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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

Authentic Engagement and the ABC's of Transformational, Transferable Blended Learning

Kimberly Greene (Brandman University, USA)
Session Information
July 8, 2014 - 10:30am
Blended Models and Course Design
Areas of Special Interest: 
Blended Course
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Best Practices
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Interactive Workshop
Governor's Square 14
Session Duration: 
90 Minutes
Workshop Session 2
Virtual Session

A blended course's electronically-mediated component must "authentically engage" students' Affective, Behavioral, and Cognitive domains for learners to develop transformational transferability of knowledge, skills, and understanding.

Extended Abstract

Authentic Engagement is discussed as a crucial element to personal growth in psychology, but in education, few instructors recognize how essential it is to ensuring students are truly involved with the whole of the learning experience Affectively, Behaviorally, and Cognitively throughout the electronically-mediated component. Without such connections to the whole learner (the heart, the body, and the brain) it is almost impossible to ensure that we, as instructors, have been able to change the way a student values and understands the skills and content of any blended course as the blended work, that which is done by the learner away from the immediate guidance, structure, and direction of the instructor and one's peers, puts the individual learner in a position where he/she is solely responsible for the interpretation, synthesis, analysis, and application of all that he/she has explored and examined up to that particular moment. The freedom of time and location that comes within blended learning and its electronically-mediated component also presents a potential danger in that often this "independent work time" is used by designers as an opportunity to simply present a massive amount of data that will be discussed once the learner is back in the classroom with his/her instructor and peers. This situation treats the student as an "empty vessel" to be filled up with information that will be given value and credence at a later time; however, our brains are not wired to simply hold information. Without any authentic connection to new ideas or knowledge, we have no way to transfer what we have just read or seen from working memory into a lasting cognitive scaffold that we can continue to build upon.

Yet, by harnessing the power of social constructivism throughout the entirety of the learning process- and particularly within the electronically mediated component- instructors can employ a host of tools (virtual and theoretical) to ensure that learners are consistently engrossed in their own learning processes in a fashion that employs the full scope of Bloom's Taxonomy. It is thus that the author of this paper, an instructor/designer who has focused on ensuring such "authentic engagement" throughout the whole of a blended course in well over one hundred higher education courses, reflections upon best practices for anyone involved in teaching or designing blended learning for students of all ages and levels.

The theoretical underpinning for the work described in this paper is social learning theory with a particular focus on social constructivism. Based upon the work of people such as Étienne Wenger, Jean Lave, Seymour Papert, Mitchel Resnick, Charles Reigeluth, Alberto Bandura, and Linda Polin, Authentic engagement and the A, B, C's of transformational, transferable online learning- all crucial for designing impactful electronically-mediated components of a blended course, are deconstructed in an effort to offer a guided exploration of the kinds of things an instructor can do rather easily to bring the learner into the learning process throughout the entire blended experience. A generic course outline will be used as an example to illustrate the process of revamping a face-to-face course into a 21st century experiential, transformational learning environment with a strong focus on how the learner is thus empowered to transfer his/her learning into real world thoughts and actions.

Lead Presenter
Kimberly Greene

Kimberly Greene (Brandman University, USA)

Associate Professor Dr. Kimberly Greene teaches online for Brandman University's School of Education. She served as an instructional designer throughout Brandman's transition to blended learning and then as the founding director for the Center for Instructional Innovation (CII). Her doctorate in Educational Technology, from Pepperdine University, put her at the forefront of the move to integrate technology into the educational process in a meaningful fashion, something she continues to research, teach, write about, and present at international conferences. Along with her work as a prek-12 classroom and studio teacher, Dr. Greene's professional history includes serving as the Director of Education for Michael Milken's Knowledge Kids Network as well as a consultant on educational media issues for such companies as LeapFrog Toys and Honda of America. In 2004, she consulted with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to create a talking book The Afghan Family Health Book that teaches basic survival skills to Afghani women. Dr. Greene also writes for the non-academic audience; her internationally successful young adult Pop Star series has been translated into several languages and is available for young readers all around the globe. In 2013, Dr. Greene was honored with Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Education and Psychology's Distinguished Alumnae award.