Visualising Planning By Learning Events

Part of the Visualising Education Blog Series

In 2011 I reviewed all my lecture presentations and teaching materials for reoccurring patterns and discovered that over a six month period. I went from having presentations which were inconsistent, illogical and all but ineffectual to developing a consistent repeatable cycle. This cycle can be summarised and is displayed in table one, below.

Table one:  Traversable Learning Cycle

Stage Outcome
1 Visualise Video, image, real-life, narrative
2 Conceptualise Create own definition and a list of indicators
3 Transfer new knowledge Content, theory, principles etc…
4 Challenge new knowledge Questioning (verbal, paper etc…)
5 Apply new knowledge Case study, scenario, poster etc…
6 Affirm learning Challenge and confirm new insight

If we assume that the hierarchy is traversable, a teacher could be in stage four (challenging new knowledge) and realise that some students have missed key points of the concept.  The teacher could jump to stage one and ask ‘do you remember the video at the start of the lesson, why did I show you that?’ or stage two, ‘what was your definition at the start of the lesson? …. (stage three) how does that link to this theory?’ This ability to traverse across the planned lesson and its content, allows the teacher to quickly locate, where within the scaffolding process, the miss-concept took place and therefore, address it at the correct location.  Critically, it is the process of helping the student(s) to make links between the information at the different learning stages and thereby restructure their understanding. What I have outlined is linked to concepts within the instructional design domain.

I realised, I was planning lessons based on learning activities.  The process was based around the following key questions.

  • What do I want the students to learn?
  • Which activity is best to transfer this knowledge?
  • What activity will promote maximum student engagement?

Based on the answer to these questions, a best-fit sequence of pedagogical or andragogical activities is identified. These activities are integrated to generate a planned lesson.  Figure one, below, illustrates the first three stages of the Traversable Learning Cycle highlighted in table one, above.

Letter Letter Letter
Essay Essay Essay
Defining Conceptualising Defining Defining
Poster Poster Poster
Flyer Flyer Flyer
Photo Photo Photo
Visualise Video Video Transfer Video
Presentation Presentation Presentation
Narrative Narrative Narrative
Student Voice Student Voice Student Voice

Figure One: Lesson segment by activity

It is worth highlighting that for this approach to lesson planning to be successful, the teacher needs to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each activity in terms of learning.  Of course, there are the practical considerations as well.

Now read: Visualising Learning: Lesson Planning

Visualising Planning By Learning Events
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