The words key ideas in speech bubbles.

Key Ideas in Learning and Teaching

In this mini-course, we take a practical approach to learning and design theory by connecting the theories, which we call "key ideas," with your real life experiences.

In this section, we will start by looking closely at an example of classroom learning in a university lecture hall. We will use this example to explore several key ideas about learning, teaching, and design.

Then, you'll connect those key ideas with your own experiences as a learner, and share your experiences with your team.

By the end of this section, you'll have started drafting a short narrative about a memorable, meaningful, or transformative experience in your life.

Notebook iconWith your team: Learning in a lecture hall

Active learning in a lecture hall?

Let's start by watching a quick video of some classroom learning and teaching that illustrates several of the key ideas we will be talking about in this section.

As you watch the video, take notes and look for examples and evidence of the following:

  • active engagement by both learners and teachers
  • learners interacting with each other to learn and experience new things
  • learners exploring and questioning the status quo or other personal or social norms
  • the design of the learning activities and environment and how they might either enhance or detract from the overall experience

Talk with your team:

Choose your favorite questions from the list below and chat with your team:

  • What evidence did you see of active engagement by learners? by teachers?
  • What kinds of interactions did you see? How did these compare to the usual approaches to lecture hall instruction?
  • Think about your "Top 5" list of the characteristics of memorable, meaningful, and transformative learning. Which of your characteristics were present in this teaching example? Which were not?
  • How did the design of the environment impact learning? If you could change something about the design of the learning environment, what would you change and why?
  • How did the design of the activities impact learning? At different points in the experience, who had power, voice, and choice? To what extent did this shift and change during the lesson? To extent were these changes either haphazard or by design?
  • In the previous activity, we saw that some people identified "challenging" and other people identified "comfortable" as key characteristics of learning. What does this activity make you think about designing for comfort? For challenge?

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