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The evolution of learning design: From pedagogic neturality to good teaching ideas

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Juliette Culver
7 July 2009

Keynote by James Dalziel

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Patrick McAndrew
8:40am 7 July 2009


Part 1 - evolution of LD:
James Dalziel welcomes us to the LAMS conference thanks to the OU and his colleagues in LAMS - a true Australia and UK collaboration to set up today.

Evolution of LD and the challenge of some of its ideas e.g. pedagogic neutrality. The motivation for LD came from an over simplistic view of eLearning as delivery rather than a route for discussion.

LAMS in particular a more collaborative approach - move away from individualistic approach. His example of "SCORM not for everyone" and how that was actually controversial as the strong model of a presentation based approach. Collaborative tools such as chat are also underused in practice. LD then moved the discussion to a higher level giving a bigger model of what we are trying to do with eLearning rather than trying to tack on collaboration.

IMSLD gave a constrained specification but also enabled a step forward in providing a general theory.

Pedagogic neutrality as goal 1 of LD is best understood as an aspiration to allow a rich enough way to describe  main different styles: instructional, constructivist, problem-based ... Perhaps best thought of a neutral notation rather than to imply that pedagogy is itself neutral. Work remains though to be able to bring in enough tools and less linear approaches (e.g. a spiral pedagogy) or use of time in representations.

While this can be a worthwhile goal in itself for most it is a route to goal 2 - the sharing of good teaching ideas. This needs the representations then to allow transfer and discussion to be in a common language,  Challenges for this goal ar identification (what is good), description, sharing, enablers/inhibitors adoption, balance of generic v content specific. Good research on adoption would help in this area.

Juliette Culver
8:51am 7 July 2009


  • Only about 10 years ago, when e-learnng seen as single-learner self-paced content, with no discussion of collaborative learning. Standards reflected blind spot and most uses of collaboration marginal.
  • Deeper problem than just tacking on more collaboration. IMS-LD significant theoretical advance in terms of providing a ‘meta-model’ for many approaches
  • Goal 1:  pedagogic neutrality. Widely misunderstood. Aspiration rather than something possible - always hidden biases. Notational framework rich enough to model different pedagogical approaches, not a pedagogical theory or teaching approach, more a notation system, almost description of the arrangement of people, comparison to writing down music 
  • Lots of work still to do on this descriptive framework - technical standards and underlying ontologies, learning design tools integration, less linear approaches like ‘spiral’ pedagogies, representation of time
  • Goal 2: Sharing Good Teaching Ideas - for many, this is the real reason for interest in learning design, need goal 1 for a common language 
  • Lots of questions: how do you identify good teaching ideas? How do we describe them? (Metadata and activity structures) how to share the good ideas? What factors enable/inhbit adoption? What is balance between generic and content-specific ideas? 
  • Balance of effort in ld could reasonable shift form first goal to second, still need work on representational framework, but now ready for more effort in second goal
  •  LAMS v2.3 - LAMS is their work towards these goals. Speed and stability improvements, new tools (assessment, image gallery, mindmap, video recording, image editing), new editting options for all toold (LaTeX, video recording, drawing), New authoring options - support activity, Instant Messaging, Gradebook, Time Graphs, and more 
  • LAMS Activity Planner - layer above LAMS, separate piece of software but integrated with LAMS, providing good teaching ideas/pedagogical templates, don't start form a blank template, available for trial, template for a context and also generic version of the template, can see all the editable content together, also editting advice for the teacher in each template to help them adapt it for their own use, can still see in full authoring if you want, expert designers can create their own activity planner so if you don't like their choice of templates you can create your own, created editor for the activity planner itself 

Patrick McAndrew
8:53am 7 July 2009


Part 2 Evolving LAMS:
LAMSv2.3 sounds well worth a visit - it has better speed and stability plus lots of new features. Interesting ones are mindmapping,  built in video recording and image editing (courtesy of Pixlr) and support which sounds like they are activities that sit outside of the normal flow. There is also extra monitoring features that graphically map learner activity

LAMS Activity Planner available for trial as a layer above the blank sheet of a LAMS system. A browsing approach takes through designs such as the example of role play, explaining the idea of role play, specific examples and a generic sequence. A simplified editor then allows editing of the whole sequence in one go. In the generic version a template also includes markers fro the text that needs to be changed to end up with a runnable LAMS sequence. The hosted version will have a starting set but there is also an editor for the activity planner itself - this would allow focus on subject areas.

Planner is an attempt at both wider adoption but also as a route for experts to build their own

Conclusion:
LD and aspiration of neutrality moved everything forward
Mass sharing and adoption of good teaching the real aim
LAMS 2.3 & Activity Planner latest iteration.

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