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Learning Journal HG Wk3

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Helen Guerin
24 January 2013

This week I intend to use the Course Features Cards to ensure the four cornerstones of a balanced curriculum are in place in a selected course. I'm looking for a mix of :

Guidance and Support - Orange

Content and Experience - Blue

Communication and Collaboration - Green

Reflection and Demonstration - Purple

Hopefully, I'll also be becoming more familiar with Cloudworks. 

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Helen Guerin
12:42pm 30 January 2013

Reflection Week 3

I found Week 3 was set at a better pace than Week 2 and therefore more enjoyable. Also, I could more clearly see connections between Week 1 and Week 3 in relation to learning design and learning activities to promote creativity.

 It was interesting to think about where I begin when designing a learning intervention. I usually start at the end point and work back to the beginning, rather like planning a journey – decide on where you want to be, then figure out how to get there, considering both the shortest distance and the scenic route. Clearly the scenic route is necessary when dealing with ‘threshold concepts’ (Meyers & Land, 2003). However, the shorter route may be better for less complex concepts and to help motivate learners, reward their learning progress and build their confidence and self esteem. This is critically important when teaching educators.

 I enjoyed playing with the Course Features Cards and really liked this way of achieving balance in a course between the four corner stones of Guidance & Support; Content & Experience; Communication & Collaboration; and Reflection and Demonstration.

 In terms of what the learner does, learning activities and learning styles, I was particularly struck by the parallels between the Learning Activity Taxonomy (Conole, 2008a) and Blooms Taxonomy (Bloom, 1956; Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001). 

Learning Activity Taxonomy

Assimilative– reading, listening, viewing.

Information handling – manipulating data or text.

Communicative – discussing, critiquing, etc.

Productive – producing an artefact such as an essay, architectural model, etc.

Experiential – practising, mimicking, applying, etc.

Adaptive – modelling or simulation.


Blooms Taxonomy Revisited

Remembering: can the student recall or remember the information?

Understanding: can the student explain ideas or concepts?

Applying: can the student use the information in a new way?

Analyzing: can the student distinguish between the different parts?

Evaluating: can the student justify a stand or decision?

Creating: can the student create new product or point of view?

Finally, I was struck by the importance of the need to collaboration and share information on module design and course design, and learning outcomes, both with fellow staff and students. This will help to ensure the programme of study is balanced between the four corner stones outlined in the Course Features and scaffoldinf student learning, so that the course of study is well designed and facilitates student learning, both for threshold concepts and beyond.

 The Course Profiler could indeed be a very useful tool in assisting academics to unstuff the curriculum – the ‘less is more’ approach. This is very evident in Narrative 1 where the group used the CompendiumLD tool and following one cycle came to the following conclusion “It works, but there are things we can do without.”

 Also, in Narrative 3 the need to communicate effectively with students is highlighted as critical to the success of any programme of study.

“… so it was clear that the emphasis next year should be on upfront communication in a way that achieves clarity.”

 I will continue to reflect on the quote from Bruner (2003) ‘We organise our experiences and our memory of human happenings mainly in the form of narrative … [visual representations] can render phenomena, relationships and ideas visible, allowing patterns to emerge from apparent disorder to become detectable and available to our senses and intellect.’


Anderson, L. & Krathwohl, D. A. (2001) Taxonomy for Learning, Teaching and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives New York: Longman.

 Bloom, B. S., Engelhart, M. D., Furst, E. J., Hill, W. H., & Krathwohl, D. R.Taxonomy of educational objectives: the classification of educational goals; Handbook I: Cognitive Domain New York, Longmans, Green, 1956.

Brunner, J. (2003), The narrative construction of reality, in M. Mateas and P. Sengers (Eds.), Narrative intelligence (pp. vii, 340), Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.

Meyers, E. & Land. R. (2003). Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge: linkages to ways of thinking and practicing, in Rust, C. (ed.), Improving Student Learning – ten years on. Oxford: OCSLD.


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