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A ‘conversational approach’ to learning

Conversational Approach (Laurillard, 2002) This looks at the on-going learner-teacher interaction, and at the process of negotiation of views of the subject-matter which takes place between them in such a way as to modify the learner’s perceptions. From this she develops a set of criteria for the judgement of teaching/learning systems, particularly those based on educational technology.

http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/constructivist.html

http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/pask.html

http://www.learning-theories.com/constructivism.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

 

H809 Tutor Marked Assignment QQs on scope, sense cam and blogging

Blogging

The idea of looking behind blogging came from the reading … but did I reference it???

i.e that innovations never occur in isolation, there was always something else beforehand.

The mistake we all make is to assume that innovations land on a pristine landscape and we react with typically human surprise at this new marvel that will either revolutionise or destroy everything. I need to remember where I read that!

Something on innovations … eeek.

It does matter though, with blogs there is clearly a history of

a) keeping a diary

b) citizen journalism in the form of leaflets and ‘letters to the editor’

c) authors keeping a writer’s journal and

b) scientists and explorers keeping a formal ‘log’.

That and human nature to write stuff down – well, at least 1% of the population do, which gives the other 99% something to read.

Life Logging

Sense Cam came out of the efforts of Gordon Bell, now 81, and for the last 10 years head of research at Microsoft.

He got it into his head to digitise everything and then wear a gadget around his neck to capture even more. This seems moronic and his own writing isn’t academic, more a memoir, but others, Microsoft and University of Southampton, have pressed on. The Sense Cam is a fag-packet sized device you hang around your neck – a camera with a light and sound sensor, then triggers the taking of a picture as you go about your daily business (could be awkward). At the end of the day these pictures are downloaded and software filters the stuff.

Southampton (WebSciences) have examples of this.

You can now buy a SenseCam made by Microsoft and various Microsoft Research Labs are trying them out. The hope is that in time such a device will help support those with dementia or any kind of memory fade … the evidence from Southampton illustrate Ebbinghaus’s ‘Forgetting Curve’ – how we forget stuff pretty fast over days/weeks against use of various methods, including a Sense Cam. It does appear, naturally, that looking back regularly at a set of carefully selected pictures (I think there has be human intervention for obvious reasons) the patient/student subject is far better able to recall, retain, and therefore I presume to restore and ‘fix’ memories better.

I am starting to wonder if a person is indicating for Alzheimer’s or some such that they might use such a device ?

Or the Google Glass device to do the same thing. If I were a first year medical student doing my disection I’d like to use a sense cam to personalise a record of the activity, for example.

If I go down the blogging route ‘is blogging a valid activity for student assessment’ is far too broad while ‘Can blogging by students of journalism writing in English in Hong Kong be used as a formal part of assessment’ might be doable. Off the top of my head here, but let’s say there are 4 to 6 colleges where such a course is offered in Hong Kong …

So what about a geographically defined study?

China might be problematic due to restrictions on use of the Internet (and its vast size). Perhaps Poland!? Somewhere where the numbers aren’t huge. Then again, doesn’t it depend on the methods and tools you use? I am struck by this stuff they call ‘Big Data’ where a cohort of 10,000 on an Open Course (this at Stanford using Coursera) can reveal the nuances of ‘poor teaching’ – where in the past 1 or 2 students made the same mistake it goes unnoticed, but when 2000 students make the very same mistake then there’s clearly something wrong with the course.

To use Diana Laurillard’s apt phrase ‘it depends’. (don’t ask me where or when she said it, if you know, please tell me so that I can reference it correctly).

 

Reflection on keeping an e-learning blog for 1,000 days

Fig. 1. The Open University’s Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE).

Expressed as a Wordle. A personal collection of key influencers based on those tagged in this blog. Includes my own reading and indulgences.

On Friday, at midday, my ou student blog reached a significant milestone.

I’ve been at it for 33 months. I’ve blogged the best part of FIVE modules now – most of which required or invited some use of the blog platform (or another). It required little encouragement – I used to keep a diary and have found since 1999 that in their digital form they are an extraordinarily versatile way to gather, consider, share and develop ideas.

Modules 

  • H807 – Innovations in e-Learning
  • H808 – Technology Enhanced Learning: Practices and debate
  • H800 – The e-Learning Professional
  • B822 – Creativity, Innovation & Change
  • H810 – Accessibility online learning: supporting disabled students

The investment in time, on average, an hour a day in addition to – though sometimes instead of coursework over 1000+ days.

(This excludes 8 months I spent on the Masters in Open and Distance Learning in 2001)

To mark this event, and as I need to go through this online diary, this e-journal, this ‘web-log’ (as they were also once momentarily called) ahead of some exciting meetings coming up next week I thought a simple task might be to click through the tags to identify who have been the key influencers in my reading and thinking over the last two and a half years.

Fig.2. Another way of looking at it. Betham, Conole and Weller are key MOADE authors from the Open University. John Seely Brown is a vital undercurrent, Engestrom one of several enthusiasms like Vygostky. While Gagne, second hand hardback, needs to be on your desk for frequent reference.

What I thought would take an hour has taken nearly 40 hours.

Clicking on a tag opens a corner of my head, the notes take me back to that day, that week, that assignment or task. It also takes me back to the discussions, resources and papers. And when I find an error the proof-reader in me has to fix. Aptly, as we approach November 5th, and living in Lewes where there are marches and fireworks from late October for a couple of weeks peaking of course all evening on the 5th, my head feels as if someone has accidentally set light to a box of assorted fireworks.

Just as well. Meetings these days are like a viva voce with eager ears and probing questions – they want the content of my mind and whatever else I bring to the subject after thirty years in corporate training and communications.

Fig. 3. Wordle allows you to say how many words you want to include in the mix. To create weight I had to repeat the names I consider most important twice, three or four times in the list. I also removed first names as these would scattered into the mix independently like peppercorns in a pan of vegetable stock.

The Task

  • List all authors who have been part of my learning and thinking over the last couple of years.
  • Include authors that my antennae have picked up that are relevant to my interest in learning, design, the moving image and the english language.
  • Visualise this and draw some conclusions

Fig.4. This even makes the key protagonists look like an advertising agency Gagne, BeethamConole and Weller.

The Outcome

I can never finish. Take this morning. I stumble upon my notes on three case studies on the use of e-portfolios from H807 which I covered from February 2010-September 2010. To begin with I feel compelled to correct the referencing in order to understand the value, pertinence and good manners (let alone the legal duty) to cite things correctly. (Even though this post was locked – a ‘private’ dump of grabs and my thoughts).

Then I add an image or two.

These days I feel a post requires a visual expression of its contents to open and benefits from whatever other diagrams, charts or images you can conjure from your mind or a Google Search – ‘the word’ + images creative commons – is how I play it.

Fig. 5. From David Oglivy’s book ‘Ogilvy on advertising’ – a simple suggestion – a striking image, a pertinent headline and always caption the picture. Then write your body copy.

A background in advertising has something to do with this and the influence of David Ogilvy.

I spend over two hours on the first of three case studies in just one single post. At the time I rubbished e-portfolios. The notes and references are there. Tapped back in I can now make something of it. A second time round the terms, the ideas – even some of the authors are familiar. It makes for an easier and relevant read. What is more, it is current and pertinent. A blog can be a portfolio – indeed this is what I’d recommend.

From time to time I will have to emerge from this tramp through the jungle of my MAODE mind.

Not least to work, to sleep, to cook and play.

Fig. 6. In a word

Along the way this behaviour, these actions, me being me, has found me working at the Open University for a year, and then at Lumesse a global corporate e-learning company. In the last month two international organisations have had me in, in the last week four more have been in touch online including interest from Australia, France and North America. Next week a magical triad may occur when I broker a collaboration between two of them with me holding their respective hands to initiate a project. There could be no better validation for the quality, depth, impact and life-changing consequences of seeing this OU degree through.

On verra (we will see)

USEFUL LINKS

Wordle

Date duration calculator

REFERENCE

Gagne, R.N. (1965) Conditions of Learning : Holt, Rinehart and Winston

Characterising effective eLearning (sic) resources

Littlejohn, Falconer, Mcgill (2008)

Pressented in July 2006, accepted in august 2006 and published in August 2007 or 2008 referencing research and papers written between 1990 and 2004.

Digital assets: a single item, image, video or podcast.
Information objects: a structured aggregation of digital assets designed purely to present information.
Learning activities: tasks involving interactions with information to attain a specific learning outcome.
Learning design: structured sequences of information and learning activities to promote learning.

Learning Brief: where it all begins where a client has a need, a problem to solve or opportunity to pursue, with an idea of the desired outcome, a budget, schedule and idea of resources that can be drn upon or that will have to be created.

conceptualization: source information.
construction: repurpose anduse in learner’s context.
integration: develop and use to inform others.

From Laurillard’s 2002 Model (a bias for tertiary education).

An example of a PowerPoint presentation and its slides are given (only because, even in 2006, other forms of versatile, easily manipulated content were not readily available).

narrative: downloaded by a student
communicative: for discussion (synchronous, asynchronous, cohort, faculty, student body and beyond)
interactive: searched, scanned (engaged, play)
adaptive: (which Littlejohn et al give as editing, so reworking within the set, rather than adding anything new)
productive: taking a constructed module PowerPoint (blog, video, animation, gallery photos, quotes, grabs, snips, apps) and repurposing (mashup) (Which I would call adaptive
productive: (which Littlejohn al called prodcutive in 2008 but I would call creative)

Resources: representation of knowledge by format and medium, flexibility and cost. With ease of manipulation and interaction key.

pure
combined
adapted

reject Lego metaphor of learning blocks

––––

1 Easily sourced
2 Durable
3 Maintained
4 Accessible
5 Free from legal limitations
6 Quality assured
7 Appropriate cost
8 Resizeable
9 Easily repurposed
10 Meaningful
11 Engages the learner
12 Intelligible

Various metaphors have been applied and can be applied, like building with Lego blocks (xxxx) though possibly like Technics where each piece has a set of actions. Pegler (xxxx)

Like a chemist combining chemicals to form atoms Wiley (2001)

Towards dynamic resources (less bespoke, more off the shelf, like sets of Apps that work in a designed sequence to produce a managed set of learning outcomes).
Constructivist (limited in precision training that requires specific, measurable outcomes in terms of changed behaviours).
Ownership (not personal learning environments, so much as personalised learning environments. Depends on the person’s habits, choices and opportunities – pc, Mac, laptop or desktop, tablet and/or Smartphone; then choices regarding software tools within or married to the learning management system. Word, graphics, draw, charts, video, pics).
Their use in context is key (the instution, course, level, cohort, location).

Like early car or computer manufacturer, become mass produced, trying to be lean, less a conveyor belt than a professional kitchen putting out a variety of courses to clients who are largelly, within their respective contexts, demanding the same thing.

1999 bike shops turning to motorbikes and motorvehicles.
2000 bespoke, artisans, one offs, the Cistein Chapel.

Littlejohn, Falconer, Mcgill (2008) Characterising effective eLearning (sic) resources

Nine types of learning, starting with: indulgent, aspirational, applied and compulsory.

Indulgent Learning

There are all kinds of words for this and I’d like to find one that is non-commital. The OU calls it ‘recreational learning’ for those doing it, what, ‘for a bit of a laugh’, and if as an indulgence, so what – it’s their money. There are many shades of ‘indulgence’ which has to include at one end of the spectrum ‘inspired’ – the person who learns with such passion and obsession that it may appear to some as indulgent but because the person is motivated serendipty may take this indulgence into a career (or at least a life-style). In any case, what’s wrong with learning? Surely watching TV passively is more indulgent, or learning to become an expert at a game?

Aspirational Learning

Here the person aspires to be (dangerous), or to do (better) something and requires (professions) or understands it would be useful to have and to demonstrate a skill or knowledge. The motivation may be extrinsic, but he desire to get on, to secure work you feel informed about or even enjoy is a healthy aspiration.

Applied Learning

Perhaps this follows on from these first two – if you turn professional or get them job then further learning on the subject that is your work has the benefit of being applied, it develops your confidence, raises your skills, allows you to take on new challenges.

Compulsory Learning

Not necessarily the worst form, I have to look at elements of military training in time of war or conflict and whether compulsory or not they serve a practical purpose – kill or be killed (or in current parlance, ‘keep the peace’). For a student at school to feel the subject they are studying is compulsory the motivation is slight, no love for it, that intrinsic fire has been put out. The extrinsic motivation – the cane or class prize may work for some.

I only came up with a set of descriptors of my own as I read ‘Preparing for blended learning’ Pegler (2009) for the third time in a wholy different setting than when I read it first as a returning student of e-learning two years ago unsure if I’d find my way into an e-learning role, a year ago when I found myself at the hub of distance and e-learning, The OU, (though not in an e-learning role) and now two and half years on, where I started this journey over a decade ago – in Brighton in one of the many leading, international e-learning companies where modules are created for multinationals, blue chips, Fortune 100, FTSE 100 and Governmente Departments.

I feel like a child who has spent years learning a foreign language and this week went to a country where the language is the mother tongue (I’m getting this from a daughter who has done three years of Spanish and finally made it to Madrid last week and overnight wants to make it an A’ Level choice). I know the language of e-learning. I can, understandably, ‘talk the talk.

Now I get to see how to do it effectively, winning the trust of clients, collaborating with an array of skilled colleagues to take an idea, or problem or objective, and create something that works and can be scrutinised in a way that is rarely done at academic levels for effectiveness – a pass isn’t good enough, for some ‘modules’ 100% compliance is required. Do you want people running nuclear power stations, our trains … or banks (ahem) to get it wrong?

Turning back to the books then I am going to spend the rest of the week looking out for some of the following. I imagine the practised learning designers have the outcomes in the back of their mind rather than the descriptors given here. Across the projects I am working on I want to see how many of the following I can spot. And like learning a language (I eventually cracked French and recall this phenonmenon) the fog will slowly clear and it will come fluently.

Laurillard’s Conversational Model (2001).

1. Assimilative: mapping, Brainstorming, Buzzwords, Crosswords, Defining, Mind maps, Web search Adaptive. Process narrative information (reading books, e–books, attending talks, lectures and classroom teaching, watching a video or TV, including YouTube listening to the radio or a podcast). Then manage this information by taking notes (which may be blogged or managed in an e–portfolio or any old-fashioned exercise book or arch–level file).

2. Adaptive: Modelling. Where the learning environment changes based in the learner’s actions, such as simulations or computer games.

3. Communicative: reasoning, Arguing, Coaching, Debate, Discussion, Fishbowl, lce-breaker, Interview, Negotiation, On-the-spot questioning, Pair dialogues, Panel discussion, Peer exchange, Performance, Question and answer, Rounds, Scaffolding, Socratic instruction, Short answer, Snowball, Structured debate, discussion, ice–breaker, debate face–to–face or online (and therefore synchronous and asynchronous)

4. Productive: Assignment, Book report, Dissertation/thesis, Drill and practice, Essay, Exercise, Journaling, Presentation, Literature review, Multi-choice questions, Puzzles, Portfolio, Product, Report/paper, Test, Voting, creating something, from an essay to a blog, a written paper in an exam and sundry diagrams, drawings, video, sculptures. Whatever is produced as an outcome from the learning activity? (Increasingly created online to share on a platform: blog, audio podcast, animation, photo gallery, video and any combination or ‘mash–up’ of these).

5. Experiential: study, Experiment, Field trip, Game, Role play, Scavenger hunt, Simulation, interactive problem solving from a field trip to a role–play. Creative Problem Solving techniques might include Heroes, Human Sculpture, and Time Line).

REFERENCE

Pegler, C (2009). Preparing for Blended e-Learning (Connecting with E-learning) (Kindle Locations 2442-2444). Taylor & Francis. Kindle Edition.

Conole, G (2007) ‘Describing learning activities and tools and resources to guide practice’, in H. Beetham and R. Sharpe (eds) Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age: Designing and Delivering e-Learning, London: Routledge, (reformatted)

Laurillard’s Conversational Model of learning – and my thoughts on ‘modes’ of learning from ‘indulgent’ to ‘applied’.

Indulgent Learning

There are all kinds of words for this and I’d like to find one that is non-commital. The OU calls it ‘recreational learning’. There are many shades of ‘indulgence’ which has to include at one end of the spectrum ‘inspired’ – the person who learns with such passion and obsession that it may appear to some as indulgent but because the person is motivated serendipty may take this indulgence into a career (or at least a life-style). In any case, what’s wrong with learning?

Surely watching TV passively is more indulgent, or learning to become an expert at a game?

Aspirational Learning

Here the person aspires to be (dangerous), or to do (better) something and requires (professions) or understands it would be useful to have and to demonstrate a skill or knowledge. The motivation may be extrinsic, but he desire to get on, to secure work you feel informed about or even enjoy is a healthy aspiration.

Applied Learning

Perhaps this follows on from these first two – if you turn professional or get them job then further learning on the subject that is your work has the benefit of being applied, it develops your confidence, raises your skills, allows you to take on new challenges.

Compulsory Learning

Not necessarily the worst form, I have to look at elements of military training in time of war or conflict and whether compulsory or not they serve a practical purpose – kill or be killed (or in current parlance, ‘keep the peace’). For a student at school to feel the subject they are studying is compulsory the motivation is slight, no love for it, that intrinsic fire has been put out. The extrinsic motivation – the cane or class prize may work for some.

I only came up with a set of descriptors of my own as I read ‘Preparing for blended learning’ Pegler (2009) for the third time in a wholy different setting than when I read it first as a returning student of e-learning two years ago unsure if I’d find my way into an e-learning role, a year ago when I found myself at the hub of distance and e-learning – The Open University and now two and half years on, where I started this journey over a decade ago – in Brighton.

I feel like a child who has spent years learning a foreign language and this week went to a country where the language is the mother tongue. I know the language of e-learning. I can, understandably, ‘talk the talk.

Now I get to see how to do it effectively, winning the trust of clients, collaborating with an array of skilled colleagues to take an idea, or problem or objective, and create something that works and can be scrutinised in a way that is rarely done at academic levels for effectiveness – a pass isn’t good enough, for some ‘modules’ 100% compliance is required. Do you want people running nuclear power stations, our trains … or banks (ahem) to get it wrong?

Turning back to the books then I am going to spend the rest of the week looking out for some of the following. I imagine the practised learning designers have the outcomes in the back of their mind rather than the descriptors given here. Across the projects I am working on I want to see how many of the following I can spot. And like learning a language (I eventually cracked French and recall this phenonmenon) the fog will slowly clear and it will come fluently.

Laurillard’s Conversational Model (2001).

1. Assimilative: mapping, Brainstorming, Buzzwords, Crosswords, Defining, Mind maps, Web search Adaptive. Process narrative information (reading books, e–books, attending talks, lectures and classroom teaching, watching a video or TV, including YouTube listening to the radio or a podcast). Then manage this information by taking notes (which may be blogged or managed in an e–portfolio or any old-fashioned exercise book or arch–level file).

2. Adaptive: Modelling. Where the learning environment changes based in the learner’s actions, such as simulations or computer games.

3. Communicative: reasoning, Arguing, Coaching, Debate, Discussion, Fishbowl, lce-breaker, Interview, Negotiation, On-the-spot questioning, Pair dialogues, Panel discussion, Peer exchange, Performance, Question and answer, Rounds, Scaffolding, Socratic instruction, Short answer, Snowball, Structured debate, discussion, ice–breaker, debate face–to–face or online (and therefore synchronous and asynchronous)

4. Productive: Assignment, Book report, Dissertation/thesis, Drill and practice, Essay, Exercise, Journaling, Presentation, Literature review, Multi-choice questions, Puzzles, Portfolio, Product, Report/paper, Test, Voting, creating something, from an essay to a blog, a written paper in an exam and sundry diagrams, drawings, video, sculptures. Whatever is produced as an outcome from the learning activity? (Increasingly created online to share on a platform: blog, audio podcast, animation, photo gallery, video and any combination or ‘mash–up’ of these).

5. Experiential: study, Experiment, Field trip, Game, Role play, Scavenger hunt, Simulation, interactive problem solving from a field trip to a role–play. Creative Problem Solving techniques might include Heroes, Human Sculpture, and Time Line).

REFERENCE

Pegler, C (2009). Preparing for Blended e-Learning (Connecting with E-learning) (Kindle Locations 2442-2444). Taylor & Francis. Kindle Edition.

Conole, G (2007) ‘Describing learning activities and tools and resources to guide practice’, in H. Beetham and R. Sharpe (eds) Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age: Designing and Delivering e-Learning, London: Routledge, (reformatted)

The Challenge Facing Course Design – a 2012 view on a 1997 paper

This is an old topic, even for e-learning when it was called online and distance learning.

Fifteen months can see the rise or demise of a value online tool, fifteen years feels like a century ago when it comes to learning.

Are things so different though?

Social Constructivism might suggest that formalised social learning platforms will take off; my experience is that such constructs are, of necessity, highly personalised. My social learn milieu includes this and other blogs, Facebook with friends and family where I’d never mention the ‘L’ word, Twitter and StumbleUpon. I struggle, despite my best efforts, with Linkedin groups. The dynamic is a tricky thing to get right, a handful of passionate, engaged, informed people who want to share and collaborate is required.

My best OU experiences (2001, 2010-present) have almost all been OU Student Forums where the unit in the module has provided parameters and resources, and by chance the six in the sub group, through inclination, motivation, time zone and peer pressure have made a regular, constructive contribution. This contribution would alos represent a variety of roles were you to look at it from a team perspective.

Other invaluable experiences of socially constructed learning online have included three of us (in the US, UK and Japan) who read each other’s blogs and shared ideas on writing fiction between 2002 and 2004. And with a couple of others sharing in FlickR pictures of a grandparent who served in the First World War and helping each other track this person’s progress and experiences.

‘Social context, roles and relationships are central to what is learned’. (Carugati and Gilly, 1993)

Mary Thorpe’s paper ‘The Challenge Facing Course Design’ (1997), in simplistic terms, puts ‘plausible reasoning’, intuition and perception over logic. (Winn, 1990) Sounds to me like James T Kirk’s way has more credibility as an approach to learning than Spock.

Learning is dynamic and unpredictable. (Thorpe, 1997:175)

I’m struck by the suggestion made by Thorpe (1997:175) that because learning is dynamic and unpredictable, the idea of designing a course in advance for successive cohorts of learners is undermined.

I offer a solution, that can be realised in 2012 though not possible when I was reading this text formally in 2001. Namely, to have (for some units as to do this with an entire module strikes me as too complex) students offer a rewrite, update or offer an alternative learning experience as part of an assignment. The same learning objectives, but with a current or different context, using the tools that are viable and readily available today (rather than have students use tools that in some instances have long ago been superseded).

This, picking up the warning from Thorpe, isn’t to suggest that one model replaces another, as is the case with the current Social Learn initiative at The OU, what educators and educational institutions need to do is to offer a smorgasbord, a set of choices and alternatives, just as the student will chose their own hardware (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone or mobile) so they will want to have tools they are familiar with or come to enjoy as part of their personal learning environment (PLE).

Here’s a sentence you won’t hear being used today, though this doesn’t negate the quality of writing in the article.

‘The rich resources of a CD–ROM or an interactive videodisc are only as good as the enquiry frameworks that the learner brings to them’. (Laurillard, 1993). Whose model requires, which is as relevant today (p176):

  • Interaction
  • Reflection
  • Feedback

Winn (1990) stresses the important role of the teacher in an iterative learning process to assess and analyse, something that is supported today through increasingly sophisticated learning analytics which could and will take–over to some degree, or complement the role of an e–moderator, who may, be able to manage increasingly large groups of students from a distance given the benefit of the learning management systems and collaborative learning tools we now have.

N.B. There should always be a person at the point of delivery, as was/is the perspective of the OU (Perry, 1976, pp.115-118)

REFERENCE

Carugati, F. and Gilly, M. (1993) ‘The multiple sides of the same tool: cognitive development as a matter of social constructions and meanings’, European Journal of Psychology of Education, (8) 4.

Laurillard, D (1993) Rethinking University Teaching

Perry, W (1976) The Open University

Thorpe, M (1997) The Challenge Facing Course Design in Open and Distance Learning (ed. Frank Lockwood)

Winn, W.D (1990) ‘Some implications of cognitive theory for instructional design’, Instructional Science, 19.pp. 53–69

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