E-Learning pedagogy: TSOI© Model
April 2006

E-Learning pedagogy: TSOI© Model

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The developmental process of designing meaningful multimedia  e-learning materials whether they are to be delivered  in the form of a CD-ROM or the Internet often need to be guided by educational theories (Norman and Spohrer, 1996; Mayer, 2001).  Although designers of multimedia learning environments often have  a lot of information, proven instructional methods and  powerful  multimedia systems,  it is still a difficult task to produce effective multimedia learning materials for e-learning. This is  more so especially due to a lack of effective yet practical pedagogical  design model for selecting, organizing and designing multimedia materials  for e-learning (Tsoi et al.1999; 2000). Hence, the following sections  provide an insight on a onceptualized hybrid learning model, TSOI©   model for multimedia e-learning design  pedagogy
TSOI© model represents learning as a cognitive process in a cycle of four phases, namely, Translating; Sculpting; Operationalising; and Integrating. In the translating phase, multimedia experiences are translated into a beginning idea or concept to be further engaged in sculpting phase which involves logical chain of instructional events embedding episodes of thinking, guiding and reflecting leading to the identification of the attributes of the concept. The operationalising phase entails meaningful functionality for concept internalisation while the integrating phase provides the setting for diverse problem applications. Pedagogical principles of the TSOI© model are applied to science and chemical education. pedagogy.
Framework of TSOI© model The traditional model of ‘Transmit- Receive’ which when applied to multimedia learning, has so far failed to engage learners in meaningful learning (Scardamalia and Bereiter, 1993). In contrast, this hybrid learning model (Tsoi et al. 2003) for the design  of multimedia aims not only to
enhance concept learning but also to cater to different learning styles. The  theoretical basis of this hybrid  learning model is derived from the Piagetian science learning cycle model and the Kolb’s experiential learning  cycle model. The Piagetian science learning cycle model is an inquirybased  student-centered learning cycle representing an inductive application  of information processing models of  teaching and learning. It has three phases in a cycle: exploration, concept invention and concept  application (Karplus, 1977; Renner and Marek, 1990; Lawson, 1995). The  exploration phase focuses on “what  did you do?” while the concept invention phase centers on “What did you find out”. The third phase is for  application of the concept acquired. The Kolb’s experiential learning cycle  (1984) represents learning as a process in a cycle of four stages,  namely, concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract  conceptualization and active experimentation. The concrete experience stage focuses on “doing”.  The reflective observation stage deals with “understanding the doing”. The abstract conceptualization stage  focuses on “understanding” part  while the active experimentation stage is about “doing the understanding”. Bostrom et al. (1990) also conclude that learning styles are an important factor in computer-based training and  learning. Hence, a hybrid learning model is derived from a synthesis of  both the Piagetian science learning cycle model and Kolb’s experiential  learning cycle model. This hybrid
learning model termed the TSOI© model of learning represents learning  Figure 2. Instructional storyboard for translating phase as a cognitive process in a  ycle of four phases: Translating, Sculpting, Operationalizing, and Integrating.
Figure 1 shows the four phases of the TSOI© model of learning.

Pedagogical Design
Application For illustration, in science and  chemical education, the mole concept, a difficult concept which is abstract in  nature is used (Tsoi et al. 1998). The subtopic 1 is relative atomic/molecular  mass, Avogadro’s number and Mole. In the translating phase, the activity  explores the relationship between mass and number of particles. The  multimedia experiences are translated into a beginning idea or concept of  what is mass ratio which is needed to understand Avogadro’s number an  Mole in the next phase, the sculpting phase. Figure 2 illustrates in the form of instructional storyboarding the activity for the learner to go through in the translating phase. At the end of the activity, the learner will have a beginning idea or concept of mass ratio as a relationship between total
mass and equal number of particles through discovery and that this is  help in the understanding of relative atomic mass and Avogadro’s number.  In the sculpting phase, the activities take place as a chain  of logical events of content sequencing, learner guiding and  reflecting as shown  in Figures 3 and 4 as instructional  toryboarding. One  of the activities on  “physical meaning” at a microscopic (particle) level  involves the learner  comparing the  masses of various atoms that have  annotations to go with it. The various atoms are displayed with the appropriate  colour and size. This  is essential to enhance the first activity on finding  out how heavy is a single atom of  carbon leading to the idea that the actual mass of an atom is very small  and hence, the need to  compare  masses of different atoms with each other including mass ratio. Activities as shown in Figure 3 will  ead to the fundamental concept that relative atomic mass is a number used  o compare the masses of different atoms and it has no units. The learner is provided the opportunity to be  engaged in the thinking process of using the given information to create  a relative atomic mass scale. The instructional storyboarding  illustrates a way for infusing thinking  skills in the activity and consolidating  the understanding of the physical meaning of  Avogadro’s number  and Mole as well as  their relationship
both qualitative and quantitative before  proceeding to the third phase, the operationalising   phase which is important for  concept formation. The beginning activity focuses on  the physical  meaning of Avogadro’s number  and mole in which the learner chooses  a mole of atoms of an element from the  periodic table and balances it with the  correct number of particles. This is then repeated with a different element.  The element when dragged onto the balance is represented appropriately at room temperature and pressures  either in its solid state or if in its  gaseous state, it will be in the form of a balloon as well as in its chemical  formula or symbol including the molar mass. In this way of representation, a  macroscopic as well as a symbolic view is provided. Quantitative relationships in the form  of mathematical formula are acquired through relevant activities to allow  operability of the mole at the three levels, namely, the macroscopic,  microscopic and symbolic. Besides, self-questioning is embedded and the use of conversational style as in the  personalisation principle is also  applied. Generic questions such as, “How do you do it?”, “How are the  observations in this activity alike?”, are provided where appropriate for
self-questioning.  In the integrating phase, relevant and diverse problems are provided. The  learner is posed review questions such as “What have you learnt
regarding one mole and number of  particles?” and “How is the mass of   ubstance connected to the mole?”.  he translating phase is similar to exploration phase of science learning  cycle model and concrete experience stage of experiential learning cycle.  Misconceptions can also be confronted in the Sculpting phase which is similar to concept invention  phase of science learning cycle model  and reflective observation stage of the experiential learning cycle. The  operationalising phase involves increasing the understandings of the relationship between thinking and  concept acquisition. This phase is similar to the abstract conceptualisation  stage of the experiential
learning cycle and prepares the learner to be operationally ready for  applications in the integrating phase.  The integrating phase gives the learner the opportunity to solve diverse problems and thus integrate  concepts previously acquired

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