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Conole keynote icde_sept_28



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  • 1. Designing for learning in an open world Gráinne Conole, Keynote, ICDE 2011 University of Leicester, open, social and participatory media offer immense potential for learning; enabling learnersand teachers to engage in new forms of peer critiquing, sharing, communication, collaboration, anddistributed aggregation. Social media in particular mean that learners and teachers can be part of adistributed global network of those interested in learning and teaching. Furthermore, there are nowa plethora of Open Educational Resource (OER) repositories that provide learners and teachers witha rich set of materials that they can draw on.Despite this, these new technologies and OER are not yet being used extensively by learners andteachers. The reasons are complex and multi-faceted (technical, pedagogical and organisational);learners and teachers lack the necessary digital literacy skills (Jenkins et al., 2006; Jenkins, 2009) tomake effective use of these tools and resources.This paper critiques these issues. It starts with a review of the characteristics of these newtechnologies, drawing in particular on a review by Conole and Alevizou (2010). It then outlinessome of the challenges with making appropriate use of these. The main focus of the paper is then onthe articulation of the strategies being adopted to address these issues, in particular focus on currentresearch on Open Educational Resources (OER) and associated practices and the articulation of anew methodology for helping teachers make more effective design decisions that make good use ofpedagogy and innovative use of technologies. The work draws in particular on research work at theUniversity of Leicester and the Open University, UK. It will include a summary of some of thework being carried out as part of the following projects: Olnet, OPAL, DesignPractice and the JISCOLDi curriculum design project from the Open University, UK. The keynote presentation thataccompanies this paper will also describe the range of related research projects being carried out atthe Univeristy of Leicester. These projects are giving us rich insights into the key challengeslearners and teachers face in today’s complex and rapidly changing learning landscape. They arealso providing us with solutions as to how to address these challenges.This paper provides asummary of the key concepts outlined in a new book ‘Designing for learning in an Open World(Conole, forthcoming).A vision for the future of learningWhat would a vision for the future of learning look like that embrace the power of open, social andparticipatory media? To what extend is there evidence that this is beginning to emerge? Learners ofthe future using the affordances of these new technologies which be able to personalise their digitallearning environment and blend face-to-face with online learning. They would be able to use thepower of these tools to communicate and collaborate with peers, teachers and experts in a variety ofways, becoming part of a global, distributed network or Community of Practice. Rich multi-mediawould enable them to view concepts in different ways to triangulate their understanding. Theywould be able to publish their own materials and user generated content, as well as making use offreely available Open Educational Resources. Recent learning experience research gives us someinsights into the extent to which this is true (Sharpe et al., 2010; Conole et al. 2008; Jones, 2011). Itis evident that todays learners have grown up digital; they are sometimes called the net-generation1
  • 2. (Tapscott, 1999, Oblinger and Oblinger, 2005) and have access to a rich plethora of technologies tosupport their learning. However, the vision of the future outlined above has not yet being realised;despite being digitally savvy, many learners lack the necessary digital literacy skills (Jenkins, 2009)needed to make effective use of these tools in an academic context.Open, social and participatory media - opportunities and paradoxesA number of reviews have been carried out in recent years summarising the state of play in terms ofthe characteristics of open, social and participatory media and Open Educational Resources. Thisinclude: reviews on OER (Aitkins et al, 2007; OECD 2007), reviews on Web 2.0 technologies, theircharacteristics and how they are being used to support learning and teaching (Conole and Aleviou,2010; Crook et al., 2008; Redecker et al., 2009) and work on new learning spaces (Cummings,2011; Keppell et al., 2011; Kandbinder and Peseta, 2011).Conole (forthcoming) argues that a number of new types of user behaviour are arising as a result ofusing these new technologies. These include the ability to peer critique and openingly comment onthe work of peers, particularly through the blogoshere. A range of tools are now available forcontent creation, resulting in the growth of user generated content by both learners and teachers.Collective aggregation is now possible on an unprecedented scale; which can be used by individualsas a means of collating and filtering relevant information and resources for individual use or as partof a broader community of peers. The rich range of communication channels means that we areseeing new ecologies of communities of practice, groups and networks; from the tightly bound tothe loosely connected. Finally, the ways in which we interact and communicate online is giving riseto new forms on online digital identities from microblogging sites like Twitter, through socialnetworking sites such as Facebook, through to the creation of rich virtual avators through sites likeSecondLife.However, a number of authors have also argued that these technologies give rise to a range ofparadoxes. Firstly, the plethora of free resources, tools and services mean that learners and teachershave access to a rich set of materials to support their learning and teaching. However, many lack thenecessary digital literacy skills to make effective use of these and there are issues organisationallyin terms of aligning institutionally controlled Learning Management Systems (LMS) with providingaccess to services in the cloud (Katz, 2009). Secondly, certainly in the developed world, we are nowin a position of ubiquitous access and for many technologies are a core tool for learning andteaching. However, the digital divide is still present - narrower but deeper, either becauseindividuals cannot get access or because they are making a personal choice not to participate inthese new media. Indeed, it is evident that there are strong and opposing views to the value of manysocial and participatory; many see them as trivial, threatening or even an invasion of personalprivacy and hence actively choose note to participate. Thirdly, learners and teachers now havemultiple mechanism to communicate and collaborate. both synchronously and asynchronously. Thisprovides rich opportunities for peer and expert dialogue but has lead to a fragmentation of voice,there is no longer one obvious way in which we should be connecting with others. Fourthly,learners and teachers have access to (and indeed can create) rich multimedia resources (includingimages, audio and video) beyond basic text. These provides new forms of sense making but againmany are not equipped with the necessary digital literacies to make effective use of these. Finally,user generated content and social profiling enable learners and teachers to be truly participatory; tocreate, share and discuss content, and to set up different digital personas and connect through globaldistributed networks. It means they are able to connect with peers and experts on an unprecedentedscale, to get near instant feedback on questions asked. However, many are concerned that this isresulting in a digital white noise of information, that there are quality issues in terms of whichresources and dialogues are most appropriate in which contexts.As stated at the beginning of this paper, although they appear to offer great potential forlearnong2
  • 3. and teaching new technologies and OER are not being used extensively. McAndrew et al. (2009) forexample report on the evaluation of the OpenLearn OER repository and conclude that it is not beingused as extensively as might have been hoped by learners and teachers, certainly in terms ofrepurposing and resharing of OER. Ehlers (2011) comes to a similar conclusion arguing that despiteOER being high on the social and inclusion agenda in Europe they have not yet reached a criticalthreshold in Higher Education or Adult Education. Rogers’ (1995) much quoted innovation curve isstill relevant today; innovative use of technologies still remains the remit of early adoptors.Molenda (2008) observes that the barriers cited for lack of uptake and use of technologies in the1940/50 are similar to those cited in the 1900s; namely: accessibility issues, lack of training,unreliability of equipment, limited budgets and the difficulty of integrating technologies in torelatively rigid curriucula and institutional structures. More recently, Falconer and Littlejohn (2008)came to similar conclusions. They argue that there are three challenges facing teachers: i) theincreasing size and diversity of the student body, ii) the increasing requirement for quality assuranceand iii) the rapid change of technological change. Likewise, Cuban argues that despite significantinvestments in technologies, they have not had a revolutionary impact on practice. It appears thatdespite the promise of technologies, we have not seen it revolutionise learning and teaching(Beabout et al., 2008).Designing for learning in an open worldConole argues that designing for learning is the key challenge facing education today. How can weprovide learners and teachers with the necessary skills they need to make effective use of newtechnologies? This section provides an overview of a new learning design methodology which hasbeen developed to address this question. The work originated as part of the OU Learning DesignInitiative (OULDI). This section will describe the learning design methodology, as well asarticulating the underlying theoretical perspectives that it draws on; in particular the notion ofmediating artefacts and affordances. The next section will then describe some of the key findings ofinitiatives that have being adopting aspects of this work, these include:·The JISC OULDI curriculum design programme·The Design-Practice project·Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives: The Olnet initiative and the OPAL projectThe Open University Learning Design InitiativeStrategic funding from the Open University, UK, enabled us to establish the learning designmethodology and trial the resources, tools and activities we created through a series of events acrossthe University. Evaluation of these enabled us to refine and improve the collective resources. Thesehave then been trialled in a range of other contexts through the JISC OULDI project and the DesignPractice project. The JISC OULDI project continued to work across the OU, but also with fourother HE institutions in the UK; namely: Brunel, Cambridge, London South Bank and Readinguniversities. The DesignPractice project was interested in transfer of innovation to teachers andteacher trainers in the UK, Cyprus and Greece.The JISC OULDI project enabled us to develop the core learning design resources, tools andactivities described in the previous section. These were then trialled through a series of real andvirtual events across the OU and with the project partners. In addition, we worked with the LAMSconsortium to produce embedded, runnable LAMS design sequences in Cloudworks. LAMS(Learning Activity Management System) is a visualisation design tool, which produced a runnablereal-time environment for students (Dalziel, 2003). Evaluation of the outputs were positive.Practitioners found the tools and resources useful and enjoyed participating in project workshops.The rationale behind the development of the methodology and the expectation of how it would helppractitioners rethink their practice were validated in the evaluation date. The collective resourcesdid hep practitioners to think beyond content and more towards activities and there was evidence ofthem sharing and discussing the Mediating Artefacts they produced both in face-to-face workshops3
  • 4. and in Cloudworks.In addition to the visualisations described earlier, we have created a visualisation tool,CompendiumLD. This provides a mind mapping like tool that practitioners can use to representtheir designs. CompendiumLD is based on a node and link metaphor, and can be used to map outthe various components of a design. It also includes a degree of in-situ support to guide designthinking. Feedback on the use of the tool was on the whole positive. It helps practitioners think inmore detail about the general issues they needed to address when working through a design. Inaddition to use across the project partners, we have also incorporated it into the OU’s MAODEcourse, H800. Brasher (2010) provides an account of the evaluation of the tool with students. Insummary, students found the tool easy to use and user friendly, but they did not that it was timeconsuming to learn. They liked the use of colour and the different types of nodes to representdifferent aspects of the design. Finally, they liked the fact that it produced a clear, structured outputthat could be shared with others.The OULDI work is grounded in a socio-cultural perspective, it draws on the work of Vygotsky andothers, as well as Cultural Historical Activity Theory. Central to the approach is identification anduse of the range of Mediating Artefacts that partitioners can draw on to support and guide theirdesign practice. The work began by an extensive review of the literature, including the nature anduse of new open, social and participatory media, the challenges and opportunities these technologiesoffer for learning and teaching, as well as the body of research work that has been carried out onlearning design, as well as related fields such as Instructional Design, the learning sciences, OpenEducational Resources and pedagogical patterns. This was coupled with an extensive set ofinterviews and workshops with practitioners, exploring their existing design practice as well asissues they faced. This body of knowledge has given us a rich understanding of the key challengesas well as insights into ways in which they might be addressed. It was clear that practitionersneeded new approaches to their design practice, to enable them to see beyond content, to theactivities and types of learning environments learners would need. In summary, practitionerswanted access to examples of good practice, preferably in their subject discipline and they alsocited that they wanted access to other peers to be order to share and discuss learning and teachingideas. To this end we focussed our attention on the following aspects: I) the creation and use of arange of new visual design presentations, ii) the creation of resources and activities to enablepractitioners to rethink their design practice and iii) mechanisms for them to connect with peers(both in real and virtual contexts).An explicit aim of the methodology is to help practitioners’ shift from an implicit, belief basedapproach to one that is explicit and design based. This we argue helps them adopt a more scholarlyand reflective approach and enables them to share and discuss they designs with others. We adopteda Design Based Research methodology, which was both iterative and grounded in real practice.Constant implementation and evaluation of the materials we created enabled us to iterativelyimprove them over time. Two core concepts guided our work, the notion of Mediating Artefacts andaffordances.Mediating ArtefactsThe concept of Mediating Artefacts is very much grounded in a socio-cultural perspective, linkingback to the work of Vygostky (1962; 1978) and Leontiev and Luria (Leontiev, 1978, 1989; Luria,1976) and more recently the body of knowledge about Activity Theory (Cole et al.., 1997; Danielset al., 2007; Engeström, 2001; Engeström et al., 1999). Kaptelinin and Nardi provide acomprehensive overview of Activity Theory and its origins (Kaptelinin and Nardi, 2006). Also see(Cole and Engeström, 1993; Daniels, et al., 2007; Engeström, 2001; Engeström, et al., 1999; Kuutti,1996; Nardi, 1995). A key idea in Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) is the notion ofmediation by artefacts (Kuutti, 1996), which are broadly defined to include instruments, signs,4
  • 5. language, and machines (Nardi, 1995).Mediating Artefacts can support learners and teachers in making the best use of tools and resources.They mediate between the user and the end goal, as illustrated in Figure 4. They enable the user toelicit and represent the inherent designs associated with a particular learning activity or resource.The vision is that if these designs can be abstracted and represented in a meaningful andunderstandable way, there is a greater chance of them being picked up, used and adapted by others,which, in turn, over time, is likely to lead to an evolving understanding of how new tools andresources can be used.Figure 1: Representation of the relationship between Mediating Artefacts, the use and the intendedgoalConole (2008) describes how the concept of Mediating Artefacts can be adapted and used in alearning design context. An important aspect of learning design is the process of eliciting a designdescribing the essence of a learning activity that can then be reused in the development of a newlearning activity. Central to this is the fact that we want to abstract the essential and transferableproperties of learning activities, i.e. we want to abstract and describe those properties that areeffective, but that can also be applied to other contexts, those properties that are not context boundto a particular instance of activity.Learning activities can be ‘codified’ into a number of different representations; each oneforegrounds different aspects of the learning activity and provides a means of illustrating theinherent design underpinning the learning activity. These forms of representation are defined here asMediating Artefacts because this emphasises their mediating role in terms of how they are used tomediate design activities. Course designers use a range of Mediating Artefacts (MAs) to supportand guide decision making; ranging from rich contextually located examples of good practice (casestudies, guidelines, etc.), to more abstract forms of representation which distill out the ‘essences’ of5
  • 6. good practice (models or patterns). In the context discussed here, I argue that Mediating Artefactscan be derived from existing learning activities by a process of abstraction. The same LearningActivity (LA) can result in a range of abstractions: ·Textually based narrative case studies, describing the key features of the Learning Activity and perhaps barriers and enablers to its implementation. ·More formal narratives, against a specified formal methodology such as a pedagogical patterns (Goodyear, 2005; Goodyear and Retalis, 2010). ·Visual representations, such as a mind map or formalised UML use case diagram. ·Vocabularies (Currier et al., 2005), such as taxonomies, ontologies or folksonomies. ·Models (Conole, 2010; Mayes and De Freitas, 2004), foregrounding a particular pedagogical approach (such as instructivism, problem-based learning or an emphasis on a dialogic or reflective approach).AffordancesGibson (1977, 1979) defined the term affordances, in an ecological context, in relation to visualperception. He argued that affordances in an environment always lead to some course of action.Affordances are perceived by an individual and are culturally based. Gaver (1991) argues that theactual perception of affordances will be in part determined by the observer’s culture, social setting,experience and intentions. For example a button has an affordance of pushing, a knob is for turningand handles are for pushing. Gibson (1977) defined affordances as: All "action possibilities" latent in the environment, objectively measurable and independent of the individuals ability to recognize them, but always in relation to the actor and therefore dependent on their capabilities (Gibson, 1977, pg. 67-82). ?For example, a tall tree has the affordance of food for a giraffe because it has a long neck, but notfor a sheep, or a set of stairs has an affordance of climbing for a walking adult, but not for acrawling infant. Therefore affordances are always in relation to individuals and their capabilities;this includes the individual’s past experience, values, beliefs, skills and perceptions. Therefore abutton may not have the affordance of pushing if an individual has no cultural context orunderstanding of the notion of buttons or related objects and what they are for.Specifically, in relation to Information and Communities Technologies (ICT), Conole and Dyke(2004) argue that an ICT taxonomy has a number of uses. Firstly, that establishing a clearerunderstanding of the affordances should help to inform practitioners in their use of technologies toachieve particular goals. Secondly, that it can also help to identify potential limitations andinappropriate uses of the technologies. Thirdly, by making the inherent affordances of technologiesexplicit, the taxonomy can act as a discussion point for critique and further refinement. Fourthly, itcan be used as a checklist to help practitioners understand the advantages and disadvantages ofdifferent technologies. Fifthly, it can be used as a mechanism for staff development and improvingpractice – for example, by providing a checklist of potential benefits and drawbacks of differenttechnologies which can be used to inform choice and the ways that practitioners might choose touse them. Similarly, Gaver (1991) argues that affordances can be used as a way of focussing on thestrengths and weaknesses of technologies with respect to the possibilities they offer the people thatmight use them.Conole (forthcoming) has identified a set of positive affordances, specifically in relation to the useof technologies in the design of learning interventions, as well as a list of constraints. Positiveaffordances include: collaboration, reflection, interaction, dialogue, creativity, organisation, inquiryand authenticity. Constraints include: time consuming (in terms of development), time consuming(in terms of support), difficult to use, costly to produce, assessment issues, lack of interactivity, and6
  • 7. difficult to navigate.Identification of the positive affordances of technologies and any associated constraints, can then beused as a means of making informed design decisions in terms of using a particular technology in aspecific learning context. For example, to promote student reflection, the affordances checklist canbe used in terms of considering the extent to which different tools might promote this. So forexample a wiki in this context has the following positive affordance: reflection (to an extent),however arguably a blog has a stronger affordance of reflection and is also better in terms oforganisation and dialogue (as if the blog is public others are able to comment on posts). In terms ofconstraints a wiki is arguably somewhat difficult to use, for some learners anyway. Therefore thechecklist might result in the teacher deciding to use a blog, rather than a wiki in this context.At part of the OULDI work, we developed an activity based around affordances, which we haveused in a number of our learning design workshops. Participants are given the list of positiveaffordances and constraints and asked to map these to a number of tools for use in a particularlearning context. Participants found focusing on the affordances of the different tools a useful wayof thinking about their advantages and disadvantages. It helped them focus on the actual use of atool in a particular context rather than the tool per se. They reported that it helped guide theirdecision making choices in terms of comparing the characteristics of different tools.Visual Design representationsIn terms of visual representations, we have created five views: a course view map (which providesan ‘at a glance’ overview of a course, a course dimensions view (which provides more details on thenature of the course - the degree to which it is collaborative, the level and forms of assessment, theamount of inclusion of user generated content or experience), a pedagogy profile view (whicharticulates the types of and amount of learner tasks), a learning outcomes map (which maps learningoutcomes to activities and assessment) and a task swimlane view (which maps the tasks the learnersundertake to the resources and tools they use). These views have now been used extensivelyworldwide in a range of settings and the cumulative evaluation date suggests the following. Firstly,these views enable the practitioners to think beyond content, to the activities learners will engagewith. Secondly, they can be used to guide practice, informed by good pedagogy, effective use oftechnologies and backed up by solid empirical evidence from real practice. Thirdly, they provide amechanism to articulate design practice and make it explicit. Fourthly, the resultant artefacts can bethen shared and discussed with other teachers and even with learners. Finally, these views can beused with learners as a means of making the nature of the course and the inherent design behind itmore explicit. In the next section I will focus on some of the evaluation findings from the JISCOULDI and DesignPractices.Resources and ActivitiesIn terms of resources and activities we have now created a rich set of these to support designpractice. This includes use of the visual representations in a range of activities, as well as a numberof other activities such as getting practitioners to think of the characteristics (affordances) oftechnologies in terms of how they might be used to support different pedagogical approaches.Facilitating social interactionFinally, to facilitate social interaction, we have created a range of workshops, as well as an onlinesocial networking site for learning and teaching, Cloudworks. The workshop include ‘Technologylite’ workshops where participants consider the characteristics of different technologies and howthey might be used in their teaching, workshops on the use of the visualisation tools and a ‘DesignChallenge’ workshop where participants work in teams to create a course in a day, assistance by a7
  • 8. range of ‘expert stalls’ who provide advice on a range of topics (such as using web 2.0 tools,collaborative learning, assessment and the use of OER).Cloudworks is a social networking site to facilitate the sharing and discussion of learning andteaching ideas and designs. It combines social and participatory functionality to enable multipleforms of communication, collaboration and cross-boundary interactions amongst differentcommunities of users. Figure 1 shows a screenshot of the homepage.The core object in the site is aCloud, which can be anything to do with learning and teaching; such as a description of a learningintervention, a description of a tool or resource, a question, or a discussion point. Clouds can begrouped into Cloudscapes; a Cloud can belong to more than one Cloudscape. Clouds are acombination of social and participatory functionality. Firstly, they act like a multi-user blog; anyonecan start a Cloud and others can sequential add content to it. Secondly, they have a space fordiscussion. Thirdly, users can enrich the Cloud by adding embedded content, tags, links andreferences. Finally they have additional Web 2.0 functionality, such as: an activity stream for theCloud, the ability to tag, RSS feeds and Twitter-like follow and be followed options.The site has been evaluated in a number of ways. Data is collected via Web statistics and Googleanalytics. We have been analysing and categorising the types of activities that have emerged on thesite. We have gathered user feedback via numerous conferences and workshops, through interviewsand an online survey. Conole and Culver provide more details on our evaluation approach (Conoleand Culver, 2010). Anyone can view content on the site, but you need to register if you want to addcontent or contribute to discussions.Conole et al. (forthcoming) have identified eight ways in which the site is being used:·Events. Use of Cloudworks for conferences, workshops and seminars was one of the first patternsof user behaviour to emerge on the site. The site provides a new type of mediational space tosupport interactions and communications pre-, during and post-events. The discussion spacesassociated with Clouds provides a forum for users to discuss issues and to collectively liveblog. Theability to add links, references and embedded content fosters collective intelligence (Lévy, 1997)and crowdsourcing (Howe, 2006). Because events have become such a dominant pattern ofbehaviour on the site, we now provide a dynamic list of events on the homepage. Users can alsoindicate that they are attending a particular event and this then appears on their profile page.·Debates. A number of Cloudscapes have now been established acting as discussion spaces.Recently, we have also been exploring how the site can be used to facilitate timed discussions, seefor example the ‘Spotlight on OER’ Cloudscape.·Open reviews. Cloudworks provides a good environment for supporting ‘open reviews’; i.e. as aspace to openingly aggregate and discuss research literature reviews. Research questions can be setup as Clouds and used as a basis for discussion and aggregation of resources. Drafts of the evolvingreview can also be posted for comment.·Resource aggregation. Cloudscapes have also been established that act as aggregators aroundparticular topics or resources. For example there is a Cloudscape which lists and discusses mindmapping tools.·Courses. The site is also being used, to some extent, to support student activities, usually inconjunction with the use of an institutional Learning Management System (LMS). The way inwhich Cloudworks is being used by students on the OU’s Masters in Online and DistanceEducation (MAODE) course is described later in this chapter.·Reading circles. A relatively new type of Cloudscape to appear on the site is reading Cloudscapes.Clouds can be set up as spaces to discuss research papers and aggregate relevant links andreferences.·Learning Design. Part of the original aspiration around the development of the site was to act as achannel for fostering more debate around design practices. A number of Cloudscapes have nowbeen established that are focusing on learning and teaching issues around a particular course. In8
  • 9. addition it is now possible to embed designs produced in LAMS, as well as designs saved inGoogleDocs.·Expert elicitation and consultation. Finally, the site works well as a space to elicit expert viewsaround a topic or as a space to validate and discuss research outputs.We believe that Cloudworks offers a new type of social networking site, which is distinct from, butcomplementary to other social networking sites. The design of the site around the notion of socialobjects, means that it differs from ego-centric site like Facebook. The combined Web 2.0functionality means that the community can collectively improve Clouds, through discussion andaddition of content and resources. There is now a vibrant community of those interested in learningand teaching participating in the site. Users come from over 170 countries and span the educationalspectrum; from formal educational contexts through to informal and non-formal ones. Teachers,learners, researcher and policy makers are interacting and communicating. There is evidence thatsome users are now beginning to appropriate niche ecologies of the site for their own interests.The Design-Practice ProjectThe focus of the DesignPractice project was on transfer of innovation of the OULDI resources toteachers in the UK, Cyprus and Greece. Three key research questions guided the inquiry:·What learning and teaching approaches are evident in the LD and to what extent are they mappedto ICT affordances?·To what extent the visualized and dialogic LD methodology improves the design process?·To what extent the visualized and dialogic LD methodology improves the lesson plan/product?·How does making learning design explicit facilitate the sharing and discussion of designs?Figure 2Figure 2 illustrates the main ares of activity. Firstly, the consortium undertook a review of theOULDI resource, tools and activities. These were then repurposed and localised for use in the threecountries. The collective resources were then implemented through a series of trials in the threecountries. The trials were evaluated and an rich set of data was collected. The final stage wascollective review and reflection on the success of the trials and identification of ways of taking thework forward. The UK trial consisted of four interventions:·Using technologies workshop with PGCE trainer teachers at the OU: 17th September 2010 (36students and 3 academics)
  • 10. ·Using technologies workshop with teacher trainers in Cyprus: 29th September 2010 (40participants)·6-7th October 2010 40 masters students Guadalajara, Mexico series of real and virtual workshops with associate lecturers April - July 2011Data collected included: questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, rubrics for experts to reviewcontent, data from Cloudworks, sample LD artefacts, a reflection tool, workshop evaluation dataand observation protocols. The trial with associate lectures consisted of the following components:·1.5 hours self-paced module April/May 2011·5 hour face-to-face module 10th June 2011 18 participants·5 hour self-paced module on sharing and collaboration workshop consisted of the following activities:·How to ruin a course·Comparing 4 web 2.0 tools·Tools in use·Course map·Using the LD notation·Sharing and discussing designs·Action plan and evaluationThe evaluation data yielded the following findings. Associate lecturers are different from thoseinvolved in traditional institutions as they are not involved in designing courses, but support andassess learners. Participants could see the value of adopting a learning design approach and mosthad good technical competencies. Associated Lectures make extensive use the OU forums to shareand discuss resources and activities and could see the benefit of using a tool such as Cloudworks asa richer dialogic medium and space for shared aggregation of resources. The activities werepositively reviewed, although there were some suggestions for improvement, For example, ‘Howto ruin a course’ activity helped them to address concerns about use of technologies, whereas theyfelt that the ‘comparing 4 tools’ might be better to structure with the jigsaw pedagogical pattern.They felt that the ‘affordances’ activity worked really well and that the ‘representations’ course mapwas particularly valuable. They were also interested in exploring how the students’ might use theseviews. Finally, they valued the mix of real and virtual activities and though Cloudworks wasinnovative and useful space to share and discuss learning and teaching ideas.The following quotes give examples of some of their comments: “I thought the article was useful for directing attention to questions about the way learning is constructed.” “I find the document quite thought-provoking, especially as a starting point in this journey for developing good understandings.” “I felt that from this document I could understand the learning design process and would feel able to use this when designing some learning activities for Elluminate, as I need to do within the next few weeks.” “It is iterative and so helps with ironing out any issues plus it has a learning aspect in built”10
  • 11. Figure 3-6 provide examples of some of the Mediating Artefacts the participants produced.Figure 3Figure 411
  • 12. Figure 5Figure 6Open Educational Resource InitiativesThis section will provide a brief overview if the OER movement, before summarising the workbeing carried out as part of the Olnet and OPAL initiatives. Aitkins et al., (2007) provide a useful12
  • 13. overview of the OER movement. The Hewlett foundation define OER1 as: Teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or re-purposing by others. Whilst OECD define them as: Digitised materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self- learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning and research (OECD, 2007, p. 133). There are now a plethora of OER repositories worldwide. Conole (forthcoming) provides an overview of these initiatives. In the beginning there was perhaps a naïve assumption that simply making OER available would mean that learners and teachers would use them, however evaluation of these repositories shows that this is not the case and that they are not being used extensively and certainly not being repurposed and used in different learning contexts (see for example McAndrew et al., 2009), as such recent work has shifted to looking at mechanisms to support practitioners to make more effective use of research outputs on OER. Two initiatives focusing on this aspect are described now. Olnet The Olnet initiative aims to provide a global socio-technical network for researchers, users and producers of OER, alongside a series of face-to-face events. It also aims to better articulate the design and evaluation of OER and to support and foster the transfer of good practice through sharing and debate. The technical infrastructure consists of a set of open, social and participatory tools for aggregating, sharing, debating and improving the quality of OER. The platform builds on an existing set of tools, including a learning design visualisation tool, CompendiumLD (Conole et al., 2008), a social networking site for sharing and discussing learning and teaching ideas, Cloudworks (Conole and Culver, 2009; Conole and Culver, 2010) and a semantic argumentation tool, Cohere2 (De Liddo and Buckingham Shum, 2010). The OPAL initiative The overall aim of OPAL3 is to improve the effectiveness of learning and teaching by enhancing the quantity and quality of Open Educational Resources that can be incorporated into higher education and further education provision. OPAL is focussing on the articulation of a set of dimensions of Open Educational Resource Practices (OEP) around the creation, use and management of OER, with the belief that identification of these practices will lead to better innovation in the pedagogical use of OER and improvements in the quality of OER designed and used. The project began by reviewing 60 case studies of OER initiatives4 and from these derived a set of dimensions of OEP. A full account of this research is available elsewhere (OPAL, 2010). Eight initial OEP dimensions were identified from the case studies analysed as part of the OPAL initiative, these are discussed below, along with some illustrative examples drawn from the case studies:·Strategies and policies·Quality Assurance models·Partnership models·Tools and tool practices·Barriers and success factors·Innovations·Skills development and support·Business models/sustainability strategies. 1 Definition on the Hewlett Website, 2 3 4 13
  • 14. The initial eight OEP dimensions, identified by the OPAL project, were validated through a variety of forums, both online and virtual, between May 2010 and December 2010. This consultation with experts resulted in a refinement of the dimensions to four: strategies and policies, tools and tool practises, staff development and support, and barriers and success factors. These were then used as a basis for developing three guidelines, for: learners, practitioners and institutional managers. The guidelines are intended to be used as a mechanism for each of these stakeholders to first benchmark their current position in terms of OEP and then enable them to develop a vision and implementation plan for enhancing their OEP. The guidelines are available online from the OPAL website.5 Related work In addition to our own work there are a number of closely related initiatives. In particular, there is a body of research and development activities around the creation of pedagogical patterns. These provide structure guidance to inform practitioners as they work through the design process. These include the DialogPlus toolkit created as part of the JISC/NSF funded DialogPlus project. The toolkit provides advice on the different aspects of the creation of a learning activity, such as: the learning outcomes, pedagogical approaches, types and uses of different tools, the range of potential activities that can be used to support different types of pedagogy etc. Closely related to this, is the Phoebe tool, which is an online wiki-based tool. It also provides advice on the different facets of a learning activity. The user is presented with a split screen; on one side there is a template for completion and on the other a set of details and guidances on how to complete the template. In both tools, it is possible for users to create learning designs from scratch or repurposes existing learning designs. In addition, it is possible for them to share their designs with others. The London Pedagogical Planner and the follow on tool, the Learning Design Support Environment are slightly different. With these tools users articulate the nature of the types of activities the learners will engage with and then map this to different types of pedagogy. The user can then map out a timetable across the study calendar. A number of tools have also been developed to visualise designs. These include the CompendiumLD tool described earlier. The Learning Activity Management Systems (LAMS) is a visualisation tool that also produces a runnable real time environment for students. WebCollege is an online tool for designing using Pedagogical Patterns, in particular it focuses on a number of patterns to promote collaborative learning, such as the Jigsaw and Pyramid patterns. Finally, an LD- compliant tool, CADMOS, has recently been developed which enables users to map a LD sequence. More broadly, the learning design work described in this paper aligns with a number of related research fields, such as: Instructional Design, Pedagogical Patterns and the learning sciences. Instructional Design, as a research field, is now well established and is particularly useful in that it has produced a set of design heuristics that can be used to guide practice. Of particular note is the work of Merrill, who from a review of work in the field, developed a set of ID principles, which are :•Demonstration principle: Learning is promoted when learners observe a demonstration.•Application principle: Learning is promoted when learners apply the new knowledge.•Task-centred principle: Learning is promoted when learners engage in a task-centred instructionalstrategy.•Activation principle: Learning is promoted when learners activate relevant prior knowledge orexperience.•Integration principle: Learning is promoted when learners integrate their new knowledge into theireveryday world. 5 14
  • 15. The learning sciences has been useful in that it has provided a rich empirical data based on effectiveuse of technologies, particularly in schools. Whereas the origins of Instructional Design arearguably behaviourist, the learning sciences are grounded in constructivism and cognitive sciences.Sawyer lists the following as important aspects. Firstly, that intelligent behaviour is based onrepresentations in the mind, knowledge structures such as concepts, beliefs, facts, procedures andmodels. Secondly, the importance of reflection and the recognition that experts are better atreflection than novices. Thirdly, the importance of adopting a problem-solving approach to thedesign and delivery of learning. Finally, the importance of thinking and in particular the importanceof higher-order thinking skills.The concept of pedagogical patterns derives from the work of Alexander (1977), who defined apattern as something that: Describes a problem which occurs over and over again in our environment and then describes the core of the solution to the problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million tomes over, without every doing it the same way twice.The concept has been applied in a learning context by Goodyear, Retalis and others (Goodyer,1995; Goodyear and Retalis, 2010). In essence pedagogical patterns aim to abstract and formallyrepresent examples of good patterns. They are structure and consist of the following elements: apicture, an introductory paragraph, a headline given the essence of the problem, the body of theproblem, the solution, a diagrammatic representation and a paragraph relating the pattern to similarpatterns.ConclusionThis paper has provided an overview of current research work in learning design, Open EducationalResources and related research. It argues that designing for learning is the key challenge facingeducation today and that practitioners need support and guidance to make effective use of theaffordances of new open, social and participatory media. The paper includes a description of theunderlying theoretical perspectives associated with this research, along with data gathered throughevaluation of the use of the learning design resources and tools described here.ReferencesAtkins, D. E., Seely Brown, J., & Hammond, A. L. (2007). A review of the Open Educational Resource movement: acheivements, challenges and new opportunities, report to the William and Hewlett Foundation, available online at theOERMovement.pdf, accessed 7th September 2011.Beabout, B. R., Carr-Chellman, A. A., Alkandari, K. A., Almeida, L. C., Gursoy, H. T., Ma, Z., and Pastore, R. (2008). The perceptions of New Orleans educators on the process of rebuilding the New Orleans school system after Katrina, Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 13, 212 – 237.Brasher, A. (2010), Evaluation report on the use of CompendiumLD on the OU’s H800 course, Mil- ton Keynes: The Open University.Cole, M., Engeström, Y., and Vasquez, O. A. (1997). Mind, culture and activity: seminal papers from the laboratory of comparative human cognition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Universi- ty Press.Conole, G. (forthcoming), Designing for learning in an open world, Berlin-Verlag: Springer.Conole, G., Galley, R., Alevizou, P. and Culver, J. (forthcoming), Adopting a Design-Based Research approach to harnessing the power of social and participatory media for improving teaching, Special issue of JCAL.Conole, G., and Alevizou, P. (2010). Review of the use(s) of Web 2.0 in Higher Education, HE Academy commissioned report, available online at15
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