Thursday, July 06, 2006
THE NATURE OF A DISTRIBUTED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
This unit of study so far has given me much to reflect upon in regards to higher order learning. The Constructivist theories of learning and the role of the Distributed Learning Environment and the possibility have inspired me both personally and professionally. It has given me much food for thought on the applications of these theories and concepts to the subject that I teach.
Brunner (1966) states in his Constructivist Theories of Education that the learner;
constructs new ideas and concepts based on their current/ past knowledge.
Selects and transforms information, constructs hypotheses and makes decisions relying on the cognitive structure to do so.
And that the cognitive structure provides meaning and organization to go beyond the information given.
Furthermore he states that in relation to instruction; it should
- encourage students to discover principles by themselves.
- the instructor should translate information to be learned into a format
appropriate to the learners current state of understanding.
- the instructor/student should engage in active dialogue
- the curriculum should be organized in a spiral manner so students
continually build on what they have already learned
With this in mind I set to re-evaluate the program I offer my year 12 students in Design and Technology. I started with a reappraisal of the HSC Major work where the student designs and constructs a product, system or environment using the Design Cycle as a cognitive structure. I found this structure wanting in relation to the application of ICT’s and their potential use for higher learning. There is no comprehensive design cycle offered or any effective scaffolding set in place throughout this process to facilitate:
Provision for self evaluation
A broad based approach to ICT training in earlier years of education.
Lack of provision in the curriculum so students build on prior learning.
Endnotes: Brunner J. (1966) Towards a Theory of Instruction. Cambridge MA. Harvard University Press
Below is an example of the current model using the example of designing a dining table that a student might design and make and the design folio in which they will record their progress.