• Author:Tom Andrew
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Biggs Constructive Alignment – eLearning

This week (and last) we have started to look at Biggs (1999) work focusing on the theory of Constructive Alignment. Constructive alignment is when the key features of learning are “aligned” towards the learning outcomes (or objectives). The advantage of this is obvious, learning activity being aligned towards the needs of learners and the needs of the assessment allows for students to progress successfully. A classroom either online, blended or traditional would be chaotic if the teacher chose intentionally to allow learners learn in one way and be assessed in another. During the learning journey students will rightly experience a wide variety of teaching methods, assessment methods and learning activities but Biggs proposes that generally learning and assessment should be aligned.


(Figure 1. Aligning learning outcomes, learning and teaching activities and the assessment. Adapted from Biggs(1999) p 27) – source: exchange.ac.uk


Personally I see this method as completely logical and “common sense”, ie; If a learner is taking a class in singing, then it is right to expect for them to take part in activities which simulate a performance, when they will be assessed on their singing skills by public performance. However taken too strongly Bigg’s theory could remove some of the fun and variation from learning. I feel it is important that learners experience a wide variety of methods and experiences, even if some of those are quite different from the methods of assessment. On balance I feel this theory is sensible and an important part of course and lesson design and planning.