Reflections on topic 4 – how can I use what I learned?

When I reflect on how I have designed the course that I teach, I realize that we have, to a large part, used constructive alignment (Biggs 1996) without even thinking about it. Constructive alignment is, to me, the core in designing courses for deep learning. That there should be an alignment between planning, designing learning outcomes, deciding learning and teaching activities, and determining which assessment to use seems quite obvious, but unfortunately this is not always, or even seldom, the case in higher learning. Other frameworks, such as that of Gilly Salmon or the ADDIE model, use the same theory. To me, there is really no difference between designing a traditional or online course in this regard – the course should be designed to match the previous knowledge and purpose of the students, and teaching activities and assessments should match the learning objectives.

I can see several advantages of adding an online component to my own course:

  • the students can join teaching activities from home,
  • future work places will require online meetings,
  • students learn to collaborate with others without meeting face-to-face,
  • students today are brought up in an online environment and feel “at home” with technology.

The idea of blended learning appeals to me as it allows students to practice face-to-face meetings but also allows for time to reflection in text-based communication (Vaughan 2013). My course is for medical students that in addition to learning anatomy, histology and physiology also need to practice face-to-face interaction with other human beings since this will be a large part of their future career. With that said, this group of students cannot go to an online learning environment alone.

After the ONL course, I have two concrete examples that I will use in my own teaching:

  1. The use of chats or videos to initiate a topic (stage 1 Gilly Salmon). I believe that this could help my students to become interested in a topic and to start reading the texts that we want them to read.
  2. We have a lot of group work that sometimes doesn’t work as well as it should. I found that throughout this course, the use of a facilitator for each group can help to motivate all group members to contribute and to catch issues before they become big problems.





Biggs, J. Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. High Educ (1996) 32: 347.

jclarkgardner (2011, June 11) ADDIE Model Instructional Strategies [Video file]. Retrieved from

Salmon, G (2013) The Five Stage Model. Retrieved 2016 November 8 from

Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Edmonton: AU Press. Chapter 1 “Conceptual framework”. PDF available here



7 thoughts on “Reflections on topic 4 – how can I use what I learned?

  1. fritzellkaisa

    Thank you for your reflection. I agree with you that mixing different format for learning including chat functions, videos and so on can improve a course. I also think that it could be good for students in health care educations to get used to use video links and Skype for communication since we probably will interact with patients and colleagues that way more in the future 🙂


  2. malinlarssonlindback

    This was such a good example on how to make use of the theoretical content of the course! I can myself relate to almost everything you write – both the use of constructive alignment and how blended learning is such a good way of allowing students time to prepare and reflect before meeting up. Especially that there is really no difference between good designs, whether they are online or offline. Thanks!


  3. victoriabionut

    Hi Ellinor,

    Great post! I really liked your thoughts on the constructivist framework. Like you, I think that the ideas work the same for both a ‘traditional’ or an ‘online’ course.
    It was also very interested to read your vision on blended learning for medical students, since I only have contact with biomedical or biology students. For me, the major advantage of blended learning would be to ‘flip’ the classes and get more time for academic practice and face-to-face interaction.



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