Just back from an all day session on learning design using the Book tool in Moodle at Newham 6th form college (also known as NewVic) delivered by their learning team; Jorge Freire, Marta Asensio, and their manager,Rodney Kain.
This session was a fantastic example of sharing within the London Moodle community(which is surely the way to go!).Many hands make light work and it is just great to see how others use the tool in such well thought-out ways.
I often get carried away with the advent of some sparkling new technology and how I can use it with learners, but like many practitioners in the post-16 sector, I tend to lack a framework for the design of the actual online delivery and learning and this is what the NewVic session was all about!
To begin with learner feedback and evaluation is key and that is why NewVic’s E-ambassadors (learners themselves) created a survey for their fellow learners. One of the questions that was asked was ‘ What area of Moodle needs to be improved ?’ The first answer was content and the second one was layout.They also wanted Moodle to truly reflect classroom teaching rather than just be an add-on.So the response to this real learner input was to develop a learning design pathway using Moodle’s Book tool.
The Book tool was chosen because it makes it easy to create a multi-page resource in a book-like format and its obvious advantages are that it can help chunk content as well as simplify delivery. Working with this in mind,the main points that were established were:
- consistency in design and approach across the board,
- a single point of entry,
- communicating by using effective language
- scaffolding activities so that the process is clear to all learners.
To see this in practice we were paired up and given a random subject with course outcomes and some written resources. Off we went and designed course units, using the Book tool as set out by the team, based on curriculum areas that most of us had no idea about (well I didn’t). It was pretty amazing to see what an eclectic bunch of teachers, librarians, e-learning people came up with in one and half hours. All the units were pretty viable courses and, as Rod Kain pointed out, imagine what could be done with actual subject specialists! The final point was that this learning design pathway encourages teaching teams to work together and this is vital in developing that consistent and streamlined approach that the learners are really asking for.