A new 21st century pedagogical model

This is something I have pondered for years, a new model, a 21st century model, for understanding and implementing best practices into teaching.  We were asked to consider this in the course I’m doing called ‘Advanced Pedagogy’, and as an online learning designer, I have been very heavily into instructional design models and models for creating new learning experiences.  I’ve explored many of these, and other learning models, on my blog over the years but the few that have particularly stood out to me are:

  • The TEC-VARIETY Model
  • Hybrid learning model

In the 2014 K-12 Edition of the Horizon report, hybrid learning was outlined as a mid-range trend, and this involves utilising a range of teaching and learning modes to facilitate experiences for students that produce quality learning outcomes.  A quote I found particularly valuable from the report said:

“Schools that are making use of hybrid learning models are finding that using both the physical and the virtual learning environments to their highest potentials allows teachers to further personalise the learning experience, engage students in a broader variety of ways, and even extend the learning day.  Hybrid models, when designed and implemented effectively, enable students to use the school day for group work and project-based activities, while using the network to access readings, videos, and other learning materials on their own time, leveraging the best of both environments.” (p. 12)

I think that any model we utilise pedagogically needs to be flexible, agile and adaptable to the needs of all learners.

Another point I think is important in any model is that it is progressive in nature or provides some sort of continuum on which to base the starting point of learning about something new and the mastery of something.  I think that students need to have something to aim for, so having a model that presents a continuum will provide teachers with guidelines on which to frame learning and progression of.  Like the progression through syllabus stages, e.g. stages 1-6, however, more micro progressive.

The TEC VARIETY model is one that was developed to address motivation and engagement in online learning, but which I feel is applicable to all teaching and learning if considered in the right light.  The model is an acronym for the following: tone/climate, encouragement, curiosity, variety, autonomy, relevance, interactive, engagement, tension and yields.  Each of these elements have been researched and proven to have significant effect on engagement and motivation.  More can be read at www.tecvariety.com

The TPACK model is also a favourite of mine and one that I feel is crucial in the 21st century.  It is a holistic model that comprehensively covers how to work seamlessly with content, pedagogy and technology in curriculum design and its about understanding how each combination of the three work together to create a model for 21st century learning.

Will work on visuals for my combined ideas and the most important ones but as I was reading another one of the course readings, it mentioned other elements that I thought might be relevant for a new pedagogical model.  Kalantzis and Cope (2012) conducted research that was published under the title of ‘New learning: a charter for change in education’ and in it they said: “The transformed economic system emerging from the current financial crisis will require human capacities that only education can nurture, based on deep knowledge, practical imagination, creative participation, intellectual inquisitiveness and collaborative commitment” (p. 83).  These words immediately stood out to me as essential elements in a new pedagogical model for the 21st century but what would they look like in the classroom?



Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2014). NMC Horizon Report: 2014 K-12 Edition . Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium

Kalantzis, M., & Cope, B. (2012). New learning: a charter for change in education. Critical Studies in Education, 53(1), 83-94.


Open Education Resources – Experts modelling

If an academic, or two, work for over 4 years on a book that offers a solid framework/model for engagement and online motivation, including 100+ activity suggestions you would think they would be charging a substantial amount for such a resource right?  Such books as Engaging the Online Learner: Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction by Rita-Marie and Teaching Reading in the 21st Century (5th Edition) by Michael F. Graves, Connie F Juel, Bonnie B. Graves and Peter F Dewitz sell for upwards of $20 on Amazon.  However, whilst the newly released Adding some TEC-VARIETY is being sold on Amazon for a mere $10-14, it is also made freely available by the authors on the website of the same name.  Check out the image I create below, that outlines the key elements of Dr Bonk’s TEC-VARIETY Model.


One of the authors of the book is Dr Curtis Bonk, professor of instructional systems technology and educational psychology at Indiana University and President of CourseShare, has authored a number of books and delivered many significant presentations and keynote addresses worldwide but has made the majority of his presentations and resources freely available on his site TrainingShare.  Whilst his work is not Creative Commons licensed, it is a far cry from the attitude so often seen for most academics who, apart from published works, do not necessarily disseminate a great deal of materials and resources freely in order to facilitate more education and learning experiences for others.  I applaud Dr Bonk’s immense generosity in making these types of resources available because such resources have definitely enriched my own professional learning and development.

What will it take to encouragement more of this type of sharing amongst experts of the field?  How can educators facilitate greater sharing worldwide?

TEC-VARIETY in PD: Motivating Staff to Learn

It occurred to me late last night that my constant search for a model and way to motivate and deliver training sessions to all my colleagues could be informed by this instructional model.  The TEC-VARIETY model is one that is designed to inform decisions in the planning process that will help develop and increase participant motivation.  It was designed predominantly for the context of an online classroom, however, I believe it to be completely relevant for the face-to-face context as well and even for the professional development context in which staff engage.

License Attribution Share Alike Some rights reserved by jenhegna1 on Flickr

Tone and climate is all about establishing the right environment and learning culture for the individuals involved.  In staff development, I’ve found that this is about valuing the time that staff are giving to professional development and showing that I value every input they have into what happens in the training sessions.  Its also about acknowledging the differences in every KLA and the teaching and learning activities used by KLAs to achieve best student outcomes.  Tone and climate is about validating the amazing work colleagues do, and that I believe will build a great foundation for a positive professional learning environment.

Teachers are regularly giving formal and informal feedback to their students but giving staff feedback on their own professional development may also be very valuable to them.   I don’t want to ever do it in a patronising way but if I see a colleague demonstrating new knowledge and skills in integrating ICT within their teaching I want to acknowledge that an encourage them.  I also would pass along any feedback for ensuring a lesson went smoother next time if it had any hiccups.  I don’t always get the opportunity to observe these lessons but I try to and its always a valuable learning experience for all.

Motivating teacher is hard, they are sometimes so stuck in the routine of their day to day duties that anything beyond that is just not priority so motivating them to further develop themselves professionally is a tall ask.   Some schools have a policy that informs staff of PD expectations but it shouldn’t be forced, it should be something staff see as intrinsically valuable and very rewarding for them, necessary to maintain standards in their own teaching.  Curiosity might be hard to inspire in teachers but a short teaser video clip or a student sample of work might be enough to build curiosity and prompt staff to seek further learning.

License Attribution Some rights reserved by krossbow on Flickr

Variety is key in anything and even more so in PD activities.  I am constantly trying to think of new ways to teach technology to teachers and facilitate the development of new skills creatively.   PD sessions can’t simply be me talking at a group of people and then getting them to complete a task to demonstrate they have reached a desired outcome, any more so than when we as teachers teach a class of students.  Sometimes it might be a good idea if I got another colleague to run a session, or if the session was more of an immersive experience or role play rather than a more traditional ‘chalk and talk’/teacher-centred model.  Game-based learning ideas could really be the key to taking PD to the next level of fun, engaging and motivating.

Autonomy is an easy one but one I do struggle with I’ve realised.  Colleagues do not need to be treated like students and/or dictated to about what they should do and how.  I make the mistake sometimes of thinking that the way I believe it should be done would be best but in reality it may not be.  I need to be flexible and provide multiple opportunities and ideas for staff to facilitate the integration of new technologies in their classrooms.

I never encourage staff to use new technology for the sake of using it but to make learning experiences for students meaningful, authentic and interesting.  This is what makes the lesson relevant.  If I base my IT training sessions on the authentic experiences of my colleagues and their subject matter and contexts, I will be able to ensure that the learning is relevant for my colleagues.

Our school is one that does a lot of work using project-based learning and collaborative learning is a big focus of our teaching.  Having recently done more PBL training at the PBL World conference, I can see the values more than ever of using some of the scaffolds and activities involved in PBL within the professional development sessions that I facilitate.  The IT meeting groups I currently have allow me the perfect opportunity to facilitate collaborative learning.

Bonk and Khoo (2012) have put effort, involvement and investment under the concept of engagement but for me I’d like to add in my own definition, and thats ‘buy in’.  This relates to investment I guess but what I don’t know how to encourage colleagues to do that unless I do that.  I have to be completely invested in what I am encouraging my colleagues to do in order for them to feel that they can buy into the same.  I have to put the effort into integrating new technology if I want other colleagues to do the same.

Tension is my favourite concept in this model and one I seem to be able to accomplish this in my training sessions without any problems at all.  All I need to do is throw out a really controversial or problematic idea of how a technology could be integrated within the classroom and an intense discussion ensues.  I could probably achieve the same too if I intentionally threw out a scenario or lesson plan for a lesson that integrates a new technology and that would lead to similar discussion.  It can be very thought-provoking, and I find it to be quite productive, to have such discussions around lesson ideas.

Finally, and very importantly, yields are as significant to staff in PD as they are to students in classes.  All learning should be goal driven and have an end achievement in mind.  I need to be more explicit about the intended outcomes I have for IT training sessions and when it is a whole-staff session I am very intentional about identifying outcomes for the session but I should do it also for the smaller sessions.  Further to that, however, I should give staff the success criteria for what they should see and be able to do individually but also what they should see in the classroom to know that they successfully integrated the technology in a lesson.

These are all preliminary ideas but I’m keen to reflect on them more and develop the ideas further into something I could use more at school.


Moodle and e-portfolios provide the technical platform on which to build e-learning experiences and whilst e-portfolios assist in providing the pedagogical framework for establishing learning design, the instructional design of experiences need greater models to inform best practice teaching and learning within these two learning environments. Research into instructional design shows that it both informs the decisions about what tools to use but also how they are used, forming the solid foundation on which e-learning experiences can be built. However, instructional design models such as the ADDIE model, need the capacity to cater for e-learning environments that now encompass a different set of technologies, facilitating the decisions made by instructors as to the technologies that are integrated.

Figure 1: The TEC-VARIETY model by Bonk and Khoo (2012)

Figure 1: The TEC-VARIETY model by Bonk and Khoo (2012)

“There seems to be an endless number of learning portals and resources relevant to one’s courses, a growing number of tools that one can utilise within a course, and thousands of resources that might find their way into online course activities” (Bonk & Zhang, 2006, p. 2). This issue grows as rapidly as the tools on the web grow. The implications being that educators have access to so many tools that can extend the design of e-learning experiences. However, how does an educator make the decision about the right tool to use and when? The need for a model and framework for making the decisions about what tools to use can largely be informed by research and instructional design models, which then provide the scaffold for integrating further tools to extend the e-learning experience. The TEC-VARIETY model assists in the selection of resources as well as structure and scaffold of learning experiences.

Instructional design in the 21st century requires the development of models and frameworks like that of Bonk and Khoo’s TEC-VARIETY model in figure 1 (2012) considers the capacity of 21st century technologies. The TEC-VARIETY model addresses the need for engaging and motivating students in an environment where there is not always a strong teacher presence, however, the nature of the activities suggested by Bonk and Khoo (2012) when implementing the framework provides the necessary facilitation to compensate for lack of face-to-face interaction. The potential for collaboration and interaction in the activities outlined help develop a self- sustaining community of learners, independent of an instructor.

The Extension of Instructional Design

In preparing for my upcoming keynote for a conference with the theme “Instruction, research and the extension of e-learning”, I have been contemplating what exactly is it to extend e-learning in every way and my keynote will address much of what I have researched and experienced, however, I have also been contemplating and pondering what it is to extend on the years of tried and tested instructional design models that have been used prolifically as well.

Research into instructional design shows that it both informs the decisions about what tools to use but also how they are used, forming the solid foundation on which e-learning experiences can be built.  “The different phases of the ADDIE process—analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation—provide a roadmap for the entire instructional design process.  It starts with what one has to learn and ends when we find out if they learned what was needed”  (Martin, 2011, p. 956).  The ADDIE model in the video below provides an instructional umbrella, representing the scope of instructional phases that form an e-learning experience.  Research has been conducted into how other instructional design models compliment and fit within the phases of the ADDIE model to further scaffold e-learning activities (Kruse, 2009; Gustafon and Branch, 2002; The Herringe Group, 2004).


Other models that have emerged from the ADDIE model include Dick and Carey’s model (1996), Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction (1985) and the ASSURE model developed by Heinich, et. al. (2002).  These models are extensions on the 5 phases of the ADDIE model, fundamentally founded on a similar cycle that involves analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation.  However, do these instructional design models cater for the 21st century learning contexts, which include a plethora of web tools that were not yet in existence when these models were designed?  Research into instructional design in the 21st century has led to the development of such models and frameworks as Bonk and Khoo’s TEC-VARIETY in figure 2 (2012) and Bonk’s R2D2 in figure 3.  Both the TEC-VARIETY framework and the R2D2 model when integrated within the structure of an instructional design model provide extended e-learning experiences.

“There seems to be an endless number of learning portals and resources relevant to one’s courses, a growing number of tools that one can utilise within a course, and thousands of resources that might find their way into online course activities” (Bonk & Zhang, 2006, p. 2).  This issue grows as rapidly as the tools on the web grow, the implications being that educators have access to so many tools that can extend the design of e-learning experiences, however, how does an educator make the decision about the right tool to use and when?  The need for a model and framework for making the decisions about what tools to use can largely be informed by research and instructional design models, which then provide the scaffold for integrating further tools to extend the e-learning experience.  The TEC-VARIETY framework and R2D2 model help in the selection of resources as well as structure and scaffold of learning experiences.

The TEC-VARIETY framework and R2D2 model

The TEC-VARIETY framework is not designed as an instructional design model to guide the design and development of an online course, it is a framework to enhance student learning experiences through increased motivation, a framework that considers the “technology tools and resources, the pedagogical practices or activities, and the various other contextual variables” (Bonk & Khoo, 2012, p. 7).  It is a framework that when coupled with the sound structure of an instructional design model assists an instructor or learning designer to develop relevant 21st century elearning experiences.  The TEC-VARIETY framework extends the practical application of many instructional design models beyond the simple scaffolding of learning into considering the technology that could be used to deliver quality 21st century learning experiences online.

TEC-VARIETY and R2D2 are both frameworks that practically explore ways of extending the instruction provided by elearning experiences.  Figure 2 shows the TEC-VARIETY framework and the many ways that an elearning instructor could integrate motivational elements into instruction so as to extend the elearning experience.


Figure 2: Bonk & Khoo (2012). The TEC-VARIETY framework.

Whilst figure 3 shows the R2D2 model, which stands for Read, Reflect, Display and Do (Bonk & Zhang, 2006) and addresses the needs of a diversity of learners.


Figure 3: R2D2 Model, (Bonk & Zhang, 2006 in Bonk & Khoo, 2012, p. 4)

My keynote paper and presentation will get added to my blog at a later date so stay tuned 🙂


Bonk, C. J. & Zhang, K.  (2006) in Bonk, C. J. & Khoo, E. (in progress).  Adding Some TEC‐VARIETY: 100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online.  

Bonk, C. J., & Zhang, K. (2006). Introducing the R2D2 model: Online learning for the diverse learners of this world. Distance Education, 27(2), 249-264.

Gustafson, K., & Branch, B. (2002). Survey of instructional models (4th ed.). Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED477517.pdf

Kruse, K. (2009). Introduction to instructional design and the ADDIE model. Retrieved from http://www.transformativedesigns.com/id_systems.html

Martin, F. (2011). Instructional Design and the Importance of Instructional Alignment, Community College. Journal of Research and Practice, 35:12, 955-972.  Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10668920802466483

The Herridge Group, (2004). The use of traditional instructional systems design models for eLearning. Retrieved from The Herridge Group: http://www.herridgegroup.com/pdfs/The%20use%20of%20Traditional%20ISD%20for%20eLearning.pdf


So I’ve been reading up on Communities of Inquiry, as mentioned in previous blog post, and the TEC-VARIETY model thinking about how these assist in how online courses can increase student engagement.  I’ve loved reading about the TEC-VARIETY model and how its intentions are to help those educators who are perhaps a little untrained but who really want to be intentional in their use of technology and the design of their courses.

The two models compliment each other because the TEC-VARIETY model aims to increase student motivation and retention in online courses and the CoI model intends to engage students, it’s the ultimate package.  I believe the CoI model further compliments the TEC-VARIETY model in that when used together activities from the TEC-VARIETY model can be chosen according to whether they support the aspect of the CoI model that the educator may wish to enhance.

This is a great presentation on the CoI model!

So, if an educator wanted to enhance cognitive presence in their online course they might use activities listed under the TEC-VARIETY model’s element of ‘Interactive’.

Cognitive Presence is the extent to which learners are able to construct and confirm meaning through sustained reflection and discourse (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2001).

The element of interactivity in the model is one that explores collaborative, team-based and community activities.  Working together and discussing aspects of a course support cognitive presence and interactive elements thereby working with both models.

Below is my image of how these two models might go together.  It’s my thoughts and to some it may not seem logical but I’m going to keep mulling it over.

Cool Resource Providers – Are your students cool? ;)

In some of the materials provided by Dr Bonk this week in Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success has looked at the idea of students being ‘cool resource providers’.  What does this mean?  Well, it is basically the idea of students taking turns to provide a resource to support the learning topics each week.  I personally love this idea because it gives students a significant role to play in the learning content presented.  When I think of how this can be done in online courses with students providing a supporting video or presentation to be shown in a week, I can’t help but think of the TEC-VARIETY model and the fact that this exercise help in many areas of this framework.

Asking students to contribute a ‘cool resource’ to the week’s learning materials is greatly encouraging for the students.  I would feel a immense sense of connection with a week if I was providing a resource to support the topic and I believe that the curiosity of the other students would be increased in wondering what kind of resource would be discovered and shared in that week.  It would be very intriguing and exciting to see what was produced.

The variety of what would be produced if such an exercise was carried out throughout an entire course would be great.  Students are so different and their interpretations of a topic vary considerably, thus producing varied resources in such a learning venture as this.  It would be very interesting to see the variety produced and as a teacher, I would value their contributions and some resources could become part of the courses standard teaching materials.

Allowing students to produce and share a resource that they personally identified with in the context of the week’s topic is encouraging autonomy at its best.  The students have a choice in what they produce and its based on their own relevant understanding of the topic.  Bonk had this to say about students being ‘cool resource providers’ in Bonk, C. J. (2008, March). YouTube anchors and enders: The use of shared online video content as a macrocontext for learning. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2008 Annual Meeting, New York, NY.

The majority of what students discovered and presented was online resources and ideas related to their content. Some students decided to create PowerPoint presentations, others moved the class to a computer lab for guided Web safaris of resources that they had found, and still others showed specific Web sites and online videos after which they fostered interactive small and whole group class discussions and reflections. It was not the particular format of their presentation that was important but the fact that students were empowered to be the instructors of the class.

Empowerment, engagement and so much more. Who would have thought it could be so simple to empower students as to give them the ability to share a resource.  The possibilities after this are also worth considering.  The ‘cool resource provider’ could even be the main facilitator in a discussion forum around the resource presented.

When I was a secondary Music teacher, I used to allow students in my class to nominate a YouTube video that they would like to share with the class and I would play it for the class on the projector.  We didn’t always formally follow up the viewing with an activity but my students sure were engaged and listening more when I gave them this option of choosing a resource for the lesson.  The buy-in I gave students helped them feel that the lesson was ]relevant and that I valued their contribution and knowledge.  I valued the response I got from my students and the positive outcomes that eventuated as well.  My students were amazing in what they produced, so so cool!

I share this video below because I love a good Flashmob but even though this one isn’t the best I’ve seen the message at the end it great!  The Flashmob is for an ad for T-Mobile but the message is simple, “Life’s for Sharing”.  Well I believe education is for sharing too so encourage it, breed it and model it.  Enjoy 🙂

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ3d3KigPQM&feature]