As academics, it is important to incorporate learning theories within your teaching, learning and assessment practices. This will allow you to guide your practice but also promote planning; teaching approaches; and enhance students’ learning experience. Lev Vygotsky’s constructivist learning theory emphasises the effectiveness of scaffolding learning material. The CIECT team encourages lecturers to use a scaffolded approach to teaching and learning, within your traditional practices and online spaces. This approach assists students with assimilation, iteration, and consolidation. Furthermore, the lecturer is able to extend learning beyond the classroom.
There are various strategies one can use to present learning material in a scaffolded approach. These include:
- Recognition of prior learning;
- Dividing learning material into manageable sections or ‘chunks’;
- Providing clear instructions with expected learning outcomes to tasks; and
- Presenting/explaining information in multiple ways to further assimilate content.
The ‘Lessons eTool’ allows a lecturer to design an interactive and structured blended-learning environment, enabling students to actively engage with the learning material via the iKamva platform. Hence, content and activities related to coursework can be presented in a scaffolded approach, whereby students are presented with information on related topics/concepts broken down into smaller sections; along with related activities which aim to reinforce student learning.
Using the ‘Lessons eTool’ within iKamva, lecturers are able to integrate features such as Online Tests, Assignments, Polls, and Discussion Forums. The platform also features a checklist, which can be used by students to keep track of their progress within a specific section, enhancing self-directed learning. In addition, it allows lecturers to incorporate a variety of digital media including YouTube videos, and external resources, which students can use to further expand their knowledge and understanding.
Lecturers are encouraged to attend and commit to the design workshops, hosted by the CIECT team. It is important for lecturers to focus on the effective design and development of interactive online environments; and not only dissemination of notes and lecture slides. **The pedagogical value will be explored further within these workshops; and its application within your online environment.
NB: The CIECT Team has embarked on its Roadshow. This scaffolded approach (presentation and structured online environment) was presented to the Law Faculty (HODs & lecturers). Follow-up discipline specific workshops will be conducted for the lecturers; as they have seen the need to create more effective and interactive online environments.