The teacher-centric paradigm
This paradigm assumes that the materials placed in an OLE are primarily there to support the teacher and the teaching process.
This paradigm has a few indicators. Some of these include:
- Resources are present primarily so they can be used by the teacher for “teaching,” and thus are often not “stand-alone.” One example would be a presentation, such as something created in PowerPoint, that could be used by the teacher to “teach” a topic to the class, probably from a whiteboard using a projector.
- Resources in these courses also can be part of a “repository,” with little explanation of what the resources are or what they teach. Sometimes file names are a clue, but sometimes they aren’t.
- Navigation of materials and courses is difficult, as the structure might not be clear to the student; it requires the teacher to provide clarification.
- “Context” is absent or is minimal, making it difficult for a student to understand what is required or where to proceed to next without guidance from the teacher. (“Context” is explanatory text that provides guidance and explanation for the resources.)
The following image has been created as an exemplar for this section of this article. It shows a page ( a segment of a course) on Financial Mathematics. It is simply a collection of files, mainly PowerPoint presentations, with no explanation of…
- What information the files contain.
- What order they should be viewed in.
- How to use them.
- What alternative resources are also available.
The presentations have no narration or explanation, and thus require significant understanding of the topic by the user. The “narration” or explanation has to come from the teacher when he or she “teaches” the material in class, but is not available to a student at any other time or place. Without the teacher being present and taking the time to explain the concepts during the presentation, learning is difficult.
(Note: The Listen button in the screen grab from the LMS shown below is ReadSpeaker, a text-to-speech application.)
The student-centric paradigm
This paradigm assumes that the materials placed in an OLE are primarily there to support the student and learning (as compared to teaching); everything is student-centered. This requires much more than simply being a repository of resources. It requires structure and explanation; it requires the course materials to be presented in a way that allows a student to navigate and understand without the teacher being present to act as a navigational guide.