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ETEC 530: Constructivism Strategies for E-Learning

Diane Janes

Final Assignment Reflection

By: Claude DSouza


41667007
April 6, 2014
Introduction

For the final assignment, I recreated an online constructive version of my EFL news story

writing lesson that I used with Korean high school students (in Korea) at an upper

intermediate/advanced level. If I had to adhere to the one hour lesson time-frame required for

this task in the course, then my online version would be broken down into two lessons. The

'Home,' 'Instruction,' 'Example,' and 'Activity 1' sections would be part of the first lesson, while

'Activity 2' would be covered in a subsequent lesson. I used Weebly.com to create my

constructivist learning site.

How lesson incorporates Constructivism

My online version heavily incorporates the Constructivist Instruction Model (CIM)

advocated by theorists who share the common beliefs that knowledge is actively constructed by

students, and that instructors must support this construction rather than directly communicate

knowledge (Duffy and Cunningham, 1996). I recreated the online version of my news story

lesson based on Duffy and Cunninghams framework of design goals of constructivist learning

environments, used by Lefoe (1998) to assess two online learning environments. In order to

ensure autonomy in the learning process, I provided students with a very basic introduction of

the topic, and then let them watch youtube videos on how to write news stories. One of the

videos also included a quiz to guide the learning. Activity 2 allows for students to construct

different perspectives of how they would write a news story based on a scenario. This also meets

the need for learning to occur in a relevant context. Although the learning is mediated through

simple tools and signs in these lessons, the follow-up project would encourage students to create

a local news site with categories (Community, World, Business, Sports, etc.) that would require

conducting research and gathering information, taking pictures, writing the article, and then
publishing it on the site. Students are encouraged to communicate with partners on Activity 1

using social software like online chat, video, or wiki tools. Finally, they are also encouraged to

comment on the work submitted by other students on both activities. For my evaluation rubric, I

was limited to only five components by the Weebly site, and therefore decided to use a few

constructivist principles that guide educators (Can, 2006). These principles can be compared to

the aforementioned framework of design goals by Duffy and Cunningham.

How lesson differs from past design

My previous design of this lesson was created for students to complete in a classroom

without individual access to a computer. It was conducted in a traditional lecture format with the

knowledge being directly communicated by me using Powerpoint, and students doing written

activities in their books. We read an example as a class and analyzed it altogether, with me

facilitating the discussion. There were no opportunities for students to each produce the

knowledge at their own pace, and reflect on the work of others. Although I had them working in

pairs, I told students that they each had to write their own news article in their workbooks, and

only I would be checking them for completion. The one aspect of the lesson that I kept was using

a sports article, as I noticed that baseball or soccer news stories increased my students

motivation to participate in the lesson. Nevertheless, this lesson would still not be considered

constructive if I were to use the same principles to assess it. Hopefully, I can make use of

eLearning tools in future lessons to promote the active construction of knowledge by students in

my classes.
References:

Can, T (2006, April 7). Learning principles in constructivism [Web log message]. Retrieved
from http://constructivist-education.blogspot.ca/2006/04/learning-principles-in-
constructivism.html.

Duffy, T.M & Cunningham, D.J. (1996). Constructivism: Implications for the design and
delivery of instruction. In D.H. Jonassen, (Ed.) Handbook of Research for Educational
Communications and Technology. New York, NY: Macmillan Library Reference USA.

Lefoe, G. (1998). Creating Constructivist Learning Environments on the Web: The Challenge in
Higher Education ASCILITE98 Conference Proceedings. Retrieved from
http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/wollongong98/asc98-pdf/lefoe00162.pdf