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E2 Digital education

for Enhanced Editorial


products
WP6: Develops training
contents for publishing
in the digital
environment
Didactic Model (Draft 1)
Italy
by Politecnico di Torino

E2 WP6

Executive summary
The document analyses the various forms of an e-Learning didactic model and methods. Then,
the paper describes the phases of design/planning of the e-content of a module of training.
The contents development for e-training is one of the main problems which affect the elearning research. The multiplicity of e-didactic typologies (stand-alone e-learning, assisted elearning, e-cooperative learning, blended learning, info-learning, small-learning) and the
specificity of the related didactic methodologies build the development of contents supporting
the training-learning process very articulated, defining the need to customize specific
planning and development models for the E2 LOs contents and presentation, and specific
professional skills necessary for this development.

Tables of Contents
Introduction ................................................................................................................................................................. 2
A theoretical topic of Didactic Model: a brief summary from the literature ....................................... 3
The Didactic Strategies ............................................................................................................................................ 4
The designing of the e-Content of a Module .................................................................................................... 6
Model, Methods and Didactic Strategies ........................................................................................................... 7
References & Bibliography ..................................................................................................................................... 8
Annex 1 .......................................................................................................................................................................... 9

Introduction
Taking into account the model, method and strategy that should drive the development of the
Learning Objects (LOs) we can thus begin from the initial suggestions that emerged in the
kick-off meeting, which consider the training environment as expressed in the image below.

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The trainee, or our target group(s), is placed in a milieu in which it is important to consider
the different possibilities of learning that are available to the subject. These possibilities
consist in the object of learning, the process of learning and the subject of learning situated in
a learning context such as vocational training.

A theoretical topic of Didactic Model: a brief summary from the literature


In a didactic model three possible directions of education coexist: the mono-cognitive, the
meta-cognitive and fanta-cognitive perspective:
1. The mono-cognitive perspective interprets the intellectual education as cultural literacy,
intending to assure everybody the skills necessary to organise content, to know the
words meaning and to manage the investigation tools in different disciplines.
2. The meta-cognitive perspective aims at providing trainees with the scientific thinking
methods, in order to assume, formalise and solve problems through observation,
formulation of hypotheses, experimentation and assessment. In other words, it intends
to enhance in a systematic way the use of direct investigation tools (attitudes, methods,
techniques) allowing conceptualisation, generalisation and transferability of cultural
objects.
3. In the fanta-cognitive perspective the trainee can build original processes of
understanding/review and discover not only new or different cultural objects, but also
new or different approaches to them. They can be set up thanks to the valorisation of
subjectivity.
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In specific, the didactic direction centred on mono-cognition, leads the future trainees to deal
with existing knowledge. His attention is predominantly directed to the product, it is made of
notions and abilities that are necessary for the individual to manage specific problems. The
problems that have to face are on the one hand the quality of the knowledge suggested, which
cannot be encyclopaedic knowledge and must be fully updated in line with the evolution of
the argument chosen for the LOs and the target (as specified below, in this document); on the
other hand, the quality of didactic mediation that must assure to every student the effective
possibility to have access to knowledge and must be able to use teaching individualization
strategies able to motivate, respect times and styles of individual and differentiate in the
various situations and for various and differentiate publishing company (according to their
interests and needs).
The didactic direction that tries to assure the achievement of meta-cognitive competences
interprets essentially education as a critical construction of culture of the individual student
and the group, with particular attention to the process. The process is the organization of
conscious and transferable learning tools. New electronic tools allowing you to obtain
information so easily, can surely risk not taking account of meta-cognitive competences,
because of the huge quantity of ready for use knowledge of the net that risks to make the
meta-cognitive competences seeming useless. All the new electronic tools have these valences
to a great extent because are tools of mediation between individual and knowledge, between
individual and material, cultural and social realities which work on the base of rules that the
more you know and dominate them the more useful are. The technological problem is
planning and using a didactic which makes use of computer applications in a critical way
avoiding the decline that result from a simple use of the machine that make the machine to
work alone, if you dont guide it.
Finally, the fanta-cognitive direction characterizes a training experience centred on the
subject, on the use of his experiences as starting point and tool to rearrange originally
knowledge and ways to use them in daily life. So individual experiences are both the starting
and, at the same time, arrival point of training experience. The problem is to enrich them,
structure them, open them to novelties through an action of awareness directed to the subject
that make him conscious of his limits and of his resources.
In this direction is surely possible to use the new tools towards experiences that dont aim to
isolate the subject in the self-referential world of his feelings, but aim to stimulate the subject
towards an ability to see, feel and express that is at the same time more original and creative
and more able to understand the feelings of other people. Belongs to this scenery the use of
hardware and software that can fully exploit the ability of individual to extend the aesthetic
dimension: the applications of computer that can be used as perceptive prosthesis, the
programs to create sounds and images, the endless possibilities of virtual reality, the places of
simulation in and out of game contexts.

The Didactic Strategies


The didactic model for the developing of E2 Learning Objects implies the issue of integrating
the presence of different didactic strategies. The origin of the proposed model is represented
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by the opportunity to define three main typologies of LOs that, according to the model
presented previously, are centred on: (1) the object of learning ; (2) the process of learning,
(3) the subject of learning.
The typology of LO centred on the object of learning belongs to the logics of the so called
descending career. His planning results from specific contents of discipline (or from the field
of knowledge) that is object of learning. His educational objective is of informativereproductive kind because it hopes to give to the E2 trainees units of knowledge (beyond
their specific nature: can be simple or complex professional competences or abilities...) that
have to be learnt and reproduced in a certain way in respect to the given suggestion. The
reference model in a conventional educational environment is that of didactic Unity. Its most
rigorous implementation modality is surely that of Mastery Learning, that grants the highest
level of individualization.
The typology of LO centred on the process of learning gives importance to the logics of a
constructive approach of learning. It goes from the meta-cognitive perspective of the
development of ability, to the continuous activation of the ways of the so-called scientific
thought: that are ways of construction of knowledge that use specific methodologies of
research (or critical forms of taking, formalizing and solving a problem). In other words they
encourage in a systematic way the use of tools of direct research (attitudes, methods,
techniques) that open to the possibility of conceptualisation, generalization, transferability of
produced knowledge and of modalities that have been used to produce them.
The typology of LO centred on motivations and emotions of the learning subject tries to face
a problem that traditionally is not taken into account in the traditional training environment,
but all along is considered fundamental for educative research: the importance of
motivational and emotional aspects in the determination of effectiveness (in terms of quality
and quantity) of the learning path. This kind of LO tries to activate abilities that arent easily
measurable with objectifying procedures, because are scarcely predefined and strongly linked
to the field of individuality. The didactic modalities that are considered more important are
those of cultural animations: strategies that encourage the student to make reflections that go
beyond the level of objective competences and professional abilities to arrive to the level of
personal meaning of that particular knowledge for the learning subject. These reflections
form a group of determined competences that anticipates and goes with the learning process
in all its forms.
As we have seen, these three typologies of LO come from different interpretations of learning
and as a consequence have different educational objectives. Inside a challenging didactic
model the problem to face is not decide which is the best typology in absolute, but define in
the most accurate way the specificity of the individual typology in order to plan the realities of
course in which are integrated the LOs of the three types according to proportions and
differed successions that take account of other possible criterions:
disciplinary specificities of learning object
stated purposes of the course of study
age and competences of participants
features of the context.
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Underlying idea of the problematic model is that is not possible to have a good training quality
in experiences that of course dont have any LO of one of the three typologies.

The designing of the e-Content of a Module


After the theoretical advices, when the e-Content of a Module must be created, the E2 partners
must, first of all, design them and plan their development.
The models, methodologies and techniques of e-Authoring we are introducing have a general
value, but obviously it is necessary to affect specific specializations regarding a different
application of the e-Learning to the training. This is worth in general for the e-Didactis that
must be specialized in the different disciplinary context.
This design entails not only attention to the fundamental content, topical and communicative
aspects, but also, the technical aspects of the operational realisation of the Content and their
organisation to guarantee a correct e-Editing of the same.
The phases of design/planning of the e-Content of a Module are, generally, the following:
(1) Structural design of the Module;
(2) Design of the Textual Content, Multimedia Content, Tests and Deepings (Documents,
Glossaries, Hypermedia and Web Site);
(3) Publisher Design of the Documental In-Depths).
Phase 1 includes the following activities:
- definition of the module time-length
- planning of the module in chapters and chapters in paragraphs
- definition of the multimedial contributes forms
- definition of the in-depths publishing forms
- definition of the test form
Phase 2 includes the following activities:
- design of the Textual Contents, Definition of the documental fonts
- definition of the time production, planning of Production of the Multimedial Contributes
- design of the Tests Typology
- definition of the In-Depths Typology, definition of the link techniques to Web Site and other
Hypermedial Contents
Phase 3 involves the following activities:
- publishing design of the Documental In-Depths
- definition of the Technical Format of the Documental In-Depths
- protection Criteria of the Copyright
The didactic model developed for the project may include the use of a blend of assisted selfstudy and collaborative learning, in order to provide users with as much flexibility and
autonomy as possible in organizing their learning activities, as well as to promote an active
role for learners through a process of peer teaching and information exchange or through
consultation with experts in each specific field.
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The course content could be structured in progressive modules.


The internal structure of each unit will be designed following a three-step model:
1. introduction (where a virtual tutor presents the topic and aims of the unit),
2. presentation (audio-video presentation enriched with interactive activities and links to
additional material, regulatory material, and glossaries),
3. practice (allowing users to assess their own progress, with prompt feedback).
Two different delivery models may be adopted:
completely online, based upon a combination of self-study materials (didactic units),
self-assessment (tests and exercises), sharing tools (forum, chat), information and
support (bulletin-board, news and teaching materials);
blended, including virtual classroom activities, in addition to the instruments provided
for completely online training.

Model, Methods and Didactic Strategies


A Didactic Method represents the shape of carrying out of any moment of the process of
Learning.
There are several Didactic Methods. Here are the main ones: Frontal Lecture; Autonomous
Learning; Exercising; Case Study; Simulation/Dramatizing; Research/Guided Discovery; Visit on
site; Reading of Daily Newspapers and Reviews; Internet Navigation; Cooperative Learning;
Problem Solving; Problem Posing; Training on the Job. We can also add a further Method
defined Check (intermediate and final), that we can consider to be a didactic method since it
represents the necessary conclusion of any Path of Teaching-Learning, but also an essential
intermediate check (we have provided a glossary in the attachments of the document).
Each of these methods has its own peculiarities and promotes a certain modality of learning,
and, moreover, we have to decide what is the best method to use for the E2 LOs.
In fact, in the training process it is important not only what is learned, but how it is
learned. The Didactic Methods allow us to reach, contextually either the Cognitive Objectives
of the lowest level on the taxonomic scale, such as knowledge and understanding, or those of a
higher level, such as analysis and evaluation. But they also promote the acquisition of skills
and competences relating to communication and relationships.
In addition to Didactic Methods we have, as already mentioned, Didactic Strategies defined as
follows:
A Didactic Strategy is the integration of several didactic methods within an Educational Action
or one part of it.
Obviously, is not the only possible definition of a Didactic Strategy, but we think that it is more
appropriate in order to avoid the confusion between strategy and methodology.
Finally, the integration of Didactic Methods can be achieved in a number of different ways and
this integration can concern either the development of a part of the Didactic Action or can be
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used as a unitary strategy for the entire training path. Here are some examples of Didactic
Strategy (for each we indicate one possible sequence of Didactic Methods):

References & Bibliography

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Annex 1
Here we give a short description of each Method in order to introduce a kind of glossary of
didactic methodologies:
Frontal Lecture
This is the so-called professorial where an educator illustrates the concepts and knowledge.
Obviously this explanation can happen by using communicative and relational dynamics and
methodologies that can more or less reinforce the didactic feature of the lecture itself. But at
any rate the Frontal Lecture represents a direct communication of the contents of the
knowledge to be transferred.
Autonomous Learning
This is an autonomous process, performed by the Learner, to acquire knowledge. It is study
at home and it consists of an action of the Learner that, by using the didactic materials at his
disposal or found autonomously (in a library, in a bookshop, on the internet etc.), acquires the
knowledge which is the object of the learning process.
Exercising
This is an activity that usually follows a face-to face Lecture and integrates the Autonomous
Learning of the Learner through the application. Often the Exercising activity immediately
follows an activity of Autonomous Learning. Sometimes, it follows an activity of Autonomous
Learning and of Applicative Exercising, a new face-to face Lecture representing a kind of
reinforcement of what has been previously explained and then learned and applied by the
Learner.
Case Study
The Case Study is a real problem (usually wide-ranging and complex) chosen in the field of
the subject/s of study and through which a solution is also found (both real and applied as
well). The Case Study is used to allow the Learner to analyse deeply and with the help of the
Trainer, the solution found for a complex problem by using the tools that the Learner is
learning.
Simulation/Dramatizing
Simulation is one of the most interesting methods to foster active learning. Many types of
simulation for learning exist: the Role Games, Decision-making Games, Virtual Laboratories. In
all these cases, what is used is a technological environment, usually computer-based, but not
only, where a certain operative context is simulated (in the case of the informatics the
simulation can, through the use of virtual reality, even have sophisticated effects).
Furthermore, some Special Laboratories can represent environments, where complex
processes or events are simulated. In these contexts the Learner can work by using the tools
that the environment offers. Obviously there are also simulations occurring without the use of
technology. Dramatizing is a particular kind of simulation in which the Learners find
themselves in an operative context where they are asked to play a role, a function etc.
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Dramatizing is essentially the acting of real events.


Research/ Guided Discovery
This is the usual methodology used, especially, in any kind of laboratory (also virtual ones).
The research-guided discovery moves from the statement of an objective to be reached and
some rules to be applied in order to achieve it, by using the resources given by the Trainer.
Obviously, the research process is completely free, but supported by the Trainer (in some
contexts with the collaboration of a Tutor), who supports the choices, suggests in case of
uncertainty, corrects the mistakes of the process etc.
Visit on site
This is a classic method characteristic of active didactics. We can have several types of visits
addressed to different kinds of Didactic Objectives, but they all have the purpose of putting
the Learners in contact with one or more real situations and contexts in the field of the
subjects of study in order to help them find in the real contexts what they have already
learned in captivity.
Reading Daily Newspapers and Reviews
The informative method is a didactic method widely used in the contexts of the so-called
non-formal and informal information, but it is increasingly being used also in the field of
formal3 education. Its purpose is to promote the contextualization of theories, models, laws,
rules etc...in real situations but also to increase the amount of information related to one or
more subjects of study.
Navigation on Internet
Navigation on Internet can be used for two different objectives: informative objectives and
research objectives. In the first case it is a new modality of application of the previous
method (Reading of Daily Newspapers and Reviews), whereas in the second case it
represents a method of constructing reading characteristic of active didactics and formal
education.
Cooperative Learning
Cooperative Learning is a methodology applied when the Educator wants to set the Learner
up in a cooperative learning context. The method has its own application rules that range
from the modalities of making groups to the methodologies of management and observation
of the work. The method promotes the accomplishment of the Educational Objectives either of
a cognitive or of a behavioural and relational kind. Cooperative Learning is based on
providing one or more groups with a Problem or a Case Study or a Problem of
Research/Guided Discovery or, also, a Role or Decision-making Game. The groups have to deal
with the problem and solve it.
Problem Solving
The methodology of Problem Solving, one of the most interesting methodologies of TeachingLearning, is used when it is required that the Learner doesnt learn a series of concepts in a
passive way, but through a structured path moving from the origins, within himself, of a need
for knowledge. Problem Solving Methodology starts with the statement of one or more
problems when the Learner does not have the knowledge necessary for their solution (it is
precisely this knowledge which is the object of learning). The attempt at finding a solution and
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the possibility of failure, stimulate in the Learner the need for learning how to solve the
problem. This prepares the ground for the subsequent Frontal Lecture (called
Systematization) that provides him with the tools needed to solve problem and consolidates
the learning process.
Problem Posing
This method consists of asking the Learners to define solvable problems in a determinate
context with a specific acquired knowledge. It has been observed that these kinds of activities
strongly consolidate what has been learned since it leads the Learners to reason, we could
say, on the contrary, by using the knowledge not as something to be acquired but as
something to reason about.
Training-on-the-Job
This Method is applied by placing the Learner in a real operative (working) context, where he
has to operate by applying what he has learned during the processes of Formal Education.
This method is also defined Stage.
Check
The Check is applied both during a Teaching-Learning Path and at its conclusion; it can have
many shapes (Interviews, Essays, Open Problems, Tests, etc..).

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