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Archive for the ‘Blended Learning’ Category

The August/September issue of Innovate is up & it’s devoted to experiential e-learning, or ee-learning.  Given the preference that a lot of learners have for experiential learning, this issue is especially welcome. (You’ll need a free registration in order to see the full articles.)

Supporting experiential learning is especially tricky with technology, simply because most of us are accustomed to those long-winded didactic courses (*yawn*).  We just don’t have experience designing … er … experience.  We don’t know how it works and or what it should look like.  These articles help.  They cover a range of projects including ones where learner use games to change explore issues of identity and diversity to projects where learners engage virtually in the experiences of experts and educators who explore Nunavut by dogsled.  I love the opening paragraph of Aaron Doering’s article about Adventure Learning

It is March 5, 2004. I and my five colleagues from the Arctic Transect team have been traveling across the Canadian Arctic via dogsled since December 31, 2003. As we approach Baker Lake, Nunavut, we have not seen anyone else in 73 days. Across the horizon a jumping light can be seen as a snowmobile approaches us. I am on the front sled, so I stop the team and ski over to the individual dismounting his machine. I extend my arm and say, “My name is Aaron Doering. You have no idea how excited I am to meet you.” The Inuit Elder from Igloolik, Nunavut, replies, “I know who you are; I recognize your voice from the Internet.”

Aaron’s story is fairly dramatic but the same idea would work in connecting electrical students to journeymen working on-site or pharmacy tech students to hospital pharmacists. 

How about you?  How are you integrating experiential learning into your teaching?  Any recommendations?

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I just came across a great series of podcasts done by Dan Balzer and Susan Manning called The Learning Times Green Room. Just like a green room in a theatre, it’s designed to be a place for behind-the-scenes conversations. There’s a great chat with Cara Coffina, a teacher who tried doing online debates with students throughout a school district using Elluminate, a tool I love. There’s another interview with Professor Norman Garrett at the Eastern Illinois University talking about how teaching has changed in the past five years. The answer? Quite a bit.

The podcasts are short and lively. The show notes are informative so you can tell at a glance what the podcast is about. Check it out.

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Blended learning is one of the fastest areas. If you look for one concise definition, you won’t find one. However, most people agree that blended learning is somewhere in the middle of courses that are completely fact-to-face and those that are completely online. As Curtis Bonk says, it’s the thoughtful integration of technology into a course.  The idea is that you use the best of each to produce a course that’s more flexible for learners.

I found this presentation that Dr. Bonk gave at Campus Saskatchewan’s TLt conference last year. I apologize for the length, and the sound is a bit choppy at the beginning, but if you’re new to the idea of blended learning this is a great starting point. Some of the best parts are where Dr. Bonk describes some of the situations where blended learning allows you to do things that you just can’t do otherwise — for example, you can admit someone into a class after the course has started because they can catch up on course work. Because the course content, discussions, lectures, etc. are all online, they’re available and easy to review. And there are lots of strategies about how to use blended — for example, keep a wiki where learners post their projects so that each incoming class can look at what learners in past courses created. There are plenty of good ideas here, and Dr. Bonk is an engaging presenter. Check it out.

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