Wednesday, July 13, 2005

George Siemens

As learning moves from artificial constructs of courses into a format more symbolic of today’s work climate, control must shift to the learner. Courses largely seek to communicate what a designer feels a learner should know. Learner-centred design focuses on giving the learner the ability to decide what he/she feels is important and relevant. A more dynamic design approach is more reflective of the types of challenges individuals will face when learning through experience and other informal methods.

  1. Transfer of responsibility from teacher to learner:
Independence is developed by design, not chance. Four steps involved in the skill aspect of independent learning are: show students how; provide practice; have students structure activities; finally, have them use the activities independently.

The pace of this sequence is dependent upon the age and background of the student, the level of the task to be done and the attitudes of both teacher and student. The transfer of decision making responsibility from teacher to student is a key part of the teacher's role in fostering independent learning; the transfer needs to be accomplished without either over- or under-controlling the process. This shift is enhanced by a teachers' positive attitude to independent learning, as well as a good knowledge of the needs, interests and abilities of individual students. This transfer of control is crucial; it leads to students discovering how their efforts can affect their learning. Students then experience control of the learning task, and from this control they acquire motivation to continue learning.

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