Viral Professional Development: June 2 - 22, 2008

VPD and Classroom Vs. Online Pedagogy

Re: VPD and Classroom Vs. Online Pedagogy

by Geoff Cain -
Number of replies: 0
I think pedagogy is not only important, but is primary. It is important to know exactly why we are doing something. In order to understand how to teach we have to no more than just outcomes; we have to know how we learn. This is what pedagogy does. I use the word because it describes what I am referring to in a complete way. There is a lot of the classical world and a good deal of Pierce in most of the so-called modern theories in learning. We would have a very poor vocabulary if we had to look under the hood of every word we use and sanitize each one politically. I find that my work in online learning has always been centered on community building and interaction so I have found the constructivist model to be the most useful. There are other models such as connectivism but I think the jury is out on whether it is a learning modality or a complete learning theory. What it does do is describe different kinds of interaction and how technology changes the way we take in information.

Connectivism as a theory can show us, for instance, why the Blackboard Scholar service will fail miserably as an educational tool as contrasted with Delicious Bookmarks.

I think pedagogy is a good place to start with online learning. On the entirely practical side, it can tell you why something is working when it is working. It will also help when talking to faculty about how transferring their courses to the online environment can work. Constructivism says, for instance, that students create knowledge when they take new information, are given an opportunity to apply it to previously gained knowlege, and interact with one another. We also know through current research that the higher the level of interactivity in a class, the higher the retention rates. An instructional designer can take all of this useless theory and show a teacher how what they do in the face-to-face class and how to move that experience into an online environment.

We send out the occasional article on the pedagogy of online learning because it helps instructors see that there does not need to be any significant difference between the online and offline classroom.