On 14 August 2020, the Young Scientists Network-Academy of Sciences Malaysia (YSN-ASM) organised a Science Café Session on Rekabentuk Pembelajaran Dalam Talian (“Designing Online Learning”). The session was moderated by Dr Jaysuman featuring Dr Noor Dayana Abd Halim, YSN-ASM Affiliate and Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM).
Types of Online Learning
The Movement Restriction Order by the Malaysian Government in response to the COVID-19 outbreak has necessitated the implementation of online learning to ensure education can still be carried out for the benefit of students. According to Dr Dayana, there are two types of online learning:
Asynchronous (pre-prepared sessions that are not streamed live) such as discussion boards, quizzes, polls, digital documents, recorded audio/video, slides with narration, or self-paced courses.
Synchronous (live-streamed sessions) such as virtual classrooms, live presentations, live text chat, instant messaging, live audio/video, live quizzes, and live polls.
Different types of online learning sessions require different ways for it to be carried out to ensure that the session is received by its audience in an effective manner.
Why Do We Need to Design an Online Learning Session?
Seeing that the current crop of online learners is made up of mostly Millennials and Gen Zs, Dr Dayana sees the importance of designing online learning sessions that leverages on the strengths of these generations. Dr Dayana presented five top tips to design an effective online learning session:
Establishing Clear Learning Objectives
Clear learning objectives are crucial for an effective online learning session. Dr Dayana proposed several methods of creating clear learning objectives. One of it is the ABCD model, which can be used to guide educators towards creating clear learning objectives:
Audience: Who are your students?
Behaviour: What is the expected behaviour of your students?
Condition: How will the session be carried out?
Degree: How much will your students learn from this session?
Dr Dayana provided a simple objective statement that follows the ABCD method, as follows:
“At the end of the session, students will be able to write and run five out of 10 codesusing the HTML programming language.”
students = audience
write and run = behaviour
five out of 10 codes = degree
using the HTML programming language = condition
Dr Dayana also proposed the SMART method of setting clear learning objective:
Creating a Community of Inquiry
Dr Dayana stated that an effective community of inquiry requires the following:
Social presence: calling student’s name during discussions; carrying out ice-breaking at the start of learning; include humour during the session
Cognitive presence: establish clear learning objectives; carry out activities that allow students to construct knowledge; giving students challenges/problems that needs solving
Teaching presence: teacher acts as facilitator; teacher guides and supports students’ learning; always responding to students’ inquiry and results; communicating with students
Implement Active Learning Approaches
Next, Dr Dayana elaborates on implementing active learning approaches to create an effective online learning session. she presented the Constructivism Learning Approach as one example of active learning. The approach includes the following:
Dr Dayana also presented a learning pyramid that illustrated the average retention rate based on several learning methods. The pyramid showed that active learning methods (e.g. discussion groups, practice by doing, and teaching others/immediate use) have a higher retention rate compared to traditional/passive learning methods (e.g. lectures, reading, audio/visual, and demonstration).
Following the pyramid, Dr Dayana presented three novel methods in active learning that resulted from the improvements and advancement in education technology: heutagogy (encourages learners to become more self-directed), peeragogy (focuses on co-learning and co-creating) and cybergogy (encourages learner engagement in an online environment). These methods exist alongside existing methods such as pedagogy (method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept) and andragogy (the method and practice of teaching adult learners; adult education).
Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy was developed by Andrew Churches as an extension of the original Bloom’s Taxonomy and creates a hierarchy of learning activities in a digital environment.
Integrating Technology Tools
Using the right technology tools would boost the online learning session. Dr Dayana presented a pedagogy wheel created by Allan Carrington. Dr Carrington created the wheel to allow teachers to develop outcome-oriented lessons by choosing an outcome, activity, and form of analysis or creativity. The Pedagogy Wheel was designed to target engagement through immersive learning the wheel that Dr Dayana presented had an extra component to it – combining the Pedagogy Wheel with Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy yielded an extra outer ring comprising technology tools that corresponds with each segment. Using Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy as a guide, Dr Dayana also presented several applications that can enhance the online learning experience based on the different learning activities.
Carrying out assessments and reflections
Assessments and reflection are important to enhance the online learning experience by identifying the positives and negatives of a session and presenting suggestions to improve future sessions.
Were the objectives of the session achieved?
Were the students able to understand the content that was presented?
Lack of interaction between students
SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
Using different strategies in future sessions
Using the correct technology tools
Before the session ends, Dr Dayana presented some recommendations of how online learning sessions can be conducted.
Zoom/Google Classroom/Microsoft Teams
Students’ Prior Knowledge:
– Students will match a video
– Students will give their ideas or opinions based on the video
– Padlet/Mentimeter/Poll Everywhere
– Content elaboration/problem statement
– Interaktif Pwtoon/Biteable video (5HP, Vizia)
– Group discussion
5 minutes per group
Students will answer a quiz
Students to prepare a video or written presentation
2 minutes (outside of lesson hours)
It includes the basic learning information (e.g. platform used, objectives, approaches), planned activities, technology tools used, and suggested duration.
Her recommended session is divided into four phases: induction/introduction (audio/video consumption and preliminary idea/point of view presentation) followed by the idea expansion phase (via elaboration and problem statement, discussions, and presentation).
Next, an evaluation phase is carried out to allow students to assess their grasp of the knowledge, and lastly the reflection phase, which recommends students to show their understanding on the topic with a video or written presentation.
Dr Dayana reminds viewers that this is not the only way of conduction an online session, but only a general guide. She also reminded that other steps should be taken to adapt to the online learning session: attendance to be taken before and perhaps during breaks; have reasonable breaks for the students to compose themselves and give them time for toilet/water breaks; as well as have a variety of individual and group activities for students.