REF Gavriel Saloman’s ‘Of Mind and Media’;
1. The only kind of learning that matters is learning that works.
This will vary by context, content and desired outcomes. A piece of chalk on a blackboard is learning, as is Avatar. The first might cost $1, the latter $200m.
2. We cannot always indulge our differences.
I dare say the best education might be privileged and historically at home with a governess then a tutor. Personalisation by yourself, aided by parents/siblings peer pressure and your school/institution is what e-learning offers via social networking, forums, YouTube, Tumblr, Facebook, Wikipedia, Google and all the rest of them.
3. If I am motivated to do so I will do more than watch the TV programme or catch the radio show
I will do more than buy the book (or books), I will do a course, join a group, get a qualification. It is progressive, exploratory and stepped; it ends in your head, and may begin on your own but is often best developed with others. Though ask a successful author how they developed their craft skills or how they now work and I doubt they say they do it as a group/collective in a writer’s group.
4. Whilst certain approaches, if there is a choice, do lend themselves better to certain ways of doing it, any learning is defined by the candidate’s motivation to learn and what is available, let alone their individual circumstances.
I do think that challenging someone to learn might deliver a better outcome than spoon-feeding or mollycoddling. I learnt to deliver a baby when I had to, I had about five minutes to read a very short chapter on ‘home delivery’. I learn to sail when it went wrong and we escaped drowning. I learnt to make training films by making mistakes (and putting them right). I once saw a production of Sleuth that was performed in front of the curtains with none of the pyrotechnics or gadgets … in this simple form it was more engaging. i.e. I am going back to the story told around a campfire, perhaps with a song. This is how to enjoy Beowulf rather than as a movie. (Directed by Derek Wax, Oxford, 1982)
5. The article irritated me. It is 4, 800 words long.
The first half could be removed entirely. Editorially I would have put a line through the waffle and a red line over disagreements. I have a paragraph of what I’d fix that I’ll post in my blog. It should have been edited to improve what is poor writing. However, it is this disagreement and the ‘mistakes’ that have rattled me and so got my attention. How therefore to create a tussle with the text or concepts? They do it at Oxford, it’s called a debate.
6. The technologies are not the limiting factor, they are only possibilities.
The limiting factor is the author of the learning – bells and whistles do not improve a lesson if the teacher hasn’t a) got an idea b) prepared a ‘script’ that has some chance of success.
7. In H808 we did a group task that had to end with a presentation/representation of some kind.
We had PowerPoint presentations, and videos but to my surprise as I had doubted it would work one group did a poster that was rich, comprehensive, inventive, memorable and in one shot said it all – indeed with the flows and movement of information about the page I’d even described it as interactive. i.e. Keep It Simple, Student.
8. Testing is more vital for the learning process than as a test to achieve a grade, pass or mark.
But of course assessment is crucial for the sake of credibility and to have something to open a door to work. A written test tests someone’s comprehension of the language and confidence/ability with this language first. Interesting for the last year I’ve been feeding my learning back to a national sports organisation. I have been fairly critical of a written test for sports coaches as it is at odds with the way they learn and what they do … it was dropped from the curriculum last week. At what point does their reading or writing skill hinder their ability to qualify? If you want to learn to sail someone has to give you the helm.
I spent this morning with a colleague/friend who did an e-learning diploma with Sussex University.
We shared favourite e-learning websites and the ones we hated the most. I came away rather depressed by the awfulness of many, their formulaic approach and dreadful written and spoken English – there is a lack of craft skills. I think these things have been designed and created with the context in which the learning will take place in mind or the multiple opportunities people can and will find to engage with a task or topic. Personally, I like to hear and see it from several sources, good and bad, then give it a go several times … and in time form an opinion having done what I’m doing here and did this morning over coffee – batting it about.
We liked Spaced-ed and can see what they are doing with Qstream … though our own e-learning will naturally engage even more than these!
I came away with key ideas such as: metaphor, variety, mistakes, context, relevance and participation.
Salomon, G 1997, ‘Of mind and media’, Phi Delta Kappan, 78, 5, p. 375, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 23 March 2011.