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Description

The course for BL experts - based on Problem Based Learning and using Second Life and Moodle. Free available under Creative Commons (CC).

Development

The Blended Learning Expert Course has been developed by the Danish Partner using a Problem Based Learning (PBL) approach. The development has been a point of departure in a needs analysis of the application partners, and the tailoring of modules in relation to the Master program for professionals in ICT and Learning (MIL). An Action Research approach was chosen to design, develop and implement the course because this methodology was meant to capture the interest of all the partners, support the process of collective knowledge creation and reflection of the all participants involved in the different stages.

Problem Based Learning

It was decided from the beginning that a Problem Based Learning approach (PBL) would be used as the main learning approach for the course because it was thought to be best suited for introducing innovative approaches/methods in blended learning in the different national settings while taking advantage of the PBL experience of Aalborg University. The Master in ICT and Learning programme has 10 years of experience in developing professional training/education in the field and in applying PBL as learning approach.

One definition of PBL is that it is a pedagogical approach/method that challenges students to “learn to learn,” by working cooperatively in groups seeking solutions to real world problems. These problems are used to engage students’ curiosity and initiate learning the subject matter. PBL prepares students to think critically and analytically, and to find and use appropriate learning resources.

Course technologies

The course used mainly two technologies, which were the conventional virtual learning environment (VLE), Moodle and the 3D virtual world, Second Life. Moodle was selected as the VLE for the course, mainly because it was one of the successful technologies used at E-Learning Lab, Aalborg University, the 3 other partners also had experience using this VLE. Moreover, being Open Source, participants were able to use it afterwards.

As it was not possible to meet face to face, a technology was needed to compensate for the missing social interaction among participants. Thus, Second Life (SL) was chosen to support formation of group identity and provide a good solution for synchronous communication. It was considered an added benefit for participants to experience first hand and innovative learning environment so that they might use it afterwards in their teaching practice.

Course run

Potential participants for the course were selected by each of the COMBLE partners. Each partner was asked to invite participants and collect the application form, informed consent and curriculum vitae’s. The course started with 24 participants from 5 different countries, including 3 participants from Argentina. The participants were professionals with different academic level and field work.

The course started on August 24th, 2009 and finished on October 4th,2009. It lasted a total of 6 weeks, including one preparation week. During each week there were 2 lectures in SL, an optional visit in SL, asynchronous communication via Moodle, mandatory readings and some small learning activities. The course had a participant workload of 15 hours per week.

Download

The Blended Learning expert course can be found as Moodle export (available via the Comble website under Creative Commons).