â€œThe Internet is perhaps the most transformative technology in history, reshaping business, media, entertainment, and society in astonishing ways. But for all its power, it is just now being tapped to transform educationâ€¦ There is no going back. The traditional classroom has been transformedâ€.
Report of the Web-based Education Commission to the President and the Congress of the United States, December, 2000
Lesson design presents that difficult melding of technology, curriculum, and learner needs and styles (along with countless other things). It involves the demanding delicacy of making everything work together for the learning of the student.
“It’s not what the vision is, it’s what the vision does.”— Peter Senge —
“If you don’t know where you’re going,” the Scarecrow said to Dorothy,
“it doesn’t matter which road you take.”— The Wizard of Oz —
In their book The Systematic Design of Instruction, Walter Dick and Lou Carey list three reasons for using a systems approach to design.
In my more jaded and skeptical years, I saw discussions of learning theories in the same light as the early theological discussions concerning the number of angels that could dance on the head of a pin. It was often hard to see the relevance to actual teaching and learning.
Having been sufficiently socialized, however, I now feel a good theory provides insight into the learning process, and it provides a useful working metaphor. As Moore & Kearsley (1996) point out in Distance Education: A Systems View:
“A theory is a representation of everything that we know about something. Theory gives us a common framework, a common perspective, and a common vocabulary that help us ask questions in a sensible way and make sense of problems.”
So what changed my mind?