Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

×
Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Kop Fournier Self-directed learning Florida 2011

5,246

Published on

Presentation at the International symposium on Self-directed Learning in Cocoa Beach, Florida, 9-12 February 2011

Presentation at the International symposium on Self-directed Learning in Cocoa Beach, Florida, 9-12 February 2011

Published in: Education, Technology
0 Comments
9 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
5,246
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
15
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
66
Comments
0
Likes
9
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
No notes for slide
  • I have outlined here the major points of this presentation. I would like to start with influences on the learning environment and learning itself. Also what I think to be the main educational challenges to learning on open online networks. I will continue then with telling you a bit more about the research on Massive Open Online Courses and with some conclusions drawn from the research.
  • The proliferation of Information and Communications Technology in recent years has changed the educational landscape. It has added to the complexity of our lives and aided in the creation of a plethora of new opportunities for learning. Technological development has made learning environments outside the institutional structure a reality and it has made that faculty members are experimenting with open educational resources and cloud computing, acknowledging that informal and self-directed learning now form part of our every day existence. The technology, however, makes that new challenges and opportunities arise for the self-directed learner who might no longer be able to call on the trusted educator for support in his or her learning endeavor. The Internet and the Web afford us now to access information and work and learn together with others in a creative global collaboration outside the educational structures that have been the norm for centuries (Downes, 2010; Fournier & Kop, 2010). Moreover, structures are now in place for people to learn autonomously. One might question, however, if adult learners will be able to do so effectively (Kop & Bouchard, in press 2011).
  • New learning theories were introduced related to the technologies, mainly based on the premise that learning takes place on (online) networks as the connections that are formed by network nodes will make that knowedge flows. A current example of self directed learning promoted by Downes and Siemens is based on ‘connectivism’. They posit that being a member of an online network, communicating with others and filtering information and ideas that others provide, will make that knowledge is created and learning is advanced. Connectivism advocates the active engagement of people with resources in communication with others, rather than the transfer of knowledge from educator to learner. Moreover, it promotes a learning organization where learning does not take place in a single environment; instead, it is distributed across the Web and people’s engagement with it constitutes learning. Subsequently, the increasing influence of the Web and the global online connectedness of people will have implications for people’s learning (Siemens, 2008; Fournier & Kop, 2010). The role of the educator is predicted to change (Downes, 2010), and learners might move from a learning environment controlled by the educator and the institution, to an environment where learners find their own information and direct their own learning while developing ideas and connecting with (knowledgeable) others on networks away from the formal setting.
  • The Web itself is changing and user-generated content is growing. As you can see here, the number of websites produced is growing steadily, and 70% of the ‘digital universe’ was in 2010 created by users – individuals at home, at work, and on the go.
  • There are a number of challenges related to networked learning. The first one being the network itself: the Web is not value neutral and it is also not flat. There are hubs , important nodes on the networks, who play an important role in filtering of information and in deciding who gets to see what information. The nature of the network as a place to learn as opposed to a group in an educational institution and related to this the levels of ‘presence’ in each has been highlighted as an important factor in the willingness of participants to actively engage online (Dron & Anderson, 2007).
  • Bouchard (2009) identified particular factors that influence people’s autonomous learning strategies and the level of agency that they might apply in their learning. He clustered them in four dimensions, one dealing with psychological issues, one with pedagogical ones, and two with environmental issues: The first dimension, which he called the conative one, relates to psychological issues such as drive, motivation, initiative and confidence. In this dimension Bouchard includes some aspects of context and transitions, where these influence peoples’ urges to take up learning, such as where people’s social networks act as affective support and as source or resource to learning. The algorithmic dimension relates to ‘pedagogical’ issues, for instance the sequencing, pacing and goal setting in learning, also the evaluation of progress and final evaluation and preparation for validation. These are clearly tasks that in the past were carried out by the educator and are in an autonomous learning environment issues that learners themselves have to resolve. Bouchard (2009) also saw two environmental clusters of factors that would influence peoples learning strategies: The dimension that Bouchard called the semiotics of learning is related to the delivery model of resources. This has drastically changed in recent years and moved from the use of resources such as books and paper to also include electronic texts and multimedia, which are stored in searchable databases that might be linked through hyperlinks, and that could include contributions in blogs, wikis, synchronous and asynchronous communication. Information is obtained through social networks and learners will need to be able to evaluate and navigate this new information landscape. The importance of aspects of e conomy was recognized as a fourth category; the perceived and actual value of the learning, the choice to learn for personal gain such as for future employment, and the possible cost of other study options. Bouchard (2009) emphasised the importance of the analysis of key factors in self-directed learning when designing and developing learning environments in which people learn more or less autonomously. We agree that in order to develop empowering learning environments that foster active learning, designers and developers of such environments first need to understand the factors that influence people’s attitudes, intentions and behaviours, in addition to favourable components and conditions of such environments and the prerequisites for people to thrive in such environments.
  • To learn independently using a PLE people not only need to become autonomous learners, but also need particular skills and competencies. There is no ‘overarching tutor’ to guide learners and to challenge their ideas and beliefs or to help them in gathering information and understanding the media and the way they represent information. Instead, the onus is on learners themselves to make these judgments and to validate information and knowledge, and to find knowledgeable others who can help them with this. Downes (2009) discussed the concept of ‘critical literacies ’ in relation to successful learning on informal networks, while Bouchard and Kop emphasised the need for individuals to be able to ‘network’ effectively , which requires considerable levels of meta-cognition and collaboration skills that, they argue, not all learners possess (Kop and Bouchard, 2010, in press). Networks are not neutral and power free; there are influential hubs that determine what information people access   Moreover, the new learning environment requires learners to be active in their learning by editing and producing information themselves in a variety of formats and by communicating and collaborating with others in new ways. People need to have a certain level of creativity and innovative thinking, in addition to feeling competent, confident and comfortable at using ICT applications to be able to do so. Learners need to be flexible, able to adapt to new situations and able to solve problems that they come across during their learning journey. Anecdotal evidence suggests that people learn some of these informally from each other, but other critical literacies, i.e. information literacy, develop at a very early age and will be hard to acquire at a later date. Critical thinking skills and media literacy seem to be best learned in a formal environment as the presence of an expert to challenge beliefs and show opposing points of view to the learner seems required for a critical awareness to develop (British Library, 2008; Walters and Kop, 2009). Some argue however that these skills will develop while engaging in online communication with others, or via challenging feedback or recommendations through the PLE system itself (Downes, 2009). .
  • Cloud computing and the emergence of Web 2.0 and social media have altered the dynamics of the Web. They no longer involve a linear process that consists of only printed text, but they increasingly involve the production of digital artefacts and involve the use of a variety of communication, collaboration and sharing tools that people find and use on the Web and that are stored away from the desktop. These tools have incited new demands on human agency, in the form of creativity, innovation and self-expression (Sahlberg, 2009; Fisher et al, 2005).
  •   Two of the facilitators on the course were the founders of ‘ Connectivism ’, earmarked as the latest theory of learning and knowledge (Siemens & Downes, 2008, 2009). Siemens and Downes have highlighted on numerous occasions the importance of human agency and the necessity of active participation in connectivist learning. They stress the importance of four types of activity for successful learning: 1. The aggregation of resources. One of the aggregation strategies was through ‘The Daily’ newsletter. 2. A remixing stage : after reading, watching or listening people reflect on what has been collected and make connections between different resources. 3. After this stage a form of repurposing was expected to take place, in which participants would create something of their own. In the PLENK2010 the facilitators suggested tools that participants could use to create their own content. The job of the participants was to use the tools and just practice with them. Facilitators demonstrated, gave examples, used the tools themselves, and talked about them in depth. It was envisaged that with practice participants would become accomplished creators and critics of ideas and knowledge. 4. The fourth stage would be a sharing stage, where participants were encouraged to share their work with other people in the course, and with the world at large.
  • The setting The MOOC researched was organized by two educational institutions and the Canadian Research Council. The subject of the course was Personal Learning Environments, Networks and Knowledge (PLENK). It was a free course which lasted 10 weeks and on which 1641 participants were registered. PLENK2010 did not consist of a body of content and was not conducted in a single place or environment. It was distributed across the Web. Participants were able to work completely in private, not showing anything to anybody if they wished to do so. Facilitators emphasized that sharing would always be the participant’s choice.   A course identifier tag was used to recognize anything that was created in relation to the course, also outside the course environment, on sites such as blogs, social networking sites and through the use of micro-blogging tools such as Twitter (#PLENK2010). That is how content related to the course was recognized, aggregated, and displayed in ‘ The Daily ’ newsletter for the course.   In addition, a Moodle Learning Management System with wiki was used to hold discussions and display course resources, including information on schedules and speakers for twice weekly Elluminate sessions . Throughout the course, Twitter posts and participants’ and facilitators’ blogs developed around the course subject, and Facebook Groups, Second Life and other social network environments were developed by participants. Learner support was provided by four facilitators in the form of videos, slideshows and discussion posts in addition to blog posts, feedback to blogs and Moodle discussion posts. Elluminate was used once a week by facilitators for a synchronous discussion and chat session of that week’s subject.
  • If people are encouraged to move away from the institution for their learning, it is important to find out the relevance to the learning experience of the informal (online) networks in which they find their information. A network in the context of this paper would be an open online ‘space’ where people meet, as nodes on networks, while communicating with others and while using blogs, wikis, audio-visuals and other information streams and resources. De Laat (2006) highlighted the complexity of researching networked learning and emphasized as key problems the issues of human agency and the multitude of issues involved, such as the dynamics of the network, power-relations on the network, and the amount of content generated.   The NRC research team decided to use a mixed methods approach and a variety of research techniques and analysis tools to capture the diverse activities and the learning experiences of participants on PLENK2010 . Learning analytics tools were used as a quantitative form of Social Network Analysis to clarify activity and relationships between nodes on the PLENK network. Three surveys were carried out at the end of the course, and after it had finished, to capture learning experiences during the course: A course end survey (N=62), an ‘active producers’ survey (N= 31) and a ‘lurkers’ survey (N=73).   In addition, qualitative methods in the form of virtual ethnography were used. A researcher was an observer during the course , collecting qualitative data through observation of activities and engagement. She also carried out a focus group in the final week of the course to gain a deeper understanding of particular issues related to the active participation of learners.
  • As vast amounts of discursive data were generated and collected, computational tools, such as SNAPP, NetDraw and Nvivo, were used to identify themes in the data and for analysis and interpretation of the qualitative research data.   For the data analysis on the course, the Moodle data mining functionality was used and provided participant details, their level of use and access of resources, information on course activities, and discussions taking place in the course forums. The gRSShopper aggregator statistics functionality provided details on course-related use of blogs and micro-blogging tools such as Twitter. Some analytics and visualization tools, such as the Social Networks Adapting Pedagogical Practice (SNAPP) tool, were also used to deliver real-time social network visualizations of Moodle discussion forum activity, while the visualization tool NetDraw was used to create an ego network to provide an understanding of the role of a particular actor in a discussion.   Because of the volume of data generated by the 1641 participants and facilitators and the restrictions on time to produce this paper, quantitative analysis of blog posts, Twitter and Moodle participation were used, but the qualitative analysis of data was restricted to the Moodle environment and blogs that were representative of all the blogs produced by participants. SNAPP accessible online at https://topaz.ad.uow.edu.au/SNAPP/Menu.html ) NetDraw accessible online at http://www.analytictech.com/downloadnd.htm )
  • Who were the participants? The professional background of participants on the PLENK course were mainly employed in education, research and design, and development of learning opportunities and environments. They were teachers, researchers, managers, mentors, engineers, facilitators, trainers, and university professors. Chart 1 shows PLENK participants’ age and Figure 2 shows a Google Map, instigated by one of the PLENK participants, representing participants’ residence.
  • Challenges of analyzing and visualizing participation on the course. When the course started, 846 had registered, which steadily increased to 1641 at the end of the course, as shown in Chart 2. People took part in the twice weekly meeting sessions that were hosted on Elluminate, once a week with an invited speaker and once as a discussion session amongst the group and facilitator(s). Actual presence at these synchronous sessions decreased over the weeks from 97 people in week two, when attendance was the highest, to 40 in the final week and there was a similar trend in the access of the recordings.   Global participation and multiple time zones influenced who were present and who accessed the Elluminate recordings. A high number of blog posts were generated related to the course (949) and an even higher number of Twitter contributions (3459). The #PLENK2010 identifier facilitated the easy aggregation of blog posts, del.icio.us links and Twitter messages produced by participants, which highlighted a wide number of resources and links back to participant’s blogs and discussion forums, and thus connecting different areas of the course. Although the number of course registrations was high, an examination of contributions across weeks (i.e., Moodle discussions, blogs, Twitter posts marked with #PLENK2010 course tag, and participation in live Elluminate sessions) suggested that about 40-60 individuals on average contributed actively to the course on a regular basis by producing blog posts and discussion posts, while others’ visible participation rate was much lower.  
  •   The chart on the last slide shows the number of times people used particular tools but does not show how these interactions took place and we have been experimenting with several analytics tools , such as social network analysis tool SNAPP used as a bookmarklet to the browser. The activation of the SNAPP tool results in an online network visualization and the results of these interactions have been exported to both VNA (Edgelist format) and GraphML formats and used in the NetDraw tool to create network visualizations to understand the role that an actor plays in a particular discussion. The figure on the left shows that the facilitator is important (the red dot), but that there are other participants with a strong influence on the network through their connections with others. In addition, the second figure shows the relationship between some of the course topics of discussion.
  •   Information from the Moodle Logs   Moodle system logs provided limited information about participants in the course. 1641 participants had registered on Moodle for the PLENK2010 course. This image gives an idea on the number of people who have participated in any of the discussions. The SNAPP tool uses information on who posted and replied to whom, and what major discussions were about, and how expansive they were , to analyze the interactions of a forum and display it in a Social Network Diagram. Figure on the right provides a visual depiction of all interactions occurring among students and facilitators in PLENK2010 for Week 1-Discussion on PLE/PLNs , with the person having initiated the discussion thread at the center. The social network diagram provides an aggregate visual representation of the connections that occurred between 69 participants for this particular discussion and is an aggregate visual representation of the interactions among participants.
  •   Outside the learning environment one of the applications that was used extensively by learners was Twitter , a micro-blogging tool where people can use a limited number of words to communicate a message to others. It is also possible to retweet, redistribute. A message, or reply directly to someone who sent a message out., as expressed in the Tweets graph. We wanted to see how well connected participants were to the outside world and how they used Twitter : for chat, messages, or to distribute links to resources. As you can see here, most tweets were links to resources, which could be blog posts, videos produces, or interesting papers to read.
  •   And the two images here show the connections of the people on PLENK while using Twitter . The one on the right represents, over a six week period, to what other communities people sent tweets. A #tag can be used as an identifyer of a particular subject, in this case a course, and as you can see PLENK participants also sent messages and links to these other #tag communities. It doesn’t tell anything about the quality of the interactions, but it shows the connectedness. The image on the left shows Twitter communications within PLENK and it shows that some people are ‘information hubs’ while others did not communicate much.
  •     Nvivo was used to arrange the vast qualitative data into themes . This image is the visualization reflects “personal agency” and shows words related to the following keywords :“Networks”, “Learning”, “Questions” and “Exploration”:   I, me, my, own, personal… emphasize “PERSONAL AGENCY”; I, me, you, we, people, our, network, us, others… emphasize “NETWORK”; Knowledge, ideas, think, information, tools, learn, experience…. emphasize “LEARNING”; Why, what, when, who… for “QUESTIONS”; and do, work, change, use, can….for “EXPLORATION”.     We used Nvivo to highlight the importance of the concept of “Network”, “Me”, “Learning” in Week 1-Discussion on PLE/PLNs, and exploration and questions to a lesser extent.  
  •     Word count in relation to PLE/PLNs concept map discussion This figure highlights the importance of the concept of “Network”, “Me”, “Learning” in Week 1-Discussion on PLE/PLNs, and exploration and questions to a lesser extent.     The importance of the “network” in the discussion is thus highlighted, followed by the knowledge, ideas, thinking, information, tools, and experience that promote learning and the use of concept or mind mapping, and personal agency underscored in words such as I, me, my, own.
  • Factors related to the chaotic nature of the course and lack of confidence seemed to be important at the start of the course and especially for novices. People found the experience overwhelming.   For a variety of reasons (e.g. lack of confidence at the start of the course, the way tools and language were being used, trust and comfort levels, power relations on the course), lurkers preferred to read and view, rather than join into a conversation as expressed in the comments to a blog post by one participant:   . . . I’m new to the world of PLNs. I certainly don’t post as much as others but I’m learning and contributing as I go. Could I be considered a “lurker”? Perhaps, but I’m getting more and more involved as I go on and as my comfort level increases. . . . PLNs, despite best intentions can be quite cliquey (sp?) and as a newcomer, that can be quite intimidating. Will I get more comfortable sharing and experimenting? You bet! However, I need to do it in an environment where I feel supported and not judged for my perceived involvement or lack thereof.   An understanding of the ‘change-process ’ itself was also highlighted as important; the process of transformation and the steps required to achieve it. During the ‘lurker’ focus group it was highlighted that novices might need more time for this change-process to occur especially in relation to building self confidence and a sense of community in such a large course. These perceptions were expressed by a participant in a blog post; Lurking needs to be looked at a bit more holistically–lurkers might position themselves on the periphery as you suggest, but they are also positioned by others. Not all networks are happy, inviting collectives, and a number of factors (perceived or not) influence a person’s ability to participate–language, academic status, gender, etc, for example.  
  • On the other hand, the active participants highlighted in their responses that they got the most out of the course because of their active production and interaction with others; it helped them to reflect, involved them in a creative process and they liked to give something back to the group , as shown in Charts 6 and 7.
  • What did people produce? Here some examples of artifacts produced. Some people with experience in learning on a MOOC were very active and involved in the course. One participant for instance produced a Google Map (see Figure 1) that has received 19122 views so far and a blog that has been read in 68 countries. Another produced a creative concept map. This was produced after one of the facilitators suggested the creation of a concept map as an activity to organize ideas, but initially caused a stir on the discussion board as some self-directed learners felt it inappropriate for facilitators to direct their learning this much. Another participant used Wordles to ‘skim-read’ papers and visualize the content of a paper.
  • What did people produce? Here some examples of artifacts produced. Some people with experience in learning on a MOOC were very active and involved in the course. One participant for instance produced a Google Map (see Figure 1) that has received 19122 views so far and a blog that has been read in 68 countries. Another produced a creative concept map. This was produced after one of the facilitators suggested the creation of a concept map as an activity to organize ideas, but initially caused a stir on the discussion board as some self-directed learners felt it inappropriate for facilitators to direct their learning this much. Another participant used Wordles to ‘skim-read’ papers and visualize the content of a paper.
  • What did people produce? Here some examples of artifacts produced. Some people with experience in learning on a MOOC were very active and involved in the course. One participant for instance produced a Google Map (see Figure 1) that has received 19122 views so far and a blog that has been read in 68 countries. Another produced a creative concept map. This was produced after one of the facilitators suggested the creation of a concept map as an activity to organize ideas, but initially caused a stir on the discussion board as some self-directed learners felt it inappropriate for facilitators to direct their learning this much. Another participant used Wordles to ‘skim-read’ papers and visualize the content of a paper.
  • Agency and active participation.   Not all participants contributed in a visibly active way. There was a high number of participants who accessed resources, but who were not engaged in producing blog posts, videos or other digital artifacts; they seemed to be consumers, rather than producers on the course. The basis of MOOCs has always been four activities: 1. Actively aggregating, 2. Actively relating these aggregated resources to earlier experiences and knowledge (called ‘remixing’ by Downes),  3. Actively repurposing; producing a digital artifact with this mix of thoughts, and 4. An actively sharing stage.  The first image represents PLENKers perceptions around ‘lurking’ It was clear on the course that only a small percentage of participants engaged in the production of digital artifacts. Between 40 and 60 were active producers, the other 1580 were not active in this way. This was unexpected to the course organizers as before the start they saw the production phase as vital to the learning on a networked environment. After all, as some participants mentioned in the discussion, if nobody is an active producer, it limits the resources that all participants can use to develop their ideas, to discuss, think, and be inspired by in their learning.   The research data showed some interesting reasons for the ‘lurking’ behaviour by the majority of participants . 54.5% of respondents to the ‘lurkers’ survey indicated that they have always been self-directed learners and do not feel they have to actively share and reply to discussion forums and blogs to learn. In addition, 50.9% highlighted that they are tactical lurkers who use particular strategies that are especially useful in their learning. The second image shows contributing factors to lurking behaviour The most important restricting factor to their participation in PLENK were issues outside the course, related to people’s everyday life, such as time, job, family and other commitments, which were given by 80.6% of respondents to the ‘lurkers’ survey. Other factors highlighted as important to lurkers were: being a listener and reflector, so not being active was the natural thing to do (34.3%) and the perception that lurking is a legitimate learning strategy (29.9%) . Factors related to the chaotic nature of the course and lack of confidence seemed to be less important
  • Motivational issues relevant to networked learning. The course end survey highlighted factors that were important to participant motivation. What seemed to motivate participants most was finding particularly striking resources and information, getting involved in an online community and to learn something new. One participant highlighted for instance that learning alongside self-motivated peers was what motivated her as opposed to traditional training days where people were forced to be present. Learning how the new environment might improve their teaching and the learning of others was one motivational factor, while for another participant the topic of discussion was most motivational. Another participant highlighted issues of the ‘self’ in relation to connectivist learning, such as self-evaluation, self-orientation and self-regulation: ‘ Deciding to build a self-managed PLE, must be a strongly (professionally or personally) motivated choice, and requires a high initial engagement and a constance during the time, to be really useful. I put the "strong motivation" in the top of my list of personal requirements to build and use successfully a PLE/Ns. That signifies also having clear objectives, before starting a learning experience: what do I want to achieve? How long I can dedicate to do it? ... Other personal qualities: critical thinking, self-evaluation; self-orientation, self-regulation. I think the major challenges for people to feel comfortable learning in PLE/Ns are related to the "self" role, in learning activity.’ The relevance of learning to everyday life was highlighted as important by several learners. One emphasised the importance of having choices at the start of the learning activity to increase motivation and the need for a negotiation process regarding content, skills and process to make courses meaningful and relevant to everyday life. Affective issues were also highlighted as motivational factors. Some people found it particularly motivational to be learning about connectivist learning in the company of the inventors of the connectivism theory , while other drew inspiration from learning in the company of self-motivated persons with a similar interest . They valued the opportunity to come in contact with, collaborate with and meet people who would help to expand their personal network.
  • What literacies were critical for the learners to operate in such a learning environment? Participants found different skills, abilities and competencies important to learn in a complex learning environment such as in the distributed PLENK2010 . Some emphasized the particular mindset required, while others emphasized during the ‘lurker’ focus group that novices might need more time to feel comfortable with this change-process especially in relation to building self confidence and a sense of community in such a large course . This was also expanded upon by another participant who expressed that: “ people need to develop critical literacy and a host of new critical literacies in order to learn and to work effectively with intelligent data, with people, and within the network. I see that the PLE as a way to process data, expand learning capacities of participants, and grow the network ”.   Participants highlighted a role for the educator in supporting this development as the following quote expresses: One of the tasks of a teacher is to help develop and shape students' personal learning environments. This would involve introducing the students to resources and tools. Teaching the students how to critically evaluate resources and tools. And, teaching how to control and filter the flow of information coming to them as a consequence of their personal learning environment.   Participants also emphasised a new responsibility for their own learning and their own lives in the new learning paradigm.
  •   DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION   Although course organizers and promoters of connectivist learning posit that actively producing digital artifacts is an important stage in the networked learning process, most participants had a different view and participated in a different way. The large group of silent participants, ‘lurkers’, who did not produce artifacts, nor participate extensively in discussions, felt that they were actively engaged in the course through the other three activities: aggregating information, remixing of it and sharing it with others. Our research showed that people were actively engaged in these activities, although the sharing mostly took place outside the PLENK course structure and sometimes after the course had finished because people needed time to think and reflect on the resources, information, and communication that they had to digest during the course.   Agency and activity are required in an autonomous learning environment, but it was clear that learners have their own ideas on what type of activities would suit them and their life styles, which might not necessarily be the same as those of the course organizers.   Some of the factors as indicated by Bouchard (2009) clearly influenced the level of participation and types of activities learners engaged in. The conative factors, related to psychological factors such as drive, motivation, confidence, were important. Participants who had already engaged in MOOCs before this course clearly participated more in the active production stage than novices. Novices also indicated their lack of confidence at participating on a worldwide stage where experts in the field of PLEs were sharing their research with them, and highlighted the power-relations as an inhibitor. On the other hand, these high profile contributors were mentioned as a motivational factor by others to participate in the course. Opportunities to exploit the expertise in the MOOC, especially amongst willing and active participants, are therefore worth exploring in future courses.   Time management, goal setting and time availability were mentioned as the most important algorithmic factors influencing people’s participation. Learners found it hard to pace themselves and were, especially at the start, overwhelmed by the volume of resources and communication that needed to be managed, shaped and organized, even though facilitators told participants that it would be impossible to read and view everything that would come their way. People did make decisions about this at a later stage and devised coping strategies. Participants also decided to keep receiving the Daily until the end of the course, but different learners had clearly different ideas on their time investment, engagement and involvement in the course.   It seemed that the semiotic dimension as highlighted by Bouchard (2009), the way in which people would access particular types of information and resources, was very important as it was different from what participants were used to in the past. People valued the new (to them) and different ways of aggregating information, by using RSS feeds and (#) tags through social networks. It was important for learners to learn about new tools and find out what these could mean for their own teaching practice. Participants helped each other to find tools that could aid them in supporting their learning and information aggregation.   The economic factors were also relevant to the course participants. They were intrinsically motivated to participate and placed a high value on the knowledge they developed on the course subject, Personal Learning Environments, Networks and Knowledge, and the new tools they could use to enhance their own teaching and work practice, as well as the extension of the personal networks .   Additional issues played a role in learners’ participation and engagement. The major ones being critical literacies required to learn actively in an open networked learning environment, which involved a different mind-set and higher level of critical analysis of resources than in a more organized class room environment. People should clearly not be risk and change- averse, to benefit most from learning in a MOOC. This ability to thrive in a changing environment will be influenced by all four of Bouchard’s factors, which leads us to conclude that there is an inter-relatedness of Bouchard’s (2009) dimensions.   It also seems that to bring out the creative potential in people and to inspire them into the production of digital artifacts , dimensions of activity, engagement and learning would also have to be heightened and at their most favorable. This paper presents preliminary research findings and a more in depth analysis is currently in progress. We expect that results of this will later in the year provide us with indications of what the most favorable conditions would be to facilitate learning by all participants in an online networked learning environment.
  • Transcript

    • 1. New Dimensions to Self-directed Learning on open Networked Learning Environments
      • Rita Kop
      • Hélène Fournier
      • IIT - PLE Project
      • Learning and Collaborative Technologies Group
      • Moncton
      • 25th International Self-Directed
      • Learning Symposium, February 9 - 12,
      • 2011 Cocoa Beach, Florida, USA
    • 2. What to expect Changing learning environment Conclusions Challenges Research methods Learning on a Massive Open Online Course
    • 3. The changing learning environment http://bit.ly/gmNndn
    • 4. Connectivism George Siemens Stephen Downes
    • 5. The Web in 2010 http://www.flowtown.com/blog/have-we-reached-a-world-of-infinite-information?display=wide
    • 6. Challenge: The network itself http://bit.ly/gsiqF7 Barabási (2003)
    • 7. Challenge: dimensions of learner autonomy ( Bouchard, 2009 )
    • 8. Challenge: Critical Literacies   http://visuallit.wordpress.com/2008/06/03/media-literacy-visual-literacy-connect/
    • 9. Challenge: The cloud and social media abovethelaw.com meatmeter.blogspot.com
    • 10. RSS feeds and readers
    • 11. Active participation in connectivist learning
      • Aggregating
      • Remixing
      • Repurposing
      • Feed forward
      profesorbaker.wordpress.com (Downes, 2011)
    • 12. Learning on a Massive Open Online Course
    • 13. Research Approach
      • Qualitative methods
      • Virtual ethnography consisting of :
      • Observations on learning environment
      • Observations outside the learning environment using course tag
      • Active participation by facilitator
      • Action research by participants
      • Qualitative questions on three surveys
      • Focus group
      • Quantitative methods :
      • Data mining of the learning environment
      • Data mining outside the learning environment using course tag
      • Surveys
    • 14. Analysis of data
      • Qualitative data
      • Standard discourse analysis: sorting data into themes
      • Nvivo
      • Quantitative data :
      • Learner analytics
      • and visualization
      • statistical analysis of
      • surveys
    • 15. Who were the participants? Participants’ age Participants’ residence Participants’ professional background
    • 16. Analysis: What did participants do? PLENK participation rates
    • 17. Analysis: Interactions on the PLENK Moodle The complex network a facilitator's post generated Relationships between topics in a discussion in week 1
    • 18. Analysis: Interactions on the PLENK Moodle Social network and connection between participants Viewing and posting in PLENK 2010 Course Moodle
    • 19. Analysis: Twitter
    • 20. Analysis: Twitter Aggregated postings in the PLENK Daily during six weeks Aggregated postings in the PLENK Daily during six weeks Aggregated postings in the PLENK Daily during six weeks #tags related to Twitter posts in the PLENK Daily - six weeks duration Twitter connections between PLENK participants
    • 21. Analysis: identifying themes
    • 22. Analysis: identifying themes Word count in relation to PLE/PLNs concept map discussion
    • 23. Learner experience - novice . . I’m learning and contributing as I go. . . I’m getting more and more involved as I go on and as my comfort level increases. . . . PLNs, despite best intentions can be quite cliquey (sp?) and as a newcomer, that can be quite intimidating. Will I get more comfortable sharing and experimenting? You bet! A participant
    • 24. Importance of active participation Importance of active participation Why was active participation perceived to be important?
    • 25. What did people produce?
      • Twitter posts
      • Discussion posts
      • Blog posts
      • Concept maps
      • Google map of participants
      • Wordles
      • Pearltrees networks
      • Presentations
      • Animations
      • S.Network groups
      • Second Life area
    • 26. What did people produce?
    • 27. What did people produce?
    • 28. Why did people choose to ‘lurk’? Contributing factors to lurking behavior PLENK perceptions around ‘lurking’
    • 29. Motivational issues
    • 30. Facilitator role in supporting critical literacies
      • ‘ One of the tasks of a teacher is to help develop and shape students' personal learning environments. This would involve introducing the students to resources and tools. Teaching the students how to critically evaluate resources and tools. And, teaching how to control and filter the flow of information coming to them as a consequence of their personal learning environment.’
      • A participant
    • 31. Conclusions
      • Bouchard’s dimensions of learner autonomy were useful in analyzing the data
      • Critical literacies was an added dimension
      • People engaged in active participation in their own way
      • To inspire people into creative production required a high level of confidence, engagement and activity in the learner
    • 32.
      • Rita Kop
      • [email_address]

    ×