In Support of Excellence

It's all about the students

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Using The Padagogy Wheel: It’s All About Grey-matter Grids (GGs)

PadWheel V4 thumbnailDOWNLOAD THE LATEST VERSION: V4 published Mar 2015.  This PDF Poster has links to 122 of the latest and most popular educational apps.  Now these resources are available in 19 different languages.  The poster also has app selection criteria according to Blooms taxonomy.  It could provide the backbone of a complete course or seminar on Learning Design. If you would like help with this please just ask.  It also prints well as an A3 poster. With QR Codes linking to more online resources.  You are also encouraged to print it out for use in your college or school.

GETTING THE BEST USE OF THE WHEEL: The Padagogy Wheel was born out of a desire to help teachers at the coalface of teaching. I wanted a model that could be applied to everything from curriculum planning, development, writing learning objectives and designing student centered activities. Then quickly help teachers access relevant educational technology e.g. individual iPad apps or sequences of apps, to enhance those activities. Finally to help teachers use that technology to redefine activities to include tasks previously inconceivable. I believe this will increase student engagement, improve learning outcomes and empower a student towards transforming into an excellent graduate.

This model is a work in progress … always under review and improvement. Remember its purpose is a reminder to teachers to rethink everything they are doing. A warning: ignoring steps is in my opinion, part of the reason some of our teaching and learning, especially in Higher Education, is so ineffective in bringing about transformation. It is helpful to think about the Wheel as a number of grids through which you filter what you are doing – a way of thinking.

Energy of Intelligence

  1. THE ATTRIBUTES GRID: This is the core of learning design. Teachers or Educator/Academics must constantly revisit Graduate Attributes, things like ethics, responsibility and citizenship, as well as Capabilities for employment. They need to do the hard yards of articulating what they expect an excellent graduate of a program is to “look like” i.e. what is it that a graduate is and does that makes them and their communities define them as successful. Some universities at least in Australia and England, and I would expect in the USA, are constantly working on their graduate attributes and are mapping their programs to them. The blog post by Geoff Scott is really eye opening for college educators. Please visit “If you exercise these capabilities.. You will be employed!” If teachers don’t have a clear picture of the qualities and capabilities of an excellent graduate of their program is, then that is a huge problem and they need to set aside quality time to define this. Now when they have this list of attributes and capabilities, they need to look at their courses and pedagogy and ask ‘how does everything I do support these attributes?’ Is there any way I can build content and activities that help students become “excellent”? Have a look at what the University of Greenwich is doing in the UK. Please visit  “Graduate Attributes – Spin or Education?” and the podcast episode “What Does a Xxxxxx Graduate Look Like?
  2. THE MOTIVATIONS GRID: Once they are thinking attributes and capabilities, teachers then need to constantly revisit motivation. Asking themselves “Why am I doing this again?” That is not a joke. I am referring to the choices of learning outcomes, development of activities and design of content e.g. writing text and even making videos. So the wheel introduces a 21st century model of motivation that science has developed. It is so well presented by Dan Pink in the TEDtalk “The Puzzle of Motivation” Thinking through the grid of Autonomy Mastery and Purpose and filtering everything you do from idea-creation to assessment will, I believe, significantly help your teaching be transformational. Consistently asking the question, “How does the learning environment and activity experience I am building give the learner autonomy, mastery and purpose?” Asking that question and adapting what you do could change everything.
  3. THE BLOOMS GRID: The Blooms Taxonomy is really a way of helping teachers design learning objectives that achieve higher order thinking. You start by thinking “cognitive domain categories”. You start with “remembering and understanding” that’s the easiest category to serve with objectives but produces the least effective objectives in achieving transformation. When supporting academics, I recommend they try to get at least one learning objective from each category and always push towards the domain category of Creating where higher order thinking takes place. This is the “By the time you finish this workshop/seminar/lesson you should be able to. . . ” type of thinking. With the emergence of the importance of social constructivism i.e. research showing the effectiveness of student centric and activity based learning, those learning objectives need to be mapped clearly to activities. So a better question is “By the time you finish this workshop/seminar/lesson you should be able to <choose and action verb> BY <then choose an activity or outcome>. Now you are ready for technology enhancement.
  4. THE TECHNOLOGY ENHANCEMENT GRID: With learning objectives and outcomes sorted, now think about technology aka apps. How can this serve your pedagogy? You can choose any app or technology you like, the wheel only suggests apps that can support the learning objectives and activities at the time of publishing. The Padagogy Wheel constantly needs updating with apps as they are released. Teachers also should think customization all the time – is there a better tool for the job of enhancing my defined pedagogy?
  5. THE SAMR GRID: Now is the time to think about how to apply this powerful
    Sievemodel. For more information on SAMR  visit this Queensland Govt. Schools Classrooms Connections website. You need answers to such questions as “How are you going to use the technologies you have chosen”?  Take each of your activities and think through how you will use the technology for each task. Ask yourself “Does this activity just substitute i.e. students could easily achieve tasks without this chosen technology, or can I augment or modify the tasks  to improve the activity and increase engagement”? Finally sieve your curriculum building activities and your teaching practice through the SAMR grid of redefinition. Is there any task you can build into the activity that without the technology would not be possible? You can tell when you are successful with this, as there is bound to be one student who will comment “Hey that is cool!”

Please take the Padagogy Wheel out for a spin every day you are teaching and use it.  Then share your experiences especially your best practice … your colleagues will benefit from your collaboration, appreciate it and together we can build transformational outcomes and help students become excellent practitioners and graduates.



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The Padagogy Wheel: It’s all about transformation and integration

Wheel only Padagogy Wheel V4.0

PadWheel V4 thumbnailDOWNLOAD THE LATEST VERSION: V4 published Mar 2015.  This PDF Poster has links to 122 of the latest and most popular educational apps.  Now these resources are available in 19 different languages.  The poster also has app selection criteria according to Blooms taxonomy.  It could provide the backbone of a complete course or seminar on Learning Design. If you would like help with this please just ask.  It also prints well as an A3 poster. With QR Codes linking to more online resources.  You are also encouraged to print it out for use in your college or school.

V4.0 was published in March 2015 but I knew I was onto something useful when I first put the Padagogy Wheel together in July 2012. It was always designed to be a starting point to be developed further. It was originally meant to be an aid for my face-to-face PADAGOGY seminars which are mentioned in my post “The Padagogy Wheel … it’s a Bloomin’ Better way to Teach“.  I have introduced over 600 university faculty staff to iPads in Learning and Teaching in about 20 universities in five countries in the last 3 years … I have talked a lot about iPads and can speak with some authority when I say that many teachers start at the wrong end of the process and try to work out how to use the features of the latest cool app and then think out what pedagogies will fit it.  The motivation for the Padagogy Wheel was “How do we show teachers that the pedagogy should drive the technology and not the other way around?  I am thrilled that in the first three weeks of May 2013 the Wheel poster was downloaded 6500 times and this blog is averaging 1000 visits a day at the time of publishing this post.

So why the need for Version 2.0? What are the changes, and is it worth downloading again? I will share some of my thinking and the “ah ahas”

We need to have transformation at the core of what we do: If it is all about the students, where do you start with curriculum and/or teaching design – surely it is with what do you want your graduates to look like?  i.e. what sort of capabilities and attributes should they have at the completion of your program or course. In the podcast episode “If you exercise these capabilities.. you will be employed!”  Prof Geoff Scott of UWS lists 15 graduate capabilities research has shown are requested by business.  These are all about transformational teaching and learning and one of the major “ah ahas” for me is that these capabilities are for the most part not targeted by our courses and programs in universities and colleges. Ask yourself the question “How many of these 15 capabilities I could confidently say are embedded in or even just touched on by the learning outcomes in my course”? To help teachers graduate attributes and capabilities are now at the core of the Padagogy Wheel V2.0 … The hope is teachers will reflect on these often when building curriculum and actually teaching and work out how they can build activities to help students excel as graduates in their chosen professions.

SAMRdiagramTechnology integration into the fabric of learning and teaching: is where we should be heading with all we do as teachers.  We need to ask ourselves are we using the technology to its best advantage to empower students to be all they can be or do we just use it because everyone’s doing it. How to best think about integrating technology and maximising its impact was really stretched when I met Dr P. as we call him in the Apple Distinguished Educator Community.  Dr Ruben Puentedura developed the SAMR Model, which is of great help when designing activities to support learning outcomes.  Consider it a grid to filter your choices made with help of the wheel.  Think about how you can design activities to not just use technology as substitution but to incorporate redefinition as much as possible. Much has been written about this model and incorporating it as a filter on the outside of the Padagogy Wheel V2.0 will I think help teachers come up with some innovative outcomes and activities that improve student engagement.

Finally, can you help with V3.0?:  There’s more we can do with this concept.  Mobile learning and the use of tablets are fuelling a heap of new and useful apps to help learning and teaching. How do we keep the wheel up-to-date?  Of course apps can also sit in more than one cognitive domain and I encourage teachers to think outside the box when choosing apps for activities. Not just adding and/or replacing new apps but there is the strength of combining two or more apps into learning sequences or activity flows and the outcomes learnt from using them this way. e.g. If I combine App A. with App B. and have students complete these activities using both these apps, do we get increased student engagement and much stronger learning outcomes?  If we do, then does this help transform the learners?  Also how do we gather and share lesson plan exemplars and the best practice creative use of App sequences to achieve higher order thinking from the learners? Wouldn’t these activity sequences be helpful to many teachers in the form of templates?

Please join in the conversation with your ideas and comments using the comments area of this blog.

Online Resources

  1. PADAGOGY WHEEL V2.0: This is a web page with a larger image of the wheel with iPad Apps hotlinked to iTunes Preview pages – published 280513
  2. PADAGOGY 101 What’s all the fuss about iPads in HE: This is an introduction to the iPad and contains reference to 29 iPad Apps from Document Readers to Project Management and links to 12 Video tutorials URL:
  3. PADAGOGY 201 It’s a Bloomin’ Better Way to Teach: This seminar gives ideas of the latest use of the Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy and how the iPad can serve the pedagogy. It has reference to 62 apps with 18 video based tutorials.  URL:
  4. INTRODUCTION TO THE PADAGOGY WHEEL: A 2 minute video introduction to how the wheel works. URL:
  5. THE PADAGOGY WHEEL POSTER: Please note this poster is now Version 2.0 a major upgrade of the original Padagogy Wheel. This has been requested by many … it is a larger format PDF file. The apps are still linked and will look acceptable when printed as an A3 size poster if required.  URL:

Creative Commons License
The Padagogy Wheel by Allan Carrington is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.  Based on a work at

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The Benefits of Scenario-Based Learning … the New Instructional Design

As a kid, my ultimate Christmas present was a Davy Crockett coonskin hat, the ones with the tails, remember? :-)  At the end of 2012 when I leant about a conference being held in a hotel across the road from the Alamo in Texas I have to confess I thought it was the coolest location I’ve heard of in 10 years.  Of course it being the Second Immersive Learning Conference and Symposium, focusing on a pedagogical approach I have been passionate about for 9 years also helped.

kenspero_leftI made contact with Ken Spero, a Senior Strategist with The Regis Company, and who helped design and launch the Immersive Learning University (ILU).  The ILU hosted the conference and thanks to his support I was able to attend.  This podcast episode recorded on SKYPE is with Ken who actually is in Philadelphia USA with me in Adelaide South Australia. Ken has been thought leading, teaching, promoting and supporting Scenario-based eLearning (aka Immersive Learning) for almost 25 years. His experience and understanding of the subject is awesome and you need to listen to the podcast a couple of times at least.

I asked Ken the question, “What are the benefits of Scenario-Based Learning” and in this podcast episode he unpacks the following seven benefits. I encourage you to reflect on these and think about your own teaching opportunities:

  1. They are a Form of Storytelling:  A couple of notable quotes from the podcast are “If we don’t have a motivated and engaged student we have nothing” and “Harness the energy of a good story into our learning applications and we have more freedom to achieve our learning outcomes”. Ken also talks about the mother-in-law example from his booklet, how everybody can relate and so people remember. What are your thoughts on these concepts? Please use the comments area below. I also asked Ken if educators need to be good storytellers and his answer and it’s rationale is quite an “ah aha”
  2. motherinlawfinalThey Engage Our Emotions: We talk about remembering and retrieving. Long term and short term memory.
  3. They Enable “Failing Forward”: We discussed if the concept of “failing is not an option” is needed in learning, about how giving students a chance to fail helps them build capacity to fix their mistakes as they would in real –life situations.
  4.  They Promote Critical Thinking:  Ken talks about context and the need for thinking and the process of judgment. We touch on the big question of “Is scenario-based learning good for all disciplines in higher education?” Ken gives a fascinating example from the teaching of history.
  5. They Accelerate Time: We discuss how the learning designer can use simulations to compress time to help the learner make a decision, implement it and experience its consequences all within the same exercise.
  6. They Provide Shared Context:  Ken returns to the power of the shared story and how it impacts the learner and we discuss the profound idea that simulations may be a better way to train and may accelerate community building or bonding between people and improve morale … go listen and comment on that idea please, we would love you to join the conversation.
  7. They Trigger Our Memories: Ken refers to studies on how the brain works and how simulations can create linkages.

We encourage you to listen to this podcast episode carefully and reflect on how you might use scenario-based elearning in your discipline. Also please join the conversation in the comments below and if you would like to email either Ken or me Allan we would be happy to hear from you.

Podcast Episode:

Online Resources

  • Scenario-Based E-Learning: Ken Spero, ASTD INFOline series Oct 2012
    Allan’s comment: This is a 16 pg. booklet published by ASTD targeted at and priced for the corporate marketplace. It sells for U$25.00. Ken mentioned a one off entry.  I was not able to check that for when I went to this search page, I visited a different one of the results and am now locked out.  Please take care on your first visit if you want to see the book
  • Learning’s Hierarchy of Tools: Addressing Transactional Need Through Experiential Simulation: In this article Ken talks about a model he calls “Learning’s Hierarchy of Tools  and models it on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs … well worth a read
  • Three Keys to Designing Good Scenarios: This is a short article but touches on three important tips for designing good scenarios
  • ASTD Philadelphia E-Learning SIG Presentation Capturing and Deploying Experience Through Simulations with Ken Spero:  This was a presentation Ken made at the ASTD in Philadelphia on Thu Sept 20th 2012. There are a good set of PowerPoint slides here for downloading.
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A Passion for Immersive Learning … a Nine-Year Journey

Passion for IL blog entry imageLearning (and teaching, such as it is) is not a process of communication, but rather, a process of immersion. Put loosely, it suggests the idea of teaching not by telling or even demonstrating but rather through the creation (or identification) of an environment into which a learner is immersed”.

Stephen Downes (July 1 2006)

I re-discovered the above quote on a one of my seminar slides made back in 2006 while thinking about this podcast episode and blog post. Profound stuff and it was in fact 2004, when I received an unexpected email from someone who subsequently became a good friend and colleague meeting face-to-face 1.5 years later, after regular weekly Skype chats and collaborative projects together.  Dr Randall Kindley from Minnesota USA introduced me to what we called then Scenario-Based Learning (SBL), Situational Learning (SL), Simulations, eSims, Role Plays and Games.  This was all describing a methodology now becoming of age, which is often called Immersive Learning (IL).

The interest and energy around the campus was building steadily fueled by our work with Sheila Kavanagh OAM, a colleague and awarded burns nurse for her help in the 2002 Bali Bombings Disaster. Together we built an early example of immersive learning called the “Disaster Down Under”   to help if such a tragedy ever happened again.  In 2005 Randall visited Adelaide for a series of seminars and workshops.   I can remember vividly how much trouble we had trying to find software to serve the need for what is called branching.  IL works by presenting a learning with the 3C’s Challenges, Choices and Consequences   Back then the only affordable way we could find handling branching was Moodle and that was in its early stages. Everyone realized the potential of IL but as learning designers/educators it was a challenge to support the methodology with interactive learning modules or software managed processes.

We were devastated in 2006 when we heard Randall had a massive heart attack without notice and had died – educational research lost a pioneering thought leader. However his legacy has lived on in Adelaide and he would be thrilled at knowing that today the technology has caught up to the pedagogical needs and it is a new day for IL.

Randall Kindley photoIn this blog entry I have listed the available links to the work of Randall and it wont take you long to realize how far ahead of the wave his thinking was – spend some time listening and reading … your teaching may never be the same again.

In 2007 while on a trip to the USA I was introduced to a software product called Simwriter.  It was in its early development as well so I have been tracking it’s progress ever since. Late in 2012 I received from NexLearn the publishers, notification about an exciting new development in IL.  The Immersive Leaning University  (ILU) was having a Conference and Symposium in San Antonio TX in Jan 2013.  Thanks to some significant prize money from 2012, I was able to attend and it was really worth it.  My passion for IL has been rekindled and now “we have the technology!”. I am now exploring, learning and developing with  three major software offerings

Simwriter Simplicity  , Articulate Storyline  and the cloud based Zebrazapps  In future episodes I will be unpacking this software and sharing insights.  I am also excited to be able to talk to some of today’s pioneers in pushing IL forward and publishing them as episodes… stay tuned.

Please join me in this journey and share your examples of Immersive Learning and how it helped achieve outcomes in transformative education.

The Heritage of a Prophet: Dr Randall Kindley’s Legacy

  1. The New Instructional Design: Situational Learning. The complete presentation as published using the early Articulate Pro software in 2005
  2. Distaster Down Under Scenario-based Learning: Burns Nurse Planning experience published in 2005
  3. Journal Article:The Power of Simulation-based e-Learning (SIMBeL)” (2002)
  4. Online Magazine Article: “Scenario-Based e-Learning (SBeL): A Step Beyond Traditional E-Learning We All Can Take” (2002)
  5. The Situational Learning Cycle: Foundation of Simulation Learning. “Part 1: Identifying and Combining Appropriate Learning Technologies” (2003)

Immersive Learning Today: Tools and Resources

  1. Simwriter Simplicity
  2. Articulate Storyline
  3. Zebrazapps
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