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Lynne's comparison of 4SPPI & e-Design

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Lynne Dixon
2 April 2013


Both representations involve capturing the key features of a learning activity on a template, organised according to certain principles. The aim in each case is to produce a standardised representation which will enable one learning activity to be compared with another, in a consistent way. But the methods used & the appearance of the end product are quite different.


4SPPI analyses each learning activity design according to four factors: space (where it happens), pedagogy (how it is taught), participants (who is involved) & history (what is produced during the activity). The information for each factor is then displayed as segments in a circular graphic. By contrast, e-Design uses a tabular format. Each stage in the learning activity is allocated to the column corresponding to its type: active induction (tutor-managed, closed), guided exploration (student-managed, closed), facilitated investigation (tutor-managed, open), self-organised learning (student-managed, open).

Readability, expressiveness, utility

I found e-Design easier to use from the point of view of quickly finding out what each activity involved, perhaps because reading text left-to-right & top-to-bottom is such a familiar process. 4SPPI took more interpretation, as the segment labels were displayed around the graphic (difficult to rotate the image on a PC monitor!). Both required a good deal of decoding, due to their use of space-saving abbreviations. But once familiarity with the layout & language was achieved, 4SPPI gave me a deeper understanding of the intentions behind each activity & its practical requirements (in terms of equipment, classroom space etc.). With e-Design, a teacher would know what s/he was supposed to do during the session. With 4SPPC s/he would know much more about how & why to do it.

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Maxine Armstrong
2:51pm 11 April 2013

Hi Lynne, I agree with the amount of decoding required, I needed the descriptions to understand the figures and vice versa. I think both models have their merits individually, but I would prefer a model that combined the what, why and how.

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