The following concept was developed for a specific context and target group. In particular, students on the level of EQR 5-7 which have to conduct their studies autonomously. Either because they live in remote areas or due to the restrictions on physical contact arising from the Covid-19-Crisis. Thus, the theme of the learning units can be described as “Mobile – Offline – Asynchronous”. All content and didactical elements are optimized for the distribution in a setting in which internet access is scarce and the primary digital device is a smartphone. In order to account for these conditions, we follow these guidelines in creating learning material:
Courses and learning units will follow an interactive and student-centred learning setting, derived from the “principle of complete action”. The principle states that learning takes place in cycles, moving from information, planning and decisions to implementation, review and reflection.
Basically, the students acquire the competences aimed at by the course by working on a wider assignment, where the course content is needed for. This assignment might be a practical problem the students encounter or, if this is not possible, a case study presented by their teacher. It will be divided in several (sub-) tasks, related to the single learning units.
The complete-action approach starts with the first task that has to be solved. For this purpose didactically prepared learning material must be formulated. Every task has a goal that is clearly defined by the assignment. Due to its work-relevance the learners can understand the meaning of the task and know what they are asked to do. The distinct steps must be processed in the correct order to ensure the desired result:
From preparation through to review, participants independently carry out their tasks, as a team or – if this should not be possible – individually. The trainer supports the learners but tasks are to be carried out independently. The interplay between independent work and phases of strong and weak support ensures that the participant increasingly develops the ability to solve problems independently.
Two guiding principles make the complete-action cycle successful:
Assignments always offer some space for decision to the students, thus there are several options to choose from. The principle of action-oriented learning implies that there are several viable ways to achieve the goal of the assignment. This leeway allows the learner to get involved personally.
If the result is deficient it soon becomes evident which process step had deficiencies due to the clear structure of the complete action. The pursue of these deficiencies allows for a deeper exploration of difficulties in the learning process.
Within this concept, the learning material has a decisive role. It should prepare the student not only to understand the content, but also support him in successfully handling the tasks he has to work on. Thus, each learning unit should
At the beginning of each learning unit there are always
The content of the learning unit should be mostly text and illustrations such as graphics, pictures, tables (at least one per page). Additionally, further didactic elements (at least one every 2-3 pages) should be added to each course unit (e.g. quizzes, podcasts, sorting tasks).
These elements are intended to invite you to deal with the topic. The processing of these elements can be part of the results which the students have to hand in at the end of the work. If, for example, a quiz is included, the answers should also be submitted, and in the case of a podcast, perhaps the content could be summarized, etc.
Videos or presentations that can be streamed or downloaded from the Internet and that illustrate or supplement facts are also welcome but should not be central to the learning unit.
For each learning unit, the contents should be explained and made comprehensible by means of examples and exercises. These examples should preferably be part of one bigger example within a subject area, better still within the whole course. For instance, a wedding as an example for a course on project management followed up with the question of what tasks and methods to apply during the wedding preparation in the units on planning.
For the submission task to a learning unit, students should transfer the learning content to a specific example of their own context or a given example sufficiently different to the examples given to illustrate the content. In case of the illustrative example of a wedding, the application for project management could be the planning of a large excursion. Thus, the students would have to apply the methods and steps to a different field.
The submission task should also include acceptance criteria, letting the student know what is expected from a satisfactory solution and what from a good one and thus provide the learner with constructive feedback.
At the end of each course unit, the examples worked through (and the results of additional tasks) must be handed in. For this purpose, the results should have a form and scope that allows them to be handed in easily even with a poor Internet connection. If necessary, it should be possible to solve the tasks with pen and paper and then to take a picture of the result with a mobile phone and send it in.
At the end of each learning unit there should be some literature references, further links or similar. In this way students can easily see where they can deepen the knowledge they have acquired.
Examples for learning units in this format can be found here:
All learning units will have a fully interactive online unit, which can make use of the full range of didactical elements used in the unit. Streaming of video and integration of other online tools and templates is possible. This online unit is optimized for viewing on a smartphone or small tablet.
Students will be provided an app to view and work through the interactive units on their smartphone, laptop or tablet. These offline units will make use of the interactive tools and will also provide access to any embedded video or audio files. Streaming online content or linking to other online tools will not be possible.
Students will also be able to download a print version of the learning unit. In this unit all texts, images, tables and charts will be available but no interactive tools can be used. Thus, all exercises and submission formats will also be adapted for an offline analogue format.