I read a great article this week by Cathy Davidson, Lecture, Online, F2F, P2P, MOOCs? Great Learning/Teaching Isn’t Binary, that spoke brilliantly to the idea that modes of learning (lectures, books, texts, workbooks, apps, elearning modules….), and for that matter, I would say edtech and instructional, are means, not ends, to educate, to train, and to facilitate learning.
I tried to come up with an alternative to the word toolbox to describe the number of options we have when designing learning, but it really is a solid analogy. These are things we use, one at a time, or in tandem, to achieve learning. Choosing a format or a mode of learning is not an all-or-nothing surrender of your favorite teaching/learning method. It means building learning for the right context, and if you’ve ever constructed anything from a model car to a desk from Ikea, you know that you have to have the right tools.
An excellent example of adopting more than one approach and trying something new, which transformed an already interactive lecture-based course into an even more engaging and effective Team-Based Learning course is found in the article TBL in my course: An interview with Nicholas Carnes, Sanford School of Public Policy. I particularly like the use of the mention of the concept of mastery of the learning content as a goal for students. Isn’t that what it is all about?