14-T1 A trip down memory lane

Acknowledging and using the foundations of research on learning and instruction
“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”. You probably are familiar with this famous quotation by Sir Isaac Newton—but do you live up to it? This may be easier said than done because as a junior researcher you cannot possibly be expected to have a wide-ranging view on the fundamentals of the discipline. This course aspires to assist you in developing a broad understanding of the foundational research underlying some of the trending topics in the field of learning and instruction, and offers guidance in applying the insights from ‘classical’ and influential theories and research in your own PhD project. More specifically, the course offers hands-on experience in evaluating the qualities of instructional interventions (preferably the ones you are using in your own research) on the basis of some well-established theoretical and empirical insights about multimedia learning, authentic learning, and collaborative learning. The outcomes of your evaluation will drive the improvement of these interventions or the design of new interventions.

Course objectives:
The course consists of three main themes: multimedia learning, authentic learning, and collaborative learning. Each theme has its own course objectives:

Multimedia learning:
Nowadays, multimedia is an established part in the educational scene. Learning with multimedia is not only supposed to enhance students' motivation, its promise also lies in the fact that learners learn more deeply from multimedia messages, provided that they are well-designed. In this part of the course, you will be introduced to different viewpoints of multimedia learning. Different models and theories on how people process information will be revisited in order to make the translation to theoretical principles for multimedia design. We will have a critical look at the generalizability and scope of these principles and what they tell us on how multimedia learning environments need to be designed in order to enhance learners’ knowledge. We will also discuss how we can measure the effects of multimedia learning environments.

At the end of this part of the course, you will be able to:
- describe different viewpoints, theories, and principles of multimedia learning
- analyse the effectiveness of different multimedia learning environments based on these theories
- use theories and models of multimedia learning in the design of a multimedia learning environment
- describe and use different ways to assess the effect of multimedia learning environments.

Authentic learning:
Authenticity is a hot topic, not only in education but also psychology , organizational behavior , marketing , ... It seems like everything and everyone really needs to experience or express his or her authenticity. In education, especially in a constructivist view of learning, one is often confronted with the importance of an ‘authentic' learning environment. At the same time , authenticity is in itself a very complex concept. One could argue it is an essentially contested concept (cfr Gallie). E.g. asking a teacher to ' be yourself' , isn’t maybe that good as an idea? Even so, how would one accomplish this? A learning environment should be as authentic as possible , but what does that mean? And is that such a good idea?

At the end of this part of the course you will be able to:
- sketch the importance of authenticity in education both in origin and manifestations.
- describe the impact of authentic learning environment versus authentic tasks explained by at least two models (Suspension of disbelief , redundancy principle , conflicting perceptions of authenticity , ... )
- use insights about authenticity in the design of a ( digital ) learning environment.

Collaborative learning:
Collaborative learning is by definition learning within a group; it therefore has group characteristics such as group members, group size, group tasks, group roles, leadership, group dynamics, social interaction, developing mutual trust and so on. Collaborative learning allows for critical discourse, feedback and reflection, and different perspectives that all may lead to deep learning. Collaborative Learning is seen as a more effective method to learn when contrasted to individual learning and competitive learning (Johnson & Johnson, 2009; Lou, Abrami, Spence, Poulsen, Chmbers, & Apolonia, 1996). However, the positive results regarding its effectiveness is due to carefully designing the learning tasks so that they enforce the collaboration. Otherwise, collaborative learning will not lead to better learning performances with respect to the acquisition of declarative and procedural domain knowledge (see, e.g., Oortwijn, Boekaerts, Vedder, & Strijbos, 2008).

Collaborative Learning that is supported by computers (i.e., computer supported collaborative learning, abbreviated as CSCL) introduces additional benefits but also many concerns that were virtually absent in the face-to-face collaborative settings. The benefits are that the group members are allowed to be geographically dispersed and that the collaboration can be a-synchronous. Furthermore, the software may support the group members in their collaborative activities. The concerns relate to the social interaction that may be dampened in computer based learning environments. It is precisely in these CSCL environments that a good collaborative pedagogy should be available and attention is paid to the group dynamics (Kreijns, Kirschner & Jochems, 2003). With respect to the latter, many scholars (e.g., Short, Williams, & Christie, 1967; Walther, 1996) have pointed that text-based electronic communication is missing the non-verbal and visual cues that help to build interpersonal relationships. According to Bales (1950; see also Brown & Yule, 1983) all groups operate at the cognitive and at the socio-emotional level and that these two levels interact. That socio-emotional level concerns the group dynamics and matters developing interpersonal relationships, mutual trust, a sense of cohesion, and a sense of community. These aspects are necessary if a group wish to reach the performing stage (see, Tuckman & Jenssen, 1977). If then socio-emotional processes are in some way hampered due to text-based communication and the a-synchronicity of it, then the question arises if there are other way to encourage social interaction for socio-emotional processes. Kreijns, Kirschner, and Vermeulen (2013) suggest to pay special attention to the design of the electronic CSCL environment as this mediates all the social interaction for the cognitive as well as for the socio-emotional processes.

In this master class, research on the conditions for enforcing collaborative learner is introduced. For, example, one of the conditions is positive interdependence (Johnson & Johnson, 2009) and research is presented how positive interdependence could be accomplished through assigning roles to each group member (Strijbos & Weinberger, 2010). Also, scripting is another way to enforce collaborative learning (Dillenbourg, 2002, Fischer, Kollar, Stegmann, & Wecker, 2013). This master class also pays attention to how an electronic CSCL environment may support the cognitive and socio-emotional processes by embedding awareness widgets in it that inform the group members about the many activities they are doing (see, e.g., Bodemer & Dehler, 2013; Phielix, Prins, Kirschner, Erkens, & Jaspers, 2011) 

At the end of this part of the course you will be able to:
- define collaborative learning and why it is beneficial in contrast to individual learning
- name the conditions under which collaborative learning will happen
- define computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL), the role of scripted collaboration, and the role of self-, co- and shared regulation.
- augment CSCL environment with awareness tools/widgets to alleviate the barriers associated with it.

Tessa Eysink (T.H.S.Eysink@utwente.nl)
Pedro De Bruyckere (pedro.debruyckere@arteveldehs.be)
Karel Kreijns (karel.kreijns@ou.nl)

The course consists of four meetings. The first three meetings will each discuss one major theme. The fourth meeting will be dedicated to a synthesis of the three themes. Participants will have to prepare this meeting by (re)designing an instructional intervention (preferably related to the topic of their own research) in which underlying principles and theories of two of the three themes are being taken into account.

Meeting 1: Multimedia learning – Tessa Eysink
Meeting 2: Authentic learning – Pedro de Bruyckere
Meeting 3: Collaborative learning – Karel Kreijns
Meeting 4: Synthesis of the three themes – Tessa Eysink, Pedro de Bruyckere, Karel Kreijns

The meetings will consist of interactive lectures with focused discussions and/or assignments (individual and in small groups) and presentations in which participants present their homework and receive peer and tutor feedback.

Specification of the workload:
The total time of investment for this course is 84 hrs:
Theme 1: 20 hrs (meeting 6 hrs; preparation 14 hrs)
Theme 2: 20 hrs (meeting 6 hrs; preparation 14 hrs)
Theme 3: 20 hrs(meeting 6 hrs; preparation 14 hrs)
Synthesis of themes: 24 hrs (meeting 6 hrs; preparation 18 hrs)

Day 1: December 10, 2014
Day 2: December 18, 2014
Day 3: t.b.a. week 2, 2015
Day 4: February 5, 2015

The course will take place in Utrecht.

Maximum number of participants: 15

In order to pass this course and receive your certificate you have to:
- prepare the meetings by reading required literature and making assignments
- actively contribute to the meetings
- (re)design an instructional intervention (preferably the one you are using in your own research) in which underlying principles and theories of two of the three themes are being taken into account