October 20

if you do all the work, who does the learning?!!!

At every moment in the design and management of this course i ask myself to think about whether the choice i am about to make is me doing the work, or if there is a way for me to get students to do the work so that they can do the learning : ) this is a constant struggle for me as i LOVE to talk and LOVE to talk about what i am passionate about, namely effective online instruction.

So i say … teach them to fish instead of giving them the fish…make them do the workdon’t do it for them, take every opportunity to challenge your students to do most of the work in your course… because if they are doing the work, they are doing the learning, figure out ways to make them teach each other, that is how people learn… if you view everything and every interaction in the course as an opportunity to express that concept and if you are able to scrutinize yourself, your design, your actions and interactions, etc., you will be a better educator.

It is harder because you want to help them, make sure they get it, make sure they know what you know…. but!!!! that is a trap… remember if you do the work, who does the learning?!!! It is harder also because they can’t all fish right away… But you have to resist the temptation…just remember that if you give them the answers/information, they are not learning anything really . . . learning takes time, it is a process, that like fishing requires patience and practice, and it is not something you cause to happen… it is something the student chooses to do…

It is also something that you, as the course designer/instructor can facilitate.

How?? Have them reflect, apply, report, explain, defend, refute, question, self-assess, summarize, synthesize, and analyze their engagement with course content and as a member of the class community.

Design learning activities that make students make their thinking visible to you.


Posted October 20, 2008 by alexandrapickett in category Uncategorized

About the Author

Alexandra M. Pickett

2 thoughts on “if you do all the work, who does the learning?!!!

  1. Carol McQ

    Well said! When my son signed up to be a tutor I was thrilled and told him that his best learning would happen as he taught. Guess what?! He just shared his tutoring experiences thus far with me, and told me that I was right (pause here and reflect on the enormity of that confession!) and that his understanding of physics is much deeper now because of tutoring. How cool is that?! It’s the same with students who take active responsibility for their learning. Their learning becomes deeper.

  2. Tavia S

    How wonderful – I completely agree…but I don’t think I realized it as much until I taught an undergrad “Teaching with Technology” course to student-teachers this Fall 08 term. Having the students prepare their own lesson plans on a topic they want to teach about, create their own web pages, wikis and blogs, etc. then teach to each other – has been a real eye opener. I don’t think I’ll ever teach a course the same way (regardless of level) after having this opportunity to see how much deeper the learning sinks in when they are the creators and teachers of their own material!

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