Investigating the effectiveness of an ecological approach to learning design in a first year mathematics for engineering unit


  • Iwona Czaplinski



ecology of learning, affordances, blended learning, probabilistic learning design


This paper reports on the results of a project aimed at creating a research informed, pedagogically reliable, technology-enhanced learning and teaching environment that would foster engagement with learning. A first-year mathematics for engineering unit offered at a large, metropolitan Australian university provides the context for this research. As part of the project, the unit was redesigned using a framework that employed flexible, modular, connected e-learning and teaching experiences. The researchers, interested in an ecological perspective on educational processes, grounded the redesign principles in probabilistic learning design (Kirschner et al., 2004). The effectiveness of the redesigned environment was assessed through the lens of the notion of affordance (Gibson, 1977,1979, Greeno, 1994, Good, 2007). A qualitative analysis of the questionnaire distributed to students at the end of the teaching period provided insight into factors impacting on the successful creation of an environment that encourages complex, multidimensional and multilayered interactions conducive to learning.