There have been some interesting discussions I’ve been having lately around the use of Book and comparing it to the use of Lesson.
I’d not thought to compare them in past. Book for me was always too linear and didn’t make a lot of sense to me as an online resource for adult learners. I’ve always found that when print experiences are re-created online, they tend to be annoying (like those flip page sales brochures that never quite let you zoom in enough to read text).
Taking my tastes out of the equation, I do understand that the chapters can make for easier browsing and that for younger learners may educators still use a linear, book-like approach to learning. I’d rather use a Wiki and have more of a conversation around content, but Wiki in Moodle up to this point has been an imperfect tool.
Lesson I’ve always been intimidated by. I’d heard it was difficult but when I saw this video on using it for decision making exercises – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nq3das503-Q I thought it worth a second look. This seems to do what e-learning is meant to do: provide interactive opportunities for formative, contextual assessment of the application of knowledge.
I’ll admit I wrestled with Lesson when I undertook my Moodle Course Creator’s Certificate course. There are a lot of decisions that need to be made in advance of creating a lesson.
I managed to create a simple one that doesn’t approach the ideal set in the aforementioned video, but it did made me see that there is flow that happens with lesson that can’t happen with separate resources and assessments. A flow that I as a teacher can adjust.
I can provide feedback that indicates whether the choice was good or not so good, but I can also immediately and directly point them back to the content that will help them find the right answer. Plus, I like the idea that I can provide choice options and feedback using rich media, not just text. At the risk of oversimplifying things (and I welcome your insights), I’ve come to think of Lessons as short learning objects that don’t require Flash skills to create, edit or view.
I say short because there is no page or section menu in Lesson. Whether or not this is a weakness depends on how you think about discrete learning objects. Are they meant to encompass all activities related to learning and are going to take several sessions to complete? Or do you feel learning objects should be a bit more bite-sized?
Leo set me the challenge of comparing Book and Lesson and I’ve done so on our training site.
First, I created a Lesson on Creative Commons licensing. Then I created a Book with the content and two quizzes for the assessment. I hope it will be self-evident why I felt two quizzes were needed, if not – please ask in the comments below this post.
Then, please take the time to leave a comment here with your thoughts on Book v. Lesson. I don’t think it’s a matter of using one v. the other – but I do think Lesson offers opportunities that Book doesn’t and is worth getting to know.