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How to use the patterns

The collected experience presented in this Wiki is structured in the form of Didactical Design Patterns to give systematic solutions to key problems connected to running VCL projects. In this way, we wish to share our experience with other institutions as a practical guide for transfarable best practices.

Didactical Design Patterns describe experiential knowledge about solution to problems/situations that may arise when designing a learning setting (in this case a virtual collaborative learning project). The solutions are described in general terms, but using practical examples. When using patterns, following points should be considered:

  • The patterns describe only problems that are known to occur in a typical VCL project, focusing on necessary decision points.
  • The patterns offer a general solution to a known problem, providing the context in which this problem is likely to occur. They do not provide exact procedures, hence leaving flexibility to exactly define the problem and its context and individually consider the suitability of the suggested solution.
  • Each pattern describes a problem and context. It is well possible that the same problem may occur in a context that is not covered by a pattern. In this case you can still read the solution, as it usually offer some points that need to be considered and these may help you find a solution for your alternative scenario.

The structure of each pattern is as follows:

Problem Description of the problem
Framework Description of the context
Solution Description of the solution
Links Links to other relevant patterns

If you would like to use the patterns in the design of your learning setting, we suggest following procedure:

  1. Check if the problem description agrees with your situation. If not, search for a different pattern or have a look at the pattern only as an inspiration (if your problem is sufficiently close).
  2. Check if the context agrees with your situation. In case the problem is the same but the context differs, consider the solution only as food for thought.
  3. Consider the factors that are named in the solution.
  4. Decide, how these factors influence activities in your situation.
  5. Decide on concrete activities and their sequence.
  6. If relevant, consider further connected patterns.

The overview of a VCL cycle shows a basic structure of the Wiki and is therefore useful for the navigation. The documentation also provides further suggestions for the use of the patterns.