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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

A blend of learning, online or off, that wraps around a sequence of core activities.

20120919-145405.jpg

From ‘Preparing for blended e-learning’ (2007) Pegler and Littlejohn.

It strikes me that if you were to lay one of these over the other you get the exact model of the Open University’s Masters in Open and Distance Education – which is entirely online, howber their are synchronous and asynchronous forims, as well as face-to-face online.

Chapter 5 Choosing e-tools for blended learning.

The success or otherwise of a learning activity depends on the choice of learning tools or resources used to support that task as much as it much as it does on the use of the tools and resources. Littlejohn (2004)

These lessons will only be successful if the discussion is perceived by students relevant and timely, if the forum is structured and managed, and if the learners are given adequate support. (Conole et al,. 2004).

The matrix is based on five broad learning activity techniques based on Laurillard’s Conversational Model (2001).

Assimilative: 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).

Adaptive: Where the learning environment changes based in the learner’s actions, such as online simulations or computer games.
Communicative: discussion, ice–breaker, debate face–to–face or online (and therefore synchronous and asynchronous)

Productive: creating something, from an essay to a blog, a written paper in an exam and sundry diagrams, drawings, video, sculptures. Whatever is produced as a 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).

Experiential: interactive problem solving from a field trip to a role–play. Creative Problem Solving techniques might include Heroes, Human Sculpture, Time Line).

Dialog Plus Table
What How Tools and resources

Source. G.Conole. ‘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 (2007)

Gap between theories, tools and readily available learning tools to ‘afford particular learning advantages’.

Exciting emergent technologies: contextual, ambient, adaptive, augmented, distributed, social. 30% C6.

Towards social learning with blogs, wikis, podcasts (Conole and Oliver, 2007. Weller, 2007)

Three fundamental shifts from:

  • Information to communicaiton
  • Passive to active
  • Indivual learning to situative learning (in the pressence of others, face–to–face and virtual, synchronous and asynchronous: Skype, blog, Online game).

Littlejohn (forthcoming)
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.

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

  • narrative
  • communicative
  • productive

REFERENCE

Conole, G (2004)
Laurillard, D (2001)
Littlejohn, (2004)
Littlejohn, Falconer, McGill (2010) Characterizing effective eLearning resources. Computers in Education.

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

16 must bes for an e-learning media component

‘Media Component’ is the term, like e-learning, that I believe will supersede most others to define the activities, or ‘e-tivities’ (not sticking) Salmon (2002) that learning designers put into or developers and builders devise for e-learning modules or courses.

Media components are, if you like, the stepping-stones that take a learner from ignorant to informed, with learning objectives the aim, but increasingly with effectiveness through greater engagement as we move away from the chronology of the stepping stone, itself a derivation of turning to the next page towards something more exploratory, game–like, intuitive and where appropriate – in context for the learning. Where better to learn about health and safety for the nuclear power industry than in a nuclear power plant, where better learn to apply best practice in a retail bank than in the banking hall.

Twelve years ago these media components were described as Lego building blocks (Downes, 2000), though in practice they are more akin to Lego Technics (Pegler, 2002) – they do something. Coming from a background in linear and non-linear (interactive) video-based corporate training, I am trying to think what terms and expressions we used on the paper storyboard pads on which the interactions were devised? Perhaps as they were added to linear video sequences and derived from scripts written in this form they were ‘interactions’ or ‘interactivities’. They were built into the narrative like an action sequence we shot as video. For a while, as we migrated such content to the Web we called it all ‘stuff’ as a catch-all for content, whether it did something or not. (A decade on I am yet to see anything as engaging or rich as the DVDs we produced in the 1990s with broadcast standard drama reconstruction or 3d animations, winners of IVCA Gold for their originality, impact and effectiveness). Today we are still producing the web-page derived equivalent of the leaflet or workbook, not least because it has taken broadband speeds and the devices and infrastructure a decade to catch–up.

The greatest shift has been to put the learning in our hands on Smartphones and Tablets and with this the desire for greater game–like tactility.

I wonder if another metaphor might be a sequence in music, a number of bars, a phrase that has a certain effect. This might be another way to design the actions. An architect works on 2D blueprints to create buildings in three dimensions; composers use a score to lay–out music that surrounds us and touches us, film–makers have scripts and storyboards. If we use PowerPoint to express a sequence or selection of interactivities, of ‘media components’ or ‘learning activities’ no wonder they are linear rather than exploratory. We need to design onto maps and navigate as our heads do – independently. I am drawn to the image of a 17th century triptych, the Great Picture that expresses the life story of Lady Anne Clifford. There is logic to the left and right panels, Lady Anne age 15 and 76 respectively, while the borders, like going around a game–board give ancestors, relatives, and artefacts any of which, in the 21st century could be brought to life with a link at least or an interaction at best, even in Web 2.0 terms the opportunity to share with others synchronously or asynchronously.

I’ve heard the phrase ‘sand-pit’ used too, the thought that you do these things in a playful, perhaps even in an incomplete way, measuring effectiveness will be the driver – media components that work or sequences that have a ressonance for a topic or audience will be used again.

This should not however be at the cost of accessibility. Anyone can play in a sandpit, but not everyone can play in an orchestra or all the instruments in it.

Various metaphors have been applied and can be applied, like building with Lego blocks Downes (2000) though Pegler’s preferences is to make a comparison with Technic ‘Lego’ (Pegler, 2004:Loc4282) where each piece has a set of actions. Wiley imagined them to be more like atoms (2001). The reality is more mundane, your e-learning module can be like a marathon or the 400m hurdles, with some imagination it can be a triathlon or heptathlon even the modern pentathlon.

The conclusion is that when construction e-learning we need to look for and create digital resources that are:

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

To this list of qualities I would add a thirteenth: desirable – is it a media component or activity (e-tivity, Salmon 2002) that your colleagues want to use when building the module, let alone something users take to when faced with it. And then can it be used too often or inappropriately?

And a fourteenth – they should be reusable too, readily combined, reskinned and rebranded like type in a printing press that can be reused, or a component in a game from picking a card, rolling the dice or answering a question correctly. Is this media component transportable?

In an e-learning module these are multichoice, complete a phrase, connect or put into order.

And a fifteenth – and surely at the top of the list: effective.

Which probably means a sixteenth – measurable, or accountable. We want to know how it behaves and derive meaningful analytics from it.

Even a seventeenth – fashionable, or at least of the age, suited to the user group, appropriate for the identified personas doing the learning.

Even ‘intuitive’.

Let’s try that again:

Easily source

Durable

  1. Easily Maintained
  2. Accessible
  3. Free from legal limitations
  4. Quality assured
  5. Appropriate cost
  6. Resizable
  7. Easily repurposed
  8. Meaningful
  9. Engages the learner
  10. Intelligible
  11. Desirable
  12. Reusable
  13. Effective
  14. Fashionable
  15. Appropriate
  16. Intuitive

Downes, S (2000) Learning Objects. Available from http://www.newstrolls.com/news/dev/downes/col;umn000523_1.htm

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

Pegler, C and Littlejohn, A (2004) Preparing for Blended e-Learning, Routledge.

Salmon, G (2002) E-tivities

Wiley, D.A. (2000) Connecting Learning Objects to instructional design theory: a definition, a metaphor, and a taxonomy. In D.A. Wiley (ed), The instructional use of Learning Objects. Available from http://reusability.org/read/chapters/wiley.doc

12 characteristics of effective e-learning resources

Characterising effective eLearning (sic) resources

Littlejohn, Falconer, Mcgill (2008)

Presented 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 (JV) 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 drawn upon or that will have to be created.

Conceptualization: source information.

Construction: repurpose and use 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 (mash up) (Which I would call adaptive

Productive: (which Littlejohn al called productive 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

The conclusion is that when construction e-learning we need to look for and create digital resources that are:

1.Easily sourced

2.Durable

3.Easily Maintained

4.Accessible

5.Free from legal limitations

6.Quality assured

7.Appropriate cost

8.Resizable

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 Downes (2000) though Pegler’s preferences is to make a comparison with Technic ‘Lego’ (Pegler, 2004:Loc4282) where each piece has a set of actions.

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 institution, 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 largely, within their respective contexts, demanding the same thing.

1890s bike shops turning to motorbikes and motor vehicles.

2000 bespoke websites and migrating learning distance and interactive ‘non-linear’ video based learning online, artisans, one offs, the Sistine Chapel.

REFERENCE

Downes, S (2000) Learning Objects. Available from http://www.newstrolls.com/news/dev/downes/col;umn000523_1.htm

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

Pegler, C and Littlejohn, A (2004) Preparing for Blended e-Learning, Routledge.

Wiley, D.A. (2000) Connecting Learning Objects to instructional design theory: a definition, a metaphor, and a taxonomy. In D.A. Wiley (ed), The instructional use of Learning Objects. Available from http://reusability.org/read/chapters/wiley.doc

Characterising effective e-learning resources

Littlejohn, Falconer, Mcgill (2008)

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

OK, this is an academic paper, but in a area that is changing so fast you’d think academics could pull their finger – even publish their thoughts as the develop online.

  • 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: (JV, 2012) My addition. 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 drawn upon or that will have to be created.
  • Conceptualization: source information.
  • Construction: repurpose and use 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 (mash up) (Which I would call adaptive. (JV 2012, my additions in parenthesise).
  • Productive: (which Littlejohn al called productive 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

The conclusion is that when construction e-learning we need to look for and create digital resources that are:

  • 1. Easily sourced
  • 2. Durable
  • 3. Easily Maintained
  • 4. Accessible
  • 5. Free from legal limitations
  • 6. Quality assured
  • 7. Appropriate cost
  • 8. Resizable
  • 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 Downes (2000) though Pegler’s preferences is to make a comparison with Technic ‘Lego’ (Pegler, 2004:Loc4282) where each piece has a set of actions.

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 institution, course, level, cohort, location).

(JV 2012. My thoughts italicised)

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 largely, within their respective contexts, demanding the same thing.

1890s bike shops turning to motorbikes and motor vehicles.

2000 bespoke websites and migrating learning distance and interactive ‘non-linear’ video based learning online, artisans, one offs, the Sistine Chapel.

REFERENCE

Downes, S (2000) Learning Objects. Available from http://www.newstrolls.com/news/dev/downes/col;umn000523_1.htm

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

Pegler, C and Littlejohn, A (2004) Preparing for Blended e-Learning, Routledge.

Wiley, D.A. (2000) Connecting Learning Objects to instructional design theory: a definition, a metaphor, and a taxonomy. In D.A. Wiley (ed), The instructional use of Learning Objects. Available from http://reusability.org/read/chapters/wiley.doc

 

Learning and business advantages in emerging, low-cost, easily applied e-learning tools.

The Gap between theories, tools and readily available learning tools to ‘afford particular learning advantages’. Conole (2007)

It has taken over a decade from the early migration of interactive learning content from DVD to the web to the current ‘every day’ practice of creating e-learning of all types – modules, programmes, courses, qualifications and so on that are as commonplace to business as the annual audit – is e-learning bread and butter to business like accounting and legal advice, or is it the jam (or Marmite) that complements?

The ‘learning advantages’ Conole spoke of in 2007 are the business advantages of 2012 – everyday induction (or ‘on boarding’ as it is called in North America), talent management, product knowledge, skills development, management training, health and safety – you name it. What two decades ago was a linear video, or an not so linear though perfectly valid leaflet, or workbook, with or without a facilitator, is now largely self-regulated e-learning, carefully monitored, with a blended component (a tutorial in tertiary education is a workshop in business)

Littlejohn et al (2008) gave names to some of the emerging tools that are six years on, common place APPS, or software plug-ins that are easily built into a course:

  • 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.
For the rest of the week I am going to be looking out for everyday examples of the above in business applications. If you can offer some examples please do.

REFERENCE

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 (2007)

Littlejohn, A., Falconer,I., Mcgill,L.  (2008) Characterising effective eLearning resources

Use of mobile devices in e-learning

There must be industry reports that can give a more current ‘state of play’ for use of mobile devices (smart phones and tablets in particular) … though not necessarily confined to use in education.

The Kukulska-Hulme et al 2011 report ‘Mature Students using mobile devices in life and learning’ may be a recent publication (International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning Jan-march 2001) but draws its conclusions on research undertaken in between May 2008 and April 2009.

Technologically and in relation to the potential for e-learning a great deal has happened since then.

In industry would we not expert a report, say from Nielsen or Monitor, to have been done in the last six months?

In the technology sector old news is redundant.

By 2009 PDAs were virtually extinct and we were about to experience the launch of the iPad. Since 2009 smart phones have graduated – they’re bright in many ways.

Like their users?

Bright people with the means quickly find ways to put these tools to work, extending their reach to their online course, for materials, forums and assessment alerts, to organise their study time around their diary.

FROM THE ABSTRACT

‘In today;s global marketplace, educators must know the technology habits and expectations of their students, including those from other countries.’ (Kukulska-Hulme et al, 2001:18)
 
 FROM THE INTRODUCTION
 
“Learners can be active makers and shapers of their own learning. They should be supported in using technologies of their own choice where appropriate”. (JISC, 2009, p.51)
 
Mobile (as they were) will not necessarily be readily adapted for learning.
 
Ergonomic, pedagogical, psychological and environmental facts and the issue of cost (Stockwell, 2008)
 
More widespread adoption by students and teachers is likely to follow. (ibid 2011:19)
 
A convenient and powerful tool for learning.
 
In an age when “communities are jumping across technologies” as needs and trends evolve (Wenger, 2010), educators and researchers also have to stay informed about how learners use personal technologies as members of communities that may be social, work-related or educational’.
 
Decreasing institutional control
 
Jones, Ramanau, Cross and Healing (2010) have critiqued the ‘new generation’ arguments, concluding that “overall there is growing theoretical and empirical evidence that casts doubt on the idea that there is a defined new generation of young people with common characteristics related to their exposure to digital technologies through-out their life (p.6)
Notable minorities
  • Internet to download or upload materials
  • Contribute to blogs and wiki and engage with virtual worlds (ibid p.21)
‘We consider that learners who use handheld mobile devices (e.g., their phones and mp3-players) to support their learning constitute a minority at the present time. We agree that their age seems less important than their position as early adopters and instigators of change through their influence among their peers and through their networks’. (2011:19)
 
Students registered on such programmes would be particularly strong. (distance learning).
 
The sample was purposive.
 
For key areas:
  • Learning
  • Social Interaction
  • Entertainment
  • Work
Interplay between them (Kukulska-Hulme & Pettit, 2009)
 
‘Learning’ is not an unambiguous term … instead of the double negative why not ‘learning is an ambiguous term’.
 
Does the rhetorical device of the double negative make the statement less assailable?
 
‘We were interested in gathering data that might challenge the still widespread opinion amongst educators that mobile devices are of little use for academic study. Activities such as web browsing, reading e-news, article reading, book reading, and note taking are valued in the academic world but often considered implausible on handheld devices.’ (2011:20)
 
Until more recently that his study which was carried it 2009.
 
Since the survey was developed, other devices including notebook computers and ebook readers have become popular, making it even more difficult to draw boundaries between ‘handheld learning’, laptop learning’ and ‘desktop learning’. (2011:21)
 
As if such a distinction was ever necessary? They are all computers, just different sizes, affordances and capabilities.
 
I liken this loss of boundaries, or the blurring, to drops of ink in a tank of water that gradually swirl about each other and merge.
 
We are able to highlight some differences that became apparent
 
Conversations with their students
 
Students do not always realise the potential of new tools and this is an aspect where educators can help (Trinder, Guiller, Margaryan, Littlejohn & Nicol, 2008)
 
Questions covered:
  • About yourself
  • use of mobile devices
  • Being part of groups and communities
  • Specific uses for mobile devices
  • Mobile devices for learning
Open questions enabled participants to write a response in their own terms.
 
A total of 270 students complete the questionnaire.
 
Over all the report notes that:
  • There are receptive, productive and communicative uses
  • Respondents are using mobile devices to capture ideas and experiences
  • Mobile devices have a useful function as tools that remind he user about what she/he has to do.
  • Respondents make use of a range of applications for informal learning.
  • One function of games is to fill gaps ion the day.
  • Some respondents appear to be drawing boundaries around disparate uses
  • The mobile phone features as an alternative means of communications and to support physical mobility, e.g. as an alternative to having a land line or when work involves travelling.

RE: LEARNING

  • Contact with others
  • Access to information and answers
  • Reading e-Books
  • Listening to Podcasts
  • Scheduling

RE: MORE UNUSUAL USES:

  • Recording one’s voice
  • Replay on iPod
  • Taking photos
  • Contacting experts in other fields
  • Uploading notes to blog
  • Facebook
  • Windows Live Messenger
  • MSN
  • Sky[e
  • Language learning
  • Finding information
  • Headphones to shut out distractions
  • Productive activities
‘Reported benefits of using mobile devices to be part of groups or communities include spontaneous communications, flexibility, speed, stimulation and use of technology to cope with changing arrangement’. (2011:27)
 
27 Distinct used of mobile devices (ibid, 2011:28)
 
The three most intensive uses are very clearly sending text messages, browsing websites and listening to music … and reading e-news. (2011:28)
 
Responses included well established advantages such as convenient access to information or to the Internet and the ability to contact people whenever needed. Specific new/innovative aspects notes by respondents included (2011:29):
  • Permanency of taking notes: paper is easily lost
  • Multipurpose; yo can take your work/entertainment with you
  • Can combine work with a run with listening to a podcast
  • Podcasts give access to unique historical/scientific content
  • Suits auditory learners
  • Closer relationship between students and teacher
  • Multimedia in one small device is a timesaver for teachers
  • Instant documentation of whiteboard notes
  • Taking photos of overhead slides
  • Help with learning disabilities
  • Alternative news source/breaking news/immediate first hand reports
  • Helps maintain a public diary with a community dimension
  • Quick way to learn
  • Gets you outdoors
  • Field trips become more fruitful and challenging
DISCUSSION AND REFLECTIONS
 
Mobile devices are shown to support informal; and community learning
 
While the predominant use for mobile devices is communication, it seems that other aspects of social interaction can benefit, such as the ability to share media between mobile devices directly or blended across other social networking technologies like Facebook.
 
The research confirms the global popularity of SMS, browsing websites, listening to music, taking photographs and making notes. It also highlights that reading e-news and listening to podcasts are relatively frequent activities among some students, and that article- and book-reading, once considered implausible on handheld devices, are popular among a minority. (2011:30)
 
What is interesting is that there appear to be many ways in which users are employing technologies to generate products. Bruns (2005) coined the term ‘produsers’ to denote both of these approaches. One survey shows that mobile devices are enabling users to create resources for teaching purposes, write blogs to keep their friends up to dave with events, take and distribute photos and videos, and make and take notes and recordings’. (2011.31)
 
 New practices compared to old studies (2007/2009) include:
  • Using apps on the phone including Facebook and MSN
  • Using GPS to find places
  • Watching movies, TV, shows, vodcasts
  • Listening to audio book,s podcasts
  • Being part of micro-blogging communities e.g. Twitter
  • Browsing websites
  • Using location-based services, e.g. to find nearby taxis, banks, restaurants, etc.
  • No longer having a land line.

Mobile device use is a fast-changing field that reflects rapid social changes as well as the increasing availability and smarter marketing of new devices. (ibid, 2011:32)

Micro-blog – are becoming more widespread, and we wold expect these uses to figure more prominently in the future. (2011:32)

Slate devices Apple iPad.

Several universities now offer ‘apps’ for smartphones using platforms such as Campus M.

Our findings indicate that institutions planning to offer mobile apps should build on the existing preferences of students for social communication. listening to audio, watching video and reading short texts if the apps are successfully to enhance the learning experience. (2011:32)

When students are offered  appropriate mobile resources then they will use them. (2011:32)

We agree with Kennedy et al (2008) that ‘an evidence-based understanding of students’ technological experiences is vital in informing higher education policy and practice.’ (p. 109)

Pressures of study and assignment deadlines lead them to seek effective solutions to immediate needs on the go. (2011:33)

Avoid a ‘proadoption bias’

Futhermore, since the use of a mobile device represents a new technological means of reading books, articles and news, this might have an impact on how, and how much, students read, however further research would be needed. (2011:33)

The landscape of mobile devices has changed since our survey with some devices (standalone PDAs) becoming almost extinct and others (handheld GPS) endangered. (2011:33)

In favour of smart mobile phones and tablet devices.

REFERENCE

Bruns, A. (2005) ‘Anyone can edit’: understanding the produser. Retrieved from http;//snurb.info/index. php?q=node/s86
Conole, G (2007) Describing learning activities: Tools and resources to guide practice. In Beetham, H, & Sharpe, R (eds.), Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age: Designing and delivering e-learning (pp.81-91) London, UK: Routledge

Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes, John Pettit, Linda Bradley, Ana A. Carvalho, Anthony Herrington, David M. Kennedy, and Aisha Walker. “Mature Students Using Mobile Devices in Life and Learning.” IJMBL 3.1 (2011): 18-52. accessed (May 22, 2011)

JISC. (2009). Effetive Pratice in a Digital Age: A guide to technology-enhanced learning and teaching. Retrieved from http://www.jisc.ac.uk/publications/programmerelated/2009/effectivedigital-age.aspx

Rogers, E.M. (2005) Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.) New York, NY: Free Press

Jones, C.R., Ramanau,R., Cross, S., & Healing, G. (2010) Net generation or Digital Natives: Is there a distinct new generation entering university? Computers & Education, 54(3), 722-732. doi. 10.1016/j.compendu.2009.09.022

Stockwell, g (2008) Investigation learner preparedness for and usage patterns of mobile learning. ReCALL, 20(3), 253-270. doi.10.1017/S058344008000232.

Trinder,k., Guiller,j., Margaryan,A., Littlejohn,A., & Nicol,D. (2008). Learning from digital natives: bridging formal and informal learning. Retrieved from http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/York/documents?LDN%20FINAL%eport.pdf

Wenger, E (2010). SIKM community presentation online. Theme: REthinking Ourselves (KM People) as Technology Stewards. Retrieved from http://technologyforcommunities.com

 

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