By Page Chen, Chief Learning Officer

When people speak of instructional design, they are usually referring to a systems approach, which involves a process of setting goals and objectives, analyzing resources, and creating a plan of action all followed up with a continuous evaluation/modification of the program. However, traditional systems approach models do not serve all online learning solutions well, especially when less emphasis needs to be placed on the sequence of instruction and more on the design of the learning environment. When properly implemented, the tools within Moodle provide for the right balance between traditional ‘technology-based-instruction’ and modern adaptive and socially learning.

Most educators would agree that cognitive learning is considered more difficult to teach and test than behaviorist learning, and for many instructional designers the “free range” aspects of constructionist learning is perceived as nearly impossible to implement and evaluate. The challenge is, instructional designers must blend their systems of instruction roots with a theory that revolves around the construction of knowledge by the individual. Designing a purely constructivist learning environment may still be a challenge, but when designing with that intent Moodle can efficiently provide for the implementation of those strategies.

One challenge faced by instructional designers looking to provide a more constructivist learning environment is how to produce authentic interaction. The challenge of designing interactive online learning experiences comes in devising ways for the actions of learners to be observed. If the learner’s actions cannot be observed,  then feedback can only be offered based on an end product. For this reason, many instructors and even instructional designers simply transfer old, proven evaluation concepts into e-learning scenarios. The good news is, we don’t have to do this! We can use Moodle and ad-ons like the new Adaptive Test Module to effectively mix old, proven evaluation concepts with new interactive constructivist methods to design authentic e-learning environments.

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