Additional Resources/alx

From Open Pattern Repository for Online Learning Systems
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Additional Resources
Contributors Christian Köppe, Ralph Niels, René Bakker, Stijn Hoppenbrouwers
Last modification June 6, 2017
Source Köppe et al. (under development)[1]; Köppe et al. (2016)[2]
Pattern formats OPR Alexandrian
Learning domain

The standard course materials which students use for preparing outside of class is ready. You are doing Controlled Pacing (Controlled Pacing) through a schedule.


Some students do not sufficiently grasp the concepts based on the standard course material. They will likely start to run behind schedule, which makes helping them during the in-class meetings much harder and more time consuming.

Often, the material students are supposed to learn is offered to them in a particular way: the one that the teacher or the developer of the course has designed. Usually it is the standard way of a teacher explaining the matter in a video-lecture, followed by a number of pre-selected assignments, and a book or reader for reference. In most cases, however, there is just one way in which the students are offered the matter. Although this approach may work for the majority of students in a class, some of the students may benefit from another approach—one size simply does not fit all.

On the other hand, presenting the same material using different approaches that cover different preferences of learning might also be an option. For example, one might choose to have the material explained in a video, described in a reader, and followed by a discussion assignment in which the material is explained again. Although this may offer at least one fitting approach for most students, chances are that students (especially the better ones) get frustrated or bored by hearing the same story over and over again: if they have grasped a concept they want to move on to the next one instead of having to keep repeating the same thing (also described in Just Enough Practice (Just Enough Practice)[3]).

A third approach might be to leave the students to choose their own way of retrieving the material, and letting them choose their own speed. Although this would prevent the better students from getting bored, and would offer the slower students the chance for extra practice, it would make it hard for the teacher to answer questions in a plenary way, and would make it hard or even impossible to give lectures, because for the slower students the lecture would be offered too soon, while for the faster students, it would be too late.


Therefore: Provide optional additional resources for the same concepts as learning support to these students having trouble grasping the concepts based on the standard material only.

Such additional resources could be textbooks or sections of textbooks, websites, videos, or blogs, but also extra exercises, quizzes, or tutors. Another very valuable resource is peer support—having another student explaining it again to the student or students who have trouble with grasping the concepts. This benefits both students and could also be a Challenge Assignments (Challenge Assignments) for the explaining student.

Additional resources should not introduce new concepts, but only cover the same concepts as addressed in the standard material. They hereby offer a new perspective or approach to introducing the concepts again. Another option is to provide more exercises for practicing the application of the concepts more broadly. In some cases, these additional resources can even refer to earlier material that covers concepts whose understanding is necessary for learning the currently covered concepts. In any case, the additional resources should be clearly provided in an optional way, it might even be helpful to not include links to them in the standard material but only supply them when necessary. This way the students who learn sufficiently from the standard material won’t be disturbed by the additional resources.

These resources can be instructor-provided or crowd-provided. The first case requires that the instructor already determines during course design which resources could be used for what concepts and when to offer them to the slower students. This determination should ideally be based on experiences from previous executions of the course. If the course is given for the first time, then the literature or general experience with teaching the concepts of the course (non-flipped) can be used as base for identifying threshold concepts and for determining appropriate additional resources. The resources can also be crowd-provided, they are collaboratively collected and shared, e.g. in a special section of the course’s digital learning environment or a course mailing list. However, this requires careful supervision of the instructor, as some of the resources might not be appropriate or might not be conform with the standard material.

In general, if additional resources are provided, students who run behind can acquire the concepts better and in their own time. By making these resources additional and optional, the better students who grasped the concepts already can easily skip them.

If such additional resources are offered, it is harder keep track of what a student exactly used for learning and how she understood the explanations provided by these resources. It therefore is necessary to be a Considerate Lecturer (Considerate Lecturer) and also to make use of Misconception Assessment (Misconception Assessment).

In some cases, students don’t recognize by themselves that they need these additional resources, so the instructor should show them that they do.

In the course Structured Program Development (SPD) at HAN University, students who have some problems with gathering all concepts based on the standard material only are offered some more resources: an introductory programming course with the related concepts on the Pluralsight2 platform and a link to the website which offers additional exercises on concepts such as arrays and loops.

For both programming courses, we offer students the help of senior students: twice a week, one or more senior students are available for two hours to offer additional explanation or help with assignments. Students of the two courses can come to these sessions without having to sign up.


  1. Patlet first mentioned in Köppe, C., Niels, R., Holwerda, R., Tijsma, L., van Diepen, N., van Turnhout, K., Bakker, R., (2015). Flipped Classroom Patterns - Designing Valuable In-Class Meetings. In Proceedings of the 20th European Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (EuroPLoP 2015). New York:ACM.
  2. Pattern first published in Köppe, C., Niels, R., Bakker, R., & Hoppenbreuwers, S. (2016). Flipped Classroom Patterns-Controlling the Pace. In Proceedings of the 10th Travelling Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (VikingPLoP 2016). New York:ACM.
  3. Inventado, P.S. & Scupelli, P. (in press 2015). A Data-driven Methodology for Producing Online Learning System Design Patterns. In Proceedings of the 22nd Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (PLoP 2015). New York:ACM.