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
|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, provides a very simple illustration of the stages of the Traversable Learning Cycle highlighted in table one, above.
|Student Voice||Student Voice||Student Voice||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 practical considerations as well.
Now read: Visualising Learning: Lesson Planning