Friday, 9 March 2007

Moodle and the Personalised Learning Agenda

One of Moodle’s unique selling points is that it’s underpinned by a social constructionist pedagogy. But what, you may well ask, does that mean, and why should it matter?

Constructivism is a view of learning, and pretty much the world, which says that knowledge is something which the learner needs to create, or construct, for themselves, rather than receiving it passively from some fount of authority, like a text book or a teacher – in other words, sitting in class or reading a book isn’t enough – as a learner you’ve got to make it mean something for you personally. Now, social constructivism goes a bit further, and says that this really isn’t something that you do just on your own – it’s by being part of a learning community, and through conversation and the interchange of ideas that this knowledge gets constructed for the learners as a group.

There’s an increasingly broad, international consensus across a whole host of disciplines and in all phases of education, that good learning is really all about this guided process of knowledge construction, and that effective education is going to be characterized by ideas like reflective thinking, collaboration, intrinsic motivation, a well constructed knowledge base and an emphasis on problem solving. Moodle supports this sort of learning online.

So reflective thinking is encouraged through journal type assignments, in which learners can privately reflect on their learning with the encouragement of their teachers, or through Moodle’s discussion forums, in which this reflection can be shared with other learners.

Moodle provides plenty of opportunity for learners to enjoy their subject for its own sake, by providing links to other resources, further reading, opportunities for learners to upload their own discoveries and immediate feedback on online quizzes.

Not only does Moodle do all that a personal learning space should, it actually empowers the learner by giving them the autonomy to make choices about their learning and still lets them communicate and collaborate with one another – it offers a model of personalized learning in which the learner is valued as a person and their own unique contribution to the community is acknowledged.

Learn more about how your school could use Moodle by following the link below and filling in the enquiry form.

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