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“I like to try different pedagogical methods”

To have the opportunity to design a course from scratch and test new pedagogical methods – this attracted Marcus Lithander at the Department of Learning in Engineering Sciences. He created the course "Learn Online", given for the first time this spring.

Marcus Lithander
Marcus Lithander.

Why did you initiate the course ”Learning Online”?

”There is a wide gap between what research shows to be effective study strategies, and the strategies that students actually use. At the same time, we know that the ability to learn effectively is crucial for success with university studies and further education.”

”My colleague and supervisor, Johan Thorbiörnson, has long emphasised the importance of developing a course that focuses on how we learn, so when I had the opportunity to develop a course within lifelong learning this seemed like a natural choice.”

”Linking human learning to digital tools is an important step in improving learning. On the other hand, when we talk about learning and technology, the human part may have been somewhat downplayed. As I told a colleague on a lunch break the other day there is a lot of talk about machine learning research, but I think we should talk at least as much about human learning.”

Why do you choose to create courses for professionals?

”I like to get to design a course from scratch and get to try new pedagogical methods. The course I give does not need to be adapted to other courses that students have taken, or other courses in a program. A freedom that is, of course, but also a challenge.”

Who has signed up?

”An obvious group who have applied to the course are professional teachers, which feels natural. If I compare the participants in our course to those in ”regular” campus courses, I would say that we have more people who are professionals, and a wider age range. But we have also had those who will either start studying or are studying today and wants to know how to improve their learning.”

What tip would you give someone who never has put together a course for professionals?

”To use a clear course structure and start by designing assignments and questions before creating lectures.”

What is the biggest challenge in putting together and run such a course?

”When it comes to courses for further education, our team talks about trying to create tasks and content that connects with real needs. It is not always enough just to convey knowledge, students also need to be given a chance to use and test their knowledge. In practice, we try to integrate case assignments, discussion forums and quizzes where students get a chance to test their knowledge – which feels totally in line with lifelong learning.”

Text: Anna Gullers

Courses held by Marcus Lithander

Learn to learn online – searchable course since Spring 2022.
How we learn and become aware of our own learning process. “Part of our vision is to provide students with a lasting and useful knowledge of how we function and how we can influence our patterns, something that they can bring with them in life, in work and in further studies.”

Under development (given Spring 2023): Environmental Psychology and Behavioural Design and Classroom Psychology: Cognitive Psychology for Teachers (a course that will be aimed specifically at teachers).