Towards Maturity - Benchmarking e-learning
The idea of thinking of e-learning as a chicken tikka is sound, though I'd perhaps prefer pizza or a Chinese takeaway.
Whether it's e - learning or m- learning, it must be ME learning.
Rosemary Luckin, Diane Brewster, Pearce, du Boulay, Siddons - Corbay.
From Mobile Learning:a hand book for educators and trainers. John Traxler and Agnes Kukulksha-Hulme (2005)
I read this on vacation in a couple of days in between learning to surf on the north Cornwall beach of Mawgan Porth. I have barely managed a day without dwelling on either e-learning or social media, dreaming of them even when a signal is difficult to come by (on the knoll above the farmhouse where we are staying).
Written in 2005 and so based on research of the previous five years I have to wonder at my haste to download it (e-book). It takes me back to my own first forays into online learning in 2001 when amongst others FT Knowledge was my account.
The problem with the content is that is is woefully out of date. All the research being done at the time was on the useless PDAs of the time; I stuck with a PSION that served me well as a pocket word-processor.
'Whichever mode of delivery I choose, the meal I eat will still be Chicken Tikka'. Luckin et al (2005:122)
The only idea of lasting significance that I have taken from the entire book is this one, that and fig.1 which I'm a mind map indicates the many devices that provide mobility, ALL of which now reside in an iPad or iPhone with all problems long ago resolved by commercial organisations rather than any institution who without fail take far too long to commit to anything and invariably design by committee trying to please everyone so put everything in, and rarely consider the commercial feasibility of their actions.
On reflection, 'take-away' says it all for e-learning as convenience is everything.
Luckin,R., Brewster,D., du Boulay, P., Corbay, S. (2005) in Mobile Learning. A handbook for educators and trainers. Edited by Agnes Kukulska-Hulme and John Traxler.
Subject = you or the person you may be obeserving in the virtual world.Object = I take to be the objective, that which is the object of the activiity (the game)
Rules = that govern the world and the functionality of the game (breaking the rules and finding our using cheats is a game plan with these often built in as an additional layer to the game/ world)
Instruments = I take to be both external (the game console, hesdset and screen for example) as well as instruements internal to the games, as in weapons, magic wands, pots of treasure and so on).
The Community are all players, there being hundreds of thousands online, though a set group in your version of the world, some with whom you may interect, others you may not). It may include others around you in the room whi are znky playing the game, i.e. A father questioning his son and an American teaching eachother swear words
Division of labour-who does what. There is generally a naatural leader, I've observed my son in groups of up to five, but typically two or three, working as a pack, more than a team or platoon in a very structured way.
This is my take on it having had to read Engestrom's book From Teams to Knots in which a variety of case studies, including a hospitlal and its relationship with GP surgeries is developed.
I cite and use activity systems all the time, whether to cnsider the relationship between two people developing ideas towgether (like us here Joanne) or between departments, as I did during a daylong away day with the OU Faculty if Business and Law, which I did today.For me it lets me think beyound a person, or the physical presnce or make up of a group, to understand and to take into consideration influences upon snd eminating from them.
I know Conole has her pyramid thing, and I prefer 'spheres of influence' as a visualised concept, as this models are simply an expression of the complexity of what may be going on and can never take in the true variety of impacts and influences upon and from an individual or group.
My take on it! I may have not got it at all. The person I'd like to quiz is Engestrom himself (he has been known to visit The OU I am told).
This from Mary Thorpe (2009)
If face-to-face is the answer, how do you replicate the combination of informal and formal discourse opportunities that characterise the face-to-face campus. (Crook and Light, 2002)
The answer is in social networks such as Linkedin being alerted every time someone in your circle updates, or adds friends or writes something, though different, there is at least an inclining of this meeting serendipitously around the water-cooler, or passing in the corridor. Also the random offering up of 'people you might know', even if they haven't instigated it.
This is beyond face-to-face, but designed to replicate the chance encounter that makes up human intersctions.
In Diaryland (1999) a similar trait is offered as within a set number of 75 friends you always know who has updated i.e. who is active and therefore around and more inclined to engage. All that matters is this sense of sharing the same space. It matters therefore that you are present often enough to be someone in this environment and that the affordances of the platform alert others to your presence.
The debate over the differences between face-to-face are dry
As the two worlds are now so familiar to many people, this is like saying, what is the difference between the Rugby Club and the Bridge Club.
There is no other difference. The means of engagement are ultimately the same, between one person and another. Like everything as you become familiar with these platforms, and as your friends are online too, you accept their presence or otherwise as if you have bumped into them walking the dog or a conference.
This isn't revolution, it is barely even evolution, it is us being people with a bunch of different tools as we crafty humans have done for millenia.
'Technologies, such as social networking, can be used to construct personal learning environments designed by the learner precisely in relation to their interests and goals across a range of practice boundaries.(Anderson and Dron 2007)
Better still you start to allow tools like Stumbleupon and Zite to do this for you, by feeding in a specific, tailored profile you can get these aggregators to draw down who you are and feed back intelligence.
The day we don't trust it we drop these tools like a hot-potato and go somewhere else.
They CANNOT afford to get it wrong.
I signed up in error to MY LIFE, I say this because I only wanted to trial it on a monthly basis. The moment I was on the phone was the moment I was reimbursed, which actually is a sound thing.
This expression, this test of 'trust' might be enough to take me back (except that I feel the entire idea was mine in 2001).
'Technology self-evidently involves tools, understood as both the physical resources and practical skills required to make use of them, but to focus primarily on the tool or the virtual space would be to make a categorical error, mistaking a component part for the system as a whole (Jones and Eshault, 2004)
We still use pen and paper, we still talk to each other face to face, we may even share how we are getting on with our parents over Sunday Lunch.
This isn't replacement technology, it is hyper complementary technology, it is as convenient as having a hanky on which to blow your nose, no more. You pull out your smartphone to share a thought. Or in my case at 3.10am I get up, doodle an idea for a video production and then stick up a discussion question to a number of Linkedin groups.
Thinking of my late grandfather's garage with all its tools, the context would be the mix and combination of tools, some complimentary, some one offs, and the space (once he'd rolled the car out of the garage). Most importantly it would include him, both actively engaged in a task and from my point of view, someone who was always keen to pass on skills and insights.
Issues regarding identity -practice/familiarity
Trust and authenticity (checking/verification) 'Students may not take up the opportunities offered, or may do so to little good effect.' (Thorpe, 2008:122) 'Asynchronous conferencing for example has fostered both utopic and dystopic views of its potential (Haythornthwaite 2006)
The importance of the beginning of the course the same as in face-to-face, you only have one chance to make a good first impression.
'That particular aspect of getting everybody involved right at the very beginning really sets the scene for the rest of the course.' (Thorpe 2008:123)
Tutor as host.
A good start is forgiving. A poor start is far harder to retrieve. The problem institutionally is if your are overwhelmed by students. Are there enough tutors? Are there even intermediaries to step in? 'The design in effect performs a mix of compulsion and engineered interaction that combines formality with informality.' (Crook and Light, 2002)
Too much of either is a killer. Overly familiar and talking about pets and holidays in the middle of a forum puts your off. So do course materials on the rare occasion with The OU when it is if your are interrupting the conversation between a couple of professors who have developed their own private language that only means something to each other. (This isn't far from the truth). 'The potential for expansive learning' (Tuoni-Grohn and Engestrom, 2003)
We all want our heads cracked open like a part-boiled egg. 'This is learning that crosses the boundaries of different activity systems, expanding involvement with others and developing both individual and collective learning'. (Cole and Engestrom 1993)
I call it Pixie dust over Object 3.
Object 3 must be the moment Dyson and his team come up with the airstream device. Innovation, inspiration and originality is there in front of us, like Macbeth's dagger, tantilizingly before our hands.
So talk to Lady Macbeth and your colleagues, let it out, share your thoughts, make the dagger real, You may find it's more of a tickling stick.
'A context has to be reconstructed and participation invited through the use of activities, structured formats and textural genres operating at various levels.' (Thorpe, 2008:130)
I no longer think this is the case. We aren't creating false or mimicking landscapes or environments online, rather we know what these environments are and behave accordingly.
This comes with experience, it IS NOT, and has NEVER BEEN GENERATIONAL.
I am not the only forty something who despite my children being infront of a computer before they could walk have vastly more experience of the internet and computers than they do. I challenge them to keep up or catch up, indeed, I am quick to run after them if I think they are discovering something I too have not tried.
Ask me for evidence, research by educational institutions in the UK, US and Australia, that debunk Generation X and Digital Natives as utter TOSH.
Engestrom (2007) emphasizes the importance of learning across multiple activity systems where knowledge is being developed across many sites, from the formal academic context through practioner-focused websites and fora to the workplace.
Technologies, such as social networking, can be used to construct personal learning environments designed by the learner precisely in relation to their interests and goals across a range of practice boundaries (Anderson and Dron 2007)
But like an allotment you might start as an idea, the worth comes from putting in some time and effort.
A hybrid mix of community and network. (Thorp, 2008:129)
Yes, like weeds in the allotment and a few cacti on a tray of sand in the shed.
There are positive and negative stances regarding Technologies. It helps to get some perspective.
Web 2.0 requires new strategies and policies With Web 2 .0 dialogue and sharing flourishes Greater use should be made of metaphor for meaning making
Look to 'participatory cultures' for clues
Benefits including peer to peer learning (comms)
A changed attitude to IP
Diversification of cultural expression
Development of skills valued in the modern workplace
A more empowered sense of citizenship
See Table 1 Changing toolsets against functionality
Web 2.0 =
User Generated Content Collective Knowledge Building Wisdom of Crowds
Fragmentation of Voice
There are benefits:
Collaboration Co-construction Sharing
There are issues regarding:
Quality Privacy Copyright
Learn through experiential interaction rather than guided step by step instruction.
The information flow through the system is radically different in a digital world, and hence there is a need for reconceptualisation of the best processes to support this. Conole. 2011:404
The fallacy is to think that social networks are just made up of people.They're not: Social networks consist of people who are connected by a shared object. Engestrom (2005)
Where do we strand with the use of mobile devices in learning?
The Kukulska-Hulme et al 2011 report 'Mature Students using mobile devices in life and learning' may be a recent publication (International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning Jan-march 2001) but draws its conclusions on research undertaken in between May 2008 and April 2009.
Technologically, in relation to the potential for e-learning, has move on a great deal. In industry would we not expect a report, say from Nielsen or Monitor, to have been done in the last six months?
As Kukulskha-Hulme and her colleagues point out by 2009 PDAs were virtually extinct and we were about to experience the launch of the iPad. Since 2009 smart phones have graduated - they're bright in many ways.
Like their users?
Bright people with the means quickly find ways to put these tools to work, extending their reach to their online course, for materials, forums and assessment alerts, to organise their study time around their diary.
'In today’s global marketplace, educators must know the technology habits and expectations of their students, including those from other countries.' (Kukulska-Hulme et al, 2001:18)
A growing body of students expect a component of their course to be managed using mobile devices.
I like this point from JISC. It supports the constructive view of learning
"Learners can be active makers and shapers of their own learning. They should be supported in using technologies of their own choice where appropriate". (JISC, 2009, p.51)
It is interesting that the report notes that ‘mobile will not necessarily be readily adapted for learning’ (a 2008/2009 perspective) with reasons given as: ‘Ergonomic, pedagogical, psychological and environmental facts and the issue of cost’. (Stockwell, 2008)
Much more is possible today, and expected.
They do suggest that, ‘more widespread adoption by students and teachers is likely to follow’. (ibid 2011:19)
The report notes ‘notable minorities’
A notable major minority who ‘use the internet to download or upload materials.’ (major minority)
And a lesser minority, minority who ‘contribute to blogs and wiki and engage with virtual worlds.’ (ibid p.21) (minor minority)
‘Their age seems less important than their position as early adopters and instigators of change through their influence among their peers and through their networks'. (2011:19)
Which debunks Prensky and favour diffusion of innovations as a mode of study.
'We were interested in gathering data that might challenge the still widespread opinion amongst educators that mobile devices are of little use for academic study. Activities such as web browsing, reading e-news, article reading, book reading, and note taking are valued in the academic world but often considered implausible on handheld devices.' (2011:20)
Which has indeed happened with smarter phones and the proliferation of the tablet (or slate) or iPad … whatever the term might be that we settle on.
‘Since the survey was developed, other devices including notebook computers and e-book readers have become popular, making it even more difficult to draw boundaries between 'handheld learning', laptop learning' and 'desktop learning'. (2011:21)
As if such a distinction was ever necessary? They are all computers, just different sizes, affordances and capabilities.
I liken this loss of boundaries, or the blurring, to drops of ink in a tank of water that gradually swirl about each other and merge.
MOBILE DEVICES ARE USED IN LEARNING FOR:
- Contact with others
- Access to information and answers
- Reading e-Books
- Listening to Podcasts
Producers and consumers become 'produsers'
One survey shows that mobile devices are enabling users to create resources for teaching purposes, write blogs to keep their friends up to date with events, take and distribute photos and videos, and make and take notes and recordings'. (2011.31)
What is interesting is that there appear to be many ways in which users are employing technologies to generate products.
Bruns (2005) coined the term 'produsers' to denote both of these approaches.
‘Our findings indicate that institutions planning to offer mobile apps should build on the existing preferences of students for social communication. Listening to audio, watching video and reading short texts if the apps are successfully to enhance the learning experience’. (Kukulska-HUlme 2011:32)
When students are offered appropriate mobile resources then they will use them. (2011:32)
‘Since the use of a mobile device represents a new technological means of reading books, articles and news, this might have an impact on how, and how much, students read, however further research would be needed’. (2011:33)
More research is always needed ... in deed, with a longitidunal study this research would and should undertake to look at a cohort or students EVERY year.
Bruns, A. (2005) 'Anyone can edit': understanding the produser. Retrieved from http;//snurb.info/index. php?q=node/s86
Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes, John Pettit, Linda Bradley, Ana A. Carvalho, Anthony Herrington, David M. Kennedy, and Aisha Walker. "Mature Students Using Mobile Devices in Life and Learning." IJMBL 3.1 (2011): 18-52. Accessed (May 22, 2011)
Rogers, E.M. (2005) Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.) New York, NY: Free Press
Jones, C.R., Ramanau, R., Cross, S., & Healing, G. (2010) Net generation or Digital Natives: Is there a distinct new generation entering university? Computers & Education, 54(3), 722-732. doi. 10.1016/j.compendu.2009.09.022
There’s far more going on than simply technology and it’s a moot point to know when the technology is changing society or responding to society, the two are in a spiralling dance we see, hear and know more – our close relationships are even closer and then those we have kept at arm’s length are drawn in too.
This might make an interesting debate in Cloudworks. It is one of Grainne Conole’s.
‘The old labels of primary, second and tertiary education and work-based learning perhaps have no meaning now in the complex, changing environment’. (Conole, 2007.02)
And this might be interesting to answer:
What does it mean to be a learner in a modern complex environment?
This is valuable, the set of progressions Conole picks out: monitoring, recording, sharing, aggregating information, synthesising, providing evidence, assessing in from form, validating.
And a reminder of the team behind and beside the student as they learn: ‘the student themselves, of course, is the most important one, but also the peers that they work with the tutors who support them, the course developers who provide the course and the environment for them to work in, the senior managers and other support staff who provide the enabling framework, the quality assurance body and validating bodies, as well as professional bodies and, of course, employers’. (Conole, 2007.03)
And there’s more:
‘Education is no longer simple and classified into different boxes and boundaries, for the wider, societal environment in which students are now working and learning is different and constantly changing’. (Conole, 2007.03)
And interesting take on blogging:
Personal blogs both have the ability to provide personal reflective journal but also as a means of experts providing a filter on a complex changing environment.
But has anything changed?
‘It begs the question of does this offer a whole new dimension of learning or again is it more of the same?’ Conole asks and continues later, suggesting that Web2.0 technology ‘is just an integral part of their toolkit that they use to provide support for their learning. They’re also very critically aware now of the pros and cons of different things and they vote with their feet. If they can’t see the benefit they won’t use it’.
And further thoughts on which to dwell:
‘Because so much content is freely available and easily accessible they view it very differently. It has low intrinsic value. They expect high degrees of interactivity. They expect to be able to mix and match and interact and change’. (Conole, 2007)
And future research?
We’re particularly interested in looking at how students are learning across different boundaries and I think this related very much to progression in terms of breaking down those boundaries or silos I talked about before.
We no longer have primary, secondary, tertiary and work-based learning. The whole thing is mixing and changing and interconnecting.
NOTES FROM USE OF BLOGS (2006 Bruns and Jacobs)
An expression I like and will use ... though it might have come from 'Everything is Miscellanoues' David Weinberger (another must read).
Random acts of journalism
‘Traditional journalists treat participants as deviants rather than as citizens. Participatory news requires a reversal of these practices and should rest on the assumption that citizens are as relevant and important as public officials.’ Gans (2003) in Uses of Blogs (2007:12)
People forget when that start saying that the role/jobs of lecturers are threatened by technology ... others, if not all of us, have to adapt to the change, or be like the Amish and reject it all.
‘When big news breaks, it’s tough to beat a weblog.’ (2007, Bruns)
I recall how when the Tsuanmi struck Japan I went to the TV news channels. I started off with BBC 24, then went to CNN and stuck for the week on NHK from Japan as it was closer to action, as it were, and the other two were taking the feeds from NHK mostly anyway. I thought my 12 year old son should have been taking an interest, in fact he was one step ahead watching photage (Freudian slip or how we ought to spell)
‘Such unedited, firsthand accounts have also come to have significance beyond reporting the news and contrasting friends and family.’ Uses of Blogs (2007:13)
Is being ‘Unedited’ the key to authenticity I ask? And the first draft tone of a conversation? Well written, but from the heart, a stream of consciouness expressed as it is formed.
What a person has to say matters more than spelling, grammar or even style. In this respect I wonder if getting people to blog is about building up people's confidence when it comes to doing this ... writing. That they could be crippled by a school experience that crushed their every effort.
I learn that a huge rush to blog was prompted by 9/11 and these become know as 'Warblogs'.
The point that matters is the event the got people going. Better to start keeping a dairy on January 1st, than any other day of the year. Better to start a blog when you, your family, team are marking the start of an era. Might a requirement to keep a blog on the company intranet be written into a person's contract!
‘Most of what they bring to the table is opinion and analysis – punditry.’ Raine (2005) in Uses of Blogs (2007:12)
I like this. And I prefer the stance that bloggers take. Many are frank in their views. They may be opinionated, but they are up for a verbal struggle. Many have insights that no journalists could ever have.
‘Redefining the journalist’s role as an annotional or orientational one, a shift from watchdog to the ‘guidedog’. Bowman et al (2005)
Just as we want or expect tutors to be more coach-like in their behaviour, not teachers, but guides, facilitators or 'animateurs'. Or, if they still want to teach at their students, challenge them to treat their students as clients, that their remuneration is based on how many they retain for the duration of a module ... and that in the web 2.0 world everything (it has taken thirty years or wishful thinking in industry) is bottom up, responding to what customers/students want not they need to be shoehorned into.
Before Google surfing the net, indiscriminate browsing, or deliberate searching was looking for a needle in a haystack, today you look for a needle in a stack of needles. You are spoilt for choice. You go for anything in the top search.
GateKeeping to GateWatching
‘New bloggers form a distributed community of commentators who will engage with one another’s views on the news as much as with those expressed in other news sources.’ (2007:16)
The exact same applies to learning ... certainly at postgraduate level, possibly even at undergraduate level. If we can find a way to share what we are doing we can learn together from the experience.
Publish, then filter vs filter, then publish.
Before and after, even web 1.0 to web 2.0. As we progress what we do online will lose its ties with old broadcasting/publishing mechanisms and behaviours.
There is no intermediary. There should be no one to get in your way. You have something to show and tell, show it and tell it - write about it, sing about it, paint it or photograph it.
‘Writer submits their stories in advance, to be edited or rejected before the public ever sees them. Participants in a community, by contrast, say what they have to say and the good is sorted from the mediocre after the fact.’ Shirky (2004)
The words someone writes and publishes here should never be edited, nor the grammar or writing style commented upon (unless it is praise). Positive feedback, any feedback should be to encourage, to give more of the same, to find a voice, and to develop and learn through trial and error.
‘Multiperspectival news is the bottom-up corrective for the mostly top-down perspectives of the news media.’ Gans (2003:103)
It isn't even the case of things being turned on their head, rather it is the case that the gatekeepers should join the throng.
‘A new media ecosystem … where online communities also produce participator journalism, grassroots reporting, annotative reporting, commentary and fact-checking, which the mainstream media feed upon, developing them as a pool of tips, sources and story ideas.’ Bowman and Willis (2005:13)
‘Deconstruction of content, demystification of technology and finally do-it-yourself or participatory authorship are the three steps through which a programmed populace returns to autonomous thinking, action and self-determination.’ Rushkoff (2003:24)
Beetham provides a simple definition
"an interaction between a learner or learners and an environment (optionally including content resources, tools and instruments, computer systems and services, 'real world' events and objects) that is carried out in response to a task with an intended learning outcome." (Beetham, 2004)
Conole has developed a learning activity taxonomy (Conole, 2007; Conole, 2008) that attempts to consider all aspects and factors involved in developing a learning activity, from the pedagogical context in which the activity occurs through to the nature and types of tasks undertaken by the learner. The taxonomy is based on the premise that learning activities are achieved through completion of a series of tasks in order to achieve intended learning outcomes. The taxonomy was derived by working with practitioners to elicit the stages involved in the design process and consists of three main components:
- The context within which the activity occurs; this includes the subject, level of difficulty, the intended learning outcomes and the environment within which the activity takes place.
- The pedagogy (learning and teaching approaches) adopted. These are grouped into three categories – associative (acquisition of skills through sequences of concepts/tasks and feedback), cognitive (construction of meaning based on prior experience and context) and situative (learning in social and/or authentic settings).
- The tasks undertaken, which specifies the type of task, the (teaching) techniques used to support the task, any associated tools and resources, the interaction and roles of those involved and the assessments associated with the learning activity. In particular the types of tasks which a student might do as part of the learning activity are described in detail and grouped into six categories; assimilative (attending and understanding content), information handling (e.g. gathering and classifying resources or manipulating data), adaptive (use of modelling or simulation software), communicative (dialogic activities, e.g. pair dialogues or group-based discussions), productive (construction of an artefact such as a written essay, new chemical compound or a sculpture) and experiential (practising skills in a particular context or undertaking an investigation).
- http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloud/view/2473 (Accessed 4/4/11)
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