Variations on a string bag: Using Pask's principles for practical course design.
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A course-writing team needs to converge rapidly to what it regards as an agreed topic structure, which is keyed to agreed learning objectives, which specify relevant assessment questions in a natural learning sequence. Only then can the team members go away individually to write, knowing that everything that they write will fit together. In normal practice, this convergence is only partial: the topic structure harbors gaps, ambiguities and contradictions; the learning objectives are not keyed explicitly to the concepts in the topic structure; and questions for assessment of learners’ understanding do not directly exemplify conceptually keyed learning objectives. The result is courseware which does not help people to learn as well as it otherwise could, and which has been created with more effort than otherwise would have been needed. This paper shows how systemic methods inspired by Gordon Pask can be used to complete the necessary convergence with ease.
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