Thursday, 30 January 2014

How do you design social learning into your e-learning activities?

The Elevate Team ran a workshop for the PGCHEP Module 2 course on how a lecturer or course team might design social learning into their e-learning activities.

In terms of impact, during the workshop we finished the curriculum design with one lecturer which focused on peer assessment and they implemented it a day later !!

The following discusses the use of the peer assessment tool, and more broadly the workshop.

Their design was relatively straightforward, it was a formative assessment, which fed into their summative work. Motivation included, if they didn’t complete this activity marks would be deducted from their final summative portfolio.

The student needed to create two CAD design activities based on some clear objectives and marking scheme. The output would be two PDF files. They need to share these with their colleagues for peer assessment and feedback against the marking criteria (quantitative and qualitative). This process would help the student reflect on their own submission. The submission and evaluation needed to complete within 7 hours (one working day). The lecturer wanted to ensure they have all done the activity, but not release the feedback. This would be undertaken on a 1-2-1 basis, and would include other comments from the lecturer and a “lay person”.

These aims were met using the LearnUCS peer assessment tool.

The following screenshot (student names and numbers removed) show the views for the lecturer. It lists the evaluator (student name and number), list of submissions evaluated (student names), the marks for individual evaluations, and the average mark the evaluator gave across all their evaluations.

Another feature is the ability to review the results by individual. This allows the lecture to see the overall result for an individual, and drill down into a specific peer assessment by an evaluator. This is illustrated in the following two screenshot

If you’d like to discuss if the Peer Assessment tool is appropriate for you and how to use it, please contact the Elevate Team (

In terms of the workshop. The broad aims of the workshop were to enable the individual to answer within their context and understanding the following questions;
  • What do we mean by social constructivism?
  • Is social constructivism a relevant approach to your learning, teaching and assessment models?
  • What are the key characteristics which would need to be designed into your e-learning activities?
  • How might these translate into meaningful learning activities?
  • How might you implement them within your e-learning activities?
The workshop was flipped, so the pre-session activity was to read the following two short articles on social constructivism. After which, they need to explain what is social constructivism, and describe two or three situations on their courses where social constructivist learning occurs (You should spend no more than one hour on the activity)
  • Powell, K. & Kalina, C. (2009) ‘Cognitive and Social Constructivism: Developing Tools for an Effective Classroom’, Education 130 (2) pp. 241-250
  • University College Dublin Teaching and Learning. (2014) Education Theory: Constructivism and Social Constructivism. Available at: (Accessed: 8th January 2014).
This meant in the session we can test this understanding, and then apply this through hands-on activities. Including the following three scenarios (using a timeline and learning design sequence framework);
  • Social learning using Clickers in the classroom (formative feedback)
  • Group project work using LearnUCS (wiki and journal)
  • Enhanced learning networks using Twitter (informal learning)
The workshop slides are available from:

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