Learning by Design

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Abstract

Humans learn by nature. Most learning is incidental to living. Some learning, however, is by design. This learning we call ‘education’. ‘Learning by Design’ examines the changing social context of education today and the ways in which teaching and learning might respond to these changes. Along the way, the book redefines the key terms of the debate about the nature of learning, moving in the direction of a socio-cultural theory of the conditions of learning. ‘Learning by Design’ also speaks in a practical voice. It describes an experiment in which teachers write up their curriculum using a scaffold which highlights its underlying learning sequence and pedagogical architecture, thus making this explicit to themselves, other teachers and learners. The book tells the story of a number of groups of teachers participating in this experiment in Australia (Victoria, Queensland and Australian Capital Territory) and Malaysia. It tells of their aspirations and fears, and their successes and failures in the quest to find more efffective ways of teaching and greater engagement for their learners. The journey takes them into new territories where they become learners themselves, discovering fresh dimensions of a rapidly changing profession. The result is that the process of designing and managing student learning becomes more consciously ‘by design’ - mindful, premeditated, reflective and shared.