Using the COVA Approach to Promote Active Learning in Digital Learning Environments

Using the COVA Approach to Promote Active Learning in Digital Learning Environments

Cindy Cummings (Lamar University, USA), Dwayne Harapnuik (Lamar University, USA) and Tilisa Thibodeaux (Lamar University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2953-8.ch002
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Abstract

Active learning pedagogies using digital technologies hold much promise. Yet over the past several decades despite all the advances we see in how technology impacts most aspects of society, the advances in our educational institutions have been much smaller. Why? We have focused on the technology as a quick fix and have not focused on the learning. Rather than look to the latest teaching trend or hottest activity of the day, we must reimagine all aspects of our teaching and learning and purposefully build our programs as significant digital learning environments that inspire, foster, and facilitate deeper learning. This chapter reveals how we have built a Master's program that uses the active learning principles of choice, ownership, and voice through authentic learning (COVA approach) and how we have created a significant learning environment (CSLE) that fully engages and equips our learners to be digital leaders.
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Introduction

When you first consider the notion of active learning in digital learning environments, you will more than likely be inclined to expect to find a detailed list of instructions or directions on how to do active learning in digital learning environments. While we will be explaining how we have built a Master's program that uses the active learning principles of choice, ownership, and voice through authentic learning (the COVA approach) and how we have created a significant learning environment (CSLE) that fully engages and equips our learners to be digital leaders, we must first provide a broader context of how our approach and program works. Seth Godin’s (2017) eloquent perspective of maps and globes will help you understand how we will present the COVA approach and the CSLE: “If someone needs directions, don't give them a globe. It'll merely waste their time. But if someone needs to understand the way things are, don't give them a map. They don't need directions; they need to see the big picture” (para. 1). In this chapter, we will be providing the bigger picture to explain how things came to be, how things are, and where we are going next with the COVA approach and CSLE. In a future publication (already in development), we will create a detailed map that provides directions on how the COVA approach and the CSLE can be implemented in your organization.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Student/Learner Centered: It has to all start with the learner. Mayer (2009) characterized learner-centered approaches where instructional technology was used as an enhancement to human cognition.

Assessment & Evaluation: We too quickly think of standardized testing or other forms of summative assessment when we should be incorporating formative tools like feeding forward ( Goldsmith, 2009 ) or educative assessments that help the learner to align outcomes with activities and assessment ( Fink, 2003 ).

Voice: Learners are given the opportunity to use their own voice (V) to structure their work and ideas and share those insights and knowledge with their colleagues within their organizations.

Instructional Design: To respond to the demands of the connected world of our learners, our instructional design must be equally flexible, proactive and purposeful.

Authentic Learning: Learners are given the opportunity to select and engage in authentic (A) learning opportunities that enable them to make a genuine difference in their own learning environments.

Academic Quality & Standards: Preparing our students to learn how to learn and how to adapt to opportunities that don’t even exist must be our true measure of academic quality.

Teaching Roles: An instructor has many different roles which at minimum include presenter, facilitator, coach, and mentor.

Instructional Delivery Formats: To take advantage of our ubiquitous access and social networking, we must respond to the learner’s needs so that our learning delivery can be mobile, online, blended, and even when face2face, is digitally enhanced.

COVA: Is a learner centered active learning approach that gives the learner choice (C), ownership (O), and voice (V) through authentic (A) learning opportunities.

Ubiquitous Access & Social Networking: We live in a digitally connected world with ubiquitous and everywhere access. The classroom is no longer the locus of control; the network is. We live in an age where we can access all the world’s information and almost anyone from the palms of our hands.

Creating Significant Learning Environments (CSLE): Is an integrated approach to creating flexible, engaging, and effective digital learning environments where educators take into account all aspects of the entire learning environment.

Choice: Learners are given the freedom to choose (C) how they wish to organize, structure and present their learning experiences and evidences of learning.

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