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Matching E-learning Methods to Needs

“Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing prepackaged assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write reflectively about it, relate it to past experiences, and apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves.” (Ehrmann, 1995)

The range of technologies that encourage active learning is staggering. Many fall into one of three categories: tools and resources for learning by doing, time-delayed exchange, and real-time conversation.

Building on existing course models, it can be useful to map tools and technologies onto learning activities and to consider how these enhance or enrich what you already do. A simple list to use might look like this:

  • Lecture presentation
  • Knowledge dissemination
  • Communication with and between students
  • Assessment for feedback and monitoring
  • Labs and tutorial activities
  • Course management

Pedagogically, you might consider what learning theories are being supported (see E-Guide Pedagogies for E-Learning).

For instance:

  • Instructivist
  • Constructivist
  • Situated learning

Or more specifically, for example:

  • Knowledge of facts and figures
  • Problem-based learning
  • Work-based learning
  • Practice-based learning
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Creativity

The appropriateness of tools that are orientated towards content, communication or collaboration then (hopefully) starts to become more obvious.

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