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Patterns, designs and activities: unifying descriptions of learning structures’

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 08:49

McAndrew, Goodyear, Dalziel

  • Learning patterns
  • Learning design
  • Learning activities

'The use of online and electronic systems to support learning - e-learning - is emerging as a field with new opportunities and problems.'

In advertising, marketing and corporate communications, the standard 'Creative Brief' used to inform and direct the creative team poses two initial questions, the answers to which focus the creative effort:

What is the problem?

What is the opportunity?

It is therefore refreshing and reassuring to find the same terms being used in relaton to the 'emerging field' of e-learning. i.e. it is a tool, a way of doing things that may be used to address a clearly defined problem ... and in addressing this issues opportunities are created. The first enables the second, the second motivates ambition beyond the original problem.

Patterns, designs and activities are transferable, and therefore reproducible as digital objects (learning objects, etcsmile

  • Personalisation
  • Large scale digital repositories
  • Flexible reuse
  • Knowledge economy

Learning Object 'any entity, digital or non-digital, that can be sed, re-used, or referenced during technology-supported learning.'

  • learning
  • or
  • training

(Unsure how to differentate the two. Learning at a uni, training at a poly? Learning in school , FE, HE & Uni ... training at work?)

'In pratice, works in implementing Learning Objects in education (as distinct from training) tends to specialise the definition to refer to items that have education meaning, for example units that can result in a few hours of student activity.'

i.e. Learning objects ...

'Any digital or non-digital, with education meaning, that an be used, re-used, or referened during technology-supported learning.'

Patterns

The concept of patterns applied to learning seeks to identify what can be provided as useful background, guidance and illustration in describing a set of inter-related desriptions for ways to assist learning online. Patterns are not viewed as something that can be reused diretly but rather as something that can provide the informed teacher with 'rules of thumb' as they build up their range of tasks, tools, or materials that draw on a collected body of experience.

IMS Learning Design

a formal language?

Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) - a software system that encourages the design of sequences of collaborative activites that use individual activity tools configured using a visual 'drag and drop' interface.

Learning Patterns

Ref Christopher Alexander on architecture and town-planning - to democratise architecture and town-planning by offering a set of coneptual resources that ordinary people could use in shaping or reshaping their environment.

REFERENCE

Alexander, C. (1979). The Timeless Way of Building. New York. OUP.

'His work provides a principled, structured but flexible resource for vernacular design that balances rigour and prescriptiveness by offering useful design guidance without constraining creativity.'

CF Long Compton Plan 1999 // Lewes Town Plan 2011

www2.tisip.no/E-LEN/

Fundamental Principles

  • picture
  • context
  • headline
  • body
  • solution
  • diagrammatic representation
  • linking paragraph

'A pattern is a solution to a recurrent problem in a context.'

From Town Planning

A pattern 'describes a problem which occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice.'

N.B. CONTEXT

  • to help constraint and communicate the nature of both problem and solution.
  • to help the reader understand enough about a problem and solution that they can adapt the problem description and solution to meet their own needs.
  • its name crystallising a valued element of the design experience.

'The use of patterns, can be seen as a way of bridging between theory, empirical evidence and experience (on the one hand) and the practical problem of design.'

(When I start writing out the entire report I know it's of value!)

'In communities that have adopted the pattern approach, design patterns are usually drafted, shared, critiqued and refined through an extended process of collaboration.'

'Educational design needs to be seen as a process in which a designer makes a number of more or less tentative design commitments, reflecting on the emerging design/artefact and retracting, weakening or strengthening commitment from time to time.'

'Understanding the dynamic interplay between patterns in the mind and patterns in the world is key to seeing how and why design patterns work as aid to design. It is their 'fit' with the mind and the world that gives them power.'

'The focus for our work is in task design, as this has the strongest analogy with the built environment where patterns are used to build concrete objects that activity then flows around in a way that cannot be entirely predicted.'

IMS Learning Design Specification

Educational Modelling Language (EML)

  • to enable flexible representation of the elements within online courses.
  • materials and the order in which activities takes place.
  • the roles that people undertake
  • services needed for presentation to learners.

'How to package up the overall information into a structure that is modelled on a play, with acts, roles (actors) and resources.'

Of particular interest to someone who has written three screenplays, sold none, though had two short films produced ... with one sold to Channel 4! Someone who is also a graduate of EAVE, taking a cross-platform interactive TV drama through the script development process. But of greater relevance a producer of some 135 training and information films, many drama reconstructions using professional actors, directors and writers.

Content Packaging

- digital objects are gathered together with a manifest describing their location, but enhances the approach to give an ordered presentation of the different entities within the unit of learning.

Simple Sequencing

Level A: roles, acts and the environment
Level B: adds properties and conditions
Level C: adds notification and messaging

www.unfold-project.net/ (UNFOLD PROJECT)

ref: Learning Activity Management System (LAMS)

e.g. 'What is greatness?'

A' Level history project.

www.valkenburggroup.org

N.B. One of the striking features of LAMS is the speed which new sequences can be created from an initial structure.

N.B. 'Changes to the sequence structure are achieved via a simple drag and drop interface in which existing activities can be dragged into new locations, and new activities dragged into the sequence at an appropriate point.'

LAMS offers a complete system in three parts where first a design is produced in the author environment, using a visual sequence editor, then designs are instantiated with a particular class group (and subsequently tracked) through the monitor environment, and then designs are accessed by students from the learner environment. The modularity of the system allows each environment to be considered in its own right (not just as a unified whole), and particular focus has been placed on the author environment as a way to engage teachers in designing activities for their courses.'

TOWARDS ...

An overall pattern language for learning.

CONCLUSION

'In the ideal of patterns, flexibility and advice is valued over complete description and instantly usable output.'

REFERENCE

McAndrew, P., Goodyear, P. and Dalziel, J. (2006) ‘Patterns, designs and activities: unifying descriptions of learning structures’, International Journal of Learning Technology, vol.2, no.2/3, pp.216-242; also available online at http://www.inderscience.com/search/index.php?action=record&rec_id=10632&prevQuery=&ps=10&m=or (Accessed 17 June 2010). (Revisited 26 Jan 2013)

Biographical notes: Patrick McAndrew is a senior lecturer in the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University where he teaches and researches in the use of technology in support of learning. His work examines ways to design for active engagement by learners working together. This has involved studies in task based approaches to learning and their representation as learning designs within knowledge sharing environments. In 2001 he cofounded the UserLab research team which works within the Computers and Learning research group to undertake projects in e-learning.

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TMA03, Reflective Writing and e-learning (or not).

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 16 Mar 2014, 06:14

I understood from the heading for TMA03 in H807 that 'it is permissible to use an extract from a very long message.' I therefore deleted the 900+ additional words that on two occasions occurred in a forum message.

At one stage I had in an earlier draft all messages including the Tutor's introduction, my full response and even a previous pertinent message from another contributor. This for 'context' and making marking easier might have been better than all the html links that I added PER MESSAGE. I checked these anchors/links and there was a graphic in the Blog message too - clearly something in the uploading/submission process fangled these up.
 
The links/titling were absolutely as clear as anyone could wish them to be. A message per page.

My understanding of what makes 'reflective' writing is perfectly valid. It is open ended, not prescriptive - it is after all my mind that is coming up with these ideas, which is the entire point of it, to develop my personal understanding. I am trying to enhance my way of thinking, not adopt someonelse's.

In relation to my continued dislike of the term 'e-learning,' it isn't difficult to refer to plenty of current articles, including JISC that agree that the term is not universally agreed or accepted. Salmon referring to 'e-lapsed' time for an 'E-tivity' is palpably ridiculous. Academic os this ludicrous desire to 'coin a word or phrase and a cliched attitude regarding e-learning that anything with 'e' attached gains the 'e-' branded values. Balderdash.
 
'The first decade of the 21st century is already on the wane and we stand at an interesting point as regards the use of technology to support and enhance learning and teaching. The fact that we still refer to much of this enhancement as e.learning (and still disagree about what the term actually means) signals that the relationship between technology and learning is not as yet an entirely comfortable one.' JISC 2007 (Introduction)

The lesson I have learnt is that it is vital to meet face-to-face, even to speak to someone through. Elluminate or on the phone where all kinds of important cues and nuances to understanding come into play: tone of voice, pauses, choice of words ... and then facial expressions and body language when face-to-face. As occurred at an ASA workshop the other week, I simply couldn't get my head around what the tutor was trying to say about Some aspect of Nutrition,I eventually left it, but a fellow student could see by my expression that I was just fed up of asking the same question and getting a numpty response that made no sense - this student made a far better job of explaining to me the point the tutor could not.
 
Two decades of sailing and I could tie and adequate Bolen knot with a struggle having been shown how to do it a hundred times - only when an instructor used the term 'it's a gripping knot' did I understand WHY the knot worked and WHY it was important. My father didn't permit the word 'why?' His favourite line was 'don't ask why, ask how high.' Whatever that means!?
 
I must know why.
 
My quest is to discover why. Why is my nemis. Get me asking questions and I become driven to find answers, my asnwers.

If I keep asking 'why?' regarding the ECA, it will be because I haven't had this 'Bolen knot' moment - I genuinely thought with TMA03, as occurred on about the 7th draft of TMA02, that this moment had occurred.
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Design Museum

The Cognitive Interview

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 13 May 2010, 16:04

Pure serendipity but I have caught this documentary twice in the last couple of weeks on UK terrestrial TV.

So insightful on the way the human mind works. How such tiny nuances of sensory information can help us recollect genuine memories ... or to create false memories.

There is relevance here.

How does the mind gather and retain and use information ? And how can the trivial take on extraordinary importance. And importantly, what is the effect of online-learning that deprives us of some important memory-binding tools.

What do you think?

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More face-to-face ...

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 13 May 2010, 14:21

Hungry for face-to-face interaction I spent 90 mins sharing ideas on e.learning with the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA). This is an exciting time for sport in the UK with the London Olympics 2012 fast approaching - indeed athletes who hope to be on the podium have been working towards this goal for some time already.

How do we get more people to swim and win more medals?

E-learning has a part to play in this and I'm confident that the ASA will deliver.

I'll do my bit by addressing a specific learning problem that can be addressed with a simple, innovative, e-learning idea.

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Second time round

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 12:50

Frank Cotterell-Boyce the English playwright and author was featured on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs a few weeks ago. He remarked that as a boy he was held back in the final year at Primary School because he was too young. Far from being a negative experience he said that it empowered him - he had done it all before, of course he knew the topics.

I feel as if I should sign up for 'Innovations in E-learning' H807 next year, not just to get my head around the topic more fully (its a gargantuan topic on which you could never know enough) but because by then there will of course be new innovations to talk about.

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H807 TMA01 The Word Count

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 28 Jan 2012, 14:44

TMA01 in its current draft/s is stubbornly refusing to accommodate all the requirements and get close to the required word count.

They say 1300 words, I'm forever at 1800 or more sad

Some edits then get close but appear so spartan I feel I'm looking into an empty basin.

My process might get the word count down to five - a title.Or just a single word.

e.yes.

I feel like Jack Nicholson's character from the Stanley Kubrick film of Stephen King's novel 'Shining.'

I feel stuck in a loop and beg for what my school and undergraduate years prepared me for - an exam. And in this case one essay of six to be written in the space of three hours. From six to eight point plan. Wherein I see my solution - I do just this.

Or not.

On verra.

How are you guys doing?

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Design Museum

Flexible Learning. Denise Kirkpatrick

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 16 Oct 2011, 04:24

The Advantages

  • Great efficiences
  • Access
  • Competitive advantage
  • Improve student learning

Institutional Anxieties:

  • Academic practice
  • Personal sense of IT efficacy
  • IT fatigue
  • Pace of change
  • Magnitude of change

REFERENCE:

Kirkpatrick, D (2001) Staff development for flexible learning. The international Journal for Academic Development, 168-176

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Networking

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 17:02

The old fashioned kind ... off-line.

Evenings & weekends I'm a swim coach. Chatting to a parent last night about her son's crisis over course work and exams for GCSEs I mentioned the OU course I was doing. Before I know it I've got an introduction to the person responsible for training at a large county council. I was also able to get some insights into how 'e.learning' has gone. The greatest memory was of too many poor links in the early days so that anyone on a course constantly found they were being linked to the wrong place and coming to a dead end. After a few years of doing it all in-house it is now outsourced.

A start has been made.

Attending a Careers Fair in Brighton put on by Wired Sussex delivered three companies that specialise in e.learning. If I can convince them I can be introduced to their clients I may have an in here too. And once again, old fashioned 'face-to-face' interactions is/was the key. As salespeople know it is harder to turn someone down in the flesh and in this context they can see that I am a well-meaning, well-turned out, experienced & savvy bloke.

A start.

 

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The blogger's dilemma

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 29 Aug 2011, 17:07

'It seems to me that I follow only the most accessible thread. Three or four threads may be agitated, like telegraph wires, at the same time, and if I were to tap them all I would reveal such a mixture of innocence and duplicity, generosity and calculation, fear and courage.'

(Henry & June, Journals, July 1932 Anais Nin)

For the umpteenth time as several hooks snag I don't know whether to blog in one space or several. The compromise will be to keep this for and about the OU. Therefore 'e.learning & innovation,' even 'innovations in e.learning.'

The problem Anais Nin had related to the 'threads' in her life, her various interests that broadly split between her love life, her efforts to become a published writer of fiction & what the journals gradually become first to her and then to the people (and fans) who read them.

My response has been, having stared a blog, that mimicked a  diary and was simply an 'online journal' to split by purpose, by content (the the degree of exposure I was prepared to make/the adult nature of the material) and even by design. Things quickly got in a muddle & I returned to the single blog model, only to find I could not please all, or many (or even any but a handful)  of the readers. By which time it had ceased to be a  diary, or even an online journal.

I will persevere with WordPress where the old blog will be migrated. This could take some time. 8,000 hours if I go entry by entry. Oops. Maybe not them. I can be more selective than that. The intention will be to use current blogging tools to find & establish threads of ideas, topics, stories, people & events. To what end though?

Then there'll be a blog for teaching & coaching swimming aimed only at fellow teachers & coaches - so not on how to swim, or how to swim faster ... just how to teach or coach people to swim and then to swim faster.

There is relevance to this in relation to 'innovations in e.learning.

What is most likely to produce an innovation? By being prescriptive, or saying 'anything goes?' Or a bit of both. Somehow.

Or am I talking here about inventiveness & creativity?

 

 

 

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Wet learning

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 May 2014, 07:29

In an environment in which the coining of phrases is endemic I wish to invent the term wet.learning - learning that is conducted in and around water in relation to teaching people to swim and teaching teachers and coaches how to teach people to swim.

By defintion you cannot have anything electric or electronic around water; this negates e.learning of any kind.

even paper learning (p.learning) can be problematic as the stuff invariably gets wet, goes soggy, tears and is binned.

so we are left with orginal learning (o.learning), which like orginal sin committed by Adam & Eve is done in a semi-naked state.

I mock, I must. I've been involved in education, mostly corporate, and have never deemed it necessary to call it v.learning when we used video, though interactive learning & training became common place (though never called i.learning or i.training) - it was sometimes called 'clever' or 'smart' learning though ... but never c.learning or s.learning.

So back to wet learning ...

undertaken poolside where the acoustics are atrocious we often resort to grunts, sign language and waving our arms & limbs about in demonstration.

Did our ancestors in cave teach cave-kids to paint in such ways?

If there is to be any final definition of e.learning it should be 'effecitive learning,' the alternative be "*.learning."

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