Constructive Alignment

Topics: Educational psychology, Learning, Knowledge Pages: 12 (3345 words) Published: August 13, 2013
HOS 518

Assignment 1 - Constructive alignment and the Deep and Surface approaches to Learning

Dr Rika Van Schoor

Due Date : 16th March 2012

TITLE: Life Long Learning through Constructive Alignment

In responding to the assignment question, I have considered and reflected on my approaches to teaching, facilitating and learning in the context of constructivism and constructive alignment. Therefore the assignment is structured broadly as follows:

I provide a definition of constructivism and contructive alignment based on my literature review ( reading materials made available via blackboard) and my practice in the field of adult learning and facilitation I discuss constructive alignment and its relation to theories of learning as well as the concepts of deep and surface learning I present a view of current practices and how these concepts are applied in the field of my practice, and I explore moments when students have taken a surface learning approach and suggest reasons for such an approach as well as discuss the approaches taken in the facilitation methods adopted to ensure a deep approach to learning Finally using Blooms taxonomy and the revised Bloom‟s taxonomy, I suggest some of the intended learning outcomes, assessment criteria and assessment tasks.

Constructivism and Constructive alignment The following diagramme best describes constructivism and constructive alignment as I understand it and as I practice it. At the outset it must be pointed out that the word suggests the following: Building Creating Making meaning of things around you Therefore constructivism and constructive alignment would suggest an approach that allows learners to create their own body of knowledge and meaning from the learning experiences they are exposed to. Merril ( Smorgansbord, 1997) outlines the following key principles that underpin a constructivist approach to learning: Learners create knowledge out of their life experiences 2

Learners use these life experiences to make meaning of the environment and world in which they live. From these experiences they develop their own interpretations of the world and make decisions about how to operate in it Learners draw on these experiences as they learn, adding to what they already know and creating new views of the world that may differ from the views they held prior to the learning experience Learners learn through active engagement and collaboration, through conversations and discussions, through opportunities to engage with new information, to adjust their framework of knowledge as they add new concepts and ideas to their existing body of knowledge and to problem solve based on what they have been exposed to during the learning experience. In the constructivist approach, learning should be contextualized within the real world and real circumstances, thus allowing for application of knowledge, problem solving and solution finding in real situations and innovating. The constructivist approach also suggests assessment that is real and integrated.

My view of constructivism is reflected in the diagramme below and comes from working with unit standards based qualifications and the design of learning programmes to support the acquisition of such vocational qualifications. In the unit standards based approach, there is a very specific approach to learning materials design, learning delivery and learning assessment. In order to achieve accreditation from the relevant ETQA, the learning programme design process is assessed accordingly. I believe this approach embeds a constructivist and contructive alignment approach to learning design. We have developed a design framework that mirrors this diagramme, which ensures the alignment of the various aspects in the learning process. This is attached as appendix A.


The learning environment is made up of the following key processes all of which either support deep learning or surface learning: Learning outcomes Assessment...

References: Mergel,B. (1998). “ Instruction design and Learning Theory” Fry, H; Ketteridge, S; Marshall, S. (2009) “A handbook for teaching and learning in Higher Education” 3. Higgs, P; Van Wyk B. ( 2006) “University teaching in South Africa : An African Philosophical Perspective” New Directions for Higher Education, no 133 Spring 2006 4. Biggs, J. (2003) “What the student does – Student ability and teaching method pay off” in Teaching for Quality Learning The Society for research into Higher education, Open University and Open University Press Berkshire, UK 5. Biggs, J. (2003) “What the student does- Setting the stage for effective teaching” in Teaching for Quality Learning The Society for research into Higher education, Open University and Open University Press (2007) Berkshire, UK 6. Biggs, J. (2003) “What the student does- Teaching according to how students learn ” in Teaching for Quality Learning The Society for research into Higher education, Open University and Open University Press Berkshire, UK (2007) 7. Biggs, J. (2003) “What the student does- The Changing scene in University Teaching ” in Teaching for Quality Learning The Society for research into Higher education, Open University and Open University Press 8. Warren, H ( 2004). Engineering Subject Centre Guide: learning and Teaching theory for engineering academics. Loughborough: HEA Engineering Subject Centre 9. Tagg, J. (2003) „Approaches to Learning‟ in The Learning Paradigm College. Anker Publishing 10. Entwistle, N. ( 2009) “Deep Approaches and Distinctive ways of thinking” in Teaching for Understanding at University. PalgraveMacmillan 11. Jacobs,M;Vakalisa, NCG; Gawe,N. (2011) Teaching and Learning Dynamics ( 4th edition)
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Brabrand, C; Dahl, B. (2009). “Using SOLO taxonomy to analyse competence and progression of University Curricula‟ Higher Education, 2009
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