2

24 Cognitive Load is a term (used in psychology and other fields of study) that refers to the load on working memory during problem solving, thinking and reasoning (including perception, memory, language, etc.).

25 Cognitive Load Theory, as defined by Sweller (1988) states that optimum learning occurs in humans when the load on working memory is kept to a minimum to best facilitate the changes in long term memory.

26 A quick question for you…
Thinking back to the previous page, can anyone tell me what CLT is according to Sweller? What can you remember most? Provide me with a definition of CLT. The redundant decorative pictures? The picture of Sweller? Or do you remember the text? If you couldn’t give me a re-cap of the definition it suggest that your working memory couldn’t handle the information and was overloaded instead with images that essentially have nothing to do with the important text. 26

27 Cognitive Load Theory, as defined by Sweller (1988) states that optimum learning occurs in humans when the load on working memory is kept to a minimum to best facilitate the changes in long term memory.

28 optimum learning occurs in humans when the load on working memory is kept to a minimum to best facilitate the changes in long term memory This would be a better approach 28

29 Cognitive Load Theory WM is limited in capacity to about seven informational units Long Term memory is unlimited in capacity Knowledge is stored in long-term memory as schemas or schemata Schemas, no matter how large or how complex, are treated as a single entity in working memory Schemas can become automated. The main ideas underlying CLT can be summarized into 5 key pointers… 29

30 What Hinders Learning in Working Memory?
EXTRANEOUS COGNITIVE LOAD This is any cognitive activity engaged in because of the way the task is organized and presented. INTRINSIC COGNITIVE LOAD Relates directly to the to-be-learned content GERMANE COGNITIVE LOAD Making a novice into an expert and creating new schema adds to the load on working memory. There are three types of Cognitive LOAD… INTRINSIC It can not be modified by instructional design as it is the CONTENT Your courses are going to be HIGH in intrinsic cognitive load as the content is COMPLEX GERMANE Working memory must process the information into advanced, more complex schema. The load that results in the creation of new schema is referred to as GERMANE Cognitive Load. Basically it refers to the way the information in our minds has to be shuffled around in order to make room for new schemas. The productive mental effort needed to build new schemas is what we call germane CL. So, studying examples is one type of GCL that leads to schema development in LTM. EXTRANEOUS Your task is to minimize extraneous cognitive load and increase GERMANE. We already know that the intrinsic cognitive load is going to be high due to the CONTENT of the course. Your goal is therefore to create online materials that do not exhibit a high extraneous cognitive load. Think about adding GERMANE Cog Load into this – this is influenced by the instructional designer. The manner in which information is presented to learners and the learning activities required of learners are factors relevant to levels of germane cognitive load. Whereas extraneous cognitive load interferes with learning, germane cognitive load enhances learning. Instead of working memory resources being used to engage in search, for example, as occurs when dealing with extraneous CL, GCL results in those resources being devoted to schema acquisition and automation. Note that increase in effort or motivation can increase the cognitive resources devoted to a task. If relevant to schema acquisition and automation, such an increase also constitutes an increase in germane cognitive load. 30

31 Intrinsic + Germane + Extraneous = Total Cognitive Load

32 The Fundamental Modules
Courses difficult Information you present in your FMs must be BUILT up gradually from the previous information High level of Element Interactivity What proceeds precedes Learner’s High Level of CL on WM

33 My advice to you now: Create the opening page to your online course
Make it user friendly and specify clear times that the students can get hold of you Decide how you are going to break the syllabus down into workable units/chunks of information

34 Next time…the 8th wonder
How can I reduce Extraneous Cognitive Load in my fundamental module?

35 See you next time… Date: 26th April Time: 11am Same place

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