Week 6 post

Adventure learning. It just sounds more fun than any other name I’ve come across for learning types so far.  

I think it’s great that Aaron Doering in his article, “Adventure Learning: Transformative hybrid online education” underlines the importance of having specific learning goals when designing adventure learning. I also like that adventure learning aims to remove some of the internet isolation that can happen with online learning environments. And yes, let’s bring in experts from the field. Not just teachers facilitating and sharing. I can see how students get work-force ready with experts aiding their learning process. And, it’s definitely a pressure reliever for teachers. My one concern, though, is prepping up for AL can be time consuming. And, even though the benefits are huge, the work required to set up an AL experience may deter teachers from attempting it. I see this happen in my line of work a lot. When putting together training content for the company’s products, many a times, we go with the time-saving manual rather than doing an online video or simulation. We know the latter is better, but the time and cost factor do come into play sometimes.

Another aspect of AL that I like is its focus on problem-solving. When students get to work toward formulating a solution, their question “why are we learning this again” is answered, and keeps them motivated to learn more.

I think immersionlearning.com has done a fantastic job of this type of learning. I dabbled in the “Make your Own Titanic movie” task. Not going to win any Oscars, but it was such a fun experience, and I did walk feeling I want to do more research on the Titanic.

 My google search on Aaron Doering, the pioneer in AL led me to this article: http://www.mndaily.com/2012/02/16/u-researchers-study-sustainability-all-7-continents

 I love how people from across the continents are involved in this project. Of course, it’s time consuming (study ends in 2014), but it just might be worth the effort.

My next stop for week 6 was “No Such Thing as Failure, Only Feedback: Designing Innovative Opportunities for E-assessment and Technology-mediated Feedback.” I find formative feedback approach to be encouraging and uplifting. And—being an instructional designer wannabe—this article served as an important reminder to not blindly ape existing practices. I had never even wondered why assessments in online learning environments are placed at the end of the module/lesson, just like in a traditional setting. My key takeaway from this read was to align feedback with the task, and to ask the “what, why, and when” of feedback. And, I find the idea of self-assessment appealing. This truly puts the learner even more in control of his/her learning—to determine whether mastery over the content has occurred or not. I know it’s not practical for all types of learning. But, for the ASL learning discussed here, I think it’s a great idea for students to record themselves when practicing it, and then compare their signs to those of experts. Of course, this means you should be keenly aware of your own body language. I am reminded of my experience with my PT, who kept correcting my posture when doing an exercise, which I thought I was doing perfectly. Then, he had me stand next to the mirror to show me the “before” and “after,” and I got it instantly.

 An AL experience is definitely a tall order to construct and deliver. Affordances in educational, social, and technological aspects have to be considered. And, since it is rare to find people possessing expertise in all three, it really would take a village to educate this child.

 

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5 thoughts on “Week 6 post

  1. Hi Carol! I understand your concern for the prep time for Adventure Learning; I have the same concern. If the program is ill-structured then the teachers will not be interested. If the program only minimally meets the academic standards, then teachers won’t consider it even if it is motivating, engaging, and interesting.

    I also read the feedback article. Before the IST master’s program I knew feedback was important but never gave it much thought. However, in each class I have taken so far I have learned a lot more about it. Every time I revisit it, I think about this. Instructors and employers give feedback after a performance. The performer has the option of taking the advice and improving the behavior or ignoring the advice. Once the performance is over and the feedback has been delivered, the suggestions may be forgotten or worse yet, the performer may not even understand the advice. I see this as a HUGE disconnect.
    For example, in the classroom, the student performs and the instructor grades the performance. The instructor may also point out what was wrong and even give suggestions. The same occurs in the workplace. The employer evaluates the employee’s performance by pointing out inadequacies and perhaps he/she offers suggestions. However, there is no system for following-up on whether the performer internalized the feedback and corrected the behavior.
    I’m sure good evaluators go back and check on their performers. Right? But I still see a need for the feedback system to loop back and guide the performers to correct their behavior.
    I believe this is the essence of mastery learning. I just don’t understand what the purpose of an evaluation is if the the performer is not accountable for correcting their behaviors. What do you think about this?

    • Kim, you mention the importance of feedback, but it seems like a lot of the feedback that is given tends to be in the form of suggestions for improvement, how to correct a behavior, and other negative aspects of performance. Do you think that there is a balance of any sort between positive feedback, “constructive” feedback, and negative feedback?
      You also mention a good point – there is rarely a follow-up system in place to see if the performance issue was corrected. What about maintaining performance (Someone receives positive feedback, do they maintain status quo next time, do they try to do better, or do they become lax?)

  2. Yes, prep for something like Adventure Learning takes much time. It is not easy to do AL.

    Formative feedback on performance. Well, this is the thing that those of us with thin skin need to use more often. But we avoid it.

    As Kim points out, there are many forms of feedback. Feedback on your performance can come from within or personal standards of success. it can come from watching others perform and get rewarded. it can from external expert evaluation of one’s performance or products. It can come from instructors or teachers. It can come from peers. It can come from the technology. Many forms of feedback as Charlie Miller pts out in his article, “No Such Thing as Failure, Only Feedback: Designing Innovative Opportunities for E-assessment and Technology-mediated Feedback.”

  3. Hey Carol,

    Apologies. I only realized I was also assigned to your blog in Dr. Bonk’s last email. Reading this first entry, I must say that you are very reflective, and am already thinking of how AL can be put into practice. Being a K-12 teacher in Singapore for about 7 years, I understand fully what you mean about the planning, and the choice to usually choose the easier, more convenient methods. Sometimes decisions like these also depend on the head of department, and availability of computer facilities.

    I think believing in this method of learning, and seeing the benefits of it, through the showcases on the website is really important.I can imagine myself as a child – if I could learn in this manner, it would be so memorable, I’ll probably remember it many years later. And where aligned with the syllabus, I think it will be learning using very authentic cases. I see that the AL website contains links of lesson resources for teachers. I do not know if these will help accelerate the planning process.

    While I was a Chemistry teacher, I dabbled with technology too. I did a lesson plan on States of Matter, making use of a very good website. Then I tried video production, and did a titration demonstration video. It was good fun because I involved students. I was blessed with a very supportive senior teacher. These resources were used, even after I left the teaching profession. I believe I should introduce Adventure Learning to my teacher friends in Singapore. We always struggled in teaching Environmental Chemistry, and I think this would be interesting for them. I figure they will do a smaller scale lesson series. Even if they do not follow the expedition, I think the videos on the site are great resources!

  4. It seems there is a lot of overlap between Problem-based learning and Adventure learning regarding ill-structured problems and issues, with the students becoming active agents in inquiry and exploration of content, I love it!
    It’s a shame that constraints such as time, standardized tests, test preparation, and the like place a block on this type of learning activity, but it is the harsh reality. But experiential and vicarious experiential education have so much to offer students (especially when it is interesting to them, more bonus points for not just being in a book!).

    There was an episode of the Simpsons the other night where Superintendent Chalmers takes charge of Bart and the Bullies education though an alternative means, – ending up taking them on a camping trip to seek out Teddy Roosevelt’s lost spectacles. The point would have been lost on me in this (albeit mild?) form of AL had I not been exposed to it here.

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