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Are you the learning architect or the learning builder?

Fig.1. Building Construction W B McKay 1943

Are you the learning architect or the learning builder?

It is flattering to the group from Learning & Development that they can be likened to architects. Whilst many will have a degree, some don’t – whilst some may have a post graduate qualification, very few do. None I’m sure will have spent six or seven years in formal study that has lead to recognition by the Royal College of E-Learning Designers – there is no such professional qualification, nor is there any period of formal study, a mix of studio work and academic research, that leads to a qualification of this calibre.

The exceptions are those with first degrees and MBAs and at the pinnacle of this discussion, Christopher Alexander who has first and second degrees from Cambridge and a PhD in architecture from Harvard.

Many in academia have the second degree and PhD – but they generally lack the experience designing learning outside undergraduate and postgraduate tertiary education, which is quite a different beast to the short courses and continual professional development desired in the workplace.

If I were to take the building trade by way of an analogy I would say that the learning and development manager is the client – while the architect is an agent or agency that you hire in for their design expertise and knowledge of foremen and project managers, builders and electricians – the project leaders, programmers and art directors of e-learning creation.

The L&D manager may be a subject matter expert but is far more likely to draw upon expertise from within their organisation.

Which of the following made the biggest contribution to your learning when you first set out in your current career asked Clive Shepherd?

Fig.2. What has contributed most to your learning?

This depends of course on when a person knows they are set on a career path.

How many people come into Learning & Development (L&D) having decided on this path as an undergraduate?

As a graduate trainee I expected a mix of on the job and formal training – this mix turned out to be around 95% to 5% while contemporaries elsewhere were getting 50/50 of none at all. This is the formal way of graduate training and can last two or three years. Think of lawyers (barristers and trainee solicitors), accounts, bankers and teachers … doctors, dentists, vets and architects.

Clive Shepherd who recently gave an insightful presentation on The New Learning Architect says he got the idea of the new learning architect at presentation gave by Jay Cross on informal learning.

Away from the presentation I like to click around as for me to understand a concept it helps to perceive its inception.

In turn, if you check the references for Jay Cross’s 2006 ‘Informal Learning: Rediscovering the Natural Pathways that Inspire Innovation and Performance’ you’ll find where his ideas may have came from – Robert A Heinlein (1961) ‘Strangers in a Strange Land’ and R Nelson Bolles (2005) ‘What Color’s Your Parachute’ are there along with John Seely Brown (2005) ‘The Only Sustainable Edge’.

There are some inspirational ideas and link here:

Jay Cross : Important Stuff

Informal learning

Workflow learning ties learning into the workflow within an organisation. According to Jay Cross it takes us to support and on-demand services that are designed to exist within the real tasks we do in our everyday work.Out of this work on workflow learning came an even wider, and what he regards as more important set of reflections.



Fig.3. Zoom.It History of Corporate Education.

This timelines the history of corporate and executive training. It is like a touch-screen and zoom control all in one. The Bayeux Tapestry in digital form (now there’s an idea over 900 years old). I spotted a typo – you’ll find it says something about ‘Toyota: Clean Production’ rather than Lean Production. We should consider the content in other ways – I know a PLC that set up an internal ‘university’ in the mid 1970s – or maybe they called in a training centre. Same difference?

If Clive Shepherd got his idea of the learning architect from Jay Cross I imagine Jay Cross in turn got the idea from Professor Christopher Alexander.

Christopher Alexander’s Notes on the Synthesis of Form was required reading for researchers in computer science throughout the 1960s. It had an influence in the 1960s and 1970s on programming language design, modular programming, object-oriented programming, software engineering and other design methodologies. He is cited through-out the Open University’s Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) as an originator of design practice that was applied to computer design and therefore could be applied to e-learning design.

Here’s the education of someone who can rightfully call themselves an architect and do so in the context of learning, even of e-learning.

In 1954, Christopher Alexander was awarded the top open scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge University in chemistry and physics, and went on to read mathematics. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and a Master’s degree in Mathematics. He took his doctorate at Harvard (the first Ph.D. in Architecture ever awarded at Harvard University), and was elected fellow at Harvard. During the same period he worked at MIT in transportation theory and in computer science, and worked at Harvard in cognition and cognitive studies.

Fig.4. The Timeless Way of Building

‘The Timeless Way of Building’ proposes a new theory of architecture (and design in general) that relies on the understanding and configuration of design patterns.It is these design patterns that came to the attention of creators of e-learning modules in the 21st century, the idea that designs for subjects or cohorts might be replicated and shared across the online learning community so that you might say a) fits an undergraduate arts course, while b) is the model for a health & safety module in industry, c) gives you language learning in primary school while d) offers an elective in urology to 4th year medical students.

To become an architect requires a considerable commitment.

Take the three year undergraduate course in architecture at the University of Cambridge

Entry Requirements: A* AA : Likely to include Maths and Art or History of Art.

Students may stay on at Cambridge to complete an MPhil at RSA exams to qualify in six years (this includes a year in a placement)

‘The three year BA(Hons) course is unusual in the University in combining both arts and sciences. As such it provides a unique range of skills which lead to a wide range of careers, not just architecture’.

Throughout the BA tripos studio work carries 60% of the marks.

The remaining 40% is made up from exams and other forms of coursework (dissertations, etc). Studiowork in all years is handed in for marking at the end of the year. Studiowork is time-consuming and probably requires more hours per week than any other course in the University. Students are also expected to work during the Christmas and Easter vacations.

I labour this point because as someone who has gone from corporate communications and video based training to computer based training and e-learning I would never liken myself to a cardiologist, even a qualified lawyer or certified accountant, let alone an architect. An educator perhaps, but I don’t have a formal teaching qualificaiton, only sports coaching and the MAODE when I graduate early next year.

Fig. 5. BRICKS – Building Construction W B McKay 1943

Several other analogies have been used in the e-learning literature, some that still have a building or architecture theme to them.

What we get here is learning design broken down to brick-sized components, some call them ‘interactivities’ (a term I often here working in a design agency). I find the idea of atoms in a chemical reaction (Wiley, 2001) too small, even if we are dealing with binary code it isn’t something that we see anymore. Gilly Salmon (2002) would have liked ‘e-tivities’ to catch on – she puts these in a logical sequence, building blocks towards a module. At the Open University they tend to be called ‘Learning Objects’. Chris Pegler (2004) finds this idea too unresponsive preferring if we go with the Lego Technics. Littlejohn et al (2008) describe these components as:

Digital assets – a single item, image, video or podcast or an nformation 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.

Fig. 5. BRICKS – Building Construction W B McKay 1943

For pure inspiration I like the digital architect as a goal for an undergraduate setting out on a long course of formal and applied study. L&D directors and managers approach an e-learning agency as they would a firm of architects and together they write a brief. This is proposed, scheduled and costed then a scheme of work begins.

The delivery, depending on the scale of it, might be akin to anything from a brick arcade (health and safety induction to leisure staff) to a bungalow to a housing estate (induction of trainee solicitors in an national firm of solicitors), an office block or a factory (long term management development for an international engineering business).

REFERENCE

Alexander, C (1970) The Timeless Way of Building

Cross, J (2006) The Informal Learner

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

Shepherd, C (2011) The New Learning Architext

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

Here’s a mindmap on ‘Digital Scholarship’

Fig. 1. Mindmap on Digital Scholarship

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.

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

 

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)

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