Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Half an Hour, Oct 16, 2017

Maureen Andrade

Self-Regulated Learning, Course Design, and Pedagogy: A Model for Learner Success

Practical ideas to help students succeed in an online course. The focus is on self-regulated learning, defined as “the ability to control the factors and conditions that affect learning.” (Dembo, Junge & Lynch, 2006) But they may not know how. Students need to do activities in each of these dimensions (don’t make them optional). First, students evaluate their own strengths & weaknesses, then they focus on something to work on from the list.

  • Motives eg. Listen to a clip taking about a pilot having to learn English
  • Methods eg what’s my learning style (authoritative, communicative, analytical, concrete)
  • Time ask self-reflective questions about time management
  • Physical activity where they look at the different places they study
  • Social Environment make plan for tutoring session & be responsible for learning in the session
  • Performance self-assessment, reflecting on goals, etc.

These can be applied in other contexts, including in your own courses.


Maristela Petrovic-Dzerdz & Anne Trepanier

Online Hunting, Gathering and Sharing: Return to Experiential Learning in a Digital Age

We were historically hunters and gatherers, and more than anything, sharers, This is how we have traditionally learned, in contrast to the organized learning of industrialized societies. In the latter, people work on their own - at their own desk, doing their own work, etc. And this mode of learning has largely propagated into the digital world: learn at your own pace, etc. But this may be an even more isolating process.

By contrast: learn from experience. We will share today a couple of assignments we created for a course ‘Introduction to Quebec Society’ where we emulate the traditional forms of learning.

First: primary source assignment. Learn about primary and secondary sources. We ask them to look for these sources, but we guide that process, eg., asking for sources from certain time periods, or from one of the main three threads in the course. Then, when they find the source, we ask them to reflect on them: why did they select the source, how does it relate to the topic? Then they upload and they share. This is a database activity, so it’s easily searchable. Students are then encouraged to use each others’ sources in discussion and debate.

We find that because this is an online debate the work is of high quality. They reference their sources! They form a real sense of cohort. We will discuss in more detail next Wednesday.


Fernando Gamboa-Rodriguez & Rosario Freixas-Flores

A new self-reflection approach for a teacher training mixed program

We have developed a new way to work in collaborative development spaces and the classroom. We asked professors what they use tech for: it’s mostly videos and PowerPoint slides. So most of the use doesn’t change the way we see lectures: we give better explanations and more produced materials, but the basis of the learning still remains the same. But while teachers have the ICT skills to do better, but they have difficulties integrating them into their lectures.

So what’s so hard about this?

The problem is, we still teach in a very behaviouristic way. We need to find ways to move teaching into something more inquiry-oriented, something that requires them to practice and reflect and explore.

Eg. One case is a diploma on teaching with ICT in Chile. There are three main stages in the diploma: self-reflection workshop, instructional design workshop, and then work in the classroom. They begin by expressing their expectations, goals and achievements, and then design their own materials integrating new instructional strategies, then apply them in the classroom.

We are basically asking teachers to do the same thing they are expecting their students to do. So there is no ‘Part 2’ to this program. We expect teachers to carry on on their own.

Today, teacher training in the use of technology relies on an old outdated model. Teachers can do better, but they need tutoring to achieve this. Tutoring and peer-learning models promise better results.


Normand Roy & Sonia Lefebvre

How to Promote Active Learning

A traditional webconference tool is shown. However it represents a classic classroom where the teacher controls everything. There are limits on what I can see. It’s too complex to use. It’s difficult to share the environment to students so they can share.

We have 6 minutes to try sharing. Three pays:

  1. Padlet
  2. Realtime Board -
  3. Answergarden

Pedagogical values in these applications:

  • P 21st century skills
  • Ck ICT integration framework, media literacy, etc
  • T learning by doing, collaboration and sharing


Discussion (full panel)

It’s very humbling to teach online. The information is already there. I’m there to help students. Students are the actors in their own development, and I’m a guide.

Re: attention spans. Chunked learning. Also - it’s really important to have students reflect on what they have done. The students are not captive any more; it’s our task to captivate them. Active learning: where people need to do something, bring something. I try to let them find stuff, bring stuff.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Mar 30, 2021 8:50 p.m.