Dr. Lorella Giannandrea and Pier Giuseppe both teach at the University of Macerata.
They used some of the early versions of the Learning Designer tools with their students. Here is their view of the tool and about the work we are doing.
An interview with Lorella and Pier Giuseppe Rossi
1. Why did you decide to use the Learning Designer?
We have been using the model and the Learning Designer software for two years in a university course called “didattica della formazione”, in the second year of the master class in the Faculty of Education in Macerata University.
The course is focused in Learning design, and students studied different instructional design models. During the course, Professor Diana Laurillard’s model has been presented, along with other Instructional design models.
In the final part of the course the model and the software are used to develop a specific project made by students working in pairs.
We decided to use this model for two reasons:
1) it allows to operationalize the design process;
2) it is is consistent with our approach on the teaching professionalism, as it does not require a deterministic design mode.
It allows, also, to differentiate the level of aims, purposes, from the objectives and strategies. The students found the list of strategies very useful and the structure, which provide more operating modes than taxonomy-based theoretical models.
2. Did it help with your teaching and if so in what way? What kind of impact did it have?
The main use of the tool was for formative purposes. The benefit was to provide students with a scaffolding procedure that helped them in their reflection on the design model, without imposing a prescriptive model to be used in a mechanical way.
Previously the students were used to adopt a prescriptive model with a list of objectives and strategies. The request to articulate the learning path in modules and activities has allowed them to rethink the design according to the sustainability of the process and its practical organization.
3. What was the impression from the students of using such an approach?
The students, as future trainers, have found the model, quite usable. They could access the model both in a traditional book format (help and guidance that is on offer) and in the software. In addition, they found the list of strategies and pedagogical patterns very useful.
There have been some difficulties in the use of software, especially in the download of the software and in saving individual works.
4. How could we improve the learning designer to work better for you?
We suggest two direction of improvement:
1) try to make the loading of pedagogical pattern easier;
2) developing the possibility of interaction between the Learning Designer tools and a Learning Management System
(as Moodle, for example).
5. Would you/have you recommended using the tool?
We believe that the tool is very useful to train students in design of pedagogical patterns and we recommend the use, both with student teachers during their training and with teachers in general. The Learning Designer tools allows the students to move away from deterministic models and of predefined schemes widely used in schools, which do not encourage the improvement of skills in planning and reflection.