Academic journal article Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research

Flexible Learning Itineraries Based on Conceptual Maps

Academic journal article Journal of New Approaches in Educational Research

Flexible Learning Itineraries Based on Conceptual Maps

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

The use of learning itineraries based on conceptual maps is studied in order to propose a more flexible instructional design that strengthens the learning process focused on the student, generating non-linear processes, characterising its elements, setting up relationships between them and shaping a general model with specifications for each educational level. Through a methodology built on the Successive Approximation Model (SAM), this article studies learning itinerary design, implementation and assessment process, representing, through non-linear organised conceptual maps, sets of activities leading to the development of competencies that must be understood, mastered and demonstrated. Obtained results show the adequacy of a learning itinerary based on conceptual maps of the subjects' characteristics, solving real situations through the construction and creation of new schemes and knowledge management methods while contributing to a reflection on curricular design principles using ICT and generating learning-process autonomy.

KEYWORDS: LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS, INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN, CONCEPTUAL MAPS, ICT

1 INTRODUCTION

Great advances have been made in the teaching of planning focused on competencies and the incorporation of teachers' experience in information and communication technologies (ICT) in training processes, which are improving as well.

Nevertheless, there are countless cases where practices for competency development and ICT integration into pedagogical processes are in fact reproducing a traditional focus. This latter strategy has little to do with the development of the competencies required by the citizens of the twenty-first Century who need to get on in an advanced technological and global world. These practices poorly reflect the innovative processes required by today's education.

The number of teachers interested in new tools, strategies and technologies to support their work has been growing, although sometimes they do not find an effective way to pursue these. And teachers, being precisely the educational system actors, are the first ones called to propose and execute actions aimed at enabling their students to develop expected competencies, supported by the theories, pedagogical perspectives and new tools made available by ICT in order to facilitate teaching and learning processes.

Pedagogical research, innovation and reflection have to face these challenges and propose new instructional designs that are student-centred and more flexible, responding, furthermore to the need for learners to take control of the learning process more autonomously.

Consequently, we have implemented a project based on the proposal of Novak and Cañas (2010), using conceptual maps to design flexible learning itineraries and seeking the development of basic, specific or digital competencies, as well as a more active and autonomous student participation in the proposed activities and in the design of their learning process. The project is initially developed in the context of basic high school education, It will be applied at a later stage to other educational levels and contexts and by different educational agents.

2 REFERENCE FRAMEWORK

The project is based on learning environments supported by ICT, on instructional design and, finally, on conceptual maps and their support of training itinerary design, where self-planned learning stands out as a confluence point and as a required element within a flexible training process.

From this analysis, we determine the characteristics of instructional design in an ICT-supported learning environment, with specific flexible learning itineraries based on conceptual maps.

2.1 ICT-Supported Learning Environments

The appearance of new ICT-based learning environments requires a redefinition of the traditional models in order to advance towards a more flexible learning-teaching type of process (Salinas, 2004). Although traditional learning environments have not been replaced, they are now complemented, diversified and enriched with new proposals that allow information adaptation to a social environment. …

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