Online Learning: It's Still All About the Learning Objective

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Today's presentation by Chris and Cole sparked a discussion on how they can be applied to online learning. One interesting comment I heard was that having defined learning objectives was constraining the design.

But maybe the problem is that we are using the wrong learning objectives. The traditional design process is that we define learning objectives and tie "content" and assessment to those objectives. So...if you start with the wrong objectives, the design will, by default, NOT be correct.

If your "objectives" are low level memorization of facts, then the design can lead to a course with lots of multiple choice quizzes (and this may be exactly what's needed in some cases)....On the the other hand, if your objective is learning to analyze, build or discuss/debate, then multiple quizzes should be out. You should know that you need to review data, or start a discussion. The old congruency model does work...if you start with the right objectives.

Another debate is whether "content" exists or not. I think both sides are looking at that wrong too. In many cases, it may be really "skills", but skills rarely exist in a vacuum. If I want students to perform an acoustic analysis....I do have to teach acoustic terminology, acoustic theory. I can't just send them out with a sound recorder in Week 1.

To me the trick has been getting students from ground zero to a point where they can make recordings and do something meaningful with them.


MATTHEW N MEYER Author Profile Page said:

Elizabeth, I agree about us using the wrong learning objectives. It seems in today's available environments (technology, media, events) that we need to expand our thinking around learning objectives. Our field is experiencing amazing changes at incredible speeds and we often get caught up thinking how to use the 'new' stuff to achieve old thinking objectives. It seems we can use these opportunities to raise the bar for academic work.

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