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Developing responsive approaches to enhance personalized learning in selected LHCS modules

Project leader(s): 
Eleanor Crabb, Nick Chatterton and Kate Bradshaw

Personalized learning involves developing teaching strategies that allow students to learn in a way which is most effective for them. It requires educators to develop teaching materials using a range of styles, media and formats allowing students to choose approaches that suit their needs. Personalised learning has been shown to enhance student engagement and performance in a wide range of disciplines including science.

In many ways, the online distance learning modules developed at the Open University allow personalized learning to some degree: they use a range of formats and media, and students can study at their own pace. However, one element of personalised learning that is difficult to address effectively is responsive feedback and responsive teaching. This is particularly important to OU students as they have limited 1-2-1 contact with tutors and central academic staff.

An additional, technological, issue arises in the teaching of chemistry. Currently tutorials, and other ad-hoc teaching sessions, are delivered via either recorded Camtasia screencasts or Adobe Connect using PowerPoint. However, both these approaches lack flexibility, and in particular they limit the quality of “Chalk and Talk” teaching and this style is known to be particularly valued by students studying physical and organic chemistry. For example, it is difficult to hand drawn clear chemical structures or reaction mechanisms, and it is difficult to produce clear hand-written calculations. The current lack of flexibility severely limits the type of “on the hoof” responsive chemistry teaching that can be delivered.  

The aims of this project are:

  1. To investigate different technological and video solutions for the development of hand-written teaching assets that can be delivered in timely fashion in response to student queries.
  2. To produce hand written assets in response to student need
  3. Evaluate the success of the new teaching assets generated
  4. To produce an online best practice guide for other module teams in the OU.

Crabb, E., Chatterton, N. and Bradshaw, K. (2018) presentation