There are a variety of Instructional Design models and theories but one that I have always been impressed with is Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction. I think it’s a great process and with the different tools available online, you can really make courses engaging and effective for online or blended learning. Here are just a few ways you can do it with online tools.
Online Tools to Integrate Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction:
1. Gain Attention.
Get the learners attention by presenting something interesting that will help prep the students for what they are about to learn
- Videos (TED videos are fantastic and intriguing, Youtube, Teachertube, Discovery Streaming, PBS, etc. Find a brief video that grabs their attention and gets them excited to learn more!
- Articles (CNN or other news sites contain thousands of articles which can be shared. Find a mysterious, strange, intriguing, or otherwise interesting article to start them off on the topic. Remember what is interesting to you may not necessarily be interesting to a student so try and find an article that will really grab their attention and appeal to their interest.
- Photos (Flikr and other great image sites have pictures of anything and everything. We’ve always heard that a picture can mean a thousand words. Throw a picture out there to get their attention, or even better have them discuss it using discussions or Voicethread. Be sure that it’s not just a regular picture (ex: For Biology, a picture of a body), instead find a picture that will get their attention and keep it. They expect to see a picture of a body for Biology, but what relates to Biology, gets them excited, but is not expected? That is where it gets more captivating.
2. Inform Learners of Objectives.
It seems obvious but often this critical component is overlooked. Let student’s know what the goal is of the course, unit, or lesson.
- Voki.com or Xtranormal.com text type to movie tool is great for creating a simple video letting students know what they will learn. Be sure and include why they are learning it!
- Wordle.net is a good tool to simply create a graphic representation of the important objectives that will be covered in the lesson. You can make the text of the words larger to strengthen its meaning.
3. Stimulate recall of prior learning.
Too often we forget to review what was covered earlier to help students prepare themslves to learn more. I always appreciated the classes that had a review built into the beginning of them because it really inspired confidence in getting ready to learn more.
- Review Practices. Hotpotatoes (free), Raptivity, Articulate Quizzmaker, or Engage, really any of these tools work great for creating practices which can review earlier studied material. Since they all give automatic feedback it can quickly help students review and remember what was covered earlier. A lot of times these review practices are already created so all you have to do is simply link to them and make a note that they are available for review if needed.
- A Podcast or Video Podcast is a great way to review what was just covered and then get the students excited about what is coming up ahead. Remember the goal of this to help them remember what they already know and then link it correctly to what they will learn. Aviary.com has a great free online music & podcast maker.
4. Present the Content.
Presenting the content should be much more than a link to power point slides or an etext. The best presentations are engaging and require the participant to interact. In an earlier post I mentioned the different ways that you can get students to interact with the content of the lesson.
- Presentation Interactions – Content is presented and is interactive, Softchalk is great because it allows students to hover over text or images and additional information appears. Instead of just reading the lessons, students can interact with the lesson.
5. Provide “learning guidance”
Guiding the student to learn the objectives in a way that helps them expand their learning is essential.
- Video Interactions – Videos are great but using Camtasia Studio you can take a video and add in questions that pop up at key points of the video, effectively “waking up students” and helping them reflect more as they answer the questions while they watch the videos.
- Provide feedback to students through written, audio, or video explanation (maybe using Jing to create a quick demonstration video or walkthrough of the submitted assignment).
6. Elicit performance
- Practice Interactions – Practices are essential in helping students prepare for graded assessments. These practices can help them remember the concepts and apply it when it comes time for an assignment, project, or other graded assessments.
- Learning Games -Why not throw in simple learning games (Raptivity or Elearningbrothers learning flash games)to help them practice what they have learned.
- Leverage blogs to allow students to post what they know, what they learned, and even what they are most interested in that relates to the topic. Then offer feedback and comments which brings us to the next event.
7. Provide feedback
- Practices provide essential feedback for students. As one blogger mentioned “When students no longer have a fear of failing, they will be empowered to try”. Automatic feedback practices are great for allowing students to quickly get on target in the areas where they struggle.
- Feedback can be given using email, text message, or phones, during webinars using web conferencing tools, or face to face. The key is to provide feedback to the students in a timely manner and that the feedback be geared towards helping them learn from their mistakes and get back on track.
- Projects, projects, and more projects (opportunities for students to create)! A project can be a presentation, a blog post, a group wiki, or even a video demonstration.
- Leverage tools like Voicethread, xtranormal.com, voki.com, etc that allow students to create things using tools they already like to use. Have them SHOW you what they have learned by CREATING something.
- Assessing vocabulary, mere facts, and figures is often done by multiple choice, true false, or short answer questions, but encouraging the students to create presentations, projects, and blog articles helps them use that information to help shape their learning in much more enjoyable ways.
9. Enhance retention and transfer
- Blog posts – (WordPress, blogger, Posterous, etc). Encourage the students to transfer what they have learned in the unit to their everyday life and post about it. You will be amazed at all the different ways students can apply the topic and if you encourage them to post and read other students blog posts, it empowers students to be the “salesman” to their classmates, telling them why this topic is so great and applicable to their lives. Never again need students sit in their seats and ask “now why I am learning this”? Blogs one tool to use to help them express what they have learned and apply it to themselves.
The most important thing to remember is that it isn’t the tool that is going to make or break your course. It’s how you use it!
What other tools have you found to be effective in helping students learn? Please share with us your thoughts below.