The session will present the Ten steps to complex learning model of instructional design developed by van Merriënboer and Kirschner, and the way this model is used in my course on digital literacy to teach students information literacy. It will provide with worksheets of tasks and exercises used in teaching students database search and internet search.
Some more about the model [PDF]
The model of Ten steps to complex learning is deeply grounded in educational psychology and builds on how knowledge is acquired (schema acquisition) and practiced (schema automation). It can be used to design learning tasks in any subject area and is meant to help instructors design learning tasks with appropriate level of complexity and support.
The van Merriënboer-Kirschner model has 4 main components to a learning blueprint:
- The learning tasks that someone needs to master. In information literacy a learning task can be finding a specific article in a specific database, or make a list of references using articles found on several databases.
- The supportive information comes into play when one is working with skills that are performed differently from problem to problem. The supportive information can be at different levels of support (scaffolding) and relates to helping learners build mental models of a domain (ex. of what a database is) and cognitive strategies of how to translate a search question into relevant search terms.
- The procedural information that guides the acquisition of automated skills — those skills performed the same way from problem to problem. This is the how-to knowledge (e.g., using a clinical trials database) that’s a routine part of the overall task.
- Part-task practice to strengthen and automate certain “recurrent constituent skills” — for example learning to use Boolean operators. Students will only start using Boolean operators if they see them being used in a whole learning task.
A main reason for me to start using the Ten steps to complex learning model is that I found that students have generally a poor ability to transfer skills from one context to another. The van Merriënboer- Kirschner model advises the use of real world tasks. Also, I am trying to use example which are useful to my students for their major classes.
I would like to hear from the audience comments and suggestions how threshold concepts can be integrated into the Ten steps model. At this point I am not convinced there is enough of evidence that threshold concepts allow for building transfer skills, but I think I could learn more, or there is for sure ground to research this question. I assume that threshold concepts can be integrated within the Ten steps model, and I hope to have, by the time of the conference, some evidence of that.