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Are passion and experimentation key to e-learning? This is one of the most influential books on learning today – what titles for a cover-to-cover read can you recommend?

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While studying for a Masters in Open and Distance Learning (MAODE) with the Open University I love to have one or more books on the go to read from cover to cover. Courtesy of the eBook formst, as I read I highlight, bookmark, makes notes and share excerpts on Twitter @JJ27VV and @mymindbursts. Sections highlighted by other readers are indicated too making the reading process less of the private, isolated affair it was in the past.

When it comes to e-learning there are a handful of must-read books, such as his one. What have you come across that you would recommend?

For web 2.0 e-learning the mantra should be ‘play, play, play’ – to adapt the Movie making adage ‘the script, the script, the script’.

Richardson (2005), ‘Students’ approaches to learning and teachers’ approaches to teaching in higher education’.

This short, clear, bulleted article is the most straightforward and possibly most valuable text I’ve come across in the 14 months of the Masters in Open and Distance Education that I have thus far done.

No doubt its clarity is in part a product of my improved understanding and more extensive experience gained during this period; it slots into place.

Learning a foreign language (French) I described fluency being akin to a fog lifting; it became clearer and intuitive. I wonder if I am approaching that point with online learning? Not that certainty is possible,

I’ll return to Richardson often.

The assignment at the end of May draws on learning methods (theory) based on learning practice in Block 2. This is a valuable opportunity to return to theories on learning activities (Engestrom) which I interpreted as a complex game of chess, setting it up with Lewis Chess pieces on a large piece of MDF. It’ll also mark a return to ideas of metaphor in learning (Sfard).

Within the Masters in Open and Distance Education there are tailored loops and returns to core content; just as well, otherwise I’d sign up to revisit modules I’ve enjoyed so much and from which I want to get so much more. 14 months on I am not the postgraduate of February 2010 whose learning methods were 1970s/1980s A’level and undergraduate surface learning rather than deep learning.

Passionate about the 2011 publication ‘A new culture of learning’ from John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas so much so that I’m exploring new ways to engage with content in an e-reader. Clicking through the pages in reverse (as I read the Sunday papers) is one. By selecting a larger font the information is presented in bite-size chunks, almost like a set or cards. The other trick is to take a key word and step through each time this is covered – play, a key part of the thesis, occurs over 160 times. For e-learning design the mantra is ‘activities, activities, activities’, for web2 2.0 it ought to read ‘play, play, play’.


Love your memories in a blog

I thought 500 page views was a landmark, then 1000. There has been steady growth to 10,000. It went crazy for a week in April with 1,000 views a day then settled back to 150-250 day. Whose counting? Basic analytics are a form of recognition, even reward for the blogger. 50,000 is a biggy that has taken 14 months to achieve. 100,000 is unlikely within the Masters in Open & Distance Education, though a MRes, another module in the MAODE (because it interests me so much) or a MBA are all of interest for later in the year and all would be blogged upon right here.

Are you saying something worthwhile to this audience?

Even if I feel the PC Screen is a mirror and I’m writing this for my benefit first as a reference I can return to later: what did I think? Where is that quote? Where was I in the learning process? Aren’t I glad I’ve moved on! Editing old entries, bringing them up-to-date develops this. As Nabokov wrote,

“I think it is all a matter of love: the more you love a memory, the stronger and stranger it is.” Nabakov

Read Backwards

e-Reading ‘A New Culture of Learning’ backwards in a large font isolating interesting gems I may have missed. Also reading it by search word; ‘play’ works and is appropriate with over 160 mentions.

I liken this to panning for gold.

Once I’ve done this a few times typing out notes may be irrelevant; I’ll know it. ‘Play as the new form of learning?’

One final thought. Two decades ago I liken learning to a nurturing process, of an educator/teacher or course designer/principal sprinkling water on the heads of students buried like heads of lettuce emerging from the ground.

This no longer works for me.

What I now see are kids in a large paddling pool having fun and making up games with toys offered to them by supporting parents and older siblings.

The mantra for e-learning is ‘activity, activity, activity’, perhaps it ought to be ‘play, play, play’; that’s what you’ll come away with if you read John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas ‘A New Culture of Learning; cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change.’

(50100)

Blog for your life … and love it.

I thought 500 page views was a landmark, then 1000. There has been steady growth to 10,000. It went crazy for a week in April with 1,000 views a day then settled back to 150-250 day. Whose counting? Basic analytics are a form of recognition, even reward for the blogger. 50,000 is a biggy that has taken 14 months to achieve. 100,000 is unlikely within the Masters in Open & Distance Education, though a MRes, another module in the MAODE (because it interests me so much) or a MBA are all of interest for later in the year and all would be blogged upon right here.

Are you saying something worthwhile to this audience?

Even if I feel the PC Screen is a mirror and I’m writing this for my benefit first as a reference I can return to later: what did I think? Where is that quote? Where was I in the learning process? Aren’t I glad I’ve moved on! Editing old entries, bringing them up-to-date develops this. As Nabokov wrote,

“I think it is all a matter of love: the more you love a memory, the stronger and stranger it is”

Read Backwards

e-Reading ‘A New Culture of Learning’ backwards in a large font isolating interesting gems I may have missed. Also reading it by search word; ‘play’ works and is appropriate with over 160 mentions.

I liken this to panning for gold.

Once I’ve done this a few times typing out notes may be irrelevant; I’ll know it. ‘Play as the new form of learning?’

One final thought. Two decades ago I liken learning to a nurturing process, of an educator/teacher or course designer/principal sprinkling water on the heads of students buried like heads of lettuce emerging from the ground.

This no longer works for me.

What I now see are kids in a large paddling pool having fun and making up games with toys offered to them by supporting parents and older siblings.

The mantra for e-learning is ‘activity, activity, activity’, perhaps it ought to be ‘play, play, play’; that’s what you’ll come away with if you read John Seely Brown and Douglas Thomas ‘A New Culture of Learning; cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change.’


Diffusion of Innovations – Picking this up a year ago at the start of the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) I couldn’t relate to it.

I hadn’t enough experience of ‘e-moderators’, the term Gilly Salmon uses for Tutors (also Associate Lecturers). A year on I appreciate the complexity of the role, and potentially the considerable demand on their time and efforts to help us students sing – it can’t always happen. If we are a choir, then at times we have to learn to practice in small groups in our own time.

‘E-tivities’ is a must read at any time. You may not agree with the five-stage approach to online learning but I’d go this route until you know better from experience; i.e. play a game that has rules and works before you make up your own.

It should be a game. It should be playful.

It can be. It often is. I don’t tinker away at the QWERTY keyboard like this if I didn’t enjoy it; as Andrew Sullivan puts it, this is jazz. These ideas the latest from John Seely Brown. Remember in his lecture to the Open University he described it as ‘Bringing Coals to Newcastle’ (Week 1 or 3, H800).

That is respect for the Open University who remain the leaders worldwide.

As Lord Putnam, the OU Chancellor put it, ‘It’s as if the Open University was waiting for the Internet’. From TV and Radio, with books, videos and CDs sent out computer-based and now e-learning was and is pioneered right here.

More of this then.

And I’ve made a start on this, the seminal John Seely Brown publication:

I do like a good read, something cover to cover (though these days as a e-book, it does make highlighting and note taking massively easier). And we want to share what we think about what these guys say? I put my notes in the OU e-portfolio My Stuff so could/can share pages from there. Just ask.

I can’t be bothered with this:

I read three chapters nd skimmed through the rest.

I was working in a Brighton-based web-agency in 2000. Ten years ago I would have sung from it. A decade on I find it vacuous hype that occasionally gets it right but often does not.

That said, there are books that I dismiss the first time I look, but can be brought back to sing its praises. Another must read, especially for H807 ‘Innovations in E-learning’ is Roger’s ‘Diffusion of Innovations‘.

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