Teaching CASE STUDY via e-learning. Material design methodology. Work Package 3. Finally modified: Authors: Emil Horky, Artur Ziółkowski

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1 Teaching CASE STUDY via e-learning. Material design methodology Work Package 3 Finally modified: Authors: Emil Horky, Artur Ziółkowski

2 Introduction Although majority of teaching takes place in the classroom environment and is supported by expediently prepared materials, there frequently appears unconformity between theory and practice. One of the INNOCASE objectives is to prepare real life case studies so that these can be exploited by teachers to bring a glimpse of reality into their teaching. The case studies were converted into e-learning materials based on a concrete teaching approach and they are available for use. The use is naturally conditioned by the teacher s individual approach. E-learning has developed into a complex process and it would be impractical to claim there are certain granted effective methods resulting in better learning. Therefore the presented guide should be rather seen as a kind of viable suggestions reflecting the INNOCASE e-learning modules, their structure and philosophy. Various teaching methods have been developed and described in literature up to the present day. However, what has become obvious is the fact that there exists no single method to suit every student. Different level of motivation, individual differences, and creativity influence the teaching-learning process and have to be taken into account. For that reason teachers should not concentrate on using individual methods, but rather should be concerned with creating learning environments involving a wide range of methods and attitudes. If various methods are applied effectively within a concrete learning environment, they should contribute significantly to effective learning. Fig. 1. Welcome to Innocase - Header of Innocase Moodle. 2

3 Project method The major component of the INNOCASE learning environment is the Project method. It represents an innovative way of teaching in modern education. The project method dates back to the 1920s when its founder, William Heard Killpatrick (1921), described it in his article The Project Method. Most likely the first project method was used in the USA under the guidance of John Dewey (1916), who saw the project as a sequence of the following steps: students work on a practical task, students face difficulties that have to be overcome by study, theoretical study helps the students finish their task with success. The points suggest that the project method is basically in opposition to the traditional, frontal, way of teaching. Projects are to reflect the real life situations. Students first have to face a new situation, they have to orientate themselves and cope with it. The more effort they put into the problem solution, the better they remember the outcomes. Teachers started to use the project method because they gradually realized the necessity to respond to the changes brought by the vast progress in science and technology taking time in the 1920 s. The same as in the 1920 s we also have to face vast advances in technology and science now. They reflect in rapid socioeconomic development, easy access to information, globalization, and the flexible labour market. Therefore the project method, thanks to its potential, should become a vital component of modern education. Project way of teaching is the most complex teaching method. It can absorb a great variety of minor teaching procedures and it becomes a sort of frame for teaching based on various attitudes and activities. The project method offers many variants, tools, and outcomes and the typical features are: It is pointed, coherent, and organized. It has both theoretical and practical sides. It concentrates on one basic idea. It influences the learner in a complex way. It fosters autonomous learning. It offers a compact learning. It has practical focus and application in life. It is based on teamwork. 3

4 The project method, due to the above mentioned reasons, stimulates the learner s motivation and develops important skills such as the ability to cooperate, to discuss, to solve problems, to search for information, and express opinions. The project method represents an alternative to the traditional teaching based on application of different subjects, which often do not complement each other. The basic idea of project method is that students deal with one area perceived from various angles. Collaborative learning Grouping and pairing of students for the purpose of better learning has always been common practice. This approach, collaborative learning, is briefly an instruction method in which students on various performance levels work together in small groups to achieve a common goal. The students become responsible for their own learning the same as their team members learning. Proponents of collaborative learning claim that the active exchange of ideas within small groups not only increases interest among the participants but also promotes critical thinking. Johnson and Johnson (1986) say there is persuasive evidence that cooperative teams achieve higher levels of thought and retain information longer than students who work quietly as individuals. The shared learning gives students an opportunity to engage in discussion, take responsibility for their own learning, and direct to critical thinking. Learners generally need to be able to think creatively, solve problems, and make decisions as a team and doing so in a foreign language puts forward a new dimension of language learning. Collaborative learning is reflected in Vygotsky s zone of proximal development. Vygotsky (1978) suggested that team members should have different levels of knowledge or ability so more advanced ones can help less advanced. Students taking part in the programme had learned English in their regular language lessons. However, what was evident straight from the beginning, they were on different levels of command. The Collaborative way of learning in the Vygotsky interpretation was an appropriate way to conform to this situation. Collaborative learning in the INNOCASE interpretation is not literally pairing or grouping students, but building communities. Communities provide the condition for free and open dialogue, critical debate, negotiation and agreement the hallmark of higher education. They correspond to the concept of Vygotsky s zone of proximal development. Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) The last point we feel obliged to mention in the theoretical part is the use of the modules within Content and Language Integrated Learning. 4

5 Typical textbook contents, despite the authors effort, provide artificial content that use the foreign language as an excuse to develop grammar structures, vocabulary, and the above mentioned skills. Therefore the classroom language often lacks real life context and the students cannot see the effect of the learned skills. Content and Language Learning could provide a solution for the problem. The term CLIL was coined by David Marsh, University of Jyväskylä, Finland (1994): "CLIL refers to situations where subjects, or parts of subjects, are taught through a foreign language with dual-focused aims, namely the learning of content and the simultaneous learning of a foreign language." The main benefits of CLIL are: improves language competence and oral communication skills provides opportunities to study content through different perspectives allows learners more contact with the target language does not require extra teaching hours complements other subjects rather than competes with them diversifies methods and forms of classroom practice increases learners' motivation and confidence in both the language and the subject being taught Teachers working with CLIL are not necessarily the traditional language teachers. They are specialists in their own discipline, they are fluent speakers of the target language, bilingual or native speakers, and often work in partnership with language teachers. The key issue is that the learner is gaining new knowledge about the 'non-language' subject while using and learning the foreign language starts to perceive the language to be the means of professional development. This is communication among professionals in various specializations who collaborate on a concrete task, professionals who have to share knowledge and experience. INNOCASE learning environment The above discussed approaches form the theoretical frame of the INNOCASE modules representing elementary learning environments. However, tutors are often creative individuals and may decide to use the content the way that fits their own teaching styles better. They can choose to alter the content, change the sequence of the topics, or apply a different approach. Let us now look at more technical point of view related to using and sharing the modules content. 5

6 Moodle The whole e-learning materials created within the frame of INNOSE project are placed in Moodle, an e-learning platform. Moodle is a common open source e-learning management system widely used by various educational institutions and it allows easy administration and maintenance. All the materials were designed with the aim of being comfortably transferable either to other Moodles or different Learning Management Systems. The front page of the INNOCASE platform contains instructions for the learners on how to register and become the course participants. The course consists of 12 modules and all the modules were enabled a guest access for those who just want to have a brief look at the activities or for those who do not want to register and provide their contact and personal data. (http://innocase.zie.pg.gda.pl/moodle/login/index.php) Fig. 2. Innocase Click to go to the manual for the case study pack banner. Fig. 3. Innocase log in/register options with instruction. 6

7 The structure of the modules The structure of all the INNOCASE e-learning modules has merely a unified form. You can see few modules - everyone is a new case study. After click on one of them, you can see all information about the chosen course. Each module is started by the introduction giving the learners an insight into the topic, specifics and skills they are to acquire in the module. Fig. 4. Case of introduction part. After the introduction, each module has several topics to be covered. They have various forms to ensure all the learners can exploit their individual learning styles, which often determine the learning success. Individual activities include special e-learning presentations, videos, pictures, or plain texts. Numerous activities consist of interactive exercises that provide immediate feedback and guide the learners to the most appropriate solution. Many activities are interlinked to external sources in order to get a broad insight into the field of study. Each module is closed with a discussion forum where the learners are encouraged to answer the questions relevant to the covered topic. The important part of each course is e-learning presentation with many interactive functions, exercises etc. Fig. 5. Case of introduction part. 7

8 After click on the icon with Adobe Cp Captivate/Fl Flash logo, you can see interactive part of every topic of chosen course. Fig. 6. Case of introduction to the presentation. There is also special bar on the bottom, where you can go to the next slide in auto-mode. You can also click "NEXT" and "BACK" in each slide to go forward or back and see previous/next part of each presentation. Fig. 7. Case of going to the next or previous slide in two ways. 8

9 There are a few topic in each case-study. Each one includes a problem described and kind of solution, exercises to do and interactive parts presented in a new window in Cp modules. Topic 1, e.g., contains a brief description followed by an interactive exercise. The exercise opens in a new window and provides immediate feedback during and/or after its completion. Fig. 8. Case of presented topics Interactive presentations includes e.g. kind of quiz-challenges, where you can check your knowledge about problems described in each case. In case of multi-choose questions, you should click on your answer, then click on submit and then next to go to the next question. In the end you can see your result, mistakes and good answers. Fig. 9. Case of quiz challenge. 9

10 Sometimes modules includes some kind of analysis e.g. SWOT, reading sections, additional information about problems, PDF documents e.g. in comics form and many functionalities to do each case-study well. In e-learning presentations we should remember about very important parts: - interactive diagrams, where you can click on a button and e.g. read more about some problems or see some interesting information Fig. 10. Case of interactive diagram. - slides with voices, where the reader talks about information from the slide Fig. 11. Case of voice slide. 10

11 - "click to see" parts, where you can see diagrams, statistics etc - educational games Fig. 12. Case of click to see parts. Fig. 13. Case of educational game. You can also log in Innocase forum to discuss about problems included in modules. Fig. 14. Case of discussion. 11

12 Technical solution The modules itself cannot be transferred as a whole pack. Evidently each module consists of the sections that are Moodle conditioned and sections that are Moodle independent. The Moodle conditioned parts are represented by the introductory texts in each topic. There sometimes appear websites created within Moodle as well. All the Moodle independent activities, such as PDF filels or Javascript files, have been designed with the aim to allow transfer. However, Moodle conditioned and independent parts can be transferred by all the tutors, who would like to use the activities in their own Learning Management Systems (LMS) and who have merely intermediate information technology (IT) skills. Moodle conditioned parts Introductory texts these are short plain texts without any references and links. It is enough to copy the text straight from the screen and paste it to your LMS. Moodle websites these are more complex texts with references, links and images. It needs to open the website, right-click the site and choose source code. Copy the source code and paste it to the html editor in your own LMS. Moodle independent parts PDF files this is a frequently used format, so it is easy to open and download to your own LMS. Javascript files these are complex programmes including CCS, HTML and JAVASCRIPT. It requires opening the file, right-clicking the site and depicting the source code. Copy the code and download it to your PC into a Windows Notepad file. Name the newly created file and add ending.html. This way you create your Javascript file. Download the file to your own LMS. It may happen that, for certain reasons, some images are not linked but placed directly to Moodle. In this case copy and paste the images into your own LMS websites. SWF files - this is a kind of files connected to Adobe Captivate software. Cp7 was used to make all of interactive presentations available on Innocase Moodle platform. 12

13 Conclusion INNOCASE e-learning modules represent specific learning environments exploiting project and collaborative approaches to teaching. The modules are a part of the complete INNOCASE course embedded into Moodle, however, the module structure allows easy modification and transfer to other Learning Management Systems. References: DEWEY, J., Democracy and education. The middle works of John Dewey (Vol. 9). Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. JOHNSON, R. T., and JOHNSON, D. W., Action research: Cooperative learning in the science classroom. Science and Children, 24, KILPATRICK, W. H., Dangers and difficulties of the project method and how to overcome them: Introductory statement: Definition of terms. Teachers College Record, 22 (4), p MARSH, D., MARSLAND, B., and STENBERG, K., Integrating Competences for Working Life. Jyväskylä, Finland: Unicom. VYGOTSKIJ, L. S., Mind in society: the development of higher psychological processes. Editor Michael Cole. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, xi, 159 s. ISBN

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