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Structuring a Learner-Centered Online Course. Michele Hampton Gordon Haley. What is Student-Centered Learning?. Student centered learning places the student rather than the instructor in the driver’s seat

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Structuring a Learner-Centered Online Course

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Structuring a learner centered online course l.jpg

Structuring a Learner-Centered Online Course

Michele Hampton

Gordon Haley


What is student centered learning l.jpg

What is Student-Centered Learning?

  • Student centered learning places the student rather than the instructor in the driver’s seat

  • These learning environments are rooted in constructivist learning principles – knowledge construction through scaffolding, learners assuming responsibility for their own learning, and the consideration of multiple perspectives in knowledge construction (Land & Hannafin, 2000)

Michele Hampton/Gordon Haley


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What are the Implications?

  • Implementing online student centered learning environments within a traditional college setting requires a reconciliation of traditional and student centered learning methods and assessments

  • Land & Hannafin (2000) acknowledge this challenge of implementing pure student centered learning within the framework of practical considerations dictated by today’s formal education system

  • The proposition of students being able to direct their study on their own terms and their own time seems to draw them to enroll in online courses (Lorenzetti, 2005)

Michele Hampton/Gordon Haley


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The Dilemma

  • Encouraging students to utilize independence and self-directed learning methods within a traditional education setting is a long and arduous process

  • Some students may not have significant experience with the methods used in a student centered learning environment, such as collaborative interaction and dialogue, problem solving, or access to media rich resources (Clark & Mayer, 2003; Land & Hannafin, 2000; Macdonald, 2004)

  • As a result, students immersed in this environment without consistent hands-on guidance from an instructor may find themselves frustrated and unproductive

Michele Hampton/Gordon Haley


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Student-Centered Learning Toolbox

Constructivist Learning

Cognitive learning theory

Collaborative Learning Tools

Motivational strategies

Michele Hampton/Gordon Haley


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Student-Centered Learning Toolbox

Constructivist Learning

  • Driscoll (2000) describes constructivism as the notion that knowledge exists outside of learners and the act of learning consists of transferring that knowledge from outside to within the learner

  • Consequently, learning occurs as learners attempt to make sense of their experiences

  • New information is related to the knowledge and experience already possessed and is used to construct or build new knowledge

  • Learners take an active role in their learning experience (Villalba & Romiszowski, 2001)

Michele Hampton/Gordon Haley


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Student-Centered Learning Toolbox

Constructivist Learning

  • Online courses can be used to assess information that learner’s possess through the use of online pre-tests

  • By determining learner knowledge and experience level, instructors may be able to modify instruction to account for those levels

  • For example, a module could be added that reviews prerequisite skills to help students refresh their memory and to ascertain if students are at the appropriate skill level assumed by the current instruction design

Michele Hampton/Gordon Haley


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Student-Centered Learning Toolbox

Cognitive learning theory

  • Cognitive learning theory provides the foundation for developing effective, credible, and robust distance education instruction.

  • Clark & Mayer (2003) assert “many e-learning courses ignore human cognitive processes and as a result do not optimize learning”.

  • Villalba & Romiszowski (2001) also purports cognitive psychology should be a basis for designing instruction

  • Helping the learner select information that is important to the learning process, minimizing extraneous items that do not add to learning, and integrating words and pictures are techniques that can be used to manage cognitive load

Michele Hampton/Gordon Haley


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Student-Centered Learning Toolbox

Cognitive learning theory

  • Specific examples include:

    • listing learning objectives upfront so the lesson can provide a framework that assists learners in focusing their efforts

    • minimizing visuals, audio, and text that do not add to the learning experience frees up working memory to rehearse information provided in the lesson

    • presenting related pictures and words in close proximity of each other

Michele Hampton/Gordon Haley


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Student-Centered Learning Toolbox

Collaborative Learning Tools

  • Some common collaborative tools are:

    • Chats

    • Threaded discussion boards

    • Online conferencing

    • Email

    • Interactive tutorials

  • Degree of learner concurrency and the learning goal are the primary factors that can determine which, if any, of the collaborative tools will enhance learning

  • Research shows that learners who study together in an online environment often learn more than those who study alone (Clark & Mayer, 2003)

Michele Hampton/Gordon Haley


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Student-Centered Learning Toolbox

Motivational strategies

  • Keller (1999) offers the ARCS instructional model as a means of integrating motivational tactics into instruction

  • ARCS is an acronym for what Keller (1999) describes as the four dimensions of motivation – Attention (A), Relevance (R), Confidence (C), and Satisfaction (S).

Michele Hampton/Gordon Haley


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Student-Centered Learning Toolbox

Motivational strategies

  • Attention (A)

    • Addresses student interest levels and whether student curiosity is aroused and sustained over a period of time

      Gaining and maintaining student attention can be achieved through using novel and/or surprising events in instruction, stimulating information-seeking behavior by posing or having students generate questions and then varying the elements of instruction to maintain student interest (Penn State University, 2000).

Michele Hampton/Gordon Haley


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Student-Centered Learning Toolbox

Motivational strategies

  • Relevance (R)

    • Addresses relating instruction to learners experience and values to help them construct knowledge.

      Adapting instruction to meet learner needs can include the following to help learners integrate new knowledge with previous knowledge and experience :

      • using concrete language

      • using examples and concepts that are related to the learner’s experience and values

Michele Hampton/Gordon Haley


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Student-Centered Learning Toolbox

Motivational strategies

  • Confidence (C)

    • refers to students’ expectations and perceptions regarding the likelihood of their success and who controls that success — the students or the instructor

    • addresses relating instruction to learners experience and values to help them construct knowledge.

      Informing students of the instructional learning outcomes and providing multiple achievement levels and performance opportunities that allow students to set personal goals and standards to increase the probability of experiencing success positively impacts student confidence

Michele Hampton/Gordon Haley


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Student-Centered Learning Toolbox

Motivational strategies

  • Satisfaction (S)

    • focuses on the “learner’s intrinsic motivation and response to extrinsic awards” (Mory, 2003, p.769)

      Includes the following:

      • providing opportunities for students to practice newly learned skills

      • providing feedback and reinforcements that will sustain the desired behavior

      • maintaining consistent standards and consequences for task accomplishment (Penn State University, 2000)

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References

Clark, R.C and Mayer, R.E. (2003). Learning together on the web. In e-learning and the science of instruction (p. 197-224). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, Pfeiffer.

Driscoll, M. P. (2000). Constructivism. In Psychology of Learning for Instruction [Electronic version]. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Keller, J.M. (1999). Using the ARCS motivational process in computer-based instruction and distance education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning (78), 39-47. Retrieved July 14, 2005, from Academic Search Premier database (0271-0633).

Land, S. M. and Hannafin, M. J. (2000). Student-centered learning environments. In Jonassen, D.H. & Land, S.M. (Eds.), Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments (p. 1-23). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.

Lorenzetti, J. P. (2005). Secrets of online success: Lessons from the community colleges. Distance Education Report, (9)11, 3-5. Retrieved August 11, 2005, from Academic Search Premier database (1094-320X).

Macdonald, J. (2004). Developing competent e-learners: The role of assessment. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher education (29)2, 215-227. Retrieved November 7, 2005, from Academic Search Premier database (0260-2938).

Mory, E. H. (2003). Feedback research revisited. Chapter 29. In Handbook of Research for Educational Communications. Retrieved July 28, 2005, from http://aect-members.org/m/research_handbook/Chapters/29.pdf

Penn State University (2000). College of Education – Innovations in Distance Education. Integrating Instructional Design and Distance Education: ARCS – Motivation Theory. Retrieved October 26, 2005, from http://ide.ed.psu.edu/idde/ARCS.htm

Villalba, C. and Romiszowski, A. J. (2001). Current and ideal practices in designing, developing, and delivering web-based training. In B.H. Khan (Ed.), Web-based training (pp. 325-342). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

Michele Hampton/Gordon Haley


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