Towards a pedagogical model for science education: bridging educational contexts through a blended learning approach

By January 18, 2017English

I recently co-authored this article with an envisioned pedagogical model in ‘Open Learning: the journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning’ together with José Bidarra, head of the Informatics, Physics and Technology Section (SIFT) of Universidade Aberta, the Portugese  ‘Open University’ in Lissabon. I met José during an EMPOWER network meeting, and since than we started to exchange thoughts.

This article proposes a design framework to support science education through blended learning, based on a participatory and interactive approach supported by ICT-based tools, called Science Learning Activities Model (SLAM). The development of this design framework started as a response to complex changes in society and education (e.g. high turnover rate of knowledge, changing labour market), which require a more creative response of learners to the world problems that surround them. Many of these challenges are related to science and it would be expected that students are attracted to science, however the contrary is the case. One of the origins of this disinterest can be found in the way science is taught. Therefore, after reviewing the relevant literature we propose the SLAM framework as a tool to aid the design of science courses with high motivational impact on students. The framework is concerned with the assumption that science learning activities should be applicable and relevant to contemporary life and transferable to ‘real-world’ situations. The design framework proposes three design dimensions: context, technology and pedagogy, and aims at integrating learning in formal and informal contexts through blended learning scenarios by using today’s flexible, interactive and immersive technologies (e.g. mobile, augmented reality, virtual reality).

For those that got interested based on this abstract, the publisher granted 50 free online copies for those that are fastest.  Of course also available through your organisation’s library.

Author Ellen Rusman

I am an assistant professor and researcher at the Welten Institute of the Open University (OU) of the Netherlands. As an educational designer I have participated in (inter)national (European) projects since 1998 (e.g. Cooper, E-Len, CEFcult, LTfLL, Elena), but was also involved in many OU-internal innovation projects (e.g. LMS-ID specification, virtual classroom project). I am a fellow of the ICO and SIKS research schools and an expert in the EMPOWER network. Research-wise I am interested in supporting collaborative learn and work experiences and in facilitating the acquisition and (formative) assessment of complex skills.

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