DEFH: My post on the section on theory (1.7)

An example of a the functionality I would like to see in a reusable learning object is in a NEJM article available at

There is a clickable icon for an interactive graph which is called Milestones in the Aids Pandemic. There are four components, including Epidemiology.

This really caught my eye because it is a visualisation of big data that allows the user to interrogate a global data set and choose particular views that interest them.

I can find out that in South Africa prevalance went from 0.8% in 1991 to 17.3% in 2011. Uganda went from 13% to 7.2% in the corresponding years. This could be a measure of the harm done by President Mbeki’s denialism about HIV/Aids.

I think that this goes beyond the incorporation of text, video, animation and audio because it is using the computing power of the digital platform to allow learners to discover information and think about explanations for what they find. Learners may produce new insights because they have access potentially to live data with tools to investigate trends over time as well as similarities and differences in different parts of the world.

The article on the course

Some of the theory behind multimedia learning

Professor Richard Mayer, Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara is one of the key researchers in the use different media in E-Learning. This article provides a brief summary of some of the design principles for multimedia learning based on his research.

People learn in different ways some people find graphics and animations helpful others prefer written words or audio. What features help you to learn?

  • multimedia principle: People learn better from words and pictures than from words alone.
  • segmenting principle: People learn better when a multimedia lesson is presented in learner-paced segments rather than as a continuous unit.
  • pre-training principle: People learn better from a multimedia lesson when they know the names and characteristics of the main concepts.
  • modality principle: People learn better from animation and narration than from animation and on-screen text.
  • coherence principle: People learn better when extraneous words, pictures, and sounds are excluded rather than included.
  • redundancy principle: People learn better from animation and narration than from animation, narration, and on on-screen text
  • signaling principle: People learn better when the words include cues about the organization of the presentation.
  • spatial contiguity principle: People learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented near rather than far from each other on the page or screen.
  • temporal contiguity principle: People learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented simultaneously rather than successively.
  • personalization principle: People learn better when the words are in conversational style rather than formal style.
  • voice principle: People learn better when words are spoken in a standard-accented human voice than in a machine voice or foreign-accented human voice.
  • image principle: People do not necessarily learn better from a multimedia lesson when the speaker’s image is added to the screen.
  • individual differences principle: Design effects are stronger for low-knowledge learners than for high-knowledge learners. Design effects are stronger for high-spatial learners than for low-spatial learners.

Discussion point

  • Which of these principles do you think are important?

You may want to refer back to these principles when you start to design your own E-learning resource or you might recognise them in the designs we have used in some of the reusable learning objects.


Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2003). E-learning and the Science of Instruction. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Mayer, R. E. (Ed.). (2005). The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning. New York: Cambridge University Press.

More on multimedia learning principles is available in the resource bank.


Q&A – best authoring tools

Lynn Danzig

What are the best authoring tools to make it easy for educators and learners to easily create multimodal online content and easily control the way it looks/plays/sounds.

Neil Morris Neil Morris Educator


HI Lynn. Please see the text in: where i have tried to summarise the tools available for this. Other participants have added additional suggestions in the comments section of that step. Hope this helps.

Q&A – how BLE was designed

The question and answer below get to the heart of how this MOOC was designed. As we learn about BLE on this MOOC, we are able to learn a great deal from the examples of good design presented to us as well as the in-course communication practice. I am interested that the underpinning pedagogy is social constructivist and look forward to finding out more about Neil Morris’s team at Leeds University.

Zac Woolfitt

Really enjoying the course thank you.

1) Is there information available about the process you have gone through as a group to build and develop this MOOC?
2) Is there a Blue print that can be shared regarding how you have structuerd, thought through and constructed the learning units, based on specific learning theories and models?
3) Do you plan to share any data collected from the student interactions and learning at a later stage?


Hi Zac – thanks for the positive feedback.
1. We follow a curriculum design process for all MOOC developments – you can see a bit about my team here: The design process was very collaborative, involving Diana and I, educators from our partners (e.g FE colleges, learners, practitioners etc.) and our course design and production team.
2. We follow a social constructivist approach to curriculum design for our online courses, trying to ensure a good balance between didactic content and active learning for participants.
3. Yes, we will be publishing reports about the courses in due course.



Notes from a London Moodle Roundtable

I started going to London (& nearby) FE college Moodle Roundtables when they were still hosted by the Jisc RSC at UCL. When Jisc reorganised itself, the group was keen to continue and Julian Bream agreed to co-ordinate the meetings with different colleges hosting. I have learned so much from these meetings and was very sorry to miss the latest one earlier this week.

And very relevant to Week 2 of #FLble1, this meeting was looking at using Moodle as a vehicle for excellent pedagogy.

I thought I’d like to share some of the useful links that were collected:


Using tech to support pedagogies

Week 2

1) Constructivism
Technologies you chose:
In-class mobile voting, Collaborative writing, Interactive lecture, Video recording of learner activity, Online formative assessments, Discussion forums, Reflective logs (blog), Social media, Video conferencing, Practical activities, Simulations,

How you might use them:

I might use to provide a click and reveal introduction to the Moodle interface, so that learners see a visual representation of what’s on the screen and can explore the functionality by clicking pins to learn more. This would be followed by a practical task using the functionality introduced and a quizlet to self-test. A forum would be there for comments and discussions and a facebook page for posting a screenclip of of the result of completing the task with peer-to-peer formative feedback encouraged.

Neil’s feedback:
There are a wide range of technologies that can support a constructivist pedagogy. Technology enables learners to be more involved in their own learning, to get personal feedback on their performance, and to source and use learning materials suitable for their level, competence and needs.

2) Social constructivism
Technologies you chose:
In-class mobile voting, Collaborative writing, Interactive lecture, Video recording of learner activity, Online formative assessments, Discussion forums, Reflective logs (blog), Social media, Video conferencing, Practical activities,

How you might use them:

I would use a Google form to create a webquest with questions about how a set of apps could be used and a task for groups of learners to create something and embed it in a blog. Each group would create a post with the example embedded, a quick explanation of how to use the app and an a list of main pros and cons. Each group would have to provide feedback on one other group’s post. These posts could be improved and become a resource for anyone interested in learning about the apps.

Neil’s feedback:
Social constructivism suits the digital age and digital technologies well.  It is a useful pedagogical framework for the VET sector as it encourages interaction, communication, social learning and collaboration.  Many technologies support these types of activity.

3) Problem-based learning
Technologies you chose:
In-class mobile voting, Collaborative writing, Interactive lecture, Video recording of learner activity, Online formative assessments, Discussion forums, Reflective logs (blog), Social media, Video conferencing, Practical activities, Simulations,

How you might use them:

I might use Padlet to invite a group of learners to brainstorm on possible approaches to flipped learning. Then in groups they could create an online resource allowing their students to familiarise themselves with a new skill (eg techniques for a particular hairstyle as we saw in the video). They could then have an introductory quiz to check what had been achieved in independent learning and then a practical session where the learners attempt the skill with the tutor observing and giving formative feedback.

Neil’s feedback:
A wide range of digital technologies can effectively support problem based learning and encourage learners to develop creative thinking skills.

Social media resources

Chris Rowell at Regents’ University

If you need more help with using Twitter, the site’s own support pages are a good introduction to the various things it can do. Or if you google your question or search on Youtube for video tutorials, you’ll also find that there are a host of resources that people have made and uploaded to help others. But perhaps best of all, your Twitter network itself is a great place to ask questions and find people who can answer them, as we’ve found on this course!


Seen in Week 2 video – pedagogy of blended learning.

Designed for video assessment where criteria can be set and the place in the video evidencing a particular criterion can be marked. Available in iOS and Android.

Case studies: BL in action (2.8)

The video highlights practical ways in which BL is making F2F time more valuable.

As a learning technologist, I could use these techniques in a variety of ways:

  • Flipped learning:
    Before a training session on how to use Planet eStream for storing, organising and editing videos, I could ask people to look at a screencast covering how to do various steps. So the session can be more of a hands-on workshop where I help them get their actual work done, rather than using a lot of time to demo what to do. I can help people with specific issues and therefore give individualised attention to those who need it in class. I can also observe what the screencast has conveyed well and come away with ideas on how to improve it.
  • Multimodal resources for quick access to the sought information:
    I can set up a Moodle course on using Planet eStream which is accessible 24/7 and where it is easy to find out quickly how to do a particular task, with quick visual guides (for printing or viewing onscreen) and short screencasts. For someone completely new to Planet eStream, they can work through a set of topics designed to give an overview of what it can do and how the interface works. But a key thing here is logical and clear organisation, breaking content into short exercises which can be completed during odd breaks.
  • Practical activities
    Set tasks to be tried out for learners to check whether they can use the method that has been demonstrated.

Short list of techniques used by tutors in case studies

  1. Flipped learning: video provided for watching to prepare for activity in next class. This allows class time to be used to best effect and speeds up learner progress. Also makes learning much more active. Flipped learning needs to be well designed to achieve the goal of active learning.
  2. Video used again for recap
  3. App on student phone that provides flashcards for memorising terminology etc (can be used at any odd time as it is on the smartphone).(Hugely timesaving for teacher and every learner can have own copy with a way to track progress for themselves).
  4. App on teacher’s phone used to do individual recap with students – helps teacher give individual attention to all in class.
  5. VLE features:
    1. Online quizzes
    2. Online submission of assignments
    3. Online discussions spaces
    4. Online repository of resources – web platform means resources can be media rich
    5. Extending learning beyond the class – ask learners to access VLE outside class for specific activities. Guided learning.
    6. Makes learning more engaging