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This is an activity in week 7 of Open University postgraduate module H809: Practice-bases research in e-learning which forms part of the Masters in Open & Distance Education. Shared here, as in my student blog, in order to invoke discussion. I’ve successfully completed the MAODE so this is something of a ‘bonus track’ (I graduate in April then look onwards). The activity is drawn from the Conole et al paper referenced below. Theories are catergorised and a model produced to help define the learning theories that can be identified.
Green = Activated
Amber = Engaged
Red = Blocked
What concerns me is the belief that theories of learning, which academics have identified in education in the last 90 years, are either key drivers or influencers in the design of learning.
Surely these are all observations after the event.
Like trying to analyse a stand-up comedy routine using a set of plans and parameters – ‘Good Morning, Vietnam‘ comes to mind. As, I suppose would ‘Dead Poets Society‘ to bring in Robin Williams again. Was the Khan Academy a product of such analysis? No? An investment banker wanted to help his nephews out with their Math so he recorded some videos. Actually, I just realised my wife is doing this for a friend’s daughter who is learning French – creating bespoke French language pieces for her to practice on. I can’t even think what either of them are – behaviourist or social-constructive and experiential. I’m afraid, given what the academic ‘gurus of e-learning’ keep coming up with they are probably the least intuitive or inventive because their hands and minds are tied by this kind of thing.
Just my forming and fluid opinion.
If I want to develop a platform or school that uses e-learning I’ll go find myself a ‘Robin Williams’ kind of educator – someone has a natural flair for it, who engender a following, who most importantly delivers extraordinary results.
Looking back at school I know that what motivated me was two fold – my own long term goal and the quality of an inspired and informed teacher who had tutoring, moderating and teaching in their blood.
There’s a reason why research and teaching don’t mix. I’ve asked some academics about this and they have told me that they haven’t gone into the commercial sector, nor do they teach … ‘because they hate people’.
Where in these theories is the person?
This relationship, the rapport that can form between tutor and student is what is lacking and it is why, in my opinion, the likes of the Oxbridge Tutorial, that one to one, or one to two or three hour long session once a week is far, far, far from dead.
Neuroscience is going to blow this allow out of the water.
Already the shift is very much in favour of genetics and the way our unique brains are formed as we develop as a foetus. It is nature, not nurture, so frankly, we can have anything thrown at us in terms of life experience and how we learn and how we respond will remain individual. This is the perspective of my father in law whose secondary education was the being in the Polish resistance during the Second World War, his first university a prisoner of war camp. He had England or the US as choices having decided not to return to Poland. And found himself learning English in Gateshead. The story continues … so what kind of learning was occurring in the POW camp?
He bartered lessons in German for lessons in English.
Social-situated in extremis.
Not that it can be injected into a class, and even less so in online learning, but ‘fear’ doesn’t half help turn a short term memory into one that will stick. Playing Devil’s Advocate, can ‘e-learning’ only ever be ‘cotton wool’ the safest, tamest learning you will ever receive? Try reading an essay out in a tutor group – there’s fear! Try getting up in a hall of 300 people to make your point in a debating chamber – terrifying.
An odd conclusion to reach at the end of this reflection on the exercise – but where is the ‘fear’?
And I mean the right kind of fear, not the threat of the cane or other such punishment, but the fear of letting you down, or your side down, or of humiliation … against the public reward if you get something right?
Pinned down in a collapsed cellar in Warsaw my father in law believed he would die. He was the only one alive. Everyone else had been flattened. By some chance he had been standing under a beam that had partially protected him. He made promises he’d keep if he lived. He was found. A smash to the head.
- Does learning have more impact when there is something at stake?
- Try introducing this element into an e-learning module.
- The impossible hypothesis – people learn better and make decisions with firmer convictions, where their life is at stake?
Then again we turn to neuroscience and will conclude that some will, some won’t, that the response of the individual to a shared experience means that you get as many different outcomes as there are people.
Institutions think that grades divide students – that’s only the tiniest fraction of what makes each person in that class different. If the student isn’t suitably self aware to know how to play to their strengths and managed their weaknesses then the observant tutor and others who are part of the institution should be doing this on their behalf – as parents, friends and siblings might do.
Even with medical intervention.
The ‘Flipped classroom‘ for me is finding ways to work with the individual who happens to be in a class that is probably already sorted by age and culture, if not also social class and gender.
And therefore already inappropriate.
Maybe the classroom has had its time. A short-lived interlude in human development over the last 70,000 years.
Conole, G, Dyke, M, Oliver, M, & Seale, J (2004), ‘Mapping Pedagogy and Tools for Effective Learning Design’, Computers And Education, 43, 1-2, pp. 17-33, ERIC, EBSCOhost, viewed 25 March 2013.
- Where do I stand academically? Where and what next? And the madness of being. (mymindbursts.com)
- Editors’ Choice: Decoding Digital Pedagogy, pt. 1 and pt. 2 (digitalhumanitiesnow.org)
- Reading – nothing quite beats it, does it? (mymindbursts.com)
- Decoding Digital Pedagogy, pt. 1: Beyond the LMS (hybridpedagogy.com)
- Digital Pedagogy and MOOCification (hastac.org)
This completes the Masters Degree. I graduate on Saturday 27th April 2013
Currently (March 2013) I am taking H809 as a bridge towards doctoral research or professional consultancy. Complete in June 2013.
I joined the #H817open MOOC for one component of this module. I will register for 2014
- Why skiing is my metphor for life and learning (mymindbursts.com)
- Martin Weller and the MOOCers (mymindbursts.com)
- Openness in Education WK1 MOOC (mymindbursts.com)
- Making swim coaching a tad easier with SwimTag (mymindbursts.com)
- How to visualise learning – think Lava Lamps! (mymindbursts.com)
- How more deeply embedded is a visual memory if you crafted the drawing or painting that is the catalyst for its recall. (mymindbursts.com)
- No. 5 aha moment: the Web as a universal standard (downes.ca)
Fig.1. The Open University Library
Views per day increase.
Maybe I’m linking to the blog even if I am not posting? Interesting.
Less is more.
One post a week perhaps. 1,000 carefully crafted words on e-learning?
Later this year I will graduate with a Masters in Open and Distance Education. I have successfully completed FIVE postgraduate modules with the Open University.
I am now looking closely at starting a PhD in 2014.
For the remainder of 2013 I may take on another OU Module, H809 Practice-based research in educational technology, which will introduce me to research techniques in relation to e-learning and education.
Come and join me? But you only have a few days left to register.
I also want to blog less so that I can devout more time to writing fiction. A short story of a few thousand words a week might be the goal.
- My personal learning environment (PLE) (mymindbursts.com)
- Clive Shepherd – the book, in person, ideas on learning and development in the World Wide Web 2.0 (mymindbursts.com)
- On finding a thermal … that creative lift … that moment of inspiration that motivates … (mymindbursts.com)
- Is it a good idea to base an e-learning module on a book? (mymindbursts.com)
- Social Learning Analytics, Southern SoLAR Flare (slideshare.net)
- Are you the learning architect or the learning builder? (mymindbursts.com)
- Olds Mooc (mymindbursts.com)
- Accessible e-learning – identefying issues, actions and problems using an Activity System (mymindbursts.com)
- Harvard Referencing made simple (mymindbursts.com)
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.
- 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.
- 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
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)
Gagne, R.N. (1965) Conditions of Learning : Holt, Rinehart and Winston