Creating Courses that Foster Innovation
Digital education has essentially disrupted old methods of learning in the K-12 sector, giving way to entirely new formats and methods of instruction. Setting itself apart from the established methods of instruction, e-Learning introduces innovation in education. By encouraging the use of educational technology (EdTech) to disseminate knowledge, it’s pushing innovative courses on an unprecedented scale.
Bringing innovative courses in a K-12 setting ensure continuous improvements in learning outcomes of students. Such e-Learning courses bring a plethora of knowledge in the classroom, thus giving birth to a lot of ideas for educators as well as learners.
Educators in an e-Learning set-up can establish creativity in their classrooms by uncovering the following three levels that pave the way for innovation in learning:
- Discovery: A discovery is the foundation stone for innovation. Students and teachers can make discoveries while learning about a phenomenon or process in an e-Learning course. Educators must focus on making their e-Learning programs meaningful and engaging to aid students in making a discovery by connecting their experiences with newly-acquired knowledge;
- Invention: Invention refers to a new tool or procedure adapted to the unique needs of a system or learners. Only when the students can overcome knowledge gaps, would they be able to invent new ideas;
- Creation: Creation is the culmination of innovation. The success of creation rests upon how well students understand concepts and can be aided through learning and collaboration on a Learning Management System.
Creating innovative e-Learning courses
Since innovation is crucial to creating e-Learning courses today, publishers must pay special attention to incorporating an element of creativity and novelty in their digital modules. These innovative learning strategies not only incorporate a fun element in e-Learning courses but they also help in creating an improved retention rate. Facilitating improved learning and recall, these innovative e-Learning courses allow the learners to explore and enhance their learning experience:
- Gamification: Gamification helps in bringing multifaceted learning to the classroom. It encourages students to think critically as well as consider alternative solutions to a given problem. You can gamify your content through levels, video games, rewards or even opt for partial gamification of assessments as well. This not just helps in increased student engagement but learners start enjoying their academic sessions. While gamifying the content, a lot of detailing is required in organizing and assessing learning material so that it even works for students who are not motivated by grades. MagicBoxTM allows publishers to incorporate gamification in digital modules and assessments, allowing for more interactive and innovative learning;
- Simulations: Educators can use simulations to transform the learning process from knowledge acquisition to practical application. These simulations work on a scenario-based approach and it helps learners in dealing with complex situations, where they learn how to evaluate different aspects of a situation and get a sense of the impact of their choices. Simulations are useful for helping learners deep dive into complicated academic concepts, and get a holistic understanding of the same;
- Blogging: Today, publishing platforms allow for content creation at an extraordinary level, allowing both content creators and students to publish, comment on posts, thereby fostering debates around important issues and ideas. Educators can also encourage communities of student bloggers to post and discuss concepts. In e-Learning, these can take three different forms:
- Group blogs: An online community can be stimulated by setting up community blogs around specific subject areas, where members can share thoughts or ideas and discuss.
- Academic blogs: Many academicians and subject experts now maintain blogs of their own and these blogs are useful to educate students on various subject areas. Not only are these academic blogs a marketplace for ideas but they are also a space for dialogue and debate with other academics and students. For example, many of the academics at Harvard Law School maintain their academic blogs. John Palfrey’s blog is one of them and he uses his blog to provide news and commentary on the cyber law to his students.
- Student blogs: Blogs hold immense value for students as part of the learning process. They can use them as a journal, for penning their thoughts down and stating their understanding of the subjects.
- Audio Conferencing: In e-Learning, audio conferencing has an important role to play in resource sharing. Some learning management systems allow audio files to be stored over long periods of time for student education. Audio conferencing can also be used in a situation, wherein real-time interaction is required (like learning a new language); this helps teachers bring real-life experiences to the classroom.
- Storytorials: Story-based learning strategies create effective learning experiences. The story-based approach (Storytorial) combines Instructional Design principles with the power of storytelling. This enhances the quality of learning by encouraging an immersive learning experience. MagicBoxTM allows publishers to create engaging storytorials on its platform, thereby aiding the understanding of important academic concepts;
- Rotisserie: Asynchronous text-based communication is now used widely in both pure e-Learning and blended contexts. A Rotisserie involves a series of rounds, such that all users are sent an email, prompting them to respond to a posting in each round, allowing for a more structured and controlled dialogue; The Rotisserie is an innovative approach to online discussion that encourages thoughtful discourse in contrast to the broadcast-to-broadcast mode of existing messaging systems, thus adding structure to the timing and flow of discussion.
- Scenario-based learning: Scenario-Based Learning (SBL) helps build expertise in critical thinking skills and complex concepts. Educators can use scenarios to create learning activities where students are presented with a real-life situation, which they must work through. Scenario-based learning not only helps learners in developing cognitive skills but it also helps in adding an emotional element to these interactions, for better learner engagement. An example of this can be simulating a real-life situation where learner’s decision impacts him or his peers. MagicBoxTM allows educators to instruct using scenario-based learning with real-life problems;
- Instant messaging: Instant messaging allows communication in real-time via the Internet. The process is facilitated by a software which students and teachers can use for effortless communication. The instant messaging client notifies the learners when people from their friend list come online or go offline. The synchronous nature of this communication makes it even more beneficial for the learners.
Leading the way for courses that foster innovation
Innovation flourishes in an environment where ideas can germinate and interact. The four core areas involved in successfully fostering innovation are:
- Explicit skills: Educators must have concrete practices and processes to foster innovation. Both individual and group skills must be nurtured; such as the ability to independently research, reflect via experimentation, and communicate and collaborate;
- Process facilitation: Developing communities around innovation is useful; there need to be strategic relationships between the functions that make the ongoing facilitation possible so that the actions are in concert with the explicit skills;
- Culture: Educators must build a strong culture of innovation; it doesn’t happen in environments wherein the element of interaction has risks. They must build environments that focus on experimentation and learning from mistakes. To achieve this, an environment of cultural diversity, openness, reflection, and safety needs to be nurtured;
- Leadership: Creating a culture of innovation requires strong leadership. Leadership development must include developing and maintaining a culture. Teachers develop and teach courses that demonstrate the importance of change and how it can be converted into an opportunity.
Developing a community, experimenting, collaboration, and fearlessness towards failure are the path to learning. Eventually, innovation requires innovative practices. One of the best ways for educators to create innovative courses is to rely on the power of e-Learning and incorporate an element of creativity and novelty in their digital modules.
To know more, read our blog on Creating Visually Appealing e-Learning Courses.
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