Week 9: Designing Online Learning

A Unit of Instruction

Good planners of instruction first have to determine how much of the curriculum to attempt in a given semester. They will then divide these topics into units of work and sequence them in a logical order for delivery in the classroom. Finally, they will analyze the material for each unit and break it down into lessons that are sequenced in a logical order. There may even be opportunities to allow your students to approach the unit in a self-directed process while using the resources you give them and resources they find on their own.

As you consider the lessons that make up a unit, ask yourself these questions:

  • What kinds of learning experiences will I create?
  • Are there research experiences required?
  • Have I organized for variety in instructional strategies?
  • How much variety is necessary and feasible?
  • What kind of resources are available to support learning?
  • What software do I have available to support learning?
  • What web-based tools are available to support learning?
  • Is there an opportunity for students to find their own resources to support their learning, and, if so, how can technology support this?
  • Are there alternatives for students to demonstrate their learning, and, if so, how can technology support this?
  • Are their opportunities for collaboration within and between classrooms, and, if so, how can technology support this?
  • If there are students with special needs, is there opportunity to create options for independent learning?
  • If there are brilliant students, can I create opportunities for them to go ahead with their own learning?

If you do not plan for these learning opportunities in advance, they probably will not happen. And, if you begin planning for learning experiences that employ IT tools, then you can keep that plan in your teaching toolkit and improve it in the next round of teaching.