What is pedagogy?
The origin of the word comes from the Greek word paidagogÓs
- Paide (child) + agogos (leader)
- Pedagogue = an educator, a teacher
Pedagogy refers to the art or science of teaching across a broad spectrum of ages.
- Including the instruction in teaching methods
- Activities that impart or inform knowledge.
Why pedagogy matters
We all learn in different ways. Being aware of this and having a well thought out approach to facilitating learning and the learning environment can improve the quality of teaching as well as the quality and learning of students. Being mindful and purposeful in the design of the way you teach can support better understanding of how students can achieve a deeper learning. Thinking about how to achieve this is thinking about pedagogy.
Acquiring the skills for activity in the 21st century requires there to be a broader range of competencies developed, such as collaboration, perseverance, resourcefulness and innovation. Additionally, in the 21st century, technology is offering new learning opportunities and allowing learners located remotely to interact with each other and with the subject matter. The underlying learning theory for on campus and online learning has the same theoretical constructs (Beetham & Sharpe 2013). What online learning offers is a new model of education rather than a new model of learning.
If 21st century competencies are to be developed during learning and not left to chance, then online pedagogy needs to be tailored to provide the opportunity for development of these competencies as well as provide knowledge content. How do we do this? What is good practice for online teaching?
One suggested model of education afforded by an online mode of education is the constructionist approach. This model has a focus on learning participants as a community engaged in inquiry into a body of knowledge facilitated by a teacher – a community of inquiry – underpinned by the principle that the more engaged students are with their learning the more they are likely to retain (Garrison, Anderson & Archer 2000).
What is good pedagogic practice online?
Communities of inquiry (CoI) (Garrison, Anderson & Archer 2000) model is considered one of the most effective learning frameworks for online learning. Communities of inquiry are highly engaged in the co-creation, discovery and development of knowledge, capabilities and skills, and is enabled by learning management systems, collaborative platforms and social-constructivist teaching activities. In plain speak, this means ‘Communities of Inquiry’ create active and multi-directional and flexible learning environments where the educator, student and their peers contribute to the learning.
Garrison, Anderson & Archer (2010) identified three critical elements in the experience of online learning - Social Presence, Cognitive Presence, and Teaching Presence. These elements, and their areas of overlap, make up the Community of Inquiry framework (Fig.1).