For me this weeks assignment brought home to me the importance of evaluating the proportionate weighting of content delivery and student interactivity in flexible learning design. This type of analysis is appropriate to a blended teaching design in which technical media is embed in the content delivery, interactivity and assessment mechanisms.
Although limited by its size, a qualitative study into blended learning (Ellis, Steed, Applebee, 2006) analyses and discusses two distinct teacher conceptions framing their blended teaching designs and students learning outcomes
“… conceptions of blended learning focusing on critical investigation of the environment that students find themselves in, and those that see technological media as one way of helping students to achieve the intended learning outcomes of course design, tend to be associated with helping students to develop new ideas and understanding. In contrast, conceptions of blended learning that emphasize technological media at the expense of student learning, tend to be associated with using media to deliver information or to even replace some responsibilities of being a teacher. Significantly, the former categories of blended learning and teaching are associated with approaches to design that influence the way teachers teach, and the latter categories of blended learning and teaching are associated with approaches to design which are not related to approaches to teaching.” (Ellis, Steed, and Applebee, 2006)
Applying their analysis to the DFLP course design raises some issues for course designs which emphasize digital information literacy– an implication being the weblog interactive interface assumes the student has the scaffolding of access, interpretation and creation.
How do the facilitators think they teach through the emphasis on technological media in their design?
Do we think we interact and are supported sufficiently through their blended technological media design?
Are participants encouraged to conduct their own critical examination of the environmental design?
Yes, DFLP does seem to favour the weighting of online delivery and assessment – but is this at the expense of hands on teaching and learning of the content?
So far so good, although there have been instances when interactivity is measured as technical digital media publication – weblogs. But is blogging a substitute for the value of debate, feedback in a classroom or 1-1 discussion.
This may be also be a question of learning styles. For me assimilating, processing academic content and communicating thoughts is a proirity as “the social physical and artifactual surrounding in which human cognition and human endeavor takes place.” (Fischer 2006) can be frustrated by having to multi-task – critically examing learning materials and navigating the digital technical media interface.
The digital information literacy is in its own right a discrete and challenging arena as much as it is interwoven into the interactive social networking, collaborative and assessment of flexible learning design.
My own experience of the pace of weekly course readings, postings and eluminate meetings can be at the expense of learning.
I am resolved to explore the flexibility of the DFLP assessment schedule, find out a bit more about my particular learning styles and hopefully learn to modify my objectives so my writing process becomes more manageable.
Ellis, R. A., Steed, A. F. and Applebee, A. C. (2006). Teacher conceptions of blended learning, blended teaching and associations with approaches to design. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 22(3), 312-335.