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Archive for April 11th, 2007

You’ve probably heard that the best way to learn something is to teach it. When you teach, you spend a lot of time gathering information and making sense of it. In other words, you’re doing a lot of work. Learning is hard work, and the person who’s working the hardest is learning the most. In the best courses, that means that learners are doing most of the heavy lifting. As a great friend of mine says, the best course is one where learners leave not even remembering the instructor’s name.

construction workerHow do we shift the work over to learners in an online course? Web 2.0 tools make it a lot easier since they give learners control of the tools to create and share content. Learning management systems like WebCT or Blackboard aren’t designed to give that level of control to learners, but that’s exactly what blogs, wikis, podcasts and social networks do because they’re personal tools.

Learners can also make decisions about how they want to meet the outcomes of a course. Anecdote’s action-oriented community of practice model could be easily adapted to an online course.

How about you? How would you hand over the heavy lifting to learners?

(Photo, ironworkers7, by Paul Keleher)

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