A DESIGN HELPING MECHANISM FOR ACTIVE LEARNING COURSES
King Abdul Aziz University (SAUDI ARABIA)
A good Active Learning course’s design is done backward (Laurie Richlin, Blueprint for Learning) where one imagine him/herself at the end of the course and trying to assess how the students have constructed their knowledge and the skills that they have acquired taking this course, then we go back with the course to design the learning experiences that the students have to go through to successfully construct their knowledge and thoroughly acquire those skills. During this design process, each learning experience is designed to fulfill a part of or may be one-whole learning objective, if it is conducted successfully by both the trainer and the learner.
To build a learning experience, one have to design a collection of activities utilizing Active Learning tools and a certain environment to assure its success. To be able to transform a learning objective into a collection of activities fits this environment we need two elements: First, casting the learning objective in Bloom’s taxonomy terminology (cognitive, affective, and psycho-motor domains) where every objective is expressed as a single or a collection of the levels of learning that are needed to achieve it. Second, choosing the right set of Active Learning tools that compose an activity in cognitive and/or psycho-motor domains, leading to meeting those levels of learning need to achieve this objective within a certain environment in affective domain. Transforming a learning objective into a collection of Active Learning activities in itself is the heart and soul of designing an Active Learning course.
We introduce in this paper a design mechanism that helps in this transformation to fulfill the two elements above. This design mechanism is based on heuristically classifying each activity that is carried out inside or outside the class according of its contribution of a certain level of Bloom’s Taxonomy domains levels. Then, using a combinatorial road map we can combine a set of activities to achieve a learning experience that fulfills a certain learning objective. Examples are given on how to use this mechanism to design learning experiences for a design course at the college of engineering level. An analysis of the resulting learning experiences is carried out and it showed their matching for the set forth learning objectives.