Pedagogical Planners of the future

A couple of weeks ago I went to a very interesting meeting in London organised by James Dalziel of LAMS fame. Bringing together people working on Pedagogic Planners from all over the world it included Phoebe, the project we’re working on, the London Planner, Compendium at the OU, LAMS Lite, Remath, among others.

What was fascinating was both how different the planners and the problems that they were trying to solve were, but also how much common ground there was.

We have been working on the Phoebe pedagogic planner for 18 months now and in that time it feels like the amount of people looking at this space has grown immeasurably. There is no question that there is something very attractive about the idea of a tool that can help people design effective learning experiences (whether supported by technology or not) but what this should be is still the million dollar question.

I am more convinced than ever before that there is never going to be one tool that solves everybody’s problems – if only because we already know that everybody does not want the same thing from a tool operating in this space, and that people will only use a tool that does what THEY want it to do. However as existing projects address different parts of this continuum what is clear is that we need to find a common language to allow these tools to join up. Perhaps this is IMS LD but I think at the moment it is far from clear that this really addresses the issues at hand.

Interesting themes coming out in initial discussion are:

  • The levels tools operate at: Organisational > Course/Unit/Module > Session/Week/Lesson > Activity/Learning Object/Simulation
  • The types of support they provide: Ranging from “smart” systems that provide guidance based on your input to those that allow the practitioner more freedom and access to information but may not be supportive enough.
  • The examples they point to: where are the good learning designs and who judges what is good?
  • The role of theory: can this be made really useful to practitioners?

A final output of the meeting was an attempt at some sort of domain map with the various projects we knew about placed onto it. This posited

Information and advice > Reflect and decide > Automated implementation

fed into by various conceptual frameworks (including pedagogy and attitude change as well as LD structures)

I think the 3 broad areas simplify what is in reality some very complicated processes and these may need to be broken down further to be in any way meaningful, but not sure I am yet ready to suggest how.

Incidentally in the categories above, Phoebe deals with the Session/Week/Lesson > Activity/Learning Object/Simulation level of design, is more free than smart and supports the information and advice and reflect and decide stages of the continuum above.

One Response to “Pedagogical Planners of the future”

  1. Pam Irwin Says:

    thank you for your very interesting review – we are grappling with similar pedagogical/classification issues with our e-supported module catalogue/credit transfer framework…I welcome any further ideas/suggestions…