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Data, Analytics and Learning

Data, Analytics and Learning

From E-Learning V

Fig.1. EdX MOOC – right up my street (MOOC = Massive Open Online Course).

These, like the NHS, are ‘free at the point of delivery’ – they are free and online with often, potentially at least, a huge enrolment – though this collapses on the heavyweight longer courses such as the above to around 5%. FutureLearn with its three week ‘lite’ format is retaining 22% of those who register.

They are free, but the US ‘Open Learn’ courses don’t half use the opportunity to sell you at every turn on the idea of making a contribution, or purchasing a badge, certificate or even a formal assessment. It shouldn’t feel like one of those holiday timeshare things or a ‘free’ trip to a traditional Turkish village where you are flogged carpets.

Might the supply of free online learning of this calibre threaten traditionally courses entirely?

H817 on Open Learning, a new MAODE module, is, in various alternative forms offered online. Here with George Siemens, now at the University of Texas. This would be no different to Martin Weller turning up at Harvard and offering a version of H817 or some of the other MAODE modules on the EdX MOOC platform.

The connectedness of ideas by learning online – towards a new theory of learning

From E-Learning V

Fig.1. This IMHO is what learning has become in the 21st century – and how it got there

There’s more going on here than you may realise!

From E-Learning V

Fig.2. Traditional top down learning

Two triangles, one above the other and linked with a down arrow suggests traditional top down learning … or simply knowledge transfer from someone who knows something to someone who does not.

From E-Learning V

Fig. 3 By someone’s side

Two triangles, one facing the other, may represent a shift towards collaborative or horizontal learning in a formal setting, though for me it represents the learning you do away from the institution – with friends, with family ‘on the same level’ as it were.

From E-Learning V

Fig. 4. Participatory and situated, networked learning on the periphery

From E-Learning V

Fig.5 The thinking starts with Vygotsky and his research into behaviorist learning

It then progressed to the study and analysis of learning in communities

From E-Learning V

Fig. 6. Activity Theory as conceived of and developed by Yrjo Engeström. 

From E-Learning V

Fig.7 The interplay between two entities or communities coming together to solve a problem and thus producing something unique to them both (object 3) – a fresh idea.

From E-Learning V

Fig.8. Activity Theory re-connected – breaking out

Though developed over some thirty years the structure of ‘Activity Theory’ as a model is breaking down because of the quality, speed and way in which we now connect overrides barriers and invades silos making communication more direct and immediate.

From E-Learning V

Fig. 9 Activity Theory in a connected world

Everyone and everything is just a click away.

From E-Learning V

Fig.10 Visualizing the maelström of original ideas generated by people sharing their thoughts and ideas as they form

The maelström of new ideas where people and groups collide and interact. Historically this had been in grounded ‘communities of practice’, whether a London coffee shop or the senior common room of a prestigious university, the lab, the studio, the rehearsal room … today some gatherings online are frequent, enabled by the Internet and no less vibrant as like-minds and joiners contribute to the generation of new ideas.

This, drawing on Engestrom via Vygotsky, might be a more academic expression of Open Learning. Here a host of systems, expressed in model form, interpose their drive to achieve certain objectives into the common whole. That mess in the middle is the creation of the collective powers and inputs of individuals, groups, departments or institutions. The Open bit are the connections between any node in one system, and any other node from any other one of the systems … which blows apart the actions within a single system, making them more open, though not random.

From E-Learning V

Fig. 11 It’s going on inside your head.

fMRI scans reveal the complex way in which ideas form and memories are recalled and mixed-up, challenged and re-imagined. We are our very own ‘community of practice’ of conflicting and shared viewpoints.

From E-Learning V

Fig.11. Perceiving brain activity as the interplay between distinct, interacting zones

From E-Learning V

Fig. 12 Ideas enter your system, your brain and are given a fresh spin

From E-Learning V

Fig.13 Ideas coalesce until you reach a point of understanding. The penny doesn’t so much as ‘drop’ as to form.

Where would we be without one of these. 98 billion neurons. A uniquely connected mass of opportunity and potential. This is where, of course, memories are formed and thoughts had. Increasingly we are able to share ideas and thoughts as we have them, typically through the tips of our fingers by sharing our thinking online, especially where it comes to the attention of like-minds, and troubled-minds – anyone in fact or strongly agrees or strongly disagrees enough to contribute by adding their thinking and revealing their presence.

The importance of digital literacy in learning online

Fig. 1. Mozilla Webmaker Digital Literacy Map

Learning online for a degree means that over a number of modules, sooner rather than later, you are likely to master a number of these digital literacy skills; the more the better.

Navigation, search and credibility and vital for any student. Can you find your way around the web and your university’s virtual library, the student forum and Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)? Can you search elsewhere for credible results – remembering to tag and cite these?

Learning online you may never need to code, but other ‘building’ skills are important; the basics of this blogging platform for a start, remixing and re-blogging and accessibility issues.

Connecting might be the most important skill and habit to acquire: sharing, collaboration and community participation are what make the Open University learning experience so special. ‘Connectivity’ is considered by academics such as George Siemens to be the learning theory of the 21st century; that by taking part, connecting and commenting you and others benefit from the insights gained, mistakes corrected, problems solved, issues understood, theories tested …

While ‘openness’ is a state of mind that takes a bit of getting used to; some make feel it is ‘exposure’ or compromising their privacy. Others simply prefer to get on with a task alone, and therefore with less disturbance. You can see that I am an exponent of openness and connectivity.

‘If you’re not lost and confused in a MOOC you are probably doing something wrong’


Photo credit: Robin Good

 

‘MOOCs indicate that we are seeing a complexification of wishes and needs’ – so we need a multispectrum view of what universities do in society. George Siemens, (18:51 25th March 2013).

 

A terrific webinar hosted by Martin Weller with George Siemens speaking. Link to the recorded event and my notes to follow.

I took away some key reasons why OER has a future:

 

  1. Hype between terrifying and absurd.
  2. State reduction in funding will see a private sector rise.
  3. Increase in rest of world’s desire for HE OER
  4. Certificates growing.
  5. The Gap
  6. Accelerating time to completion
  7. Credit and recognition for students who go to the trouble to gain the competencies.
  8. Granular learning competencies and the gradual learning and badging to stitch together competencies.

 

And a final thought from the host:

‘If you’re not lost and confused in a MOOC  you are probably doing something wrong’.  Martin Weller (18:45 25th March 2013)

Which rather means I may be doing something wrong!

I posted to Linkedin, I am neither confused, nor lost. Indeed I have a great sense of where I am and what is going on, have met old online friends and am making new contacts and enjoy using two of my favourite platforms: Google+ and WordPress.  (All the fun’s at H817open)

 

A selection of papers are proving enlightening too:

 

1) John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health OpenCourseWare (2009) Kanchanaraksa, Gooding, Klass and Yager.

 

2) The role of CSCL pedagogical patterns as mediating artefacts for repurposing Open Educational Resources (2010) Conole, McAndrew & Dimitriadis

 

3) A review of the open educational resources (OER) movement: Achievements, challenges, and new opportunities. Report to The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

 

I’ll post a 500 word review of the above shortly as per H817open Activity 7.

The value is both expanding the reasons for OER as well as having a handful of objections, negatives and concerns. Like all things regarding e-learning, they is no panacea for putting in the time and effort.

And a couple of others that look interesting:

 

Disruptive Pedagogies and Technologies in Universities (2012)  Anderson and McGreal

 

Open education resources: education for the world? (2012) Richter and McPherson

 

Faced with information overload what do you do? Read everything, read nothing or get organised?

Fig. 1. George Siemens on how he manages information on the internet

From the University of Athabasca blog ‘The Landing’.

I’d express it differently. I’d visualise concentric circles, a whirlpool or spiral. Perhaps a Catherine-Wheel? I have kept a diary since 1975 and a blog since 1999. These serve multiple purposes – by default I am the family archivist. My own interest is in the ‘Digital Brain’ – how to enhance memory recall, idea creation, problem solving and knowledge sharing. I think each person needs to find their own behaviour. Just as my desk is tidy, with things in drawers, a shelf or in the bin, my wife’s study is (from my perspective) akin to the bin – nothing ever comes out that goes in. We dare not mess with each other’s spaces.

I blog the lot. I use the blogs as e-portfolios – tagged and titled the stuff is there. As soon as possible I blogify this content into a thought, or flesh out and credit any notes. I aim to avoid copyright by holding such content locked, citing stuff I do use and writing a good deal of fresh content myself.

I never believed in the chronology of the blog. Even in 2001 my blog was sorted by theme, not year or month or day. Once I got to 500 entries I added an ‘Enter@Random’ button and expected each entry, even if written daily, to stand alone. I’d learn from keeping a diary what a bore those can be unless you can find the juicy bits i.e.  titles, tags and themes.

I’m currently on a journey of reflection through 33 months of studying with the Open University – some 2000 blog posts maintained as an e-portfolio, student’s diary, activity-collator, assignment preparation, shared reflection, community-chat, journal, student socialising mind-dump.

A self-constructed resource that like the Livingstone Daisy opens its petals when I shine a light on it – I thought I could pick through key educators, authors and influencers from this in an hour or so, I find it is taking days. Then again, picking through 500,000 – 1 million words (wild estimate based on my blogging habits of the last decade).

I rarely look at my diaries and never reread for at least 15 years. The process of uploading to a blog sounds like a retirement activity – but I’ll never retire. A tin box and bury them in the garden then?

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