Openness and changing world of learning
Special edition 2009
sonal learning environments
Personal learning environments
ersonal learning environm
eracy Openness and learning Openness and learning
ness and learning Digital L
Open Educational Resources
Open Educational Resources Person
Training and work
Personal learning e
Open Educational Resource
nnovation and creativity Innovation and creativity
gital Literacy Training and wor
Digital Literacy Training and wo
Personal learning envir
onal Resources Digital Literacy
Innovation and creativity
An initiative of the European Commission
Openness and changing world of learning
Roberto Carneiro and Lluís Tarín ......................................................................................................................................................... 3
Understanding the learning space
Jean Underwood and Philip E. Banyard ............................................................................................................................................ 4
Universities and Web 2.0: Institutional challenges
Juan Freire ..................................................................................................................................................................................................13
Virtual action learning: What’s going on?
Mollie Dickenson, Mike Pedler and John Burgoyne....................................................................................................................18
Reflections on sustaining Open Educational Resources: an institutional case study
Andy Lane ..................................................................................................................................................................................................25
Didactic architectures and organization models: a process of mutual adaptation
Laura Gonella and Eleonora Pantò....................................................................................................................................................34
eLearning Papers is a digital publication created as part of the elearningeuropa.info portal.
The portal is an initiative of the European Commission to promote the use of multimedia
technologies and Internet at the service of education and training.
Edition and production
Name of the publication: eLearning Papers
Edited by: P.A.U. Education, S.L.
Postal address: P.A.U. Education, C/ Muntaner 262, 3º, 08021 Barcelona, Spain
Telephone: +34 933 670 400
Legal notice and copyright
By elearningeuropa.info and eLearning Papers.
The views expressed are purely those of the authors and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European
Commission. Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on its behalf is responsible for the use which might be made of the information
contained in the present publication. The European Commission is not responsible for the external web sites referred to in the present publication.
The texts published in this journal, unless otherwise indicated, are subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivativeWorks 2.5
licence. They may be copied, distributed and broadcast provided that the author and the e-journal that publishes them, eLearning Papers, are cited.
Commercial use and derivative works are not permitted.
2 eLearning Papers | 2009
Editorial board Submission of articles
Director: Roberto Carneiro, Dean, Institute for We publish articles provided by the members of the
Distance Learning, Catholic University of Portugal, elearningeuropa.info. Researchers and e-learning
Portugal practitioners on every level are invited to submit their
work to eLearning Papers. Through these articles, the
Lluís Tarín, elearningeuropa.info, content manager, journal promotes the use of ICT for lifelong learning
Spain in Europe.
Wojciech Zielinski, President of the Board of MakoLab The articles will be peer-reviewed and the authors are
Ltd; Secretary of Association of Academic E-learning informed about the reception and acceptance of their
in Poland, Poland texts.
Ulf-Daniel Ehlers, Director of the European
Foundation for Quality in E-Learning; University of Article structure
Duisburg-Essen, Germany Language: Full text need to be presented in English.
Richard Straub, Director of Development, European Title: The title should be no longer than 15 words.
Foundation for Management Development (EFMD);
Secretary General, European Learning Industry Group Executive summary: Every submission must include
(ELIG), Austria an executive summary of 250-300 words in English.
The abstract shall present the main points of the
Claire Bélisle, Human and social sciences Research paper and the author’s conclusions.
Engineer, CNRS (National Scientific Research Center),
in the research unit LIRE (University Lumière Lyon 2), Keywords: 3-6 descriptive keywords need to be
Nicolas Balacheff, Kaleidoscope Scientific Manager; Full texts: Full texts must be of 2,000-6,000 words
Senior Scientist at CNRS (National Scientific Research divided into chapters with indicative subtitles. The
Center), France text may be enriched with non-textual data, such as
pictures, tables and figures.
Jean Underwood, Professor of Psychology,
Nottingham Trent University, UK References: All the references need to be cited clearly
and listed in alphabetical order at the end of the
Antonio Bartolomé, Audiovisual Communication article
Professor, University of Barcelona, Spain
Author profile: The authors must provide their full
Tapio Koskinen, Head of R&D, Lifelong Learning details and a short bio
Institute Dipoli, Helsinki University of Technology,
Finland Copyright policy and responsibilities: Authors remain
responsible for the content of what they submit for
Jos Beishuizen, Vrije Ujniversiteit, Amsterdam, The publication. The editors reserve the right to edit the
Netherlands contents, to publish or reject the material submitted
and to select the publication time.
Openness and changing world of learning 1
Published issues and articles 2008-2009
April 2008 November 2008
Openness and learning in today’s world (Nº 8) Training & Work (Nº 11)
• Is the World Open?, by Richard Straub Guest editor: Alain Nicolas
• Web 2.0 and New Learning Paradigms, by Antonio • Microtraining as a support mechanism for informal
Bartolomé learning, by Pieter De Vries and Stefan Brall
• Universities and Web 2.0: Institutional challenges, by • Enhancing patients’ employability through informal
Juan Freire eLearning while at hospital, by Holger Bienzle
• “Learning is for everyone. Innovating is for everyone”, • Virtual action learning: What’s going on? by Mollie
interview with Anna Kirah Dickenson, Mike Pedler and John Burgoyne
• Grandparents and Grandsons: poetics of an inter- • Informal learning and the use of Web 2.0 within SME
generational learning experience, by Aina Chabert training strategies, by Ileana Hamburg and Timothy
Ramon and Monica Turrini Hall
• Need for the qualification of IT competences - the
computer and internet Certificates (C2i), by Francis
Rogard and Gérard-Michel Cochard
Personal learning environments (Nº 9)
Guest editor: Ulf Ehlers
• Understanding the learning space, by Jean Under- February 2009
wood and Philip E. Banyard Digital literacy (Nº 12)
• On the way towards Personal Learning Environ- Guest editor: Nikitas Kastis
ments: Seven crucial aspects, by Sandra Schaffert • Digital Literacy for the Third Age: Sustaining Identity
and Wolf Hilzensauer in an Uncertain World, by Allan Martin
• Designing for Change: Mash-Up Personal Learning • Digital Literacy – A Key Competence in the 21st Cen-
Environments, by Fridolin Wild, Felix Mödritscher and tury, by Petra Newrly and Michelle Veugelers
Steinn E. Sigurdarson • T-learning for social inclusion, by Chiara Sancin,
• Didactic architectures and organization models: a Valentina Castello, Vittorio Dell’Aiuto and Daniela Di
process of mutual adaptation, by Eleonora Pantò and Genova
Laura Gonella • A digital literacy proposal in online higher educa-
• Self-Regulated Personalized Learning (SRPL): Devel- tion: the UOC scenario, by Montse Guitert and Teresa
oping iClass’s pedagogical model, by Roni (Aharon) Romeu
Aviram, Yael Ronen, Smadar Somekh, Amir Winer and • Designing e-tivities to increase learning-to-learn
Ariel Sarid abilities, by Maria Chiara Pettenati and Maria Elisa-
• Formative Interfaces for Scaffolding Self-Regulated betta Cigognini
Learning in PLEs, by Mustafa Ali Türker and Stefan
Open Educational Resources (Nº 10)
Guest editors: Sandra Schaffert and Riina Vuorikari
• Open Educational Resources for Management Edu-
cation: Lessons from experience, by Cécile Rébillard,
Jean-Philippe Rennard and Marc Humbert
• Reflections on sustaining Open Educational Resourc-
es: an institutional case study, by Andy Lane
• OER Models that Build a Culture of Collaboration:
A Case Exemplified by Curriki, by Barbara (Bobbi)
• Simplicity and design as key success factors of the
OER repository LeMill, by Tarmo Toikkanen
• Applying Software Development Paradigms to Open
Educational Resources, by Seth Gurell
2 eLearning Papers | 2009
Openness and changing world of learning
In an open world, interactive communication technologies are generating an impact which affects learning processes,
people who learn and organisations that intend to improve and become evermore competitive. We have seen that
“openness” is readily associated with ideas and values such as individual freedom, intercultural cooperation, lifelong
learning, tolerance and innovativeness. This printed issue of eLearning Papers is a showcase of all these aspects,
highlighted in the publication during the past year.
With this special issue we also want to stress the ongoing European Year of Creativity and Innovation, which aims to
raise awareness on the importance of creativity and innovation for personal, social and economic development; to
disseminate good practices; to stimulate education and research; and to promote policy debate on relevant issues. There
is no innovation without creativity, and the latter will not be fully exploited unless the fruits of creative activities are
disseminated and taken into use through business and other societal interactions.
Readers will find in this printed issue articles that we have selected among the ones published in the digital publication;
articles that we believe are the most representative in describing experiences and ideas present in the current debate about
lifelong learning and technology.
Philip Banyard and Jean Underwood address an important question of how schools successfully support the
personalisation of learning through the use of digital technologies. The article explores the relationship between digital
technologies and current moves to provide a more personalised learning experience.
Juan Freire analyses in his article the changes at higher education institutions due to web 2.0. He describes a list of
bottlenecks which constrain the institutional adoption of web 2.0 when universities and their managers assume an active
role to adapt to the new reality. The article concludes pointing out a set of elements for an effective web 2.0 adoption in
Mollie Dickenson, Mike Pedler and John Burgoyne present their approach to virtual action learning and propose a new
practice of virtual 3D training using avatars, as in Second Life. The paper points out that the blended approach can benefit
from the complementarity of the advantages of each method, but also remarks the need of a more complete research on
the contribution of new technologies.
Andy Lane, in his article about Open Education Resources, shows how first gaining high level policy support within the
institution for the initiative of OER was turned into a sustainable institutional practice.
Laura Gonella and Eleonora Pantò can help to understand whether eLearning 2.0, based on the tools and approaches
typical of web 2.0, can be useful in different frameworks and organisations. The authors present four different
organizational models and the corresponding evolution of didactic architectures.
Enjoy reading this selection of articles, and remember that you may find more online at www.elearningpapers.eu!
Roberto Carneiro, Lluís Tarín,
Director of the Editorial Board, eLearning Papers Content Manager, elearningeuropa.info
Openness and changing world of learning 3
Understanding the learning space
Philip Banyard Jean Underwood
Senior Lecturer in Psychology Professor of Psychology
Division of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University, U.K. Division of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University, U.K.
How do schools successfully support the personalising of learning though the use of digital technologies? The
research reported here explores the relationship between digital technologies and current moves to provide a more
personalised learning experience. Recommendations are made that will encourage a better understanding of the
learning spaces and the better use of digital technologies.
We start by presenting a descriptive model of the relationship between learners, the educational spaces they operate
in and digital technologies. We identify four key spaces (personal learning space, teaching space, school space and
living space) that have an impact on the educational experience of learners. These spaces are currently not well
understood and as a result much of the informal and formal learning of children is not acknowledged and not assessed.
We then test the validity of this model using evidence from several national research projects all of which used a
mixed-method design collecting qualitative and quantitative data through focus groups, interviews, surveys and
national data sets of learner performance. The data reported here comes from the case study reports and includes
classroom observations along with first hand comments from teachers, managers and learners. We consider the
implications of these data and this model for our understanding of how digital technologies can be used effectively in
In the traditional model of education the design of the learning space was mainly under the control of the institution
and the teacher. The physical characteristics of the personal learning space can still be influenced by teachers and
institutions, but the design of that space and the uses of the technology are under the control of the learners. To create
effective learning it is necessary to understand the different spaces in the personalising of learning and to respond to
the perceptions and behaviours of learners.
Digital literacy, Learning spaces, Learning, Pedagogy, Research, School, Teacher
1 Introduction It will create opportunity for every child, regardless of
their background.” (slide 2)
The problem addressed in this report concerns
our understanding and conceptualization of how There are many ways that digital technologies can
digital technologies can best be used in education. support the learner to achieve a more personalised
We propose and test a model that describes these experience. In the Impact 2007 report (Underwood
processes and allows identification of issues to et al., 2008a) we found two trends: the rise of the
be addressed in order to make best use of digital learner as not only recipient but also shaper of the
technologies. In doing so we conceptualise educational experience; this was coupled with growth
personalising learning, the foundation of a key policy in the range and availability of user-centred, mobile
objective of the UK government, and investigate how digital technologies. The synergy between these
personalising learning interacts with the use of digital two developments has the potential to extend the
technologies. range and access to learning experiences allowing
the delivery of the curriculum in more imaginative
The UK Department of Education and Skills (DfES,
and flexible ways. However, digital technologies do
2006) sees personalization of the learner’s educational
not lead to a more personalised learning experience.
experience as “the key to tackling the persistent
Indeed Impact 2007 showed a complex relationship
achievement gaps between different social and ethnic
between the e-Maturity (a measure of the level and
groups. It means a tailored education for every child
effective use of digital resources in a school) and the
and young person, that gives them strength in the basics,
degree to which a more personalised agenda was
stretches their aspirations, and builds their life chances.
perceived by pupils to be operating in their schools.
4 eLearning Papers | 2009
2 Developing a Model of the Ef- There have been three iterations of the model to date. In
the first iteration the nested model views the learners’
fective use of digital technologies experience as being structured by the teachers who
are themselves working with and contributing to the
for the personalising of learning culture of the school. However, on reflection, it is more
The model presented here was generated from a wide- helpful to consider the personal learning space that
ranging review of literature, as well as our own project the learner occupies rather than the learner himself
research data. We have drawn on materials in the public or herself. Put simply, the personal learning space is
domain as well as detailed classroom observations the space in which learning takes place. This has some
conducted under Impact 2007 (Underwood et al., obvious physical characteristics (such as the technical
2008a) and earlier work from the Broadband Projects facilities that are available) but crucially it also refers
(Underwood et al., 2004 & 2005). The model is a to the cognitive space in which the learner operates.
description of the interrelationships between core This cognitive space includes the learners’ investment
actors (the institution, the staff and the learner) and the in learning, their sense of efficacy and their motivation
functional spaces which they inhabit (Figure 1). to learn In the same way, it is helpful to consider the
teaching space rather than the teacher. The teaching
A number of assumptions underpin this model:
space includes the physical environment of the
1. The educational process is a dynamic system classroom and the cognitive structures that generate
governed by a complex set of interrelationships. the learning environment. In the case of teachers the
additional cognitive features include their awareness of
2. Learning occurs both in informal as well as formal the potential of digital technologies and their own level
settings and, after a period in the Twentieth Century of e-Maturity.
when formal education dominated, the rise of digital
learning spaces has rebalanced the importance In the third and current iteration of the Model (Figure
of informal versus formal learning. Learners 1) the space beyond the school also becomes significant.
increasingly acquire not only ‘street’ knowledge This living space provides a further input to the learning
but also ‘academic’ knowledge from outside of the space and teaching space. Teachers create some of their
classroom. In particular their technological world is teaching materials outside the school using resources
likely to be richer outside the school than it is inside that might not be available within the school. They
the school. As a result they have access to a range of might also belong to networks of teachers from other
resources and functionalities that allow for new ways schools who are sharing good practice. Similarly the
of learning. These technological skills and new ways learners’ personal learning space is not limited to the
of learning can then be brought into the school and school. They might have access to other technical and
formal learning. social resources outside the school.
3. Technological advancements such as simulations, The second level of description captures the
virtual reality and multi-agent systems have been not characteristics of the participants and also of the
only a stimulus but also a driver of a more flexible technologies. In this sense the affordances of the
and social conceptualisation of learning. This is technology introduce further enhancements, such as
the capacity to support group dynamics.
captured in the moves towards just-in-time learning,
constructivism, student-centered and collaborative The living space that most commonly provides support
learning. for learning is the home, but opportunities for learning
go much further than this. With regard to the home, the
4. A fourth assumption is that across the educational
affordances of digital technologies create a reciprocal
space there is the potential for children to take on
traffic with the school so that just as the school can now
multiple roles, which may include learner, mentor,
be in the living room, the people in the living room can
tutor and in some cases assessor. Equally the teacher
look into and affect the school. Digital technologies
or tutor is also a learner in some contexts. While
have helped blur distinctions between work and play
parents and guardians have their central role they
and now with increasing links between school and
are also tutors and learners. Each of these roles is
home they are also blurring the distinctions between
important, as is evidenced from the Test Bed Project
leisure and learning.
(Underwood, Dillon & Twining, 2007) where
teachers’ skills development was shown to be an In the Model, the first level of description focuses
important positive correlate of school performance. on four educational spaces: the school environment
In contrast, Lim, Lee, and Richards (2006) have including aspects such as culture and affluence of the
reported reduced usage of technology by pupils in institution; the teaching space; the personal learning
classes where the teacher was uncomfortable with space and the living space. While pupils as learners
technology. find a natural home in the personal learning space, the
Openness and changing world of learning 5
ICT and the personalising of learning
Behavioural and psychological
characteristics Technological characteristics
Leadership, school Intranet,
E-maturity, Expectation MIS, Learning platform
E-maturity, Aware of potentialities, space Facilities,
CPD Connectivity, Accessibility
Self efficacy, Investment in learning, Workstation, Learning platform,
Merge work and play, living space Availability,
Communicating, Expectations (home & beyond) Accessories, Connectivity
Figure 1. Model of Personalising of Learning
research evidence shows they are becoming more active of personalised learning. Space in this model is partly
in the teaching space. Teachers necessarily occupy defined by its physical characteristics and technical
the teaching space but they also occupy the learning specifications. It is only fully understood by considering
space as they seek to develop their pedagogic and how people behave in that space and how they think
out-of-school skills. The Model clearly underscores the about that space. A paved square can be a piazza if
importance of out-of-school spaces both for teaching people are sitting at tables drinking coffee or it can be a
and learning and for pupils and teachers, and indeed parade ground if soldiers are marching on it.
parents, as learners. Some teachers also contribute to
the school space in their leadership or technology roles. 3 Validating the Model
At first glance the nested model of educational spaces
hides a discontinuity. Are the spaces closed or open? Methodology
How permeable are the barriers between the spaces? We have endeavoured to test the validity of that model
How much of the infrastructure and strategy developed using evidence from several national research projects
at school level is appropriate to the needs of teachers in including the roll out of broadband into UK schools.
the learning space? How much of the structure of the Detailed methodological descriptions are published in
learning space maps onto the understandings and skills the studies identified above. In summary, the studies
of learners in their learning space? In previous research have reported on work carried out with UK schools
(Underwood et al. 2008a) and the current research over the last five years. The studies on the roll-out of
the responses of managers; teachers and learners do broadband (Underwood et al., 2004 & 2005) created
not share the same perspective on the personalising of case studies in 37 and 27 schools respectively. These
learning, although all groups acknowledge technology case studies were derived from telephone and face-
has an important role in supporting the personalisation to-face interviews with school managers, ICT co-
agenda. Aligning the perceptions from the different ordinators, and teachers and combined with classroom
spaces is key to the delivery of the Harnessing observations and review of learners’ work that allowed
Technology agenda. us to build a picture of the digital world of the school.
The second level of description captures the Most recently, Impact 2007 (Underwood et al., 2008a)
characteristics of the participants and also of the and Personalising Learning (Underwood et al., 2008b)1
technologies. In this sense, the affordances of have explored the relationship between personalising
such technologies - for example their capacity to learning and digital technologies. The first of these
support group dynamics - create new opportunities studies again used case studies with similar sources of
for influencing how learning takes place. At this data with the addition of online survey of learners (n
level the model also captures the behavioural and > 3000) and teachers (n > 500). The data from these
psychological characteristics that are key to the delivery 1
This series of projects was funded by Becta.
6 eLearning Papers | 2009
surveys are reported elsewhere. The second project peoples’ questions, share resources etc. Teachers monitor it
again developed case studies in 30 schools (primary and and also pose additional questions.
secondary) and used focus groups with teachers and
learners in addition to the interviews with managers Many of our observations show the interplay of intra
and ICT co-ordinators. and internet use and confirms that there is a growing
ICT skills base and a sophisticated etiquette of working
In addition to the field data these projects analysed among pupils in ICT rich environments.
demographic data and national academic performance
data (reported elsewhere). A girl entered the classroom and logged onto the school
intranet to continue working on a project which she began
The findings below are drawn from the reports and by reviewing her progress to date. She then logged onto
illustrate the emerging themes that we observed. the internet and, using a search engine, located a short list
Examples are included from case study reports and of useful sites. One particularly useful site contained some
from interviews and focus groups. audio content and, not wishing to disturb other pupils she
obtained a set of headphones from a technician. Having
How might the technology help? made notes from the audio files she then used these as a
basis for her work, drafting and re-drafting appropriately,
Digital technology was seen as a central support for a
saving her work to her personal folder on the intranet.
more personalised learning experience but the nature
Adjacent to her sat a boy who had also entered the room
of that support can differ greatly. For some schools the
carrying no work materials. He immediately logged onto
technology is being used to provide detailed feedback
the intranet, checked his in-box and located the comments
to pupils, staff and parents. Such feedback, not just on
and suggestions that his teacher had provided. Having
academic performance but also behaviour, supports
accessed his previous work he now made a number of
pupils in their attempts to self-regulate their learning.
alterations, building upon the advice received. He saved
At one secondary school SAM Learning (a UK exam the revised version to his folder. He then began work on
revision service for schoolchildren) and ‘P by P’ the new task that he had received from his teacher. He
(personalisation by pieces) schemes foster group activities, too logged on to the internet and copy and pasted various
independent learning and encourages pupils to present items from a chosen range of web sites. He saved this
and discuss work in a positive way. The “P by P scheme” as a rough draft in his personal folder and e-mailed his
is fairly new but allows pupils to set their own goals, find teacher to confirm that he had completed the work set.
evidence to build skill sets and are assessed by mentors
This school, among a number of others in our samples,
and other peers (2 years above them) from other parts of
uses proprietal software (on the Digital Brain portal) to
organise work. This software monitors students’ activity,
The motivational power of technology is clearly sending an email from the student to the subject
recognised by teachers. teacher, when new work has been submitted into the
‘folder’ from which the teacher can collect it. Feedback
ICT enthuses and excites children; electronic tasks seem is then emailed back to the student.
more exciting and stimulating in many cases. Although
a good mix of computer activities and practical activities
The boundary between teaching space and
personal learning space
The teachers all felt that much of the children’s work Teachers and learners engage with technology
was better when a smartboard was used for teaching. in different ways. While teachers see the value of
They reported higher motivation and levels of interest. technology they are not necessarily comfortable with
They gave examples of individual children such as L, the technology. For example, Sandford et al. (2006)
who usually needed extension activities to stretch him, found a significant majority of teachers (72%) do not
easily done on a computer. Using a computer gave the play computer games for leisure, which they suggest
opportunity of presenting one idea in a wide variety of highlights a generational gap between teacher and
ways, this way the teachers were able to ensure practice student. However, Taylor (2003) and the ESA (2005)
without the children feeling that they were doing the same suggest that this as more a life-style choice, that is many
thing every time. teachers choose not to play games, while peers in other
However, other schools use the technology in a more occupations do. Equally teachers also appear to have a
communal way as in this next example. different understanding of personalised learning to the
one held by learners. Preliminary data analyses confirm
The school uses software called ‘question wall’ which is the fractured nature of the understanding of this core
used outside of lessons to support understanding. For educational concept; while both staff and pupils may
example, in a project on religion a question wall was see personalisation of learning as good practice and
set up on which pupils can pose questions, answer other a goal to be strived for, pupils often do not recognise
Openness and changing world of learning 7
staff efforts to deliver on this concept. This perceptual
discontinuity can in part be explained by pupils
equating personalisation with ‘me time’ but we also
have evidence that some teachers, while accepting the
personalisation agenda, are still operating a controlling
model of education.
That said many of our teachers equated personalisation
with pupil voice and choice. They also linked this to the
need for a curriculum that engaged pupils and for many
this was not the National Curriculum.
− The teachers were particularly clear that
personalisation was not individualisation – targeting
every child’s individual needs because this is unrealistic.
It’s a more rounded approach.
Figure 2. Technology worlds at home and at school
− Personalisation was seen as something that good
teachers had been actively involved in for decades. The
key issues are meeting individual needs and offering pupils. In those cases where it was seen necessary,
differentiated learning programmes. The problem with heads indicated that they were considering a number
the rhetoric around Personalising Learning is that of solutions to ameliorate this problem. These included
it implies that each child should have an individual opening the school after hours to those who do not
learning programme and this is not possible in a class of have quality access at home; targeting out of school
35 children. internet skills lessons to those without home access;
loaning laptops to pupils and providing laptops for
− P-learning is a two way process (between student and teachers, often through the ‘laptops for teachers’
teacher), not something you can just ‘do to kids’, they scheme. The case study reports suggest this has been a
have to be involved in it too. positive move.
In this large, well resourced primary school all staff
The boundary between school space
have been provided with an email address which is
and living space also accessible from their homes. The school has placed
Effective home school links through digital all formal school documentation online and staff have
technologies are seen as central to the implementation a communal on-line diary and message board on the
of the personalisation agenda. Indeed Green et web site. Through the web site, schemes of work and
al. (2005) argue that the challenges posed by the lessons plans can be shared by all staff, whether at
Personalising Learning agenda may prove difficult to home or at school. Teachers report that it is easier to
meet without digital technologies as there will be a use the material in school, however, since few of them
specific requirement for “the communication, archiving have broadband access at home, which is confirmation
and multimedia affordances of digital resources” (Green of the head teachers’ perceptions reported earlier. The
et al., 2005 p. 5). availability of this resource has resulted in teachers at
this school staying later and doing more preparation on
Schools are being encouraged to reach out into the
home and, to a lesser extent, the home is reaching
into the school. Many homes are rich in technology. Teachers selecting to work in the school rather than
Figure 2 is a visual representations of secondary school at home is a finding contrary to that of the iSociety
pupils’ active use of a variety of technologies at home (Crabtree & Roberts, 2003). Their study found that
and school. The data are taken from the Personalising teachers were downloading through a home broadband
Learning Project focus group interviews (Underwood link because the school net was too slow, but with our
et al., 2008b) and they clearly show the richness of the schools the quality of the school provision outstripped
home as compared to the school digital world. This many teachers’ homes (Underwood, et al., 2005). In
suggests that linking the school and home digitally is contrast most learners appear to live in a technology
eminently doable. However, not all of homes will have rich world.
the necessary facilities at an appropriate level, to link to
the school. The digital links between school and home are not
universally welcomed and some teachers expressed
Frustration is one outcome of the disparity between concern that the private space of the school was being
the quality of home and school connectivity, but heads eroded, threatening the development of the learners’
were also concerned about disenfranchising their independence. The safety of the home was threatened
8 eLearning Papers | 2009
by the school reaching into home. They were acutely The Savvy Students and Empowered Citizens
aware of the threat of bullying going beyond the school The argument that the younger generation must be
and into the home leaving learners with no escape from rescued from the clutches of digital technologies is
tormentors. loudly voiced and while there are worrying examples
This technologically advanced primary school has an in- of abuse and misuse of technology, are pupils really in
house VLE system called Home School Learning (HSL). need of being rescued? For many working in the field
This is fully accessible from home and contains details there is a growing acceptance that, as Southwell and
of all of the children’s classwork as well as homework Doyle (2004) have argued the answer cannot be a simple
assignments. This is very popular with majority of yes or no. While there is evidence of the net generation
parents who track of their child’s progress. However, some being overly cavalier with personal data, there are savvy
parents feel that this level of accessibility puts undue pupils with a full understanding of the importance of
pressure on the children to work at home. protecting data. This was evident in discussions with a
mixed group of year 9 pupils.
As identified elsewhere (Underwood, Dillon &
Twining, 2007) the thorny issue of lack of home These pupils had a good understanding of some of the
internet access for some 20% of pupils remains and is issues relating to Internet use, citing for example, inherent
being met largely through after school access time for dangers in using social networking sites like Facebook
these pupils. in comparison to using MSN messenger, which they all
seemed to use regularly. They were fully aware that such
Technology inversion sites were not private and their details could be accessed
by unfamiliar adults, which they found threatening. They
The technology is developing from the bottom of the
also recognised the potential for cyber bullying and the
educational system upwards. Pupils of eleven years are
possibility of their identity being compromised now and
engaged in tasks as a matter of routine while adults trail
in the future. MSN messenger was a preferred method
in their wake.
of contact outside school as it is a direct and exclusive
A year six literacy session involved pupils in parallel link between you and the person you had invited to chat
classes writing shared reports about the Antarctic on the with you. Whilst there were no gender differences in
interactive whiteboard. When each class had prepared pupils’ overt response to Facebook, both boys and girls
their report there was a tick box on their half of the were aware of the issues hence chose not to use Facebook;
split screen for them to register they were ready to however it was the girls who were most concerned and
exchange files with the parallel class. They then received, who felt most vulnerable.
marked and returned the other class’s report. The pupils
This awareness raises pupils to the level of discerning
commented that their teachers were beginning to let
consumers rather than naïve victims; this was also
them use the whiteboards now, since the teachers had
apparent in some pupils’ attitudes toward their data
become more confident themselves.
files. Across the focus groups a number of pupils
Responses to focus group questions repeatedly found identified their data stick as a ‘must have’ tool. Their
learners with the expectation that they had greater reasons for this were generally pragmatic; the stick
experience and expertise with ICT than their teachers allowed ease of transfer between home and school,
and parents. They describe themselves as being so was great for homework, and file sharing between
immersed in digital technologies and perceive the adult friends.
groups as still sat on the side of the pool building up
However, one Year 9 pupil pointed out that he favoured
courage to jump in. In observations of class activities
the data stick because ‘school can’t steal it’ –‘ it’ in this
we collected numerous instances of learners as young
case being his data. He could bring material to and
as year 2 helping the teacher to manage the technology
from school without it being tracked, thus maintaining
by correcting errors and troubleshooting gliches.
his privacy and independence. This made the data stick
One rural middle school had turned the low level of preferable to the VLE, which had echoes of ‘big brother’ in
specialist support into an educational opportunity. this young man’s eyes.
Pupils are being used as mentors to less skilled pupils.
The boundary between school space and
They have to achieve five competency tests to become a
webwizard, after which they are allowed to contribute teaching space
to the general maintenance of the ICT facilities by, for Personalising of Learning and the
example, ensuring that laptops are stored appropriately UK National Curriculum
and are left on charge. One year eight child has a special One of the misalignments between the school space
position in this process and appears to fulfil the role of an and the teaching space concerns the need of the school
onsite technician. for measurable outputs in the form of results from high
Openness and changing world of learning 9
stakes tests such as SATs and GCSEs and the ambition development of not only the discerning consumer but
of teachers to personalise learning for their learners. For also the discerning citizen.
some schools the National Curriculum is antithetical to
the personalising of learning agenda. − The pupils who so ably articulated their rejection of
Facebook are drawn from a school (secondary: socially
The National Curriculum needs to be more flexible and disadvantaged) whose policy is one of openness,
engaging in order to achieve p-learning. The national particularly in regard to the Internet and digital
curriculum causes problems with this (individualised technologies in general. In the focus group, teachers at
learning and differentiation) however – personalisation this school expressed the need for pupils to be exposed
needs pupils to be engaged and this not always happening to both the ills as well as the joys of surfing the net
with the curriculum as it is presently. Further, the while, they the staff, could provide a positive context in
National Curriculum is very prescriptive in its outline which to debate issues.
and does not always allow teachers to be creative. Needs
to be more flexible. − In a second school (secondary: socially advantaged)
which operated a similar monitoring system, the pupils
The allocation of children to classes in schools can viewed this surveillance with equanimity and not as
create groups who are less focused on SATs and an infringement of liberty. However, in this school
therefore able to work beyond the National Curriculum. pupils were allowed considerable freedom in their use of
digital tools, as exemplified by the school by-passing the
The unusual mix of years 4 and 5 in this rural primary local RBC controls to give pupils exposure to the wider
school provided an opportunity to be more bold with Internet.
the curriculum. The teacher chose to design her lessons
using the ‘Mantle of the Expert’. This is a particular − A third school (primary: socially advantaged) has
style of teaching where pupils and teacher use drama extended this sense of openness in that it declares itself
and role play to learn together. They learn for a reason, as a school without rules. Pupils here choose their own
undertaking shared research to become ‘experts’ in their learning pathways and modes of working. The pupils
own right. The class at the time of the visit was focused have learnt to take responsibility from a very young
on saving orangutans in Borneo. KORC (Kingabantan age. The school is successful on all objective measures
Orangutan Rescue Centre) was led by Anna, played and the children here are empowered and empowering.
by the teacher, and the children were scientists and
volunteers. Other schools however, operated a policy of
containment where social networking software was
In the previous lesson it had been discovered that KORC concerned. These schools are in the majority here, a
impoverished and needed to develop some fundraising finding mirrored in the Harnessing Technology 2008
activities to keep the operation going. Different groups Survey, which showed that “software was not overly
of children were working mainly in pairs to tackle this encouraged by teachers in supporting pupils with their
issue in a wide variety of ways including cooking banana learning” (Smith & Rudd, 2008, p.30).
buns, which appear to be an essential part of the diet of
orangutans and small children. 4 Reflections
Inculcating Discerning Consumers The data collected here provides a partial validation
of the Personalising of Learning Model. By capturing
Many pupils, it emerges from our learner data, may
space, behaviour and opportunity we have been able
be described as digitally savvy. Are these savvy pupils
to describe the ebb and flow of activity between the
simply street wise, collecting their knowledge from
school and home, and teaching and learning. In
the world beyond the classroom or is there evidence of
particular we have highlighted the boundaries between
schools aiding the development of the critical analysis
different digital worlds and shown the potential
exhibited here? In the descriptive model (Figure1)
barriers to effective teaching and learning.
it was argued that the culture, ethos or vision of a
school would be an important predictor of educational Underwood and Banyard (2008) have reported
outcomes. Is there evidence to support this argument? that managers, teachers and learners understand
In the case of the student rejecting the VLE because personalising learning in different ways. Our analyses
of its ’big brother’ connotations, it seems unlikely that confirm the fractured nature of different stakeholders’
the school has impacted on him in a positive way. The understanding of this core educational concept: while
school operates a full digital monitoring programme both staff and pupils may see the personalising of
with lesson-by-lesson registration and rapid feedback learning as good practice and a goal to be strived for,
to parents. This pupil sought to reduce the school’s pupils often do not recognise staff efforts to deliver
data collection on his activities and in this sense we on this concept. Pupils equating personalisation
might call him street wise. However, there are schools with ‘me time’ can in part explain this perceptual
whose vision and practice have a clear focus on the
10 eLearning Papers | 2009
discontinuity but we also have evidence that some that teachers had a very real awareness of what the
teachers, while accepting the personalisation agenda, technology could deliver but were frustrated by the
are still operating a controlling model of education. current curricula and assessments.
Many teachers, however, equate personalising learning
with pupil voice and choice. They also link this to Assessment is still largely conducted in the UK
the need for a curriculum that engages pupils and for using traditional (i.e. pre-digital technologies)
many teachers this is not the UK National Curriculum. techniques, and focuses on traditional (i.e. pre-
ICT can provide opportunities for developing digital technologies) academic skills. The origin of
the personalising agenda but it can also provide these techniques in UK education can be traced
the illusion of individual learning while actually back through the University of Cambridge Local
restricting innovative work. Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) to 1858, when a
group of academics were invited by some Durham
The people who predominantly occupy the learning, schools to develop assessment techniques for their
teaching and institutional spaces have very different pupils. The schools were observed to capture how the
experiences and expectations of digital technologies. pupils were being taught. Tests were devised to match
The digital world is the norm for pupils, even those the teaching and learning that was taking place. The
of a very young age, and this is not always recognised techniques for external examination are largely the
by teachers. It is aspirational and functional, and same today even though the style of teaching and
is an important way of defining and expressing an learning has moved on dramatically. There is a clear
individual’s identity. However, learners engage with need to create assessments that better measure the
digital technologies in ways that are only partially shifts in learning activities that accompany effective
recognised and explored by schools. Schools have use of digital technology. For example what form of
very different responses to this digital world. Some assessment best captures the move from essay to story
schools have policies of containment while others seek boarding or the rise in visual as opposed to verbal
to engage with pupils and through these burgeoning presentational skill.
In the traditional model of education the design of the
The digital divide between teachers and pupils remains learning space was mainly under the control of the
a reality. It can be argued that this is a transient institution and the teacher. The physical characteristics
problem that will disappear as a new, more e-mature of the personal learning space can still be influenced
generation of teachers takes its place in the classroom. by teachers and institutions, but the design of that
However, new technologies continue to evolve and space and the uses of the technology are under the
change rapidly and early adopters and innovators will control of the learners. At our university our library
continue to be over-represented in children and young information services provides academic search
people and under-represented in adults. There are also facilities and e-learning support but the students
further digital divides between parents and children choose to Google. To create effective learning it
and it is clear that children are claiming part of this is necessary to understand the different spaces in
digital world as their own and using it as a vehicle for the personalising of learning and to respond to the
personal independence. perceptions and behaviours of learners.
As in previous studies there are concerns about home
school links that can be encapsulated first under 5 Recommendations
work-life balance (when do the youngest children get 1. The various stakeholders (managers, teachers,
to play?) and secondly equity issues. Although, in this learners, parents) should develop better
sample of schools, pupils in socially disadvantaged understandings of each others’ experience and use of
areas who, it was anticipated, would be technologically digital technologies.
disadvantaged, still had high access to technology. The
model presented here draws attention to the overlap 2. Curricula need to be adapted to take account of the
of these spaces and challenges schools to respond to digital technologies to allow for the personalising of
these new ways of learning. learning.
There is a need to create greater alignment between 3. Assessment of learners needs to be reviewed to better
curriculum, assessment and pedagogy for the digital capture the learning, both formal and informal, that
school. Wood (2006) has argued that the misalignment is taking place.
of assessment and an ICT rich educational experience 4. Policy makes and managers need to respond to the
requires radical rethinking. Many schools do not grasp digital divides that exist by age, professional status and
the importance of ICT for assessment and therefore economic disadvantage.
holistic change (McClusky, 2005). However, the
e-Mature schools within this sample demonstrated
Openness and changing world of learning 11
➜ Crabtree, J. & Roberts, S. (2003). Fat Pipes, Connected People Rethinking Broadband Britain. London: iSociety.
➜ DfES (2006). The Primary National Strategy: Personalisation. London: DFES.
➜ ESA (2005). Essential Facts about the computer and video game industry
➜ Green, H., Facer, K. & Rudd, T (2005). Personalisation and Digital Technologies. Bristol: Futurelab.
➜ Lim, C.P., Lee, S.L. & Richards, C. (2006). Developing interactive learning objects for a computing mathematics models.
International Journal on E-Learning, 5, 221-244.
➜ McClusky, A. (2005). Policy Peer reviews: ICT in Schools in Northern Ireland. Brussels EUN Schoolnet.
➜ Pollard A & James, M. (2004). Personalised Learning A Commentary by the Teaching and Learning Research
Programme, London: TLRP.
➜ Smith, P. & Rudd, P. (2008). Harnessing Technology: School Survey 2008: Draft Preliminary Report. NFER.
➜ Southwell, B.G. & Doyle, K.O. (2004). The Good, the Bad, or the Ugly? A Multilevel Perspective on Electronic Game
Effects. American Behavioral Scientist, 48, 391-401.
➜ Taylor, L. (2003). When seams fall apart: Video game space and the player. Game Studies 3 (2).
http://www. gamestudies. org/0302/taylor/ (accessed March 31, 2006).
➜ Underwood, J., Ault, A., Banyard, P., Bird, K. Dillon, G., Hayes, M., Selwood, I., Somekh, B. & Twining, P. (2005). The Impact
of Broadband in Schools. Final project report for Becta Coventry.
➜ Underwood, J., Ault, A., Banyard, P., Durbin, C., Hayes, M., Selwood, I., et al. (2004a). Connecting with Broadband:
Evidence from the Field. Coventry: Final project report for Becta.
➜ Underwood, J., Baguley, T., Banyard, P. Dillon, G., Farrington Flint, L., Hayes, M., Hick, P., Le Geyt, G., Murphy, J., Selwood,
I. & Wright, M. (2008b). Personalising of Learning. Unpublished Final Report submitted to BECTA.
➜ Underwood, J., Baguley, T., Banyard,P., Coyne, E., Farrington-Flint, L., & Selwood, I. (2008a). Impact 2007: Personalising
Learning with Technology: Final Report. Coventry: Becta.
➜ Underwood, J.D.M. & Banyard (2008). Self-regulated learning in a digital world. Technology, Pedagogy and Education.
Technology, Pedagogy and Education, in press.
➜ Underwood, J., Dillon, G. & Twining, P. (2007), Evaluation of the ICT Test Bed Project Questionnaire Data: Summary of
Findings - Year 4, 2006,Coventry: Becta. http://www.evaluation.icttestbed.org.uk/reports
➜ Wood, D.W. (2006). The Think Report. SchoolNet http://eminent.eun.org/THINK_FULL_DRAFT_2pp.doc
12 eLearning Papers | 2009
Universities and Web 2.0: Institutional challenges
University of A Coruña, Spain
The irruption of the web 2.0 internet in universities does not modify only learning models - organizative models are
also challenged, creating important fears among the managers of the institutions. Teachers, researchers and students
started some years ago to use social software tools, but in few cases these experiences have allowed any scaling from
the individual to the institutional level.
The promises and potential of web 2.0 in universities need an adequate strategy for their development, which has to
confront the bottlenecks and fears common in these institutions that could explain the lack of adaptation. Some of
the bottlenecks highlighted in this paper are: a) the rejection by the users, personnel and students, b) the lack of an
incentive system, c) the available pre-web 2.0 technology, and d) universities show in some cases a culture of aversion
to innovation and entrepreneurship.
The adoption of a web 2.0 approach to learning in universities is a complex process confronting important
technological, managerial and human barriers. For these reasons, the design of a set of objectives and a strategy
accepted and promoted by the managers, especially those in charge of knowledge management, is absolutely
needed. This first step requires in many cases radical cultural changes for people used to work and make decisions in
a different scenario. The introduction for the web 2.0 approach to learning in universities must be done through an
adaptive strategy, one that may be designed integrating previous experiences of educational, research and business
Web 2.0, universities, openness, knowledge, managers, establishment, bottlenecks
1 The promises OECD 2007). Some of these experiences are successful,
but in few cases have allowed any scaling from the
and reality of web 2.0 individual to the institutional level. Institutional, top-
Web 2.0 could facilitate a change of paradigm in down, adaptations have been considerably slower or
learning; from a top-down system focused in teachers absent, widening in many cases the “digital divide”
and established knowledge to a networked approach between universities and some of their personnel and
where teachers should change their roles to become among teachers using or not web 2.0 in their work.
coaches and facilitators of the learning process
(Anderson 2007, Brown & Adler 2008, O’Reilly 2 What is web 2.0? Beyond
2005). The objectives of the new European Space for
Higher Education and the needs of our contemporary technology; open knowledge and
societies both pay special attention to innovation and network collaboration
entrepreneurship as basic abilities for the future of our
graduates. Learning by doing and applying methods Web 2.0 could be defined from a technological point
for collaborative and active learning are essential of view as a loosely-coupled system of Internet
approaches to attain these objectives, and the web 2.0 applications (Fumero & Roca 2007), but it also
could be an instrumental and strategic tool in their represents a “Troyan horse” for a new social and
development (Anderson 2006). cultural paradigm (Shirky 2008, Weinberger 2007). In
this sense it could be defined as technologies for the
However, the irruption of the new internet in social creation of knowledge, comprising three main
universities does not modify only learning models. characteristics:
Organizative models are also challenged causing some
acute crisis in institutions (Brown & Adler 2008). Web a) Technology: Internet moves from “push” to “pull”;
2.0 has already entered the university walls in a bottom- from an era 1.0 associated to the old hierarchical
up process. Teachers, researchers and students, in most portals and a restricted group of content creators
cases without any institutional stimulus, started some to searching engines, aggregators and user-based
years ago to use social software tools (Anderson 2007, content typical of the era 2.0.
Openness and changing world of learning 13
b) Knowledge: web 2.0 is challenging copyright (the is critical to introduce and expand a new knowledge
strict protection of intellectual property) because culture based in active users able to create, modify,
the open source paradigm (open access and creative search, communicate and share information and
remix of contents) has demonstrated important knowledge. This new role model differs from the
competitive advantages, allowing for more creativity conventional students and, in many cases, teachers
and productivity (Lessig 2004). This new open found nowadays at our universities. In any case,
knowledge paradigm is grounded in the success the imminent arrival of the digital natives (Palfrey
of free software and the old tradition of scientific & Gasser 2008, Prensky 2001a,b) to university
communities (Benkler 2006, Weber 2005), and is could revolutionize this situation, probably making
characterized by four properties: independent (“free easier the introduction of web 2.0 approaches but
speech”), cost of distribution is zero or very low (“free increasing the cultural gap between students and
beer”), modularity and generative capacity. In this teachers.
sense, the modularity or granularity of open content
shared in networks allows for the development of b) Lack of an incentive system or perverse effects.
the complete creative potential of remix (Baldwin & This topic has been discussed above in relation to
Clark 2000, Zittrain 2006). user changes. For instance, sometimes institutional
strategies are designed with the goal of a global
c) Users: the shift from consumers to active users change, conducting to the adaptation of the complete
participating as curators and creators that university community in the short term. These
characterize web 2.0 has been sometimes defined approaches fail due to the institution inertia that
as the “revenge of amateurs” and modifies the impedes to develop adequate incentives with the
traditional roles of the agents of the chain value of required timing and/or to the excessive support to
knowledge creation and consumption. the reluctant users, giving a perverse example to the
The promises and potential of web 2.0 in universities
need an adequate strategy for their development c) Available pre-web 2.0 technology. Universities have
that have to confront different bottlenecks and fears made large investments during 1980 and the 90s to
common in these institutions. In the following sections develop in-house or buy software platforms. This
these topics will be analyzed. infrastructure could become a barrier more than an
active. Most of this technology is starting a phase of
3 Bottlenecks for institutional accelerated obsolescence and has to be changed by
tools available in the market (and in most cases at a
adoption of web 2.0 very low cost), that have to be configured, integrated
Universities and their managers, when they assume and remixed to create new applications or mashups
an active role for the adaptation to the new paradigm adapted to the needs of local users. Low cost is in
described above, discover a series of internal many cases a matter of distrust in the decision-
bottlenecks: makers, due to the misunderstandings that the
concepts of free software and open source continue to
a) Rejection by the users, personnel and students. generate. In many cases the best scenario to introduce
Many of the users of the tools available in the web 2.0 could be the lack of technology, and we could
Internet 1.0 are reluctant and fearful of learning the paraphrase the classical question of Nicholas Carr
abilities needed to use new software and change their (2004), IT doesn’t matter?, at least the traditional
attitudes about education and knowledge. Also, in concept of IT.
most cases, change is a matter of personal interest
and work without any specific incentive system d) Universities show in some cases a culture of
adapted to these objectives. aversion to innovation and entrepreneurship.
Bureaucracy, governance, procedures for decision-
The journal and editorial group Nature is an excellent making and inertia in large institutions are in many
example of the users’ bottleneck. This group has cases the worst environment for inside innovation
developed in the last years an extremely innovative and entrepreneurship. However, the adoption of
and experimental strategy for web publishing technology and working methods associated with
(Hannay 2007). However, some of its projects have web 2.0 requires a high dose of experimentation and
been restrained by users (scientists in this case). For creativity.
example, the experiment about “open peer review”
failed due to the lack of interest of the scientific
community (Nature 2006). 4 Institutional fears of web 2.0
Besides bottlenecks, web 2.0 challenges the core
Learning from these experiences, it seems clear that, structure of universities creating important fears among
in parallel to the deployment of new technologies, it the managers of the institutions. Probably, the ultimate
14 eLearning Papers | 2009
causes of these fears are both 1) the implicit criticism to especially those in charge of knowledge management,
the traditional model of university respect to knowledge is absolutely needed. This first step requires in many
production and education and 2) the need for control and cases radical cultural changes for people used to work
power of the IT departments that, as discussed above, are and make decisions in a different scenario. The strategy
sometimes considered irrelevant in a “world 2.0”. should be supported for at least some of these elements:
A recent report of Forrester Research (Koplowitz a) Learning from previous and on-going experiences.
& Young 2007) identifies risks that an organization Successful uses of web 2.0 are yet an experimental
(the original report refers to enterprises) perceives field where trial-and-error is the basic approach. A
associated to web 2.0: reliability, security, governance, considerable base of experience is being developed
compliance and privacy. These risks are associated to (and shared) by lead users and organizations that
the uncontrolled entry of web 2.0 in institutions giving could be mined by other interested parties to gain
rise to a growing trend of “unsanctioned employee efficiency in their processes of adoption. Basically, we
usage” and to some unintended consequences as could find two sources of experience:
violations of intellectual property and/or contracts (i.e.,
client, or student, data located outside of institutional • Lead (or passionate) users inside the organization
firewalls). The response of some companies, establishing (Young 2007, Von Hippel 2005,). Instead of
web 2.0 policies and usage guidelines could kill the developing a learning platform with functionalities
opportunities provided by web 2.0, mainly its openness, defined a priori, universities could let the
producing a perverse effect of the reduction of users’ community (teachers and students) explore, test
innovation. and adapt tools. The institution should focus in the
monitoring of this activity and the integration of
Strategically the fears of web 2.0 illustrate the the successful experiences, and associated tools and
confrontation between trust and openness. practices, in their platforms and procedures.
Organizations have two competing needs: 1) visibility
that obligates to be open to the exterior (and important • Other organizations involved in the adoption
efforts are made in marketing, communication and of web 2.0 tools and open paradigms, especially
collaboration with external clients and partners) and other universities and research institutions and
2) security and trust that obligates to restrict most enterprises. Universities provide some excellent
of management and activities to the interior of the experiences. To cite only a few: MIT Open
enterprise. Probably, new developments in social Course Ware; Stanford on iTunes U; the web
networks based in web 2.0 tools, i.e. Facebook, could be 2.0 experiences of the Harvard Law School or
a potential useful solution to this compromise, because the University of Warwick; the web 2.0 strategy
they provide the combination of web 2.0 tools used in and action plan developed in the University of
a controlled environment (allowing a flexible system of Edinburgh, or the recent proposal of a Harvard
restricting users and content). Open Access Policy. In Spain, some universities
are starting to explore the utility web 2.0 tools, but
Finally, web 2.0 posses some important infrastructural probably the most complete experiences are those
challenges to organizations; another side of the security of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya and of some
vs. openness debate. How to provide a trusted system business schools (for instance the communities of
for key administrative and managerial processes blogs and the master programs based in a blended
allowing, at the same time, the exploratory and risky model using intensively eLearning and web 2.0
use that provides the most rewards with web 2.0? tools of the Instituto de Empresa).
(Havenstein 2007). There are different proposals to solve
this paradox with the deployment of a double physical Institutions involved in research provide other
network: one closed and designed for Internet 1.0 (for interesting examples with cases as InnoCentive or
critical processes) and other open for web 2.0 allowing Nature Web Publishing. As explained previously,
the development of social networks and a considerable in the case of Nature, the world’s most prestigious
dose of experimentation. scientific journal (pertaining to a strong editorial
group) is at the forefront of the innovative
experiences in the use of web 2.0 for scientific
5 Elements for a strategy of communication and development of communities of
web 2.0 adoption in universities interest.
The adoption of a web 2.0 approach to learning in b) Open access and use of contents. Web 2.0 is
universities is a complex process confronting important especially useful and creative when knowledge
technological, managerial and human barriers. For is digitized, modular and allowed to be used and
these reasons the design of a set of objectives and a distributed in a flexible way. New models of licences,
strategy accepted and promoted by the managers, as Creative Commons or ColorIuris, introduce this
Openness and changing world of learning 15
needed flexibility respect to the absolute restriction 6 Conclusions
of uses and distribution that characterized copyright.
Web 2.0 is an emergent key driver changing learning
The use of technological and social standards (i.e.,
and organizative paradigms at universities. Besides
formats of databases or the use of tagging to allow the
technology, web 2.0 challenges intellectual property and
discovery of pieces of information) is also especially
transforms consumers into active users creating and
relevant to make the information available in search
curating knowledge. However, until now, universities
engines and aggregators (basic tools to navigate the
have not made the needed efforts to adapt to the new
overabundance of information) and to allow its reuse
needs of the network society and digital natives and
in the different web 2.0 tools (Weinberger 2007).
immigrants studying and working there.
c) Design the organization as an open platform for
Different bottlenecks and fears could explain this
knowledge creation and sharing, both among
lack of adaptation. Among the bottlenecks facing the
members of the internal community and with
universities for the integration of web 2.0 are: a) the
the participation of external users. This proposal
rejection by the users, personnel and students, b) the
is a consequence of the experience of evolving
lack of an incentive system, c) the available pre-web 2.0
organizations, academic, focused on research and
technology, and d) universities show in some cases a
companies (Chesbrough 2003, Tapscott & Williams
culture of aversion to innovation and entrepreneurship.
2006). The experiences with the management of
Complimentarily, universities show two main kinds of
business moving to an open model for innovation
fears about the changes needed for web 2.0 adoption:
(similar to the uses proposed here for web 2.0 in
1) the implicit criticism that web 2.0 includes to the
universities) allow identifying three main benefits:
traditional model of university respect to knowledge
• Lowering costs using crowdsourcing (Freire 2008, production and education and 2) the need for control
Howe 2006), i.e., the external development of web and power of the IT departments that are sometimes
2.0 tools would reduce considerably the costs of IT considered irrelevant in a “world 2.0”.
infrastructure and software.
Due to those barriers, the adoption of a web 2.0
• Accelerating innovation and knowledge creation. approach to learning in universities is a complex process
The Internet has produced an exponential growth confronting important technological, managerial and
of available information, where the main cost for human barriers, and an adaptive strategy is needed
users is the searching and filtering of sources. In that could be designed from previous experiences of
parallel, cycles of creation of new products and educational, research and business organizations. This
services, marketing and obsolescence are becoming strategy could include the following lines:
shorter. An open approach is in many cases the only
a) Learning from previous and on-going experiences,
opportunity to keep both the user of information
before developing a priori technology and protocols
and knowledge and the enterprises in the course
inside the institutions. Both lead users inside the
(The Economist 2006).
organization and other organizations adopting web
• Increasing creativity. The generation of new ideas, 2.0 tools and paradigms should be especially useful.
one of the main objectives of universities, benefits
b) Opening the access and use of contents. Web 2.0
from open collaboration. Many enterprises have
is especially useful and creative when knowledge
discovered in the last years that this process is more
is digitized, modular and allowed to be used and
creative than the traditional developed inside de
distributed in a flexible way.
c) Designing organizations as open platforms for
Similarly to the evolutionary path followed by
knowledge creation and sharing, both among
enterprises transforming in open platforms, universities
members of the internal community and with the
approach web 2.0 in the first phase to reduce costs.
participation of external users.
However, successful enterprises enter a second phase
where they transform in an open platform to increase
innovation rate and creativity. This trend opens new
threats: how to manage intellectual property?, how
to compete being open? or how to manage human
16 eLearning Papers | 2009
➜ Alexander B (2006). Web 2.0: A new wave of innovation for teaching and learning. EDUCAUSE Review41(2):32–44.
➜ Anderson, P. (2007). What is Web 2.0? Ideas, technologies and implications for education. JISC Technology and
Standards Watch, February 2007. Bristol: JISC. http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/techwatch/tsw0701b.pdf
➜ Benkler Y (2006). The Wealth of Networks: how social production transforms markets and freedom. Yale University
➜ Brown, J. S. & Adler, R. P. (2008). Minds on Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0. Educause Review
➜ Baldwin CY & Clark KB (2000). Design Rules, Volume 1: The Power of Modularity. MIT Press.
➜ Carr N (2004). Does IT Matter? Information Technology and the Corrosion of Competitive Advantage. Harvard
Business School Press.
➜ Chesbrough HW (2003). Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology. Harvard
Business School Press.
➜ Freire J (2008). El crowdsourcing y los modelos abiertos en la era digital. In, El futuro es tuyo. La revolución social de
las personas. Red.es. http://www.blogbook.es/
➜ Fumero A & G Roca (2007). Web 2.0. Madrid: Fundación Orange.
➜ Hannay T (2007). The Web Opportunity. STM News. June’07.
➜ Havenstein H (2007). IT is a key barrier to corporate Web 2.0 adoption, users say. ComputerWorld.
➜ Howe J (2006). The Rise of Crowdsourcing. Wired 14-06.
➜ Koplowitz R & GO Young (2007). Web 2.0 Social Computing Dresses Up For Business. Forrester Research.
➜ Lessig L (2004). Free Culture. Penguin Press.
➜ Nature (2006). Editorial: Peer review and fraud. Nature 444:971-972.
➜ OECD (2007). Participative Web and User-Created Content. Web 2.0, Wikis, and Social Networking. Paris: OECD.
➜ O’Reilly T (2005). What is Web 2.0: design patterns and business models for the next generation of software.
➜ Palfrey J & U Gasser (2008). Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives. Basic Books.
➜ Prensky M (2001a). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon 9(5).
➜ Prensky M (2001b). Do They Really Think Differently? On the Horizon 9(6).
➜ Shirky C (2008). Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. Penguin Press.
➜ Tapscott D & AD Williams (2006). Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. Portfolio.
➜ The Economist (2006). Special Report. Innovation: Something new under the sun. Oct 11th 2007.
➜ Von Hippel E (2005). Democratizing Innovation. MIT Press. http://web.mit.edu/evhippel/www/democ1.htm
➜ Weber S (2005). The Success of Open Source. Harvard University Press.
➜ Weinberger D (2007). Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder. Times Books.
➜ Young GO (2007). Passionate Employees: The Gateway To Enterprise Web 2.0 Sales. Forrester Research.
➜ Zittrain J (2006). The Generative Internet. Harvard Law Review 119:1974-2040.
Openness and changing world of learning 17