Friday, 16 May 2014

Approaches to Learning #ocTEL

Approaches to Learning

OcTEL week 2 task is to consider three approaches to learning
Deep, Surface or Strategic
If I had to review my own approach to learning on the basis of these category titles then I would say I had a strategic approach with a good deal of surface activity.

But when I looked at the descriptions in the categories then this is not the case.

I am strategic as I look at how to get the best possible result and I manage my time and effort effectively.  This is influenced by two factors – one, that I have a lot of activities, work and learning to fit into the time and only a finite amount of effort and resource.
Secondly, and possibly a 'failing' here on my part is that I see work and learning as merged and often interchangeable.  For work, I'm solution focused so my usual way of learning is also solution or result focused.
As far as a surface learning approach is concerned, I may self-assess myself as such but the rest of the criteria doesn't fit.
So the deep learning approach – I like to understand ideas for myself, relate ideas to previous knowledge and experience (consciously and subconsciously) and become actively interested in the course content.

As far as considering these approaches to learners – in my experience, it is important that learners/students, especially if they are new to online learning and an online course, know what the course requirements are. It's essential that there is a structure and framework which clarifies what the course is about and the learning expectations.
Then the considerations of outcomes – is it essential to achieve a grade or qualification? If so then tailor the learning to take this into account. Make sure that the components of the course relate to each other, that they are not unrelated and try to find the links.
Learners are more likely to disengage if they can't see the connections when learning online.
However one of the great advantages of online learning is that you can push the boundaries, that you can explore more resources and more channels of communication and more opportunities to interact and create collaboratively.
That learners can become actively interested in the course content and develop it to match their own approach to learning.

1 comment:

  1. You make some good points here Claire. I think that it is quite difficult, if not impossible, to be a surface learnerI on a cMOOC like ocTEL - they just aren't built that way! Most of us would probably want to be taking a deep approach, at least in the areas that we have identified as of particular interest and relevance to us (remembering our big and little questions from week 0) but as you say, CPD activities like ocTEL have to fit in around busy work schedules so a strategic approach is likely to be the most common outcome.