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Getting the Mix Right Again: An updated and theoretical rationale for Interaction. How to be effective and efficient in meeting diverse student needs. Terry Anderson (2003)
Wagner’s (1994) “reciprocal events that require at least two objects and two actions. Interactions occur when these objects and events mutually influence one another” (p. 8).
A comment left on a blog is therefore a reciprocal interaction, like an asynchronous discussion in a forum, as there are two people (subjects) with in respective cases two objects (the blog and the comment) and two actions (the writing of the blog, the composition of a response in the form of a comment).
This does not, as Anderson suggests, negate Daniel and Marquis’s (1998) definition of interaction needing to refer “in a restrictive manner to cover only those activities where the student is in two-way contact with another person (or persons)” (Daniel and Marquis, 1988, p. 339). In 1989 they could not have known how texting would develop into meaningful interaction between two or more people, or the way in which asynchronous discussion could occur online.
- Sims (1999) argues that interactivity allows for learner control, adaptation of the learner program, various forms of participation and communication, and as aiding the development of meaningful learning.
- Lipman (1991) and Wenger (2001) say that interactivity is fundamental to the creation of the learning communities.
- Jonassen (1991) says that another person’s perspective is a key learning component in constructivist learning theories.
- Langer (1989) says that interaction develops mindfulness in learners.
There is a history of interaction as a theory in education
- Dewey (1916) from inert information from another to your own understanding and interpretation in your head.
- Holmberg (1989) between tutor and student, whether postal or on the phone.
- Laurilard (1997) interaction between tutor, content and students.
The difference between formal and informal learning.
One, Anderson argues, is purposively designed to have a learning outcome. Though I do wonder, based on a recent Elluminate session in which we considered a formal and informal learning design for teaching The Green Cross Code if the informal miss has greater impact, the shock of the unexpected when you are nearly hit … Or as a driver or passenger you nearly hit (or even do hit) another?
Since both formal and informal learning can result from interaction between and amongst students alone, or as result of interaction between student and content, the participation of a teacher cannot be a defining feature of an educational interaction. (Anderson, 2003)
Anderson, 2003 suggested that due to the increasing computational power and storage capacity of computers (Moore’s Law), their increase in functionality when networked (Metcalfe’s Law), and related geometric increases in a host of technical developments (Kurzweil, 1999) created opportunity to transform student-teacher and student-student interaction into enhanced forms of student-content interaction.
In a way the interaction with the content of various kinds in mixed ways that goes on in the head Dewey (1916) has been the goal of the developers of interactive learning all along, in the training context this has occurred as facilitator-led learning was gradually transcended by workbooks in the 1980 s, video-led and interactive (on laser-disc then Interactive DVD before) in the 1990s before efforts occurred to migrate content and interactivity to the web from the 1990s.
The multiple interplay of Anderson and Garrison’s (1998) Fig. 1 rings true, though how content without a student or teacher interloper baffles me and in 2011 teacher in the broadest sense should take in all educators and ancillary stakeholders.
There is no single medium that supports the educational experience in a manner that is superior in all ways to that supported via other media.
Clark’s (1994), Kozma’s (1994) Russell (2000) and many others show that there is ’a complicated interaction between content, student preference and need, institutional capacity and preference, and teaching and learning approaches to learning’.
There is also evidence that many students deliberately choose learning programs that allow them to minimize the amount of student-teacher and student-student interaction required (May, 2003; Kramarae, 2003).
While Anderson (2003) concludes that there is ’a wide range of need and preference for different combinations of paced and un-paced, synchronous and asynchronous activity, and also a strong desire for variety and exposure to different modes and modularities of educational provision and activity.’
From these observations and from the literature debate, Anderson developed an equivalency theorem as follows:
Deep and meaningful formal learning is supported as long as one of the three forms of interaction is at a high level:
The other two may be offered at minimal levels, or even eliminated, without degrading the educational experience.
High levels of more than one of these three modes will likely provide a more satisfying educational experience.
This theorem implies that an instructional designer can substitute one type of interaction for one of the others (at the same level) with little loss in educational effectiveness – thus the label of an equivalency theory.
Student-teacher interaction currently has the highest perceived value amongst students, and thus commands highest scores.
There is some evidence to suggest value in “vicarious interaction,” in which non-active participants gain from observing and empathizing with active participants (Sutton, 2001; Fulford and Zhang, 1993).
Also Cox (2006) with a nod to John Seely- (2007) (both from week 2 of module H800 of the Masters in Open and Distance Education.
For planning or development purposes, designers are encouraged to build into their programs strategic amounts of each type of interaction, and to develop activities that will encourage this amount of interaction.
This interests me because I wonder if we could take the call-centre principal and apply it to social media, a collective engagement of substance.
At Athabasca University, Anderson writes, students had access (7 days a week, 12 hours a day) to call centre staff. They were equipped with FAQ databases, course syllabi, and a limited amount of content knowledge to answer a wide variety of student inquiries.
Would this help with retention?
It would contribute to engagement. It did contribute to deeper learning. Are we now saying that this interaction must come from fellow students? Or alumni groups in social networks?
I know that in the corporate sector Epic offer clients a ‘call-centre’ like service as they have realised that online interactive learning naturally throws up situations where students want to talk to an informed and sympathetic person. No one wants to be passed from pillow to post. I say this as an informed online learner who has not just had to sleep on a problem, but the nature of responses either send you to sleep or leave you wanting to bang your head against a post.
I loathe this kind of academic language.
This is where academics address each other, a PhD student to their sponsor perhaps. It puts students and the inquisitive mind at arm’s length.
This will change in the Web 2.0 world as this content gets an airing well-beyond its original place in a printed journal and with a few tags and comments gets spread rapidly across thousands rather than a handful of readers.
‘The equivalency theorem proposed in this paper is not as complicated nor as technically detailed as other theories relevant to distance education (e.g., Jaspers, 1991; Saba and Shearer, 1994). However, its simplicity allows it to function as an accessible heuristic for distance education delivery design’. Anderson (2003)
The choice of words then this massive compound-noun says to me this person is trying to sound clever, elitist and worthy of the academic status they aspire to. It is poor communication. Even the chunk of referencing sticks in the gullet. We should in theory reference every word we utter, as none are our own, all could be tagged back to someone, somewhere.
Clarity counts. It is an important part of communication.
By quoting Wilson here Anderson reveals his motives. Sometimes academics what to coin a phrase or word: e-tivity (Salmon, 2002), sometimes a phrase: digital natives (Prensky, 2001, 2003, but read Jones to put this terms where they belong), sometimes a theorem, this one being ‘The Equivalency Theorem’.
Wilson (1997), Anderson tells us, described three functions that a good educational theory performs.
I’ll let you read the conclusion in the paper for these.
My interest is not in developing a theorem, my quest is for understanding that I may then apply.
An important paper, dense, chronological, logical, a great intellect chew.
Anderson (2003) ends with this:
‘I am convinced that many of these alternatives should be focused on creating the most cost effective and accessible alternatives that can scale to meet the burgeoning global demand for effective and affordable life-long learning opportunities. In most cases, these models will drastically reduce the amount of teacher-student interaction, and substitute it with increased student-student and student-content interaction. For many, this scenario is a frightening one, but one that is in keeping with our tradition of expanding educational access and opportunity, and thus not one we should abhor’.
Eight years on I feel like sounding him out.
Was he prescient?
Where is he now?
The fact Anderson has missed is the greater desire for increased personalisation, learning tailor to the individual and increased interaction through social networks, with the knowledgeable as well as the ignorant (whether or not they are the person’s tutor or faculty academics).
Actually, the group I find silent are the tutors and academics.
They are too busy with their heads in their professional thoughts unable to offer up a piece of their minds without attaching a price or allocated time to it. Is this the difference between a professional musician and a busker?
Anderson, T., and Garrison, D.R. (1998). Learning in a networked world: New roles and responsibilities. In C. Gibson (Ed.), Distance Learners in Higher Education. (p. 97-112). Madison, WI.: Atwood Publishing.
Anderson, T. (2003). Modes of interaction in distance education: Recent developments and research questions. In M. Moore (Ed.) Handbook of Distance Education. (p. 129-144). Mahwah, NJ.: Erlbaum.
Cox, R. (2006) Vicarious Learning and Case-based Teaching of Clinical Reasoning Skills (2004–2006) [online], http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/ esrcinfocentre/ viewawardpage.aspx?awardnumber=RES-139-25-0127 [(last accessed 10 March 2011).
Fulford, C. P., and Zhang, S. (1993). Perceptions of Interaction: The critical predictor in distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 7(3), 8
John Seely-Brown October 2007 webcast: http://stadium.open.ac.uk/stadia/preview.php?whichevent=1063&s=31
The transcript of that session:
Jaspers, F. (1991). Interactivity or Instruction? A reaction to Merrill. Educational Technology, 31(3), 21 – 24.
Jonassen, D. (1991). Evaluating constructivistic learning. Educational
Technology, 31(10), 28 – 33.
Jones, C (2010) A new generation of learners? The Net Generation and Digital Natives
Kurzweil, R. (1999). The age of spiritual machines. New York: Penguin Group.
Langer, E. (1989). Mindfulness. Reading, MA.: Addison-Wesley.
Lipman, M. (1991). Thinking in Education. Cambridge, UK.: Cambridge University Press.
Saba, F., and Shearer, R. (1994). Verifying key theoretical concepts in a dynamic model of distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 8(1), 36 – 59.
Salmon, G. (2002) E-tivities: The Key to Active Online Learning, London, RoutledgeFalmer.
Sims, R. (1999). Interactivity on stage: Strategies for learner-designer communication. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 15(3), 257 – 272.
Retrieved May 25, 2002 from: http://cleo.murdoch.edu.au/ajet/ajet15/sims.html
Sutton, L. (2001). The principles of vicarious interaction in computer-mediated communications. Journal of Interactive Educational Communications, 7(3), 223 –
242. Retrieved July 15, 2003 from: http://www.eas.asu.edu/elearn/research/suttonnew.pdf
Wagner, E.D. (1994). In support of a functional definition of interaction.
American Journal of Distance Education, 8(2), 6 – 26.
Wenger, E. (2001). Supporting communities of practice: A survey of community-orientated technologies. (1.3 Ed.) Shareware. Retrieved Mar 12, 2003 from: http://www.ewenger.com/tech/
Wilson, B. (1997). Thoughts on theory in educational technology. Educational Technology, 37(1), 22 – 26.
MAODE H800 wk23 Activity 2 Stepping over the edge
‘A key characteristic of these new technologies is “learning by doing” – users need to be immersed in and “play with” the affordances that these new digital environments offer, and hence over time get a sense of how they can change practice.’ Conole (20xx:403)
Whilst I may highlight and annotate, doing so on paper isn’t the easiest way to share; using a screen reader is worse because I find myself not enjoying having the obvious affordances, such as cut and paste, disabled.
I have an iPad to learn from it and to share what I discover. It is both the angle and the devil on my shoulder. Does it super-size my mind? It thrills and engages it, indulges and expands, but also risks loosing me in its labyrinthine tangles. Saved for now by a To Do list that I refresh and follow.
But then I find an idea from Conole (see above) that is key. The internet is a trip to the sea, it is somewhere to play and discover. We may require Lifeguards and laneropes but it remains largely an environment that can only be understood through engagement. You will get your face wet, you may get bitten by a crab.
To share this thinking I must go online, and cannot help myself.
For the last three months I click through Linkedin, reading and responding. For the next three it may be Stumbleupon, which through tricks and traits I find increasingly insightful, feeding me like a favourite aunt or uncle , the weirdness of the http://www.
Serendipity would be a better word for it.
I am rewarded by 25 minutes of browsing with ‘new finds’ that becomes stuff that I recommend which in turn obliges me to update my profile, might I even say ‘brand tag’ the finds as ‘mymindbursts’.
(I need two days off to take stock and write up some ten ore more blog entries. Draft I know will do, from my experience as a diarist, just enough to trigger a more expansive and reflecive entry)”.
To remind myself:
Monday 11th Livestream on Social Media Metrics from IET. Five presenters. All to write up from my notes and screengrabs, cushioned or suffocated by the ‘official’ word and slides that have since gone up.
Tuesday 12th Picklejar Social Media for HE in which Tracy Payle shares insights from a number of Universites and through activities tips my thinking upside down and shakes it out onto the conference room table. I come away enlightened and as I had wanted, more confident if mot emboldened.
Thursday 20th Faculty discussion on VLE and my experiences of The OU VLE to date. I take a look at the poster in the Post Room and discover a ‘common room’ I had been unaware of.
Think about your own learning – the resources and tools you use, where and when it takes place.
Early mornings from 4.00am, weekends, mornings only ’til 10.00 or so.
Occasionally some reading in the evening.
But vicariously too, in a conversation, or going for walk, say looking at pebbles and shell washed up on the shore, or the layers of deposits in a chalk cliff.
What is your experience of being a learner?
If I’m not learning something new or building on my knowledge I am bored. I’m staggered I survived formal learning, I found the Oxford approach tedious, skipped all lectures, and relied instead on libraries and Blackwells which could between them supply every book or journal I wanted.
I failed to get far with a correspondence course on writing.
I learn best with a mixture of doing, reading/workshops and further application. I can be inspired or frustrated by my peer group. They can be a vital part of the mix, a course I did across Europe having the most refreshing mix of people.
What tools and resources do you use?
I’m slowly getting it all down to the iPad for its speed to the web, then grabbing and pasting into websites that I use as folders, eportfolios, writer’s journal as well as open blogs. I also chuck things into my email folders to collate, aggregate or check through later.
What are your views on different technologies?
I make the time to try most things and will become temporarily hooked. Currently fixated on Linkedin, WordPress blogs and Stumbleupon.
Likely to read most content as an eBook putting notes into iWriter. This is in stark contrast to printing everything off a year ago then filing it.
Forever grabbing screenshots or taking pics that go from Picasa to Picasa Web and then into blogs.
Can you think of examples where technology has made a significant difference to the way you learn?
When I started the MAODE I fell back on methods I had used during A’ levels snd quickly filled several files.
A year on and I hold the iPad in my right hand and manage a kind of touchtyping with the other. I try not to rely on harddrives and memory sticks instead putting it online, increasingly as private or password protected entries in a number of blogs hat act as themes or categories.
I would worry about learning away from The OU and finding the VLE not up to scratch or being cut-off from fellow students.
Can you think of counter examples where you had a bad experience of a particular technology?
I hate Outlook and Excel.
I both instances I feel the nerd has taken over, that my mothball of a mnd is being shoe-horned into a match-box. Worse, My unregimented, freefalling, excitable mind is being containerised, my best thoughts quaterised. It disables some minds and enables the petty. These are to me like walking in crocodiles to the school dining hall; they are overly prescriptive.
I am starting to hate Word 2011 in favour of an iPad App, iWriter which is less like trying to write while dressed as a Morris Dancer and playing the Great Whurlitzer.
Interested in the potential of computers I joined an undergraduate group in 1983 but found having to learn programming was akin to sticking stamps onto envelopes with my toes.
I used interactive DVDs successfully to learn AdobePhotoshop, FilemakerPro and Dreamweaver.
Simply a voice talking through the screen shots then getting you to do the same. The next best thing to having someone sit at your side and be your guide.
All self-paced, vital as I might prefer to do 20 intensive hours in one shot rather than nibbling at it.
What did this do to your motivation for learning?
There must be intrinsic motivation.
How did you deal with the situation?
Giving up. Which I know now was unnecessary. Thinking my mind isn’t suited to a thing instead of tackling it.
Support is vital.
Some formal training, then support at your shoulder. Time to figure it out. Understanding as you get it wrong. Those expert at these things can be unsympathetic to new comers, assuming their knowledge, rather that helping or nuturing.
Had the motivation been there could I have found my own way into the technology I do wonder.
I love the intuitive, where the learning is self-directed and incremental. Anything that needs an instruction manual or behaves like the off-side rule will put me off.
I love the Sony flip. IT just does video. Like Google ‘just does search’.
Excessive bells and whistles should be offered as Apps to add later rather than being offered up front.
Visualing metaphors I use to explain learning online:
It is like the letter a …
- A dandelion in seed (Content online)
- The solar system (Social Media Networks)
- Drops of ink in water (Content online)
Akin to my ever changing Personal Learning Environment mindmap:
- Lichen (How your knowledge grows/links)
- Ball-bearings (Dependency and interaction)
- A map (layouts, representation)
- The water-cycle (Binary code as water molecules)
- A Catherine-wheel (Spinning beautifully then falling of its stand!)
- A glider riding a thermal (Personal development)
- Delibes, Lakme. (Music as metaphor. Dance. Entanglement. Rising)
- Learning to sight read music
- Soaring and bound
- Swimming pool (coaching/training)
Each might emphasise different aspects of the process: –
- What is being learnt
Ways of expressing yourself
- Shared experience
What artifacts (tools, resources, etc.) are being used?
Where and when things are happening
- MRI scan
- Engestrom’s activity systems
- Google Images
- David Mcandless
An hour and a half has been allocated to this; I have given in the best part of six. I may have nodded off (ill with a heavy cold) but I reckon my mind just goes into cruise mode continuing whatever I was doing, mostly skating my fingers around an ipad dipping into pools of mind-mashing stuff.
The Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) is to blame. At last we have a way to engage with the latest thinking even though the module was designed and written some years ago. We are asked to read and make notes in the 2011 Horizon Report from the New Medium Consortium. I’ve printed it off, but can see there would be no need just as soon as an A3 or Fulscap clipboard sized tablet is released.
I start by making notes in ‘notes’ on the ipad. In moments I feel a compulsion to Tweet some of this, and between url shortening and TweetDeck, then Linkedin and Facebook I fins I am sprinkling the electronic dust of enlightenment each way I can think.
Horizon 2011 (My Notes July 2011)
The world of work is increasingly collaborative driven by increasingly the global and cooperative nature of business. Horizon 2011
The challenges of privacy and control affect adoption and deployment. Horizon 2011.
Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance. Horizon 2011
The challenge is exacerbated by the fact that digital technologies morph and change so quickly at a rate that generally outpaces curriculum development. Horizon 2011
Reconciling new forms of scholarly activity with old standards continues to be difficult. Horizon 2011
New models of learning are presenting unprecedented competition to traditional models of the university. Horizon 2011
Keeping pace with the rapid proliferation of information, software tools, and devices is challenging for students snd teachers alike. horizon 2011
Given the plethora and wealth of user generated content … There is a greater need than ever for effective tools and filters for finding, interpreting, organizing, and retrieving the data that is important to us. Horizon 2011
Three horizon lines are offered:
E-books + note-taking, sharing, immersive engagement, changing our notion of what it means to read. (engagement)
Mobiles + everyone has one, access to affordable and reliable networks.+ increasdingly the first choice for Internet access.
Augmented reality (spotify, 4squared) an easy extension of expectations and practices. Horizon 2011
Game-based learning +to foster collaboration, problem-solving, and procedural thinking.
Gesture based computing
Our research indicates that all six of these technologies, taken together, will have a significant impact on learning-focused organizations within the next five years. Horizon 2011
My view is that they have been cautious over the pace and readiness for adopton; I find I am wedded to mobility, the dexterity, manipulability and versatility of an iPad. I churn though e-books in preference to TV as if the book was a new invetion. I read in multiple ways and sizes and speeds, skim reading, or takes notes, or just reading my notes and highlights. On long drives I wear a headset and let the book read itself to me. I find I take in sometning different, as if I’ve seen the bricks that construct the sentences and paragralhs, but now I’m getting the cement as a form of sense making.
As invited to do I click on http://www.Navigator.nmc.org and have been there ever since. I found my way here http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/ and have ventured into a dozen sites, ultmately downloading the App iWriter convinced by its sales blurb:
“iA Writer for Mac is a digital writing tool that makes sure that all your thoughts go into the text instead of the program. One of our goals was to create a writing app without settings. When opening Writer, all you can do is write. The only option you have is full screen and FocusMode. To increase the pleasure of writing is exactly what we intended when creating Writer. A better tool doesn’t make a better craftsman, but a good tool makes working a pleasure.”
and the quality of everything else I saw that the Information Architects (iA) team are doing.
Regarding the second adoption horizon I feel we are there. I had it explained to me at UCL on Tuesday and could immediately relate to it and indeed have stepped into that mode already a few times. While ‘game-based learning’ is very much my son’s world. I only permit the amount if time he is engage, because he is engaged, with a headset, in a team, constructing and deconstructing the worlds he is active in.
Which draws that horizon that is meant to be three or more years away far, far closer.
There is more reading yet to do. I cannot be. Told to read seven pages and then ignore the next 26. That’s like going to a recommended restaurant, having a lyrical starter then sitting around while everyone else indulges themselves on the main course.
Talking of restaurants, the other product I want from iA is there Web Trend Map. It uses the idea of restaurants to give weight to various web forces that are the given visual weighting and a spatial setting that overlays the Tokyo underground map.
From ‘The Spooky Art’
‘Over the years, I’ve found one rule. It is the only one I give on those occasions when I talk about writing.
It’s a simple rule
If you tell yourself you are going to be at your desk tomorrow, you are by that declaration asking your unconscious to prepare the material. You are, in effect, contracting to pick up such valuables at a given time.
Count on me
You are saying to a few forces below: I will be there to write.
The point is that you have to maintain trustworthy relations.
If you wake up in the morning with a hangover can cannot get to literary work, your unconscious, after a few such failures appear, will withdraw.’
‘If you are ready to look upon your unconscious as a curious and semi alienated presence in yourself with whom you have to maintain decent relations – if you are able to see yourself as some sort of careless general and picture the unconscious as your often unruly cohort of troops – then, obviously, you wouldn’t dare to keep those troops out in the rain too long; certainly not at the commencement of any serious campaign. On the contrary, you make a pact: “work for me, fight for me, and I will honour and respect you.”’
‘To repeat: The rule is that if you say to yourself you are going to write tomorrow, then it doesn’t matter how badly you’re hungover or how promising is a sudden invitation in the morning to do something more enjoyable. No, you go in dutifully, slavishly, and you work.
This injunction is wholly anti-romantic in spirit
But if you subject yourself to this impost upon yourself, this diktat to be dependable, then after a period of time – it an take weeks, or more – the unconscious, nursing its disappointments, may begin to trust you again.’
‘On the other hand, you can sometimes say to yourself, “I’m not going to work tomorrow,” and the unconscious may even by now be close enough in accord not to flood your mind with brilliant and all-too-perishable material.
That is also important
Because in the course of going out and having the lively day and night you’re entitled too, you don’t want to keep having ideas about the book you’re on. Indeed, if you are able on your day off to avoid the unpleasant condition of being swarmed with thoughts about a work-in-progress when there is no pen in your hand, then you’ve arrived at one of the disciplines of a real writer. ‘
He wraps it up:
‘The rule in capsule
If you fail to show up in the morning after you vowed that you would be at your desk as you went to sleep last night, then you will walk around with ants in your brain.
Rule of thumb
Restlessness of mind can be measured by the number of promises that remain unkempt.’