Ben R. Atkinson

EDU710 Week 4 – Introduction To Learning Design

EDU710 Week 4 – Introduction To Learning Design

This week’s focus has been learning design and session planning. During the week’s activities, we had our first opportunity to start working our session plan for the micro-teach session we have to deliver for the first assessment on the ‘Supporting Student Learning’ module.

In the first exercise I set out my own approach to designing and planning a teaching session, focusing on four key factors I felt would need to be considered when putting together any kind of teaching session:

Learning objectives – The importance placed on what students should know when they leave the session and how this relates to the overall learning objectives.

Prior Understanding – To what extent will the students understand the subject matter? This ties into the idea of where the module will be taught in the curriculum. Students in the second year taking an optional module may have greater prior knowledge than those in their first year where the session might be more of an introduction to the topic.

The Activity – How will the session be delivered (workshop/lecture) and what kinds of technology will be used to deliver the session and engage the learners.

Personal Reflection – In the first four weeks of my PGCHE studies, I have realised how important personal reflection is to the process of supporting student learning. I would, therefore, factor in time to reflect on my planning after the session has been delivered.

As well as outlining my own approach to session planning, I responded to the work of my peers on the module and reflected on their approach to the task. I found this particularly useful as I had the opportunity to review a number of different session plans and discover how different teaching and learning practitioners approach session planning. Responding to Bahera’s approach gave me new insight on the importance of considering how international students may have different requirements to home students and that every academic should consider the time they have available to deliver any session and the resources required. In responding to Jane’s plan, I realised that having a series of questions you ask yourself in order to consider how the students might respond to any session plan, is a really useful approach. It allows you to consider if the session you have planned is the best fit for the students you are teaching. It is too easy to plan a session based on your own understanding and not put the students at the centre of your approach.

All of the work this week, putting together my session plan and responding to others, has taught me a lot about a student centred approach to teaching and learning. The session planning document is not one that I have used before and I found the process of writing up my session in this way a very cathartic experience which helped me to get my ideas down on paper. In my first draft of the session plan, I focused directly on the content I wanted to cover and how this might be disseminated to the students. I looked at the technologies I might want to use in my session and aligned my learning outcomes to Bloom’s taxonomy (as introduced in previous weeks).

To this end, I have been challenged by the session planning form itself and by completing it in a way that would support my own micro-teach session. However, I have been surprised by the response on my peers too who have given a very positive response to my plan when I uploaded it to the discussion forum. I had some good feedback from my peers in this regard and have noted some key points that I will take away to develop my session plan and ensure that I am particularly clear and concise in my learning outcomes while at the same time not trying to achieve too much from what will undoubtedly be a short and intense micro-teach session.

To develop my approach further I will be reviewing my session plan to ensure that it includes a range of appropriate references to the readings and theory covered in the module to date. I want to ensure that my session plan has a strong academic background and relates to the key theories of supporting student learning in higher education.

About The Author

Ben R. Atkinson is a writer, musician, and presenter who can be heard broadcasting on radio stations around the world, is known for his novels, radio dramas, and who writes and performs his own music in the country/folk genre. Ben is currently studying for his PhD in Ethnomusicology at the University of Lincoln in the UK.