E-Learning in a Changing Landscape of Emerging Technologies and Pedagogies


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This is the presentation that I gave at the Opening Plenary Panel of the 2012 CITE Research Symposium at The University of Hong Kong. I guess that my aim was to start people off thinking a little bit about how higher education has made use of technologies for teaching and learning. I also wanted to send a positive message about what might be done.

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E-Learning in a Changing Landscape of Emerging Technologies and Pedagogies

  1. 1. Exploring Virtual Learning Environments Dr. Iain Doherty Associate Professor Director eLearning Pedagogical Support Unit Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning 13th May 2012
  2. 2. Virtual Learning Environments• A conservative and not pedagogically useful view of the VLE: – A virtual learning environment (VLE) is an education system based on the Web that models conventional real-world education by integrating a set of equivalent virtual concepts for tests, homework, classes, classrooms, and the like, and perhaps even museums and other external academic resources. It normally uses Web 2.0 tools for 2-way interaction, and includes a content management system. • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_learning_environment 2
  3. 3. Trends in Virtual Learning Environments• What is the predominant use of the virtual learning environment in higher education?• What are the potential affordances of the virtual learning environment?• What are the pedagogies with which we have been working (for a very long time)?• Is it time to re-think what it means to learn / acquire knowledge? 3
  4. 4. Which Comes First?• The traditional mantra: – Learning led and technology enabled• The new mantra: – Technology led and learning enabled?• O.K. so it’s not really going to be a new mantra but it is a springboard to thought.• Technologies for teaching might be something other than a bolt on if we recognised the centrality of technologies in the lives of our students. 4
  5. 5. Best Use of Virtual Learning Environments• Putting technology first we might think in terms of Siemen’s concept of Connectivism.• Difficult to understand and may not be a learning theory / theory of knowledge.• It might be a theory of social constructivism referenced to technologies.• What would a pedagogy look like that put Connectivism / technologies at the core of the curriculum? 5
  6. 6. Best Use of Virtual Learning Environments• We might conceive of our students living in a networked world of constantly accessible information.• Physical spaces and virtual spaces both utilized / leveraged to engage students in research based learning around complex projects, cases, problems.• VLE / LMS, Web 2.0 technologies, virtual worlds, simulations, games.• Tablet devices, laptops, learning spaces, presentation spaces, wired and wireless connectivity. 6
  7. 7. Concluding Remarks• Higher education has been stuck with the same pedagogies for too long.• Higher education has followed the trail of technologies for too long.• Does higher education not have cutting edge thinkers and cutting edge practitioners?• A good question: – What kind of contribution is the academic community making to Wikipedia? 7