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“How might learning theories inspire the design of virtual learning practices”

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Assignment titles usually need a little elaboration. So, to be clear about this one: the idea is to consider how we best design a (distance) course of learning to be taken in a virtual learning environment (VLE). Higher Education is probably the easiest sector to consider – but use another sector if you prefer. Where you need concrete examples, Moodle will probably be the easiest case to draw from, because of its familiarity.
The central point here is that your designs should be informed (and explained to the reader) by drawing on the various themes that you have encountered from our theorising about learning. In short, a “theory-informed course design”. Your account might include you identifying theory-informed aspirations that are difficult to achieve in this VLE environment (as well as ones that you can you see easy design solutions for).
You should be familiar with the affordances of a VLE (Moodle) from your own study but if you want to be more aware of its possible functions, there are overview sites such as <https://docs.moodle.org/27/en/Features>, or <https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5F39867B1037BA89>.
The stress is on “virtual learning practices” and so it would not be necessary to spell out the detailed syllabus of some imaginary course. Emphasis should be more on how a VLE can mediate learning tasks and interactions: activities that expand and enrich the distance learning experience. In which case, you might also consider that a VLE can be a launching place for other web services (Instagram, shared whiteboards etc). So, you might want to incorporate these in your designs, as well as standard VLE features – thereby triggering student activities that involve off-VLE tools but which are still integrated or annotated via the VLE course platform.
The topic is intended to encourage drawing on material from across the module and yet address a challenge of educational practice that is likely to important for most students – working with and within virtual learning environments. Your own VLE experience on this course should therefore be a start for the practice side. While the range of material in the units should be grounding for the theoretical themes. However, this paper <https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~ttzelrn/tplt/e-TPLT/learn_resources/assignment/141022_TeachinglearningSeptember20th.docx> (to appear in a handbook) may offer a synoptic view.
Your arguments should be strengthened where possible by reference to the research literature as well as to sources that clarify the theory themes that you invoke.


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