Wednesday, October 3, 2012

ADDIE, Deep Learning, and Badges

As of a few days ago I became a part of a small group working with an 7th/8th grade English teacher here in Utah Valley to develop a series of informal badges for her students. I am very excited for this opportunity, though the other members of my group may quickly ratify my opinion that we are sort of flying by the seat of our pants. Here is our recent video pitch we created as a early sketch/prototype of what we are aiming to do. I will be mainly focused on the second part of the proposal. 

This evening my classmate Katie and I met with the teacher we will be working with, and it was very exciting to discuss the possibilities and experiences that lay ahead. As we tried to think about the best roles for badges to play we tossed around different ideas including, "what needs are in the classroom?" "what concepts are challenging for students to grasp". From that point we started pinning down the fact that we want to focus on helping the teacher invite the students to have deeper experiences and meaningful interaction with the lesson material. Now we are planning on taking some specific topics she has given us to develop and design some material that will culminate in earning a badge. Our idea at the moment is that to evaluate our success in this experience we will need to find some way of measuring whether we were able to satisfy our purpose of helping students engage with the content in a deeper way. However, if they just do the steps required for the badge we hope that the mere experience of doing these things will influence them in a meaningful way. 

As we discussed I realized we were actually following an old and established model of instruction - ADDIE! It feels good to try to apply something, even if it wasn't our intention from the outset. 

At my current job I have had the opportunity to do a little research, have access to knowledgeable people and resources, and time to write learning and teaching tips. One such tip is about Deep Learning, which I think applies to what we are trying to encourage in the 7th and 8th graders in this English Class. 

Sometimes it can be tempting to see the college experience as a series of hoops to jump through or one big game. Interestingly enough, researchers and scholars have studied the impact of this perspective on students and have found that it can lead to superficial retention of material and really doesn’t bring about long-term understanding or retention (Warren,2004). So what if this is the way you generally approach all of your classes? If this is the case, it is essential for you to learn about a term called Deep Learning.

Over the years, the terms “Deep Learning” and “Surface Learning” have arisen as scholars and academics have studied student and teacher attitudes in education. According to experts at the University of Oxford, the general characteristics of Deep learning include:

  • An intention to understand material for oneself
  • Rigorous and critical interaction with knowledge content
  • Relating ideas to one’s previous knowledge and experience
  • Discovering and using organizing principles to integrate ideas
  • Relating evidence to conclusions
  • Examining the logic of arguments

In many ways Deep Learning is related to developing a “Growth Mentality” and “Learning for the Right Reasons”, and has important and lasting influence on other aspects of your life. Opposed to Deep Learning is Surface learning. Lublin (2003) explained that students who take a surface approach tend to:
  • Try to learn in order to repeat what they have learned
  • Memorize information needed for assessments
  • Make use of rote learning
  • Take a narrow view and concentrate on detail
  • Fail to distinguish principles from examples
  • Tend to stick closely to the course requirements
  • Are motivated by fear of failure  

Hopefully the badges we create, and the small bits of instruction that we design will not only be motivating, but promote deep learning.

1 comment:

  1. I'm ready to learn more! Badges! I've wondered how they could be relevant and I think you're about to guide me in understanding this a bit!