By Marko Vene
Learning design is not just about aesthetics. Learning design is best understood as systematic design of the learning process and learning environment with the aim to make learning more impactful, efficient, and interesting.
So there are two important aspects which need our attention :
The learning process involves all the activities the learner is doing when learning. For example reflecting on the experience or interacting with others. However the nature of interaction can be different: instructors-learner, learner-learner, learner-content, learner-environment and so on.
The learning environment is all that surrounds the learner during learning. We can easily distinguish 5 types of learning environments: physical/virtual, social, psychological, intellectual and administrative. The environment in which learning takes place affects learning significantly. So the main issue is getting the environment right – and that includes getting the right LMS in place. The right LMS is one that allows learning design.
Overall it’s all about understanding how people learn and then designing a course to aid that learning. Whatever you do, it is important to keep in mind the philosophy of learner-centered learning. The philosophy of learner-centered learning, according to Fee, makes the learner the focus, sees everything from the perspective of the learner, and fosters the development of learning resources and interventions that put the learner first.
This means analyzing and determining learning needs in terms of the individual learner’s needs; it means writing learner objectives from the learner’s point of view; it means getting learners active in the learning process and allowing them to choose how they learn; and it means involving learners in planning and reviewing learning. It means much more, too: it is the learner-centered philosophy that makes possible both a learning culture and a learning organization.
With so many different technologies and tools available, we try to enrich courses with many different kinds of components. Unfortunately, not all components are relevant and they often disturb learners rather than help them to achieve the objectives of the learning.
Without learning design you will just be making a series of tactical e-learning interventions, some of which may work while others won’t. But which, taken together, will not have a collective coherence.
In a nutshell, well-designed e-learning works; poorly designed e-learning doesn’t. You can ignore it. We have seen it way too many times. And the results are always the same. Eventual fail.
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