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Discovery Learning Makes Sense in eLearning and the Role of Content

Why Discovery Learning Makes Sense in eLearning and the Role of Content

Posted on : June 15th 2022

Author : Sanjeev Jain

There are two types of learners: those who can succeed with little help, gathering information, connecting the dots, and figuring out the relevant information before moving on to the next topic or subject, and others who need instruction.

When students engage in online eLearning, they may not be aware of course expectations, but through exposure to discovery learning, students can use their experiences and knowledge to solve problems.

Discovery learning, one of the most immersive learning strategies, helps students understand processes on their own and build meaning independently, a significant benefit. It is especially effective when a school and/or a teacher encourages and provides immediate feedback. Moreover, if they are taught the best practices for online discovery eLearning, they’ll be better prepared for the process.

How to Include Discovery Learning Into eLearning Course Design?

There are different modes of learning. For example, students who like visuals prefer instructional videos, whereas textual learners choose to read instructions, and experiential learners want to try things out for themselves and learn as they go. Whichever mode a student prefers, they will remember more when they start practicing a skill. Consider two scenarios: a classroom lecture and a lab practice. For some students, the classroom lecture goes in one ear and out the other; however, the lab practice remains in their memory for longer because discovery-based learning engages students and enhances memory.

  1. Ask Open-Ended Questions
    Discovery learning asks students to learn things on their own rather than being spoon-fed information. Students are more likely to remember what they study if they figure it out independently. Giving students open-ended questions is an effective way of challenging them and helping them learn more about how they think. Doing so also allows students to reason, think, and reflect, inspiring extended responses.

  2. Move From the Known to Unknown
    Starting with concepts that learners are already familiar with and later introducing them to new topics that blend seamlessly into their existing study plan is another way to kickstart discovery learning. This process will make students feel more comfortable when venturing into new territory. For example, when teaching about the discovery of penicillin in biology, start with the basics of how Dr. Alexander Fleming, the bacteriologist at St. Mary’s Hospital, returned from summer vacation to find a messy lab bench and his Petri dishes contaminated by a mold, Penicillium notatum. Then move on to simulation, showing them how the mold took over, which will prime them for the new concepts and refresh their memory. Then move on to the more complicated topic on the same subject by asking them to access online tutorials, demos, and branching scenarios and figure out how this discovery helped humanity.

  3. Encourage Self-Reflection
    Self-reflection, a crucial aspect of discovery learning, helps students evaluate their thoughts and understand the content. Using real-world examples and anecdotes allows students to understand the topic deeper, and incorporating essay-based assessments encourages self-reflection.

The Role of Content

No matter the method used for discovery learning, such as setting up study groups, providing case studies, branching scenarios, assigning interviews, incorporating data-based projects, and doing virtual dissection, the role of content is significant.

Considering the information available online, the days of learning from a book are behind us. Almost every student now has access to devices and the internet, making it easier for them to find information. Content has become more critical than ever because education is changing rapidly. Having the right content helps students find the relevant information they need.

That is where Straive can help. For over 30 years, Straive has worked with education publishers, eLearning companies, and corporate learning businesses to help them deliver exceptional learning experiences to their end users—students and teachers. We provide full-service curriculum development services for PreK–12 and higher education. From program conceptualization and prototyping to content authored by subject matter experts to quality-control editorial services, design, and production, we are a leading end-to-end development partner in education.

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