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TOL6100 Scaffolding Students Online and Nurturing Self-Directed Learning

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Erin Soles

on 17 October 2013

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Transcript of TOL6100 Scaffolding Students Online and Nurturing Self-Directed Learning

Education should produce self-directed, lifelong learners, but sometimes it creates dependency.
There is more than one way to teach well.
The ability to be self-directed is situational: one may be self-directed in one subject, a dependent learner in another.
There is nothing wrong with being a dependent learner (one who needs to be taught).
Self-direction can be learned and it can be taught.
Scaffolding Students Online and Nurturing Self-Directed Learning
Stage 2: Socialization
Stage 3: Information Exchange
Stage 4: Knowledge Construction
Stage 5: Development
Erin Soles
Assistant Director of Distance Learning Course Development
Center for Instruction & Research Technology
What is self-directed learning?
A process in which students:
take the initiative in diagnosing their learning needs
formulate learning goals
identify resources for learning
select learning strategies
evaluate learning outcomes

(Grow, 1996)
Grow's Assumptions About Self-direction
Grow's Staged Self-Directed Learning (SSDL) Model
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4
Dependent learner
Interested learner
Involved learner
Self-directed learner
little prior knowledge
unsure of the focus of learning
low self confidence
low motivation
difficulty organizing information
difficulty making decisions
Instructor as authority:
directs activities
provides explicit directions
offers frequent feedback
basic understanding of what needs to be done
not confident
low motivation
has skills & knowledge in subject
has learning goals
has skills & knowledge in subject
ability to set learning goals
good time management skills
ability to self-evaluate
Instructor as motivator:
provides encouragement
builds confidence
gives frequent feedback
Instructor as facilitator:
facilitates progress through content
offers appropriate tools, methods & techniques
provides choices
encourages learners to share experiences
Instructor as guide on the side:
provides self-evaluation strategies
gives support when needed
Adapted from Stavredes, page 16
Self-Directed Learning
you will find learners at each stage of Grow's model in your course
you will need to adapt your teaching to provide appropriate support to increase student self-directedness

Remember......Students in your course may need scaffolding, especially when it comes to getting used to the online environment - even students who are experienced online learners.
During the 1st week of an online course, students will struggle to access your course and use the technology.
Dr. Gilly Salmon and other experienced online educators often recommend that the first week be reserved for addressing the social and technical aspects of online teaching.
Gilly Salmon's 5 Stage Model for Online Teaching & Learning
Stage 1: Access & Motivation
The student is experiencing considerable frustration logging into the course.

The instructor should make sure students can access the course and should be welcoming and encouraging.

Activities at this stage should provide a gentle but interesting introduction to using the technology and should allow students to meet the instructor and other students via the online environment.

Even the most apparently confident individuals need support at the beginning.
At this stage, the instructor should facilitate the building of an online community in the course through active and interactive activities.

At this stage, students may be excited at the potential of sharing in the thoughts and work of others but find that in reality, it’s hard to get started.

The role of the instructor is to build the bridges for all the students.
At this stage, students can share information and work together on projects.

In an asynchronous course, students can explore information at their own pace and react to it before hearing the views and interpretations of others.

Learning requires two kinds of interaction: interaction with the course content and interaction with other students and the instructor.
At this stage, students recognize the potential of asynchronous interaction and take control of their own knowledge construction in new ways.

Activities at this stage have discussion or knowledge development aspects at their core.

Instructors build and sustain groups.
At this stage, students are responsible for their own learning and that of their group. They build on the ideas acquired through the activities and apply them to their individual contexts.

By now, both students and instructors stop wondering how they can use online participation and instead become committed and creative. They also become critical and self-reflective.
Zone of Proximal Development
"the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers" (Vygotsky, 1978, p86)
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Vygotsky believed that when a student is at the zone of proximal development for a particular task, providing the appropriate assistance will give the student enough of a "boost" to achieve the task.
Wood and Middleton applied the term scaffolding to this concept.
Certain processes aid effective scaffolding:

Gaining and maintaining the learner’s interest in the task.
Making the task simple.
Emphasizing certain aspects that will help with the solution.
Control the student’s level of frustration.
Demonstrate the task.
"Whether your students are “grade-focused” or “learning-focused,” they will benefit from the energy you put providing scaffolding opportunities for each major or key assignment in a course.

A good rule of thumb is the higher the stakes, the more scaffolding you need to include.

In other words, the heavier the weight, the stronger the support."

Create a brief description of each major assignment including the necessary skills you intend to evaluate using the assignment.
In addition to scaffolding the learning assignments and activities in your course, you also need to scaffold the student technology experience in your course.
Scaffold each major assignment in your course:

List the prerequisite skills students should have in order to be successful on the assignment and whether it is reasonable for students to have already mastered the skills prior to beginning your course. If not, these are the skills you will want to scaffold.
Look at the scope of the course and come up with learning experiences that can be introduced throughout the course in a way that offers learners time to learn and practice these prerequisite skills.

Create an outline of how each major assignment is scaffolded.
Learners should be made aware of this scaffolding; be transparent about how you designed their learning experiences to work together in a relevant and logical way.
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