Learning Material Didactics 7

This is the seventh and final issue of the journal Learning Material Didactics. In future, the journal will be called “Learning Tech – Journal of learning materials, didactics and technology“. (All articles are in Danish)


By Marie Falkesgaard Slot, Rene B. Christiansen, & Hildegunn Juulsgaard Johannesen

Welcome to Learning Material Didactics no. 7

DEAR READER! You are currently stooped over læremiddel.dk’s journal Learning Material Didactics no. 7. A lot has happened since issue 6, and before we focus on the content of this issue, there are a number of factors we would like to acquaint you with.

Read full preface

Since last time…

In the last issue of Learning Material Didactics (issue 6, December 2013), we unveiled what a future journal on learning materials could look like in light of the fact that the vocational colleges have now received research funding. At the time, we wrote: “In concrete terms, this means that the magazine will in future be capable of containing articles in both English and the Scandinavian languages”. A new profile for Learning Material Didactics will entail a new name, new layout, and acting as a peer-review journal, as it is known from the more traditional, university journals. The purpose of the new journal will be to disseminate research on education and teaching designs and learning materials, nationally and internationally. The journal will continue to be under the auspices of the National Knowledge Center for Learning Materials, it will continue to be free and available online, but will also be published in a printed version.

Going forward

The first issue is scheduled to be published in 2015. The name of the new journal will be LearningTech – Journal of learning materials, didactics, and technology. The first issue will contain a status on learning materials research in Scandinavia, which aims to create a foundation for understanding what and who has shaped the research efforts in the field of learning materials in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. On this basis, the authors of the issue will at the same time put into perspective current and future focus areas in relation to how learning materials, didactics, and technology can be thought of together with teaching and learning and with what quality and what benefit?

Right now, welcome – and goodbye – to Learning Material Didactics!

It is, as we have suggested above, both an end and a start. It is an ending because issue 7 will be the last issue under the heading Learning Material Didactics. But it also marks a start on the way to the new journal, LearningTech, because it is the first issue of Learning Material Didactics, which consists exclusively of peer-review contributions. That is, all of the issue’s articles have undergone a thorough reading by two anonymous peer reviewers who have worked with and finally approved the articles for publication in the issue. In future, the journal, as we wrote earlier, will be entitled “LearningTech – Journal of learning materials, didactics, and technology”. This journal will only contain peer-reviewed articles, which is why the editors have embarked on that process already in this last issue of Learning Material Didactics.

The articles in this issue

The first part of the issue presents a group of texts from the project Signs of Learning. The intervention project Tegn på Læring, carried out by Læremiddel.dk in collaboration with Odense Municipality and the publisher Alinea, is presented in three articles. The project involved the intermediate stage at four schools, where there was free access to learning materials from Alinea, and where the teachers also received support for planning and evaluating the teaching through a subject didactic competency development course.

In the first article Goals, means, and scenarios, Peter Brodersen and Thomas Illum Hansen focus on some of the results from the project, and they suggest that a proactive scenario-oriented approach to goals and means in teaching combined with the elements clear structure, multimodality, and scaffolding can be a means of promoting and ensuring especially insecure students’ learning opportunities and motivation.

In the second article, Theory-based evaluation as a method for research in learning materials and teaching, Thomas Illum Hansen and Peter Brodersen unfold the theoretical research framework of the project. The point of the article is how the core element of theory-based evaluation, namely program theory, can at best come close to the visible and less visible processes and patterns in teaching. Thus, this method also facilitates the approach that design and data processing can get closer to correlations between different initiatives and their effects.

In the third article, Stig Toke Gissel has investigated – in the form of case studies – a number of teachers’ use of the digital learning material iSkriv from Alinea. In the text, this learning material is analyzed and evaluated on the basis of activity theory and learning material research. The author establishes that teachers use iSkriv very differently, and that the teachers are divided in relation to the assessment of iSkriv. In the article, the author focuses on the interaction between learning material and teacher, and puts into perspective the results in relation to discussing how future learning materials should and can be constructed. These three articles all originate from the project Signs of Learning. In addition to these, the issue also includes a contribution on interactive assistants in practice.

In the article, Interactive assistants in practice, Simon Skov Fougt and Jeppe Bundsgaard present findings and analyses from a number of learning materials such as Redaktionen, Futurecity, iLitt and iSkriv, where interactive assistants have contributed to scaffolding students’ work with these learning materials. An interactive assistant is an application that can support a student in solving a task by scaffolding the student’s work processes and introducing relevant concepts and professional methods along the way. The article shows that interactive assistants can play a role in students’ opportunities for professional immersion. At the same time, the authors also present a number of factors, also with empirical evidence, which should be taken into account in future didactic designs.

The fourth article, Assignment didactics and authenticity deals with a relatively new field of research in Denmark, which examines the scaffolding function of the student assignment and the connection between the proposing of assignments and the teaching’s purpose, goals, subject field, and learning activities. In this article, Marie Slot puts assignment didactics in relation to the concept of authenticity and authentic assessment criteria. On this basis, the article presents different design theories about assignment types and discusses how the teacher can use them in practice.

In the last article, Thomas Illum Hansen presents three approaches to the subject of multimodality and IT in literature teaching. The first outlines how widely IT can be used in literature teaching, the second divides the phenomenon of multimodality into six different forms of representation to clarify how comprehensive multimodality can be considered, and the third presents a reading of the graphic novel Grotten as an example of a multimodal text that can used in literature teaching with the inclusion of IT. The three approaches finally lead to a general reflection on IT in literature didactics.

Enjoy reading!

Marie Falkesgaard Slot, UCL University College
Rene B. Christiansen, University College Absalon
Hildegunn Juulsgaard Johannesen, University College South Denmark