This article is going to talk about the application of constructivism in your e-learning teaching practice using Moodle.
With the help of different strategies as how to organize information, the looks, teaching dynamics, gamification, PLEs, and time and desktop management, we’ll ensure: pedagogy, engagement, self regulation, metacognition and brain-based learning.
EdTech is a tricky word when the Tech part bullies the Ed one. I’ve stumbled upon several virtual communities struggling to integrate applications by all means in their educational practice, no matter the elephantine effort or lack of pedagogy.
As technology is just a tool, education has to be based on pedagogy. If we look up their old meanings we find: art, for technology; and, to lead the child, for pedagogy. Despite being an art we have several advantages thanks to science, like knowing some facts about brain functioning and the way it learns. Thus, we can fine grain our technological strategies to improve our lessons.
Speaking about tools, I’ll focus on two of them among the vast amount of choices: Moodle and Google Apps (in the market there are plenty of resources, thousands, and you shouldn’t hesitate to integrate them in Moodle, but it’d be better to use proven tools so you can save your time). The reasons for such selection are:
- Moodle is the best educational tool nowadays. It has an acceptable learning curve (not super easy), and the power it grants is worth the effort. If your project is about flipping your classes then Moodle is your tool.
- Google Apps are the best complement for Moodle.
Let’s see some strategies to use when designing your Moodle courses as how to organize information, the looks, teaching dynamics, constructivist basis, gamification, PLEs, and time and desktop management. Through their use we should ensure: pedagogy, engagement, self regulation, metacognition and brain-based learning.
PHASE #1: PRESENTATION
Image is everything, as it’s the first impact on your brain’s sensory channels. That’s the reason why you have to be very careful about how you set up your courses and what strategies you follow to keep students engaged and actively participating.
HOW TO FORMAT, DISTRIBUTE AND ORGANIZE THE INFORMATION ITEMS
Numerations and logical sequences:
- Moodle is great to organize your courses in parts, as weeks or topics, but you can even divide them in other different things. There are plenty of plugins to installl: collapsed topics, grids, and so on.
- Your contents should be spatially arranged in the same way, so students can rapidly identify data, sections, key words, etc. Your physical books follow a similar strategy, so you can get ideas from them.
- Instead of long paragraphs full of text, organize your information using bullets or lists (6 items per list).
- Use sparingly text format to highlight important ideas: bold, underline, colors, several font types. And remember the information pyramid: title, brief and body.
- Infographics are great resources to attractively present information.
Clarify what students will be dealing with during the course: syllabus, timetable, goals, assessment, tutoring time. You can design a quiz so students can know what level they’re starting from.
- Extract ultra simple facts from a lesson. That’s layer zero.
- Build around it more layers with a higher difficulty level.
- Consider using Moodle lessons to better control the flow depending on the knowledge level students have.
- Students will be able to go ahead in different paces.
- Let your excellent students go over simple tasks to the more complex ones so they don’t get bored.
- Remember to grant them badges or something similar (level-ups).
Stick to the big idea and repeat it over and over:
- When a task has been finished you can make a Moodle label appear to show a summary of the previous knowledge (see the how-to’s in the gamification section).
- Use Moodle quizzes where the last ones include questions from the previous ones (Moodle’s question bank helps doing that), i.e let students feel obliged to keep in mind what they’ve learned in past lessons.