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Talk: Theory and reflection in pedagogy planner tools to support learning design

Liz Masterman and Marion Manton talk at LAMS 09 conference, 7th July 09

Cloud created by:

Gráinne Conole
7 July 2009

The problem space – theories the why and the wherefore, review of previous work?

  • Work as part of the LDSE project
  • Eliciting practitioners’ perspectives on theory and reflection
  • Implication for design of the LDSE

The value of theory

  • Lawes, 2004: 199 Framework of understanding that improve the quality of practice and leads to the transformation of subjective experience
  • Conole 2008: Ensure that pedagogy drives the use of digital technology and not vice versa
  • Mayes and De Freitas: Ensure good pedagogical design

A meta-taxonomy – theory covers a multitude of things
4 useful categories

  • Theories as a way of understanding and predicting something – explanatory (Cook 2002)
  • Model an abstract representation that helps us understand something we cant see or experience directly (Conole, Oliver, et al.  2007)
  • Framework structure and vocabulary that support the explication of concepts and issues (Conole and Oliver 2002)
  • Taxonomy – an ordering classification (Merriam-Webster 1993)

JISC Planner tools

  • London Pedagogy Planner: Used Conversational Framework as the underpinning to take users through design decisions
  • Phoebe: Form filling to create designs, but had concept sensitive help

Perspectives on theory from these projects

  • Theory is a cornerstone of professional practice… and an antidote to technological determinism
  • Bt do teachers consciously espouse formal theories or are they driven by prior experience and reflective practice
  • Combine knowledge of theory with skills to make decisions
  • LDSE – funded under TLRP TEL programme
  • Theory informed but room for individual interpretation
  • Embed appropriate theories into tools and support what it? Modeling of learning designs
  • Uses knowledge engineering to build an ontology of learning designs – concepts and their relationships and educational theories
  • Practitioners use of theory – research questions
  • What is the value of educational theories in learning design?
  • What theories etc are they aware of and do they use?

Working with 10 informant practitioners – who can see the vision and potential
Value of theories

  • Part of a “world view” of learning design: “constructivism is a big part of what I do”
  • For structuring students’ learning: I always try and map everything I do onto CF
  • A yardstick for measuring change: I’m trying to effect change and they are useful markers
  • For critiquing and challenging: I regard theories as ways of critiquing something
  • Balance between theory and pragmatic considerations
  • I linked things up, I want them to get this out of a session, informed decisions – time, number of students, etc, how to motivate them
  • Were asked about a range of learning theories:Inquiry learning, problem based learning, Kolb, Bruner’s spiral curriculum, Ausubel’s advanced organizer, communities of practice etc
  • Multiple interweaving influences – tend to use a mix of theories
  • Some evidence of sloppiness
  • Different between theories of teaching (pedagogic theories) vs theories of learning
  • Pedagogic theories – take the form of models, frameworks for constructing a learning experience
  • Theories of learning – explain how students learn, explanations of how people come to know
  • Approach through practice – priority is to give them the tools they need to teach right  now informed by their understanding of the theories that you are filtering


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