Social Learning in the Context of OpenLearn

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presentation from the Social Learning Seminar@OU - Open Systems Research Group and OLnet

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Social Learning in the Context of OpenLearn

  1. 2. Social Learning in the Context of Open Learn <ul><li>Kasia Kozinska, Research Student CREET (Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology), OLnet </li></ul><ul><li>Supervision team: </li></ul><ul><li>Ann Jones, Patrick McAndrew, Eileen Scanlon, Tina Wilson http://olnet.org/ </li></ul>
  2. 3. <ul><li>Social Learning </li></ul><ul><li>Social Learning on OpenLearn </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of research & future </li></ul>
  3. 4. Socio-collaborative/ social learning (education & educational psychology)
  4. 6. Learner-centred approaches <ul><li>Learners/ students: </li></ul><ul><li>To build new understanding with others or with the world, e.g. technology: </li></ul><ul><li>(main) responsibility for learning </li></ul><ul><li>personal interest </li></ul><ul><li>motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers/ tutors: </li></ul><ul><li>To facilitate knowledge building rather than ‘in charge’ of ‘passing on knowledge’ as a static product </li></ul><ul><li>co-responsibility for creating learning environments </li></ul>
  5. 7. Communities, groups and social spaces online different focus, formality, shared situations, common goals <ul><li>Pros: flexibility of access and use; good for exploring </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Traditional location-based communities are losing their significance for many individuals who have created their own mobile community through networks’ (Ala-Mutka, 2010:26-27) </li></ul><ul><li>Online groups (can be) safe for identity building, discovery or reaffirmation (Ala-Mutka, 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>Cons: limitations of the communication channel(s) </li></ul><ul><li>'the absence of the visual channel reduces the possibilities for expression of socio-emotional material and decreases the information available about the other’s self-image, attitudes, moods and reactions’ (Kreijns et al., 2003:344) </li></ul>
  6. 8. Will social interaction happen just because there are tools to facilitate it? <ul><li>‘ A community needs an affective structure. Building an affective structure entails a process of affiliation, impression formation, and interpersonal attraction to induce and promote social relationships and group cohesion’ (Kreijns et al., 2003:343) </li></ul>
  7. 9. Social interaction vs. Observation in learning learn, think & reflect while ‘lurking’ online <ul><li>‘ Bandura’s (1977) social learning emphasises the importance of observing and modelling behaviours, attitudes, and emotional reactions of others. People do not need to learn everything by trying it out themselves, they can learn from observing others' (Ala-Mutka, 2010:24) </li></ul>
  8. 10. Social Learning on OpenLearn <ul><li>OpenLearn is an Open Educational Resource (OER) initiative: ‘Free learning resources from the Open University’ (OU, 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>OER – free university-level courses online, repositories, tools, communities </li></ul><ul><li>Launched in October 2006, OU in collaboration with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation </li></ul><ul><li>Moodle, VLE, open-source, 75,000 registrations in the first 18 months, 10 th millionth visitor in January 2010, LearningSpace and LabSpace </li></ul><ul><li>(OU, 2010; OpenLearn Research Report 2006-2008 (McAndrew, P., Inamorato dos Santos, A., Lane, A., Godwin, S., Okada, A., Wilson, T., Connolly, T., Ferreira, G., Buckingham Shum, S., Bretts, J., Webb, R., 2009)) </li></ul>
  9. 11. LearningSpace: 12 main subject areas, over 100 Learning Clubs, hundreds of units/ 6000 study hours
  10. 13. OpenLearn is... <ul><li>‘ online learning that is open to anyone, anywhere in the world using materials taken from Open University courses. And it is completely free to use! Instead of attending classes, you study online in the LearningSpace, using materials that have been specially designed for distance learning’ < http://www.open.ac.uk/openlearn/home.php> </li></ul><ul><li>‘ a hybrid of a repository, structured assets, a community, course-based tools, and personal learning tools’. </li></ul><ul><li>OpenLearn Research Report 2006-2008(McAndrew et al., 2009:3) </li></ul>
  11. 14. Types of learners on OpenLearn ( OpenLearn Research Report 2006 – 2008, Chapter 4, 2011 participants; analytics data, questionnaires and follow-up interviews) <ul><li>Volunteer students </li></ul><ul><li>‘ despite not having formally signed up as a student they are motivated by assessment, will work through tasks and would like to have their activity recognised’. </li></ul><ul><li>Social learners </li></ul><ul><li>‘ want to explore tools, connect with other people and construct their own interpretations’. </li></ul><ul><li>OpenLearn Research Report 2006 – 2008, McAndrew et al. (2009:61) </li></ul>
  12. 15. Motivations for socio-collaborative learning practices among registered users of OpenLearn - examining community interactions <ul><li>Rationale: to understand why users seek interaction while learning on OpenLearn and how we could provide better support in terms of content, activities and tools (pilot study) </li></ul><ul><li>Phase 1: non-intrusive observation of virtual output: messages, profiles, journals </li></ul><ul><li>Phase 2: interviews </li></ul>
  13. 16. Social actions and activities on OpenLearn (LearningSpace) <ul><li>Joining learning clubs </li></ul><ul><li>Participating in/ contributing to discussions on forums: initiating and/ or responding </li></ul><ul><li>Creating your learner profile/ identity and making it visible to other users (learning units, clubs, role, additional info, profile photo, journal) </li></ul><ul><li>Visible journal entries – reflecting on your work publicly </li></ul><ul><li>Browsing through, reading and thinking about the work/ profiles of others – observation and reflection </li></ul>
  14. 17. BA in English language and lit Learning Club (LC_59) 'For anyone who is studying for or would like to study for a BA in English language and literature, to discuss coursework, meet friends, plan study groups'
  15. 18. Text on OpenLearn <ul><li>Written language and emoticons – main tool for communication, self-expression, image creation and identity formation unless video conferencing used, e.g. FlashMeeting </li></ul>
  16. 19. content and function of text <ul><li>Is it the intention to question ,challenge? – do the messages form a coherent dialogue that shows creation of meaning? </li></ul><ul><li>Explain ? Share information? </li></ul><ul><li>Lend support ? Seek support? </li></ul><ul><li>Convince, influence ? </li></ul><ul><li>Or simply get to know people and introduce yourself? </li></ul><ul><li>Style and structure : </li></ul><ul><li>choice of vocabulary - nouns are the main meaning-carrying types of words followed by adjectives </li></ul><ul><li>syntax - what types of sentences </li></ul><ul><li>rhetorical figures , e.g. paraphrases: London – the heart of Britain </li></ul>
  17. 20. Community building on OpenLearn
  18. 21. Non-task contexts <ul><li>‘ usually characterized by informal and casual conversations [that] show an abundant exchange of socio-emotional and affective information contributing to impression formation, creation of social relationships, group cohesion and a sense of community….. </li></ul><ul><li>… the presence of non-task contexts positively affects the building of an affective structure and, thus, on the building of communities’ (Kreijns et al., 2003:344) </li></ul>
  19. 22. Why is this an important research area? Social justice and lifelong learning <ul><li>OpenLearn: free & flexible use for all </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Adult education and training should give real opportunities to all adults to develop and update their key competencies throughout life’ </li></ul><ul><li>(Council of the European Union Joint Progress Report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the ‘Education and Training 2010’ work programme – Adoption of the report, 2010:5) </li></ul>
  20. 23. Lifelong Learning skills <ul><li>The European Framework for Key Competencies for LLL: communication, mathematical, technology & digital competencies, learning to learn, social, civic, entrepreneurial, cultural competencies (EU, 2010) </li></ul><ul><li>transversal skills, e.g. ‘ critical thinking, creativity, initiative taking, problem solving, risk assessment, decision taking and managing feelings constructively ’ (Ala-Mutka, 2010:18) </li></ul>
  21. 24. Future of Social Learning on OpenLearn: Mix & match of units, content & tools? <ul><li>Personalisation & individualisation of learning </li></ul><ul><li>e-portfolios </li></ul><ul><li>self-assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Informal/ non-formal but structured/ semi-structured learning </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration & networking </li></ul><ul><li>building connections, social skills, exchange of ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Peer feedback & evaluation, discussing one another’s work, group reflection </li></ul>
  22. 25. <ul><li>Questions? </li></ul><ul><li>https://openlearn.open.ac.uk </li></ul><ul><li>http://olnet.org/ </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail: k.a.kozinska@open.ac.uk </li></ul>

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