Reflection – Online Course Design

How did you use your understanding of Andragogy or adult learning theory in designing this lesson?

Andragogy is described by Malcolm Knowles (1992) as “a learner-centered approach to learning in which the adult learner determines the goals for learning and how they will be achieved.” The assumptions that describe the key attributes of adults such as their need to know, self-concept, experience, readiness to learn, orientation to learning, and motivation to learn were taken into consideration in the design of my lesson on Teaching and Learning with Multimedia.

The lesson was targeted towards course instructors at a higher-education institution who would be interested in utilizing the technological tools available to them to maximize teaching and learning. Instructors would bring a wealth of teaching experiences to the course, however, may have only been exposed in a limited way to the affordances of multimedia in teaching and learning.

Thus, the course was not designed solely as a hands-on tutorial showcasing the features of a particular tool but it provided a theoretical background on how the brain works and how multimedia principles can affect the brain leading to enhanced learning.

What instructional strategies you applied and how does your design address the cognitive, instructor and social presence?

The course was delivered as a blended online course being a mix of synchronous and asynchronous activities. Direct instruction was the primary teaching strategy employed facilitating interaction between instructor and learner, however, there was also ample opportunity for learners to interact amongst themselves.

The success of blended learning over fully online learning have convinced me that a more effective design approach is to utilize elements of synchronous communication for teaching  at various points during the course, thus, a live online session using Zoom web-conferencing tool was included.

Web-conferencing can easily facilitate information exchange and allows for more dynamic communication due to immediate interaction, in the absence of any physical face-to-face interaction.  The asynchronous elements of the course were intended to foster more in-depth thinking.

When combined as with my blended course, the synchronous and asynchronous elements developed a community of inquiry by facilitating cognitive, social and instructor presence and also reduced transactional distance.

Overall, what was the most difficult in creating this Moodle lesson?

The most difficult part of creating an online lesson is being consistent across all content that is created since learners may be viewing course material individually, information must be conveyed in a simple, accurate and concise manner.

How did you solve problems as they came up? What are your thoughts on online teaching now that you have created an online lesson? What was the most rewarding thing about this project?

I didn’t encounter any problems of a technical nature because I function as a support to faculty and the learning management system we use is Moodle – the same that was required for the assignment, however, knowing what is best practice to facilitate learners may lead to a course design that you constantly want to tinker with to improve but there is always the constraint of time.

For example, a typical online course must follow all the pedagogical aspects of having a goal and related objectives and ensuring that any activities and assessments align to the objectives. But that is only the first part of online teaching. You then require technological tools that can facilitate what you require from learners. But that is not the end. The principles of accessibility, multimedia learning, community of inquiry and andragogy (if you are teaching adults) still have to be considered. This is considerably more difficult in an online environment as opposed to a face-to-face environment.

However, it is rewarding to see how all the elements of your course fit together like pieces to a puzzle and be finally ready for delivery to learners.

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