Clyde Street

Learning, Teaching, Performing

Insights for Coaches from Learning Design

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I have just returned from Bradys Lake in Tasmania.

I was there for a canoe slalom race that was part of the selection process for the Australian canoe slalom team.

Every time I go to a sport event I think about the relationships that athletes and coaches build to develop performances. In Donald Schon tradition I reflect in action and on action. I believe that I bring an educational approach to my own coaching and relationships with athletes and hope that I try to improve my coaching continuously.

At present I have a voracious appetite to learn more about the technical aspects of canoe slalom. I have never paddled a kayak and so my coaching of the sport is based entirely upon my real-time observation and an unequivocal commitment to athlete flourishing. Sometimes I fail miserably in both regards but I do have a philosophy that guides me, helps me to get back on track and bounceback.

I was thinking about this philosophy this morning when I received a link from Stephen Downes to Abhijit Kadle’s post on Learning Design Philosophy. In the post Abhijit suggests that:

Learning design is not just a science, it is an art. When the team works and generates effective learning designs, they are a result of a deep rooted instructional design philosophy.

Abhijit adds that:

We (Upside Learning) like to look at instructional design in two clear veins, the first is the philosophy of learning design – the beliefs and faith in models that underly everything we do in design. The second is the methodology, the method and process based on these models that allow us to consistently generate good designs for all our clients and their unique situation. The philosophy is what we imbibe, methodology is what we practice.

Abhijit discusses the influence of three instructional design theoreticians in forming this philosophy: Benjamin Bloom, David Merrill, and Robert Mager. Upside draw upon:

I enjoyed the serendipity of receiving Stephen’s link to Abhijit’s post and the relevance of Stephen’s comment in a discussion of best and worst learning experiences that:

The best learning I’ve ever done has been on my own, working through a hard problem, by reading and then writing, either text, or software, or derivations. This is also the hardest learning I’ve done; most of the people I could talk to don’t understand it well enough to explain it, and attempting to work it through leads to more confusion than clarity.

I think there are some great insights here for coaches. I am intrigued by how coaches develop insights into performance and have a sense of long-term progression. I am particularly interested in guided discovery as the foundation of athlete development and realise that in my own coaching this involves an interplay between philosophy and method.

Without the philosophy there is no compass for learning. Abjihit’s post has reminded me that I need to be very clear about the theoretical guides for my work.

It is marvelous that this opportunity arose because of the efforts of a resident of Moncton, New Brunswick to share a daily news feed!

Photo Credit

Bradys Lake, Central Tasmania

Lifted Up

Author: Keith Lyons

Clyde Street has been my WordPress blog since June 2008. I write about learning, teaching and performing.

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