Learning Design Part 7


The information below is taken from the Leaders Resource – Getting Started developed by the Teaching and Learning Services team DECD.

The fifth part of Learning Design is How will we engage, challenge and support their learning?


“Children and young people do what they see adults enjoy”. If we show passion, enthusiasm and a genuine interest in what we are teaching students are more likely to respond in kind than if we turn up to class negative and disinterested. Our level of motivation is often reflected back to us through our students.

Engagement could be described in two ways, compliance engagement and deep engagement. Considering these  I was confronted with the fact that mostly my classes are just compliantly engaged. My students turn up and do what they are told, complete tasks, engage in conversation and undertake my classes. Is this deep engagement? Probably not. Is it a higher level of engagement than classes whose students don’t comply, yes. According to David Price (Learning Futures Engaging Students, 2010) deep engagement encompasses the following:

• Cares not just about the outcome, but also the development of their learning
• Takes responsibility for their learning
• Brings discretionary energy to their learning task(s)
• Can locate the value of their learning beyond school and wishes to prolong their learning beyond school hours.
How many of us have students at the compliance end of the engagement continuum and how many do we have at the deep end? How we move students along this continuum requires us to continue to develop our pedagogy about how students learn, what engages them and how we will embed this in our day to day practice.

Challenge and Support

When we expect that we have an impact on student achievement, we are right. When we expect that we are impotent, we are also right.” Is every student challenged to reach his/her personal best or just those who ‘do’ school well? (TFEL Framework pg 41). It is often easy to move support away from those that don’t seem to want to help themselves and give that extra time to someone who demonstrates enthusiasm for the learning. We have a professional responsibility to push, extend and support ALL students no matter how hard this might be at times.

Can we engage, challenge and support every student all the time, maybe not. Should we aim to as often as is humanly possible, absolutely.

Things to remember when we are trying to engage, challenge and support students:

• How can we hook them in? (engagement that goes further than merely getting students to comply with our requests)
• How can we stretch all learners?
• What will be needed to ensure all learners achieve the intended learning?
Video – Engaging and Motivating Students

LEGO Digital Designer

I have just come across this great LEGO creating software. This is free software that can be downloaded onto MAC or Windows machines. There is a PDF manual that can be saved from the website as well giving hints and tips about the tools available within the program.


This software would be great for doing some design tech work with your students. There are no instructions on how to build particular items so students could design and create their own models or bring in instructions from LEGO models they have at home and use these to build models within this program. It does take a little while to get used to the program but in half an hour with the use of the manual I created the car below, not brilliant I know but it demonstrates that in minimal time students could begin creating. The other positive is that most students are familiar with LEGO and the way it works so this should increase their ability to learn and understand the program.

The program allows you to take screen shots from any angle and save them to your computer. A great tool for students to present their completed model.

If you are interested in the program download it and have a play at home or if you have kids let them have a go and see what they think. If you would like to use it with your class I see no reason why we can’t convince ‘the school’ to put this program into one of the suites or onto the new laptops. Creativity, planning, design, building, working with a partner, presenting a product the possibilities for use in the classroom are wide ranging. On top of this I think the students would really enjoy using the program. My suggestion is that this program would be useful from Year 3/4 and up.

If you are looking to develop and broaden your pedagogy this program also offers the opportunity to explore a variety of methods including:

Use prior knowledge, collaborative, teacher modeling, student led, open ended task, goal setting, self paced, scaffolding, teacher feedback, skill transference, risk taking, share learning, , creative thinking, critical thinking, reflection, individual, group, explicit teaching of collaboration, explicit teaching of higher order thinking, authentic problem, multimedia, self evaluation, peer evaluation, explicit teaching of peer assessment, explicit teaching of self assessment, communication through practical, communication through art, communication through writing.

Learning Design Part 6

I would like to acknowledge that the information presented in this post and previous posts relating to Learning Design comes from the ‘Leaders Resource – Getting Started’ produced by Teaching and Learning Services DECD.

The fourth step in Learning Design is What evidence will enable us to assess the intended learning? Understanding if our students ‘have go it’ is crucial if we are going to accurately adjust our teaching and planning to suit the level of learning students are at. It is also vital if we are to accurately report to parents. To achieve this we need to assess students regularly.

Dylan Wiliams suggests that “When implemented well, formative assessment can double the speed of students’ learning“.

Just because we teach something does not mean students have learnt it!

Below is a great little script that demonstrates what happens when we don’t use effective formative assessment methods.

We ask, “Does everyone understand?”

We await the answer to come.

A lone voice says, “Yes”, and we accept that as

evidence that learning has occurred.

We move onto the next topic or concept, deluding

ourselves that all is right with the world.

Later, much later, we review the results of the latest quiz,

test, or essay, and shake our heads in wonder.

“I taught all this,” we say.  “Didn’t they get it?”



Important points regarding “What evidence will enable us to assess the intended learning?”

• Feedback should cause thinking and move the learning forward
• Do our assessment practices provide our students with multiple ways to demonstrate their understanding?
• What are the multiple ways learners can show their learning?
• Does the feedback cause thinking and learning dialogue?
• What opportunities are there for self and peer assessment?