Week 5 Applying Problem-Based Learning

Introduction: Applying Summaries
This week we prepare for leaving the course and becoming independent online facilitators
  1. First , we step out to see what treasures we can find on the web. 
  2. Next, we harvest and create a summary of what we what we found. 
  3. Then its time to share our closing reflections and to say goodbye. 
  4. Social networking platforms are web services that technically facilitate social networking and community development. From Facebook to Ning, each social networking platform has slightly different functionality and social phenomenon. This week we will look at social networking platforms for educators. We will specifically be looking at the discussion forums within these sites. 
Online discussions seldom follow a simple path. There are disagreements, differences of perspective and often there are multiple branches. As the number of messages increases, it may become difficult for participants and the online facilitator to keep a big-picture view of where the discussion is going. This creates the need for facilitators to harvest information, gems, unanswered questions, action items and decisions.

Who Does the Work?
This "harvester" role falls to the facilitator. It can be a LOT of work! The flip side is that harvesting and creating summaries provides a rich learning experience for the harvester. Reading through entire threads at once can provide a whole new lens on the conversation.

Purpose of Summaries
Before you start to harvest, think about the following questions:
  • Who will use the summaries? 
  • How will they use the summaries? 
  • What is the desired action outcome from summaries? 
  • Are they open to critique and discussion? 
  • Will it be used to check agreement and understanding? 
  • Will it be a collection of ideas or a synthesis and reflection of the discussion?  
  • Where will they reside? (website, summary page, etc.) 
  • What format will be most useful to the users (lists, action plan, narrative, story, images, mind map, etc.)


Problem-Based Learning
Scenario‑based learning (SBL), a form of problem-based learning, provides a potential solution to the question “how do we teach our students to meet the needs of industry and learn to think for themselves without compromising the content requirements of our curriculum?” Goal-based scenarios (Schank, 1997) challenge students to collaborate with their team members to solve authentic workplace problems, use the vocabulary of their target profession, and communicate their solutions to stakeholders.

A task presents students with a challenge that they would be tasked with solving on the job in industry. In the process of solving the challenge, they use the tools and the vocabulary of their target profession. The scenario provides a context for learning the concepts required, and an environment in which they report to a manager and work in a team. The learning that takes place is self-directed, as it is in any professional setting. The students are assessed by the instructor at regular intervals both to identify areas needing more input from the instructor/manager, and to identify the learning that takes place.

When you walk into a scenario-based classroom (or visited one online), you would see students/workers scattered around in groups working on deliverables, presenting work to peers and industry visitors, doing individual and group research and work, or asking the manager for guidance. The instructor/manager is meeting with teams to check on progress (identify problems before they become crisis), teams are coming up to manager/instructor with questions; Manager/instructors are facilitating content and process discussions with teams and/or entire class as needed; Industry representatives are working with teams as online guest lecturer, or providing feedback on presentations and deliverables, telling their career stories, or offering career advise to students/interns.

A scenario-based task is developed by faculty in collaboration with local industry, through an iterative, backward design, process that begins with assessment design using the SBL principled assessment toolkit. A reflective project task interview exercise defines core-learning outcomes beyond technical skills. A scenario-based task critique checklist exercise refines features of their scenario-based task according to cognitive science principles about how students learn problem-solving skills. An assessment menu exercise helps instructors consider alternative approaches and modes to measuring different student learning outcomes. These results are then documented in design patterns, which are narrative descriptions of the learning goals, pre-requisite knowledge, forms of evidence of student learning, and assessment characteristic features of each assessment. These documents are re-usable by other instructors and technician education professionals seeking to develop assessments in these fields.

Once the faculty is clear on the learning objectives and assessment design, she/he works with industry to identify a project, challenge, and/or deliverable that uses the vocabulary, tools, and culture of the workplace. The actual writing of the scenario is guided by scenario development and task development exercises and informed by peer and SBL leadership team review of the materials as they are being developed. Resources that would aid the student teams in their efforts to solve the challenge are identified and added to the scenario documentation. Eventually the scenario is tested in a classroom, revised as needed, and published to a website and made available to other faculty for their use. After testing and teaching using the scenario, the faculty revised the scenario.

  • The Experiential Learning Center
  • Scenario-Based Learning: a commonly accepted way to learn
  • What is Experiential Learning? a video by HayGroup, featuring David Kolb, Ph.D.
  • Introducing Scenario-Based Learning a slideshow by Jane Ostrander on Slideshare
  • Meeting Student Challenges to Innovative Instruction with Improved Assessment Techniques. A presentation by Louise Yarnall, SRI International, at Innovations 2010, Baltimore MD. download [pptx]
  • CCC Confer Webinar: How to Teach Your Students to Think for ThemselvesFebruary 9, 2010 Links [docx] Slides [pptx]
  • Engaging Instructors in Reflection on Assessment Practices at Strengthening Student Success: Basic Skills and Beyond Conference, October 2008, Anaheim, California …[downloads]
  • Envisioning What Your Students can Learn Through a Project Based Task and Showcase: Scenario-Based Learning Project at ATE National Principal Investigators Conference: Faces of Success, Washington, DC., October 2008 … [more]
  • Adding SBL to Your Classroom, a hybrid professional development course. Orientation meeting at Southern Nevada College September, 2008. Course continued online in Tapped In through September 2008. Pilot Orientation meeting was at Foothill College, May 2008, with course continuing online through June 2008…[more].
  • Fitting Problem-Based Learning Into Technical Courses. A Continuum of Options at the CVommunity College League for Innovations 2008 Innovations Conference. A Forum Presentation by Ann Beheler, Orange Coast College & Jane Ostrander, De Anza College Presentation: Fitting PBL into Technical Courses
  • Resources Document
This Weeks Activities
  1. Creating Summary's and Landscapes [Discuss]
    Visit one of the following social communities discussion forums (or find another) and locate an in-depth, ongoing discussion thread relating to facilitation, any other topic in this workshop, or a topic of your interest related to this workshop. 
  2. Problem-Based Learning [Discuss]
    • How does teamwork in an online class change the course dynamics? 
    • What are the benefits of using teamwork in an online course?
    • Reply to other participant posts. 
  3. Suggested Reflections
    • In your blog share some of your reflections of what you have learned this week. 
    • In particular, reflect on your experiences in this workshop and how your intend to apply what you learned in your online teaching. 
This Weeks Collaborate Sessions

Problem-Based Learning
This week Leanne Chun discusses Scenario‑based learning (SBL), a form of This week Leanne Chun and Lani Uyeno discuss Scenario‑based learning (SBL), a form of problem-based learning.
Join us in the Collaborate room on Thursday 12pm-1pm Hawaii Standard Time (HST). World Clock 
Collaborate Room: http://goo.gl/T2nqj

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iFacilitate Reflection

Emc Leeward,
Feb 28, 2012, 5:46 PM