Approach to teaching and learning

The unit’s teaching and learning strategies are designed to encourage you to develop both theoretical understanding and practical skills.

This unit is taught using an approach that you might call ‘connected learning’.¬†Fundamentally, I believe that learning is social, and that we learn best when we learn together. This is why the learning community is such an important part of this unit. It is also why we are going to introduce you to the concept of personal learning networks (PLNs) and why we are going to get you to participate in Twitter chats with guest tweeters from industry.

Connected learning is built on a particular pedagogy (the Macquarie Dictionary defines pedagogy as¬†‘a particular method of teaching based on a theory of education’):¬†connectivism.

Here are some of the principles of connectivism:

  • Learning and knowledge rests in diversity of opinions.
  • Learning is a process of connecting specialized nodes or information sources.
  • Nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning.

From Connectivism: A learning theory for a digital age

By creating a learning community in which you all interact with each other and with each others’ content, you are exposed to others’ opinions, connected with others (what Siemens calls ‘nodes’) who share information with you and who help you to find and engage with information sources, and you build and maintain connections to help you with your learning now and into the future.

This infographic provides a really comprehensive overview of connected learning and the principles that underpin it.

Connected Learning

My colleague Dr Mandy Lupton has also written about connected learning and specifically what she calls ‘connected learning in the wild’. (Connected learning in the wild is basically what we’re doing here – avoiding university systems and using external tools to support our teaching and learning.)

So that’s the big picture, strategic view of why we teach this unit the way we do. Now let’s talk about the specifics.