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- This topic has 15 replies, 8 voices, and was last updated 8 years, 7 months ago by Rita.
Greetings! By way of introduction, I am Wanjira Kinuthia an associate professor of Learning technologies at Georgia State University, Atlanta. Being from Kenya, my research interests focus on educational technology in developing countries, looking at how ICT is being infused into instruction. Recent projects have included the role of OER and mLearning in bridging the digital and knowledge divide.
This week,our discussion will focus on what constitutes good learning design and considerations for using ICTs to sustain academic rigor. When and how should we consider OER and mLearning to reach learners? I look forward to an engaging discussion.
Regards, Wanjira K.
Its great to have you presenting in e/merge Africa and I’m also looking forward to Perien joining us here soon. I’m interested in all the questions which you have asked in your message to open the conversation. I’m also very curious about whether learning design is in any way different in Africa. If so it it just about design for resource constraints or is culture a more important distinguishing feature?
Hi Tony and Wanjira
What constitutes good learning design and considerations for using ICTs to sustain academic rigor?
I agree with Wanjira (PPT slides 13 & 14) about the importance of learner centred pedagogy: to specify underpinning pedagogy that can show us how we can use the most suitable resources (including OER) for our targeted students to derive a motivating and coherent learning/educational experience. To sustain academic riogor- the Community of Inquiry framework helps to guide best our educational technology practice.
A follow up question to Tony’s: How far can we tap onto our indigenous knowledge systems as we design for effective learning?
Hi Wanjira, Tony, and Thula
I would like to know what we mean by “learning design in the African context”? Does it mean designing materials for Europe, USA, Asia or Africa is defferent for each and every region? Or are we refering to the availability or contraints of technologies as alluded in the slides. I am looking forward to an exciting discussion as I would like to know how one can infuse educational technologies into learning theories.
Good questions you ask. “curious about whether learning design is in any way different in Africa. If so it it just about design for resource constraints or is culture a more important distinguishing feature?”
My take is that learning design will/should be different in each context to the degree possible. I.e. it is hard to envision a situation where a one size fits all works well all the time. In our case, since we are looking at the learning context in the broad African context, there are things we will do differently that in another setting. Hence, two terms you mention come into the conversation. First we need to consider the resources available and this will vary from institution to institution or even department to department. Culture is also an important distinguishing factor, but I like to think of this as ‘cultures’ and for that matter on several levels: Institutional, instructional content, instructors, and learners.
You read my mind 🙂 I added that to the powerpoint and then had to cut back due to length it still remains important. “How far can we tap onto our indigenous knowledge systems as we design for effective learning?” I believe it is important to pay particular consideration to the local context and indigenous knowledge structures. It is the core of who we are. I think a general misconception is that ‘indigenous knowledge’ only refers to particular groups of people hence difficulty gaining adequate recognition thus fails to attain the status it deserves. The outcome is limited political motivation to deal with contradictions between intentions and practical applications of curriculum.
Thanks Wanjira, this confirms that learning design choices are deeply context specific. And of course we have a rich diversity of contexts in Africa , sometimes even within a kilometre or two 😉 Cultures not culture and several of them interacting within in any design context … Perhaps the complexity in design isn’t mirrored by the stark experience of disconnect that a learner can sometimes have when engaging with with activities and materials developed in a very different society with very different everyday experiences, cultural values and assumptions.
Hi Phuzukumila, I think that to the extent possible, tailoring the instructional materials and curriculum is paramount. To give an example, I recall some of the books we used in high school were directly imported into the country and hence we could not connect with some of the examples and illustrations provided in the books (for example using snow as an example for students in the tropics might not be most ideal. That is now changing to be more reflective of the environments we live and should continue to be an ongoing consideration in message design.
What a simple and precise example for contextualising content design reflective to the environments we live in! Thank you for demistifyiyng for me the Äfrican context” notion.
I am Perien Boer and I am lecturing Educational Technology and Computer Science for prospective teachers and those in the Masters and Doctoral programs. I am US trained – from Teachers College Columbia University and on return I was tremendously challenged as to how different we approach and do things in academia on the African context. Yes, we have similar activities, but the differences were hard to adjust to as it came mostly from the students. I believe there is disconnect between what we as a University wants to offer and what students really believe they need to get. Due to the rigid programmes we offer, we really do not give students opportunities to say what they want to learn. I have started on this journey to look how our students learn in MY AFRIKA (that I love so much) and I believe that being culturally sensitive is where we need to start. The approach of colonialist in the past will not work and has been largely the result of the “schizophrenia of our learning”. It is important that we look at “organic” waysour learning and incorporate certain aspects of the cultural norms into our learning. I am looking forward to some very interesting thoughts and questions from all of you.
Hi Perien: I am with you on this one “Due to the rigid programmes we offer, we really do not give students opportunities to say what they want to learn.” I think, as you pointed out yesterday and as Tony reemphasized the point, this is in my mind a starting point for considering authentic learning and authentic assessments. This can begin to demonstrate to our students that we are indeed listening to their needs and goals for their programs of study.
Hello all. This statement from Perrien also stood out to me: “Due to the rigid programmes we offer, we really do not give students opportunities to say what they want to learn.” I think it raises the issue of conflict between students’ areas of interests, and instructors’ notions of what is important for students to know to be competent in the given area. Some K-12 educators have incorporated Google’s 20% project into their curriculum – essentially allowing students to take 20% of class time to work on something that they are interested in. Each student gets to pick their own topic of interest, and has to document it and eventually share it with the class. I’ve been thinking about how I could do something analogous at the higher ed level that would create a more student-lead learning environment.
I just viewed the recording of the live online session and found it very interesting. Thank you for sharing your work, research and insights, Wanjira and Perien. I am interested in learning design and design learning (I teach architecture), using ICTs (for both).
When you refer to “learning design” do you mean “design” here as a verb or as a noun, in other words, do you refer to the process of design or to the product of that process or both?
- This reply was modified 8 years, 7 months ago by Jolanda.
This is an interesting conversation. Thanks to everyone. When we aim for “authentic” learning, does it mean that the learning experience should be authentic for all the different contexts, i.e. the physical/ geographical, cultural, social and perhaps even the political context; also relevant for the specific level of study, as well as the field/ discipline etc.?
Hi Jolanda, thank you for adding to the conversation.
Re: “When you refer to “learning design” do you mean “design” here as a verb or as a noun, in other words, do you refer to the process of design or to the product of that process or both?” In the presentation, I approached design from a process perspective. I.e. what do we as designers or instructors have to factor in as we determine the best learning approach? I believe that the process ultimately leads to what we are seeking in terms of outcome/output, being a better instructional product.
Re: “When we aim for “authentic” learning, does it mean that the learning experience should be authentic for all the different contexts.” You are right about the various contexts we aim to ensure are built into the design process. In effect, what I try to aim for in the instructional process in ‘authentic learning and assessment’ are situations that are as relevant as possible to ‘real world’ or meaningful and applicable. One approach that seems to work fairly well is for students who are in the workforce for example, assignments that they can directly and immediately apply to their work settings.
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