Learn from Experience to Build Competence: A Model for Structuring Active Learning Practices in Virtual Learning Environments

Learn from Experience to Build Competence: A Model for Structuring Active Learning Practices in Virtual Learning Environments

Roberto Trinchero (University of Turin, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2426-7.ch001
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Abstract

This chapter explore the research issues about effective learning environments and propose a model for designing instructional activities for Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), based on doing meaningful experience and proficient paths of: reflection on experience, abstraction of principles, practice and automatization of principles application, transferring of the principle to other contexts and situations. The model is inspired from classical experiential learning cycles and propose activities with four key-moments: Challenge - Debriefing - Abstracting/Generalizing - Automatization/Transfer (CDAA). As discussed, the model can meet many instances drawn either from research on learning in cognitive science and research in the effectiveness of instructional strategies.
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Introduction

In everyday life there is no gap between the world of “learning” and the world of “doing”. Every life situation can generate experience that can become a learning opportunity. In the same manner, Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) can provide opportunities for good learning experience, but how is it possible to design good learning experiences to be implemented in VLEs?

The practice of professional educators is often driven by pervasive rhetoric that essentially describes the technology as something that promotes learning regardless of how the technologies are applied in practice. A long tradition of empirical studies (see next paragraph) though suggests that the means by which the information is delivered is less important than the didactic strategies used and the quality of learning experiences that VLEs promote.

In the eighties, nineties and still at the beginning of the century, the novelty effect that had accompanied the diffusion of technology in school and in vocational training often gave the impression that the use of technology had a significant effect on learning. Constructivist framework (Jonassen 1999; Chau & Wong 2013) based on social interactions and low instructional guidance has supported the development of VLEs from the nineties until today.

Now these technologies are no longer novel and low instructional guidance paradigm seems to be in crisis (Kirschner et al. 2006), so it is now time to seriously consider the strategies and principles that make effective use of digital technologies in learning. This requires experimental analysis rooted in cognitive psychology and pedagogical technique. In this chapter we will outline some strategies and principles for effective teaching in Virtual Learning Environment and we will describe a model for design collaborative activities

Key Terms in this Chapter

Evaluative Rubric: A set of evaluation criteria accompanied by examples of good and bad performance.

Deliberate Practice: A form of practice in a specific domain of knowledge, skills, competence, that involves a more or less long period of deliberate, intentional, motivate effort to improve the learner performance.

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