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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

Learning Paths: Provide Self-Directed Learning Experience and Individualized Learning Tracks

#blended #LearningPathsTool #Kennethware
Travis N Thurston (Utah State University, USA)
Kenneth Larsen (Utah State University, USA)
Session Information
July 8, 2015 - 9:10am
Blended Models & Course Design
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Innovation and Experimentation
Institutional Level: 
Universities and Four Year Institutions
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Information Session
Plaza Court 1
Session Duration: 
50 Minutes
Concurrent Session 4

Allow individualized student learning and track progress by designing specific Learning Paths for students with different skill level, content interest, or learning style.
#LearningPathsTool #Kennethware

Extended Abstract

A reduction in student learning can occur from a variety of student variables including: skill level, educational background, learning style, goals and interests, etc. Another contributing variable is teacher ability, course content, and especially course delivery. A truly engaging blended course should account for these variables.

Limited student participation can occur when content is too generic to engage students, does not take into consideration their prior understanding and personal interests or learning styles. Participation and engagement also suffer when students are presented with vast amounts of content collected to target multiple student needs. To make student participation more meaningful, teachers need a way to provide targeted content to meet the specific needs of diverse student populations within a course.

We are investigating the use of a Learning Paths tool that allows teachers to define a variety of tracks within their course content. The learning path would provide both a self-directed learning experience and an individualized learning plan that can be adapted to the preference and performance of the student. Learning Paths could be based on course section, instructor assignment, or even self-directed student learning opportunities. There is current research that shows that self-directed learning optimizes the learning experience (Markant & Gureckis, 2013; 2012) and is more brain learning centered (Willis, 2008) and student centered (Barnes, 2013). Learning Path durations could extend through an entire course, or be limited to individual units or modules. Sections of course content could be easily connected to a Learning Path and dynamically displayed to students on that path.

Learning Paths have potential application within courses that have:
Students with varying skill levels
Students with differing learning styles
Multi-disciplinary applications
Multiple career tracks
Graduate and undergraduate sections
Branching content
Topic driven learning
Learning out of sequence
Cross course listing with different content

Higher ed instructors and instructional designers will benefit most from attending this information session which will include examples of how the Learning Paths tool can be used in courses with Canvas LMS. The format of the presentation will include a question and answer session to allow attendees to gain a greater understanding of how the Learning Paths tool is being used in courses at Utah State University.

Barnes, M (2013) ROLE Reversal: Achieving uncommonly excellent results in student centered classroom. ASCD, Alexandria, VA

Markant, D.B. and Gureckis, T.M. (2013, in press). Is it better to select or to receive? Learning via active and passive hypothesis testing. Journal of Experimental Psychology

Gureckis, T.M. and Markant, D.B. (2012). A cognitive and computational perspective on self-directed learning. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7, 464-481

Willis, J. (2008) How Your Child Learns Best: Brain Friendly Strategies to Ignite Your Student's Learning and Increase School Success. Sourcebooks, Naperville, IL

Lead Presenter

Instructional Designer
Utah State University

Travis is an Instructional Designer in the Center for Innovative Design & Instruction team at Utah State University (@UtahStateCIDI). At USU Travis designs and redevelops online, f2f & blended courses in Canvas LMS and consults with SME's on campus to develop and deliver quality courseware. Travis holds a Master of Educational Technology (M.E.T.) degree from Boise State University with a graduate certificate in Online Teaching. Travis is currently a PhD student at USU specializing in Curriculum & Instruction. Email: travis.thurston@usu.edu

Travis and his colleague Kenneth Larsen worked collaboratively to conceptualize the Learning Paths tool with Dr. Courtney Stewart, Assistant Professor at USU. In April, Travis and Kenneth were awarded one of the $10,000 Higher Ed Canvas Grants 2015 to develop the Learning Paths Tools.

Utah State University

Kenneth is a programmer/analyst on the Teaching and Learning Technologies team at Utah State University. With a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences from USU, Kenneth blends a knowledge of instructional design and his experience as a programmer to create innovative solutions to teaching and learning challenges. Email: kenneth.larsen@usu.edu