#Octel Deep, Surface or Strategic learning

This week looking at the 3 different approaches to learning we had to consider the following

    • Have you seen these different approaches in technology-enhanced courses you teach? How did these differences manifest themselves in terms of online learning behaviour?
    • What approach are you taking in ocTEL, and if so why might that be?
    • Are learners who tend to take a ‘surface’ approach likely to learn more or less effectively online versus face-to-face?
    • How might we encourage ‘deep learning’ in online contexts?


Interestingly I have seen the different approaches in the different subjects that I have taught.  When I taught basic maths to adults (these were people who hadn’t enjoyed maths at school) a number of them exhibited a surface approach particularly at the start of the course.  By contrast in a lot of the learning technology training I deliver I get staff who are taking a strategic approach (show me the buttons I need to press so that I have “done” elearning).  Deep learning tends to occur when I get students to discuss or explain something with each other.

I also spoke briefly to someone doing an online course and found that he was great with the deep learning but not really taking a strategic approach to the assessment – which is to be expected because the student took the course to expand his knowledge not necessarily for the qualification.  The discussion was in the pub so I wrote it up using storybuilder http://goo.gl/QlFeqw

My approach in #OcTEL is deep and selective.  I started trying to get badges but as soon as I realised I wouldnt have the time to properly study the class I stopped bothering with badges/qualifications.  I am trying to do the only one thing, however I took the course last year so I am sometimes doing something different and sometimes just choosing and activity that interests me.  Same thing with the readings, I chose a few that interest me and I read a few blog posts of other class members and sometimes comment.  I then try to pull all the thoughts together into a blog post (this for me is the deep bit, taking what I have learned and organising it into something that makes sense).

I would suggest the surface approach (which is the weakest approach) is probably even worse online because there is so much you can read and engage with, it is likely that your attention will just skitter around with very little actually going in.

How might we encourage deep learning online?  Well I am writing in one solution now 🙂 getting students to blog about their course means they have to make sense of the information they are consuming and there is evidence that writing for an audience make them consider more carefully what they write.  An extension of this idea is asking students to comment on each others work, if this takes off you will find them having interesting discussions online about the course materials and the posts about the materials.



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