Why Learn Learning Design?

I am an experienced teacher.  I’ve been doing this gig a long time…24 years to be exact.  I think (hope?) that I am good at what I do, and I think (hope?) I prepare my students well for continuing on through the education system.

That being said, I am always trying to improve my teaching practise.  There is power in the word PRACTISE, actually.  We encourage our students to practise what they are learning each day so that they become proficient, active learners, whether learning specific skills or knowledge, or more abstract concepts like higher level thinking skills.  So too, do teachers need to practise their skills in teaching and preparing lessons for their students. The word practise does not indicate that the first try will be perfect, but implicitly implies that there will be some failure.  And after all, isn’t the word FAIL something like this?

First-Attempt-In-Learning-FAIL-Poster

Classroom Poster from edgalaxy.com

Much of that which I do each day evolves on the spot, as it is almost second nature to me.  If “A” happens, we adjust and do “X”, but if “B” happens, “Y” might be a better option.  Teaching Kindergarten and Grade 1 is like a dance where I take the lead from my students and follow their learning needs, but redirect the choreography of the learning as needed. The wonderful thing about early learners is that they often have better questions and different connections than I could ever have thought of.

I want to learn more about Learning Design because I think it’s time for me to have more formal training in this area.  It has been 24 years since I sat in a university classroom and learned the finer points of creating lesson plans and unit plans, but so much has changed since then and I need to keep up with the massive changes in the way education is evolving now.

Learning is different now  for both students and teachers. In a world where information is at your fingertips, learning how to design lessons not for content knowledge acquisition but for higher level thinking skills is the transition that needs to happen for me.  I think I naturally do this already, but having learning how to design this type of school experience will be beneficial in the formality of sharing my Learning Designs with my students and with other teachers.

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9 thoughts on “Why Learn Learning Design?

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more. We need to shift our teaching practice from content based to higher level thinking skills. This is a large change for many educators, but I believe it is do able with the right conditions. A strong leader, who shares the same drive is a major factor to make this positive change happen. Thanks for sharing your thought.

  2. For some reason my last post was sent before I finished my thoughts….
    I think as strong leaders, we must take the plunge and have our colleagues follow our lead. We need to share our stories with others to demonstrate our “new” way of teaching. They will join when they notice the success and engagement of our students. Thanks again for sharing.

  3. Michelle, I love how you describe teaching as a dance. I think that the most important piece of that analogy is that you identified the learners as the leaders in this dance! I think that many people would think that the teacher is the leader in the dance of learning, but a true leader is the one who responds, redirects and adapts. I love the idea of you changing the choreography on the spot.

    I am also wondering if “Shrek the Musical” was at the forefront of your mind as you wrote this post!!

    • Thanks for the comment, Heidi! You know me so well. Yes, I had just talked with my boys about their rehearsal for Shrek The Musical and they had just finished telling me about how they were changing choreography because what they had planned didn’t work once that they tried it on the stage. Our classrooms are like that, aren’t they? We can design and plan all we like, but until the students experience the learning for real, we will never know if the design will work.

  4. Michelle!
    24 years in, back at University and still looking to improve…that’s commitment!!! Educators like you are exactly what we need more of. Creative and passionate teachers who realize that teaching is an ever-evolving and fluid profession, where our approaches need to change from day to day and from student to student. Nice to be riding along side of you on this journey of discovery.
    Much like you, I’m hoping that a deeper understanding of Learning Design will help me build on the tools I already have in my tool box, and be more efficient and effective in the way I can bring my skills and experience to each of my students.
    I loved your dance analogy and think it is appropriate. If I were in a K-1 class it would look a lot more like herding wild cats, but after 2 dozen years in the classroom, I could see you orchestrating the chaos of the primary classroom into something beautiful and meaningful for your students.
    Thanks for sharing and not settling with being good enough.

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Jake! It’s great to have such a diverse group to learn with in our cohort, isn’t it? The beauty of it is that we can all learn from each other. I can’t imagine doing what you do with your students and I look forward to learning right along with you.

  5. Oh, I love your description of how an Early Learning room works. The “choreography” of the daily dance we do with these short attention spanned people often looks chaotic to the untrained eye. Learning has changed a lot in the past 10 years, and I know that you have seen the pendulum swing back and forth on different pedagogies. Like you, I believe that we do need to attend PD or take courses to update our practice and refine the tools in our toolbox. I look forward to seeing how you design your Metamorphosis unit and know you will emerge with even more beautifully coloured wings to fly with.

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