A Student Workplan approach to educational design
Teaching Situation — Learner Context
In distance education there is hardly any 'teaching situation' but there is much to think about ‘learner context’. Clearly for educational purposes, any teaching-learning project should uncover its institutional underpinnings, whether teaching takes place on a campus or in a ‘learning environment’, especially in open education establishments which are subject to endless media technology changes and innovations. As well, designers need to realize that nothing they do individually or collectively in the institutional environment will ever match the variety among users themselves in their personal or private sphere. New representations of ‘distant learners’ are required if we are to answer the question concerning “student characteristics” (Gustafson & Branch 2002:28) and develop post-pedagogical open learning design approaches that are usable in a host of academic disciplines.
Change — Challenge
For learners, it makes no difference if designers (institutional agents) bring ‘change’ or meet a ‘challenge’ in any experimental or actual online course or program since most students and learners will never give a second thought to or probe or deconstruct the learning environments presented to them. Therefore, where institutional approaches are concerned, choices are organisationally made between (i) fully distant and open educational design (faculty-driven or faculty-led), (ii) traditional classroom management with stand & deliver performance, and (iii) hybrid (blended) delivery systems; at those levels, some form of generalisation is possible and typically rests on the ‘collective’ (pedagogical) approach in which learners and learning are ignored (are not the object of representation, are provided no representational structures) in spite of the learner-centered discourse. Likewise, if we are to genuinely re-orient educational research, it should be done on a premise whereby professors may claim the intellectual rights on their teaching productions.
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GUSTAFSON, K.L. & BRANCH, R.M. 2002. Survey of instructional development models (4e). New York: ERIC, Syracuse University. (http://goo.gl/U9nDU)