Friday, April 8, 2011

Suzanne Darrow's Connectivism Learning Theory: Instructional Tools for College Courses

A related thesis that I have failed to cite in my project is Suzanne Darrow's Connectivism Learning Theory: Instructional Tools for College Courses (2009). I came across her work only after I have submitted my project report.

It's abstract follows:

This qualitative thesis explores the work of George Siemens and connectivist learning theory, 'A Learning Theory for the Digital Age'. Findings are based on a literature review which investigated the foundations, strengths and weaknesses of connectivism and synthesized conclusions into a knowledge base of practical applications for the college level, Instructional Technology classroom. The half-life of knowledge is shrinking, especially in the field of Instructional Technology; connectivism helps to ensure students remain current by facilitating the building of active connections, utilizing intelligent social networking and encouraging student-generated curricula. Connectivism allows the future of education to be viewed in an optimistic, almost utopian perspective, as individuals co-create knowledge in a global, networked environment (Darrow, 2009, p.ii).

Darrow tries to associate the term "digital natives" with connectivism. I wish she had taken into consideration Siemen's criticism of this concept at (2007). A list of works criticizing the term can be found in Doug Holton's blog- (2010).

Nevertheless, it's a good introduction to connectivism for teachers. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

Hopefully more theses on connectivism will be shared online this year.

Project Report: Exploratory Approaches to the Design and Development of a Game for a Distance Education Course in Philippine History

Roel Cantada

I would like to share my project report for my master's degree in distance education at the University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU).


Report (4.57 mb)

WIP OARs of the game (15.22 mb) (5 mb) (10.44 mb)


The project explores the design and development of a prototype video game for a distance education course in Philippine history. The project seeks to answer these questions:

  1. What are the affordable learning actions and constraints of educational games in general and games for learning history in particular? 
  2. What production pipeline of design and development of educational games is appropriate for distance education teachers of Philippine history with meagre resources?
The rationale for the project is the following:

  1. There is little study on courses as games in distance education. 
  2. In the context of connectivist learning theory there is no study of games as hubs for a personal learning environment (PLE). 
  3. There is no available off the shelf game for teaching Philippine history. 
Open Simulator, a Multi-user Virtual Environment (MUVE) was used to create a prototype game. Formative research methods were adopted in the design and development of the game.

It has been found that the game affords the adoption of a wide range of learning theories and methods. As a PLE hub it has weak and strong affordances. In learning history it affords the following:

  1. It affords the linking and finding of historical sources.
  2. It affords role playing of historical characters.
  3. It affords reconstruction of history in multimedia.
  4. It affords the linking of game play with history.
It has also been found that teachers may impose a minimal amount of constraint on the learning path through quests and virtual objects that serve as obstacles. Items may be hidden from view (to delay use) or pointed out by Non-Player Characters. These constraints may help learners recognize affordable learning actions in the game. It may also scaffold the experience of novice players who are unfamiliar with the 3D environment.

In conclusion, series of steps and guidelines are suggested for developing educational games. It is recommended that teachers exploit the tools of the game for collaborative design and development as well as the production of reusable virtual world archives.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.