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Monday, April 21, 2008

2nd Discussion Activity

Hi Everyone,
I am truly sorry for my late posting. It is taking me a while to get my head around this. I am experiencing a rather steep learning curve here.

I have chosen a section of my original project outline for this discussion. This was at Shirley's request and although it confused me at first I can see why "less is more".

I have decided to focus on the section in which the learners will create a series of podcasts for the school community. You might remember that my original plan was to create and run an online radio station with my Grade 3 class. The podcasting part will be done in small groups. The main concept in this unit of learning is to give the students a real experience of how a company works by the interaction of its employees within different departments. The production of the podcasts will provide a focus activity allowing collaborative participation.

I have found the readings in the course to be very stimulating and as a result I have had many educational discussions and arguments with my fellow colleagues at school. There is quite a division at my school over the whole objectivist verses constructivist approach to teaching and learning.

I often find myself overwhelmed by the complexity of the whole design process. Just as soon as I think that I understand, I read some more and find myself right back at the beginning.

Thinking about the design elements of this project I can see where the Elaboration Theory fits in well with the flow of the sequence of activities. Reigeluth (2003) states that there are seven major strategy components. I have partnered them here with the corresponding learning activity:
1. Elaborative sequence (making a simple podcast first before making a more elaborate one)
2. Learning prerequisite sequences (learning the skills required for the job – editors learning the editing symbols, writers learning the script writing, advertisers earning to produce a jingle or track editors learning to edit a timeline
3. Summary (Learning to step back a see it as a whole. Keeping a journal of the learning process. The students will use their own blogs and the JPEG Blog for this)
4. Synthesis (learning to combine radio show elements such as music and voice and then making it flow into one podcast)
5. Analogies (comparing the parts of a podcast)
6. Cognitive strategies (Learning skills required such as cultivating a ‘radio voice’. Learning to work according to the job requirement)
7. Learner control (Making decisions within a group and as a company about the podcasts – their design, content and delivery.

The learners will have to produce a series of podcasts. Each of the seven strategies will be integrated into this activity. The seventh strategy will be given the most emphasis as the students will not only be required to produce a series of collaboratively made podcasts but also have control over the design, content and delivery of those podcasts.

I believe that this unit is very flexible in that the work and skills required to produce these podcasts will differ from student to student according to the task. For example, the skills to edit a text document are very different to the skills required to sing a jingle. This also caters to the different multiple intelligences within the class.

I was interested to read what a central role assessment plays in Instructional Design. I often struggle with assessment at my school as criterion based assessment is used for the end of semester report cards but that often doesn’t match with the learning outcomes of a unit of work. This is because I encourage a constructivist approach, which often results in a different product, that no longer fits that pre-determined criteria.

Siemens (2005) states that designers need to see learning as an activity without beginning or end. The podcasts will be a part of a learning cycle. As soon as one has been completed the class and the teacher will review it and a new podcast will be produced.

Using rubrics is encouraged at my school as a way of catering better to the constructivist approach. This allows a certain level of flexibility in that the teacher can make a rubric collaboratively with the students and that rubric can be made just prior to embarking on the activity. Isaacs (2007) states that there are three types of assessment; formative, summative and mixed. He said that summative assessment on which feedback is provided could be classed as mixed assessment.

By using a student designed rubric to assess the podcast, the student will get the benefit of understanding the criteria, estimating where they will fall and then receiving personalized written feedback which will be added to the rubric.

I most certainly agree that assessment needs to be given quickly, be individualized and be based on the performance not the student. I also agree that the assessment should be used to guide learners through roles and responsibilities that reflect real and relevant applications and contexts.
In regards to the assessment of the podcasts it will depend on the performance of the student. As this is a collaborative learning activity, the students will need to be given clear criteria based personal assessment requirements as well as group assessment requirements before they start making the podcasts to help maximize the end results. Each department; Management, Editors (language and track), Show Hosts and Announcers will have specific aims and objectives assigned accordingly. The ability to work collaboratively will be assessed through observation by the teacher, reflection writing and self assessment posted to their blogs.


Isaacs, G. (2001) Assessment for learning. Teaching and Educational Development Institute (TEDI), University of Queensland. Retrieved April 18th, 2008, from

Learning Theories Knowledgebase (2008, April). Elaboration Theory (Reigeluth) at Retrieved April 18th, 2008 from

Siemens, G. (2005). Learning development cycle: Bridging learning design and modern knowledge needs. Retrieved April 18th, 2008, from