The space for learning design during a pandemic

This is a great summary by Jonan Donaldson on pg 97 of Critical Digital Pedagogy of a trend we’ve all seen during the pandemic:

With the rapid expansion of online learning over the last decade I have witnessed a tendency to translate classes into online modalities with designs closely resembling those of the face-to-face classes. Textbooks become eBooks, lectures become narrated presentations, and paper exams become online exams. Even when multimedia and interactive technologies are used, they are designed to “teach” rather than to facilitate learning. By this I mean that the overwhelming majority of online courses I have seen are designed to deliver content—to transfer knowledge into the minds of students.

It suggest a couple of things about ‘crisis teaching’. Firstly, the pedagogical assumptions concerning content transfer precede the pandemic. Secondly, the tendency for these assumptions to influence a shift to online provision similarly precedes the pandemic. In this sense, the online pivot revealed a problem which was already there rather than generating a new one in response to crisis conditions. This has a corresponding impact on how the expertise of learning designers and educational technologists is construed:

The job of the instructional designer is often reduced to that of a technologist and project manager in charge of building online courses which mirror the face-to-face lecture/ textbook/ exam versions.

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