Unit 4: Putting It All Together
Unit 4 Goal
The goal of Unit 4 is to provide you with an opportunity to "put pen to paper" and blueprint a blended, learner-centered educational experience.
- The participant will reflect on the dynamism of educational theory, instructional design, and the numerous technological tools available for use.
- The participant will combine ideas from the previous three units to construct a blueprint for a blended, learner-centered educational experience.
Take a few moments and reflect on what aspect(s) or adult learning, instructional modalities, and/or technological idea(s) surprised you? What excited you the most? Share your thoughts here.
What does blended learning look like in medical education?
From 2012 - 2015, Stanford Medical School transformed their curriculum from a traditional lecture based environment into a learner-centered, blended learning environment. This video details their process and discusses how the changes have been received by faculty and students.
Guiding Questions to Build Your Blended Session Blueprint
Under a Creative Commons License, the Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo developed the following list of questions to help plan a blended learning session:
What is the objective or intended learning outcome of this activity?
Most course outlines or syllabi have a set of course objectives or intended learning outcomes for a course; using these same principles, articulate one specific objective or intended learning outcome for the activity. See the Centre for Teaching Excellence teaching tip “Writing Learning Outcomes”.
How long should the learning take?
This will depend on the objective or intended learning outcome of the activity. The interaction and learning time can be short, for example a 5-minute self-assessment for students to monitor their understanding of a concept, or longer, such as a series of practice problems that could take up to an hour or more.
Will the activity be individual, collaborative or both?
Although we tend to imagine students working alone at their computers, student often tackle their online activities in pairs or trios; two or three heads can be better than one! Peer–to–peer interactions and dialogue about challenging concepts and problem solving can increase their engagement and help learning, so it can be helpful to design activities with this in mind and to encourage students to collaborate on such activities.
Which media and technologies should be used?
Keep it simple. The overwhelming range of tools and media options available can make it challenging to choose how to best design and deliver an online activity. Use the objective or intended learning outcome of the activity as a starting point to decide which visual and audio components will be most effective. Learning management systems (Blackboard, Canvas, etc.) provide many tools that can be the starting point of a learning activity (quizzes, discussion forums, blogs, wikis) and scaffolded learning opportunities can be created that provide access to a sequence of activities of increasing complexity or difficulty in a controlled time frame or through a series of learner actions. Keep in mind that if grades are given for the activity or student participation is to be tracked and reviewed for participation grades, external tools may not have the stability and longevity that institutional resources provide.
How will the learners get feedback on what they have learned?
“Close the loop” of learning by providing feedback to the activity. Effective feedback can direct and guide a student and help them understand if they have achieved understanding. When providing individual feedback is impractical, model answers or links to helpful resources can be provided automatically and immediately online and can be based on their performance in the activity. Effective feedback to activities can also be given to the whole class during class time where the online activity can be a springboard to deeper in-class learning or connected to new concepts.
How will the learning be assessed?
Summative assessment is typically provided to students by grading them on tasks and their grade, or mark, reflects how well they have performed on the task. Formative assessment, on the other hand, can help students recognize misconceptions and guide them to better understanding and thus better performance on future assessments. Both formative and summative assessment can be part of a learning activity depending on the objective or intended learning outcome of the task.
How will I motivate students to participate in the activity?
If an activity is perceived as valuable to students and properly integrated into a course, students will be more motivated to do the activity. Participation marks or a small grade allocation for engaging in an online learning activity can also increase students’ motivation. Students are more likely to participate in low stakes activities if they are going to be integrated into their experiences in the classroom, tutorial or lab. Providing real world, authentic tasks that are relevant to students’ lives or future professional lives that are challenging, but achievable, can also increase motivation.
How will learners communicate with each other and ask the instructor questions?
Providing opportunities for students to ask questions about the learning activity in class or through online frequently asked questions discussion boards can help create a supportive environment for learning to take place.
Now It's Your Turn!
In Unit 1 of this course we examined the current state and looked to the future of medical education. In Unit 2 we covered andragogy and the work on Malcolm Knowles as well as the flipped classroom modality. Unit 3 explored educational technology, including the SAMR framework of technology integration in the classroom. This unit has guided us through how andragogy and technology can come together in the design of effective eductional experiences for medical students. Now it's your turn! Using the guiding questions above and the information you've learned in the prior units, use the following template to blueprint a blended learning session.
Exit Slip: Mini-Course Evaluation
Thank you very much for completing this mini-course! Please follow this link to complete a brief survey. Your feedback is appreciated.
Developing Online Learning Activities for Blended Courses. Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo.