Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Is BLearning a Good Tool for Project Based Learning (PBL)?

First of all, we must define what PBL is. According to Buck Institute for Education (BIE), Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge.

The PBL Essential Elements include:
  • Significant Content - At its core, the project is focused on teaching students important knowledge and skills, derived from standards and key concepts at the heart of academic subjects. Which is related to all types of study.
  • 21st century competencies - Students build competencies valuable for today’s world, such as problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity/innovation, which are explicitly taught and assessed.
  • In-Depth Inquiry - Students are engaged in an extended, rigorous process of asking questions, using resources, and developing answers.
  • Driving Question - Project work is focused by an open-ended question that students understand and find intriguing, which captures their task or frames their exploration.
  • Need to Know - Students see the need to gain knowledge, understand concepts, and apply skills in order to answer the Driving Question and create project products, beginning with an Entry Event that generates interest and curiosity.
  • Voice and Choice - Students are allowed to make some choices about the products to be created, how they work, and how they use their time, guided by the teacher and depending on age level and PBL experience.
  • Critique and Revision - The project includes processes for students to give and receive feedback on the quality of their work, leading them to make revisions or conduct further inquiry.
  • Public Audience - Students present their work to other people, beyond their classmates and teacher.

All of these Essential Elements can be easily achieved with a good ELearning platform, plus the aid of classmates and teachers. But, how can we "attach" these Essential Elements in a good practice environment?. The answer is in the kernel of BLearning.

As can be read in a previous post (About the Project). The method dates from 1999, but never defined quality standards. Nowadays different learning methods are emerging. But we need, the most attractive for the learners.

One of the most attractive is PBL because of the use of competences and all its Essential elements can be achieved with a useful tool as the BLearning is. But, first of all, we need to define the quality criterias for this tool. And this is the aim of the project.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Competence Based Learning Outcomes

Competence oriented access as a quality issue in Blended Learning

Blended Learning is a complex teaching method. On the one hand, it offers the opportunity to teachers to mix the best of onsite and online to create a new learning environment. This “blend” can have a positive impact on efficiency, convenience and learning outcomes.
On the other hand, especially these learning outcomes are important. In modern teaching it should be out of discussion to define them based on the guidelines for Competence Oriented Education (COD).

What are Competences?

Competences can be defined easily as “something what you can”. Focusing on the process of learning and the expected learning outcomes you may define competence as a cluster of related abilities, commitments, knowledge and skills that enable a person to act efficiently in a job or in a specific situation.
For teaching, you may condense that to a three column set and define a competence model as a cluster consisting of knowledge, skills and attitudes.

How to define Learning Outcomes Competence Based?

Teaching was content based for a long time. The knowledge of the content was the most important result in the teaching process for many years.
In modern teaching, the knowledge of the content is a means to skills. Content is necessary – without doubt – but to use the knowledge to be able to do something is more important in your daily job.
A good way is to define the competence with the terms “the learner is able to do …” or similar at the beginning. This is the requested competence. The next step is to identify the learner’s needs. Now you have to analyze which knowledge is necessary (so you can define the content). The expected ability of the learner can be used to define the skills. Finally, you define the necessary attitude, which is necessary to bring in the skills of behave in the described way.
With the definition of the competences, you may start to create learning activities.


Teachers should care for their competence of teaching competence orientated. The method is versatile and can be used general in teaching.
In Blended Learning Courses a competence oriented access must be understood as a basic issue.