Reflection - Week one - Learning Design for a 21st Century Curriculum

Branwen Trevellion visits Etopia Island in Second Life
Week one has gone quickly in the Learning Design for a 21st Century Curriculum. For my reflections I am using the Three-Step Reflective Framework template that I devised in my research.

Step 1: Take notice & describe the experience - description of evidence

I have achieved all my goals as described in my first blog postThe prospect of carrying them all out was rather daunting, and luckily I was on leave and had plenty of time. I am not sure how I will get on once I go back to full-time work next week. Cloudworks, I have found to be completely confusing, and as such I decided to only focus on looking at a few clouds, mainly people with similar interests to what I want to pursue. In my mind, this seems a bit silly as there are so many possibilities out there but I only have limited time. I have tried to choose projects to engage with that will extend my thinking and learning. For example:
  • Project one: Ellie Brewster (Dr Sharon Collingwood) exploring learning design for creating presence in virtual worlds using open resources and mobile devices - Cloudscape
I have also enjoyed joining the discussion about learning design but it has been pretty limited regarding numbers and responses - possibly because the forum does not enable responding to posts via email.  So vaguely disappointing.

I have developed a definition of learning design for myself, and have decided to go with individualized learning design as described on my second blog post. I did not listen to the launch or attend the convergence session, but can do that next time.I have also looked at some of the readings once I managed to sort out how to access them on Bibsonomy. I visited Second Life for the first time in a couple of years - it has changed a little, and the tools and controls seem harder to find. I also want to visit some other virtual worlds such as Open Sim.

Step 2: Analyse the experience - implications of your decisions, actions, and reactions.
I enjoyed the responses to my discussion posts which has put me in an interesting position, I am now really confused about the ideal approach for learning design, and also whether individualized learning design is actually feasible. However, negotiation with the students is key to whatever tack I take though which has always been a strength anyway though I am working within organisational constraints associated with the teaching qualification I teach. Constraints such as set learning outcomes and prescribed assessments - even though negotiated assessments are offered they are within particular parameters to meet the learning outcomes. And the approach is always about designing activities and offering content, since the students (teachers) that I work with need that kind of structure. The implications are then that I need to continue to balance my preferences with those of my students in the way that I design my courses.

So I guess, by engaging in this course, I am not only extending my existing knowledge, I am also challenging my beliefs and assumptions about learning design. According to Mark Nichols, by doing this I am engaging in transformative learning. This appeals to my interest in reflective practice.

My skills in navigating a virtual world need some developing as I feel like a real beginner. I also feel it would be useful to meet up with others with some expertise. I wont be able to design for a virtual world if I don't fully know what the environment involves, and how easy it is to manipulate items.

Step 3: Take Action - Reflect on what you learned and how you will use this learning.
What I have learned is that there is no one way for 'doing' learning design.  If I forced my views on students' about individualized learning design - no content, activities or assessment provided by the teacher, unless in negotiation with each student - I would be as bad as the most prescriptive teacher. I still have a lot to learn about different peoples' perspectives surrounding learning design.

I know that I prefer to use constructivism or connectivism, but I am not fully cognisant with the latter learning theory, so I need to explore this further and the implications for learning design. I know very little about effective learning design for virtual worlds, and need to explore the literature around this.

Therefore, my learning goals for the learning design course are to:
  1. Maintain regular entries in my learning journal (blog);
  2. Explore the concept of individualized learning design further;
  3. Access and immerse myself in some of the research and literature associated with learning design for virtual worlds; 
  4. Explore the practical aspects of several virtual worlds;
  5. Investigate others' perspectives and clouds and cloudscapes in the Mooc; and
  6. Develop my knowledge about connectivism as a model to underpin individualized learning design.