The COVA Learning Approach

10.28.2017
Using the COVA learning approach (Thibodeaux, Cummings & Harapnuik, 2017) while being a student in this program might impact my learning in the following ways:
Choice
In this course, for example, I am given a personalized learning environment to discuss digital learning and leading specifically in the fields I do/would like to work in, and to choose the types of tools that I use to do so.
Ownership
Given the choice to investigate and follow my own learning paths, I have to assume responsibility to find reliable and credible sources of information, and also to learn how to competently and creatively use the digital tools I choose use.
Voice
Having the opportunity to express my own ideas and beliefs through the coursework, and discuss topics with and receive feedback from other students, I can develop my own distinct professional voice.
Authenticity
Having the elements of choice, ownership and voice will allow me to have authentic learning opportunities, where I have depth of knowledge and experiences that I can build on for increased mastery in my field or career.
The COVA model does appeal to me as an adult learner with defined goals, and would benefit me in the ways noted above. The self-regulation and ability to curate my own body of work over the program certainly give me a sense of agency I would not have in a more traditional learning settings that are comprised of lectures and exams. One area that might challenge me in this earlier stage of graduate school is expressing my voice. My beliefs are evolving and my ideas are not fully established, as I am still being exposed to new content, and my knowledge base is growing; therefore I may not be that confident in my expression, knowing that I am not an expert in the subject matter and that my views will change over time. As an educator, I have seen that this is a concern that had been expressed by my own students; it is common for students to be anxious about their responses/opinions “being right”.  I suppose that voice is something that will evolve over time, and that an e-portfolio is a great tool to chronicle that process. To develop my voice, I personally have used blog posts, slideshows and narrated videos up to this point, but I would like to include a medium that could be more interactive for the viewer as well.
The COVA learning approach certainly fits students in graduate programs, but being a high school teacher I do wonder if it would be possible to implement to a similar extent in the core courses of English, science, math and social studies, where there is a set of curriculum standards from the state and district that require mastery. When compared to the more traditional didactic models of teaching and learning (Moeller, n.d.), COVA is student centered as opposed to teacher centered. In COVA students have greater agency and responsibility in their own learning. Instead of learning material by repetition in order to recall it later, students using COVA are active, critical and questioning and build on their knowledge base through experience and collaboration. Unlike COVA, the traditional didactic models of teaching and learning do not produce a PLE that provides different methods of access/representation, engagement and expression to students (Bray & McClaskey, 2014).

References
Bray, B., & McClaskey, K. (2014, June 11). Personalize your learning environment. ISTE. Retrieved from https://www.iste.org/explore/articledetail?articleid=11
Moeller, V. J. (n.d.). Two models of teaching and learning. Retrieved October 25, 2017, from http://www.collegeenglishbooks.com/two-models-of-teaching-learning.html
Thibodeaux, T., Cummings, C., & Harapnuik, S. (2017). Factors that Contribute to ePortfolio Persistence. International Journal of ePortfolio,7(1), 1-12. Retrieved from http://www.theijep.com/pdf/IJEP257.pdf

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