Pedagogical plans

Brief description:
The Pedagogical Plan model has been developed within the ReMATH project and has been then reified in a tool called PPM (Pedagogical Plan Manager).
According to the model, the pedagogical plan artifact seeks to embody a learning design, articulating it in a hierarchical structure that incorporates degrees of abstraction suitable for supporting reflection, communication and reuse.
The model encompasses 'elementary plans' (i.e. single entities or nodes of a hierarchical structure that are not further refined into more elementary plans), and the 'hierarchical organization' of the nodes.

Elementary plans comprise three distinct conceptual areas, with the purpose of fostering reflection on the pedagogical aspects of design.
The first area aims at describing through narratives the educational Target, i.e.what the outcomes of learning should be, who the learners are and in what context learning takes place.
The second area specifies how learning should take place by providing Specifications for the envisioned learning activities. More specifically, this includes description of activities and roles; besides, this area can also accommodate the actual resources and tools (or links to these) to be used by teachers and learners during enactment.
The third area specifies the pedagogical Rationale underpinning the different aspects of a plan (learning outcomes, educational strategies, choice of tool, etc). Specifically, pedagogical rationale includes the author's primary motivations (e.g. tackling a typical learning problem with a new approach), positioning of the plan's key ideas in terms of disciplinary/interdisciplinary concerns, significant innovation that the plan embodies, and, possibly, the theoretical framework that has informed its design.
The three areas are intended as flexible entities that can in principle assume different weight in each plan, depending on the requirements imposed by different contents and different communities of users. This means that different descriptors and even different description languages (from natural to formalized, from narrative to machine-interpretable) can be adopted.

As already mentioned, a distinctive feature of the model is that pedagogical plans are organized as hierarchies where each node is an elementary plan. This
choice derives directly from the main aim of the plan model, namely to enhance communication. The upper nodes in the hierarchy typically provide an abstract and summarized description of a plan, which is especially useful for fostering comprehension and communication. On the other hand, the lower levels, especially the leaves, provide more concrete and detailed information and are the actual entities to be enacted. This organization makes provision for a facilitated path of access to the complexities of a plan, where the many details become understandable in the framework of a small number of general ideas. Of course this implies some redundancy and results in extra work for authors because of the need to describe a plan at different levels of abstraction.
All the plans in a hierarchy share the same structure, i.e. they are all composed of the same three areas (Target, Pedagogical Rationale and Specifications) which in turn exhibit the same organization throughout the whole hierarchy.

Example of a Pedagogical Plan (developed within ReMATH by IoE London) as this is visualized in the PPM

Links to extended descriptions:
Olimpo G., Bottino R.M., Earp J., Ott M.,  Pozzi F., Tavella M. (2010), Pedagogical plans as communication oriented objects, Computers & Education, 55, 476-488.

About: (institution developing / maintaining the tool) ITD-CNR

Contact: Francesca Pozzi (pozzi@itd.cnr.it)
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