What do I hope to accomplish in this course?
Over my 16 years of teaching in various situations I have gone through a steep learning curve which would probably not have been so intense had it not been for the total immersion into different teaching contexts, working with students of varying ages. As a newbie fresh out of university my first postings took me to secondary schools where the focus was more on being an expert in the subject area, rather than getting to know students as individual learners. This changed, however, when teaching juvenile offenders and European adults. The realisation that a teacher cannot be a sage on stage sunk in. So did the awareness that technology was quickly creeping into education, and that it was there to stay.
It was at this stage that two pivotal changes happened in my life. The major one was the decision to move to Australia with my family. This meant immersion into a completely new culture and the realisation that effective teaching requires a good understanding of the context that the learners come from, and what is valued as worthwhile learning. This thinking had never been given serious consideration prior to the move, as I had been working within the cocoon of my country, in settings I was familiar with. A second important change was my awakening to technology and the willingness to use it in my personal and professional life.
I consider teaching and learning as being fluid with theories of learning guiding pedagogy, but not dictating it. A Google search on learning theories around instructional design lists 54 Learning Theories (Culatta, 2015), with some, like Connectionism, Lateral Thinking and Social Learning Theory, being more familiar than others. Everyone learns in different ways so I think effective teaching and learning is more about knowing the learners and what they need, with this knowledge guiding the pedagogy. The Word Cloud in Image 1 below is inclusive of the majority of aspects that make learning and teaching worthwhile, tying in with the teaching as inquiry advocated in the New Zealand Curriculum, as well as the 12 Criteria that guide the profession of teaching in New Zealand.
I believe that thanks to working through 261.764 Foundations of E-leaning last year I now have a good understanding of what e-learning is. A personal goal for this course is to learn what instructional design really is. Learning how to design effective e-learning programmes for my learners is a second goal which I hope to accomplish by the end of this paper.
Culatta, R. (2015). Learning Theories. Retrieved from http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/
Harvard Magazine Inc. (1996-2016). A word cloud disseminated at the HILT conference captures participants’ views of the ingredients essential to learning and good teaching. Retrieved from http://harvardmagazine.com/2013/05/harvard-learning-and-teaching-innovations#