Bayesian Statistical Methods an Online Subject for #EDUC90970 by Lyle Gurrin


Background: BCA Consortium, Students, Software revolution

Subject: Learning objectives, existing resources and work-flow

Ecology of Resources: Aspirations...

Design Framework and Learning Theory

Scaffolding and assessing effectiveness through Educational Based Design

Next Steps


Postgraduate: Entirely online Master of Biostatistics; Australian Citizens only. Accredited course for SSA "Graduate Statistician"

Two Streams: Health or Mathematics background as undergraduates

"Mature Age": Career-changers or DIY

Part-time: hard to articulate subject for full-time enrolment

Bayesian Stats

Theory based on Full Probability Modelling for Statistical Inference

Frequentist framework (p-values) is the dominant paradigm

Bayesian Statistics was boutique - heavy theory, computational demands...so only specific problems and toy examples

BUGS - 1995

Bayesian Inference Using Gibbs Sampling

UK MRC Biostatistics Unit Cambridge

BUGS revolutionized the use of Bayesian Statistics

Stan - 2015

BUGS gets replaced by Stan in 2015
Student Experience Survey Semester 2, 2018 - "Bayesian Statistical Methods" (BAY) POPH 90139 comes last!

Learning Objects

1. Logic & Philosophy of Bayesian Inference

Probability, Uncertainty, Prior Distributions, Common Conjugate Models, Bayes vs Frequentist

2. Bayesian Data Analysis

Hierarchical Models, Computational Techniques, Real & Complex Data

1. Bayesian Theory & Logic

Design Framework: "Flipped Classroom" - Daniel & Helen pres.

  • materials distributed in advance
  • adult learners

Learning Theory: "Behaviourism" (B) + "Cognitive Load" (CL) - Chelsea's pres.

  • practice recognising maths (B)
  • contact with written theory (B)...
  • ...some students need revision (CL)
  • ...different backgrounds and strengths (CL)
  • ...and repetition (B)

Books +

Textbooks specific to Bayesian Statistics using the latest software

All of these texts come with graded examples and online resources and simulations

Curate these resources using instructors expertise targeting the learning outcomes

Papers +

Throw out the mathematics papers...

...look for papers in medicine, law, economics and, of course, infectious diseases

Very short preliminary video Lyle made illustrating "iterative Simulation and Convergence"

2. Bayesian Data Analysis

Design Framework: Laurillard's Conversational Framework - see Jeanette Tamplin's presentation and blog

  • bi-directional dialogue between learner and teacher
  • autonomy plus guidance
  • forms and affordances: narrative, interaction, communicative, adaptive, productive

Learning Theory: Social Constructivism - see Brooke and Katie's presentation

  • teachers and students form a "community of practice" to tackle realistically complex problems
  • those more able can help others "step up" (ZPD)

Proposal: Use a design-based research project to determine (1) can we "triage" students to their level of computing knowledge; (2) get them to set goals for progressing to higher levels?


  • Kirschner, Paul. (2002). Cognitive load theory: Implications of cognitive load theory on the design of learning. Learning and Instruction, 12(1), 1-10.
  • Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Laurillard, Diana. (2012). Teaching as a design science: Building pedagogical patterns for learning and technology. New York: Routledge.
  • Sweller, J., van Merrienboer, J., & Paas, F. (1998). Cognitive architecture and instructional design. Educational Psychology Review, 10, 251-296.


Created with images by Antoine Dautry - "System of equations" • Mark König - "Road sign for curved road ahead. Storytelling: Could also be used when things are / were not realized in a direct way." • Nathan Dumlao - "untitled image" • Kekai AhSam - "My brother backflipping off a local spot in Waikiki, Oahu called “Walls”. Got very lucky with this shot shooting into the sun. Also made some great memories at this spot." • Akson - "We were in the 44th teaching building of Tianjin University. I took this graduation photo for my seniors. This is my first shoot in my photography career. Thanks a lot for the opportunity my seniors afford to me."