Sunday, July 17, 2011

Moodle philosophy

By Moodle founder Martin Douiamas

Constructivist epistemology of teaching & learning within internet-based communities of reflective inquiry.

How can the open source be used to successfully support social constructionist epistemologies of teaching and learning?

How can Open Source best reflect epistemologies of community.

About the learning process inside our minds. People actively construct new knowledge as you learn (pathways formed in the brain) in reaction to external stimulus.
Input is tested against prior knowledge and retained if it is viable.
Knowledge is strengthened if it is used successfully.

See Piaget, etc

Learning is more effective when you are constructing for others
"Best way to learn is to teach" - Socrates

Social constructivism
Extends constructivism into social settings.
Use of cultural artifacts to "capture" knowledge and provide experiences that create knowledge in others
Moodle is a cultural artifact - to create knowledge in others about online learning, but mostly it doesn't due to people's previous experiences of how to teach

Ways of knowing
Spectrum of knowing - from connected to separate knowing. Connected knower thinks about stories in their own terms and from the teller's point of view (empathic). Separate knower can sit back and critique, more centred on own perspective. Culturally conditioned not necessarily gender based. Can benefit from being both.

Goal of Moodle => take People + Software tools = Community

5 principles
  1. All of us are potential teachers as well as learners - in a true collaborative environment we are both
  2. We learn particularly well form the act of creating or expressing something for others to see
  3. We learn just by observing the activity of our peers (culture) - note you can't usually see others when online!
  4. Understand the contexts of others, we can teach in a more transformational way (constructivism)
  5. A learning environment needs to be flexible and adaptable, so that it can quickly respond to the changes needs of the participants within it.

Importance of Modules - the modular aspect. Based on a unix model, lots of little programs that do one thing well. Course design is essential to link modules together in a course. User contributions is also content and of course where the learning occurs.

Pedagogical progression
  1. Publish content - put up stuff
  2. Assess - Quizzes and Assignments - absorb and regurgitate. Cheating. Basic part of learning.
  3. Provide a passive Forum. Students often reticent to post, look stupid etc
  4. Collaboration - Wikis, Glossaries, Databases, Youtube, etc....
  5. Facilitate discussions. Questions! Good facilitation is hard!
  6. Combine activities into sequences
  7. Introduce external sites, activities, games, webquests, networks (like Twitter feeds), LTI module
  8. Use Survey tools and logs to study/reflect. Analytics is the new buzzword.
  9. Give students more power (structure/grades)
  10. Research, custom code, communities of practice!
Moodle breaks down educaitonal experience into sequences of small activities
Experience as a practioner evolves into re-usable patterns

TPS - think, pair, share. Ask qs, thinking individually.  Develop artifact (e.g. document). Share in group discussion, moderated and supervised.

Jigsaw technique - useful for more complex topics.
Split students into small groups. Each student in group tackles one aspect of problem individually. Each student from other groups with same job get together to research & collate info. Return to original group and teach/present results. Students assessed on what they learned.

Role playing
Invent scenario/event that will cover issues needing to be taught. Give everyone a role. Ask them to research role thoroughly and ask to write up description of role. Teacher "sets up" the scenario, guides and facilitates events. Participants react in character. Conduct follow up discussion to review what happened, draw lessons, etc. E.g. Twistory

In online learning, teachers are needed more than ever.
  • initiating activioties
  • defining objectives and processes
  • moderating activities - look for connections, problems, put people back on track, draw people out
  • alter pacing and ordering
  • assisting people who are falling behind
  • stimulating conversation with connections, questions
  • providing feedback on how to improve
  • reminding/prompting about key dates and events
  • invite guests, make connections to outside world
Survey module
Fixed tools shown to provide statistically significant results
Critical Moments, Constructivist online learning surveys (COLLES), Attitudes to thinking and learning survey (ATTLS)

  • Make objectives and processes clear to all
  • Identify your patterns and use them purposely
  • Use tools in a modular way, connecting outputs to inputs
  • Ask great questions
  • Find ways to get people asking questions of each other
  • Get students to CREATE for you and each other
  • Get students to reflect on their own work and others
  • Use feedback to facilitate/alter the course as it goes
  • Connect students / content / subject / world
  • Join/create communities of practice

1 comment:

Jeff Colosimo said...

To me, the most relevant point you make is that we learn by observing the activity of our peers. Allowing learners to remain anonymous allows them to feel comfortable in asking questions. Additionally, students are engaging with their peers, on a platform they are already accustomed to making the e-learning opportunity is a huge win-win! I strongly support e-learning for teachers... it just makes sense!