Crowd Surfing Love @ the CDM’s IDEA-X

What better way for a brave group of Chinese students from the Communication University of China to start our fifth IDEA-X @ the Centre for Digital Media Program in Vancouver.

Crowd Surfing is a fun and engaging way for learners to embody trust—to know what it feels like to support others who depend on you, and in turn to feel supported by them.

This is just one of the many tools that we use at the Masters of Digital Media Program to empower young professionals to become aware of and improve their collaboration skills.




Assume that your learners don’t come empty headed!

I’ve seen so many teachers think that learners need to be broken down. I n order to understand what you are teaching they have to be re-trained from scratch and moulded afresh. This is not only dangerous since it assumes that you have the authority, the wisdom of a guru to do so, but I’ll tell you now, it doesn’t work. If you think it does, then I’m not sure how well you’ve been listening. That’s because every learner comes to the table with their own intelligence, strategies, habits, and learning patterns. They, like you, see the world and relate to knowledge through a particular lens. They don’t need to be reconditioned to your way of thinking—they need to be inspired to think reflexively about how they think and learn. When learners are challenged to reflect on the value of the knowledge you are presenting to them then an interesting thing happens—they become more open to learning and they coincidentally challenge you to articulate it betterly. Part of my job is to inspire learners to challenge the habitual way in which they learn, and do this by example. In other words, I must also challenge the habitual ways in which I teach, and constantly iterate on the way in which I articulate what I know. How is it that you have come to know what you’ve learned? How do you improve the process of learning new things and have them stick? How do we make sure that what we are teaching is still relevant?

How learner-centred is your design?


If we are not in the classroom for the learners then we shouldn’t be in there at all. Obvious right? And yet, what does it mean to be fully present and engaged for the learner? From my POV it means that you need to adapt your curriculum according to the uniqueness that each learner brings to the situation. I’m not exactly sure why we would think any other way really. Each learner brings with them a set of knowledge that is unique, a specialty perhaps, a way of learning, a way of collaborating with others, a communication style or pattern. If you design your courses with a one-way information highway style, then there is no dialogue. Without dialogue, then you’ll never know anything about your learners, except that they are just as eager to be present as they are to be acknowledged. The challenge is, how do you design learning for multiple learners while considering the needs of individuals as well? One solution is to ask learners at the onset of deploying your design that knowing what they think they course is, what do they want to get out of it? This can also be asked prior to the first class. The goal after that is to uncover new ideas, extract common themes and allow them to influence your design.