Well, I am right back to it with a bang! This semester I have begun my Technology-Based Learning Environments course by reviewing some research on instructional design. My classmates and I are charged with reflecting upon three articles: (1) an article discussing project-based learning utilizing a constructivist framework, (2) another addressing instructional design in our own interest areas, and (3) the last an article that one of my course mates reviewed. At the same time, we are considering project ideas which could drive our work for the rest of the semester.
The first article began with defining and identifying three characteristics of constructivism. “Constructivism is a philosophical view on how we come to understand or know” (Savery & Duffy, 2001, p. 3). Gaining understanding through our interactions with the environment is central to the learning theory, suggesting that learning is the construction of understanding given the learning prompts. Setting a purpose for learning and incorporating opportunities for social negotiation are also central to the theory. The authors also suggest creating authentic tasks, helping students with project ownership, and providing opportunities for reflection should also be incorporated into a constructivist lesson. The article then asserts that project-based learning utilizes the constructivist theory and explains why. I want to create a course which asks students to use new technologies to present newly-learned content, thus combining the learning of skills through interacting with software and the learning of information that interests them, which addresses multiple constructivist ideas.
I have been pondering some project ideas, and the idea of designing an online course for gifted students is at the top of the drawing board. When I read Thomson’s (2010) article on this very topic, I found that the guidelines found in the research and suggested as best practices were the very same elements I am experiencing in my own online classes. Perhaps the perfect way to show what I have learned these past two years is by reflecting back my own interpretation of an online technology course is with the same idea but with a population I have more experience with. What an opportunity to explore my passions for technology, online learning, and gifted education. I plan to incorporate the instructional design suggestions from the article to the best of my ability: a well-organized course, frequent and prompt feedback, high-quality and appropriate learning materials, a mentor relationship with each student, and individualized and differentiated content.
Much interest in the emotions of gifted students has already produced considerable research. Gifted students often display emotional intelligence well beyond their years, yet many experience misunderstandings because their emotional maturity was over-estimated. I was surprised to find one of my course mates reviewed an article on instructional design considering emotions. In this article Astleitner & Leutner (2000) provide suggestions to address the five emotions in the FEASP instructional design approach: fear, envy, anger, sympathy, and pleasure. The suggestions for sympathy and pleasure were especially engaging and support two elements, cooperative learning and gamification, I would like to incorporate into my project.
Astleitner, H., & Leutner, D. (2000). Designing instructional technology from an emotional perspective. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 32(4), 497-510.
Savery, J. R., & Duffy, T. M. (2001). Problem based learning: an instructional model and its constructivist framework. CRLT Technical Report No. 16-01, 1-17.
Thomson, D. L. (2010). Beyond the Classroom Walls: Teachers’ and Students’ Perspectives on How Online Learning Can Meet the Needs of Gifted Students. Journal of Advanced Academics 21(4), 662-712.