Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

We Used It The Way We Wanted To: Research on Learner Engagement in Participatory Environments


Published on

A presentation about an ongoing exploratory study around learner engagement in participatory learning environments. This presentation was presented at EDEN 2010 (a trimmed down version) and the Sloan C Emerging Technology for Online Education 2010 conferences.

Published in: Education
  • Be the first to comment

We Used It The Way We Wanted To: Research on Learner Engagement in Participatory Environments

  1. 1. &quot; We used it the way we wanted to &quot; : Research on Learner Self-Engagement in Web 2.0 Participatory Environments <ul><li>Deborah Everhart & Erin Knight </li></ul>
  2. 2. About Us Dr. Deborah Everhart Adjunct Assistant Professor, Georgetown University Chief Architect, Blackboard Inc. Research Associate, Blackboard Institute Erin Knight Research Director Center for Next Generation Teaching and Learning School of Information, UC Berkeley
  3. 3. Background
  4. 4. Participatory Media? <ul><li>Social media, Web 2.0, “pMedia” </li></ul><ul><li>Tools that foster participation online </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs, wikis, forums, chat, social bookmarking, social networking </li></ul><ul><li>Key Principles : </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- network effects </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- low barrier to entry </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- rich user experiences </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- openness </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Old School Ed. Perspectives <ul><li>Piaget: Constructivism (1920s) </li></ul><ul><li>Vygotsky: Social Constructivism, Zone of Proximal Development (1920s) </li></ul><ul><li>Papert: Constructivism and computers (1970s) </li></ul>
  6. 6. More Recent Research <ul><li>Distance education </li></ul><ul><li>Human motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Learning sciences </li></ul><ul><li>Brain-based research </li></ul>
  7. 7. pMedia for Education <ul><li>Learners learn more when they can socially construct their understanding. </li></ul><ul><li>Student-centered learning environments can facilitate deeper learning than teacher-centered approaches. </li></ul><ul><li>Participatory media can be used to foster student-centered and socially constructed learning. </li></ul>Key Assumptions :
  8. 8. Existing Literature <ul><li>Emerging, inconclusive </li></ul><ul><li>Tool-focused, typically a single-tool </li></ul><ul><li>Attempts to prove “effectiveness” or profess “The Right Way” to use the tool </li></ul><ul><li>Contextually bound, often not generalizable </li></ul>
  9. 9. Research: Blogs (+) <ul><li>effective interactive knowledge-exchange tool s </li></ul><ul><li>support unique voices </li></ul><ul><li>empower learners to assert their ideas and opinions </li></ul><ul><li>encouraging to think critically </li></ul><ul><li>foster reflection , facilitate deeper connection </li></ul><ul><li>richer understanding due to hyperlinks, contextual information and revisiting concepts </li></ul>(Herring et al., 2004; Oravec, 2002; Ferdig & Trammel, 2004, Koschmann at al., 1996)
  10. 10. Research: Blogs (-) <ul><li>benefits not same for all users </li></ul><ul><li>open nature can intimidate learners and discourage use </li></ul><ul><li>must be kept active and maintained </li></ul><ul><li>require a high level of learner and instructor motivation to participate </li></ul>(Saeed et al., 2008; Raymond Tri-Dang Firpo et al., 2009; Mason & Rennie, 2008)
  11. 11. Other Tools Chat Forums Wikis Social Bookmarking
  12. 12. Summary <ul><li>Research is not broadly conclusive </li></ul><ul><li>Too tool-focused </li></ul><ul><li>Learning environments are nuanced! </li></ul><ul><li>Need to step back, get broader understandings of use, perceptions, motivations, etc. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Our Research
  14. 14. Our Research <ul><li>Observe usage across many tools, across courses </li></ul><ul><li>Explore the complexities and nuances within each learning environment </li></ul><ul><li>Discover trends or patterns across courses </li></ul><ul><li>Understand student and instructor perceptions, expectations and motivations </li></ul><ul><li>Inform future research </li></ul>
  15. 15. Our Research Avoids <ul><li>Claiming effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Implying that different types or levels of use are necessarily better </li></ul><ul><li>Assuming that patterns of use in these environments are applicable to different environments </li></ul>
  16. 16. Social Media Classroom <ul><li>“ SMC” </li></ul><ul><li>Open source course site solution built around embedded social media tools </li></ul><ul><li>Originally developed by Howard Rheingold, adapted by I School </li></ul><ul><li>Early adoption = unique opportunity to observe usage across courses and interview instructors and students </li></ul>
  17. 17. Howard’s Course <ul><li>Developed the SMC to support his own course on digital media </li></ul><ul><li>Taught the course 9 times now </li></ul><ul><li>Claims he finally has “gotten it right”, although continues to innovate </li></ul><ul><li>Tells students upfront that usage is required </li></ul><ul><li>Also tells them the type of use expected in each tool </li></ul>Screenshot from Howard’s Course
  18. 18. Reality Check <ul><li>Most instructors are not Howard </li></ul><ul><li>Many are using technology or social media for the first time </li></ul><ul><li>Most cannot take as many risks </li></ul><ul><li>Most do not have the time to do trial-and-error </li></ul><ul><li>Not all course content has such as direct tie to the tools </li></ul>Adapted from:
  19. 19. Back to Our Research <ul><li>Instructors were first time users of these tools </li></ul><ul><li>All early adopters of the SMC in the 2009-2010 school year </li></ul><ul><li>It is important to understand these newer, ‘messier’, perhaps more common environments </li></ul>
  20. 20. Methods <ul><li>Observation of usage patterns in 4 courses using the SMC ( 8 instructors, 150 students ) </li></ul><ul><li>Pre/Post surveys on expectations and perspectives ( 79/73 Pre/Post responses ) </li></ul><ul><li>Student interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty interviews </li></ul>
  21. 21. Discussion of Findings
  22. 22. pMedia for Education <ul><li>Learners learn more when they can socially construct their understanding. </li></ul><ul><li>Student-centered learning environments can facilitate deeper learning than teacher-centered approaches. </li></ul><ul><li>Participatory media can be used to foster the student-centered and socially constructed learning. </li></ul>KEY ASSUMPTIONS: ? ? ?
  23. 23. No “one-tool-fits-all” <ul><li>Each course used the SMC differently </li></ul><ul><li>Usage was focused around one tool and that tool differed across courses </li></ul><ul><li>Instructors used the tools differently </li></ul><ul><li>Differences in use across students within a course </li></ul><ul><li>Many different types of influence </li></ul>Course Tool Used Course 1 Blog Course 2 Wiki Course 3 Blog Course 4 Forums
  24. 25. Instructor Influence <ul><li>Directives - instructions, modeling </li></ul><ul><li>Participation - instructor posts or comments </li></ul><ul><li>Grading - grading usage on the site </li></ul>“ I commented on posts. I made blog posts. That's important because it let’s them know that I read them and you have to be credible.” ASSIGNMENT #1: 1. Find a news story 2. Blog about it and tag it 3. Add the link as a Social Bookmark and tag it
  25. 26. Other Influences <ul><li>Course Attributes </li></ul><ul><li>Social Norms </li></ul><ul><li>Student Familiarity or Preference </li></ul><ul><li>Interplay between!! </li></ul>“ It’s a different style of reading...At some point I have to be like, I cannot spend anymore time on this class. ” “ I felt like the concepts were more difficult to grasp in Course 1 and lent themselves more to discussions and stories on the blog.” “ Since no one was using it, I didn't use it. You don't want to waste your time writing something that no one is going to look at.” “ Blogging is something I do anyway so it’s just a natural form for me to kick around ideas.”
  26. 27. Self-Directed Learning <ul><li>In some cases, students ‘took over’ tool </li></ul><ul><li>Used it to self-direct learning </li></ul><ul><li>Extremely valuable observation to explore further </li></ul>“ Once it became a habit, no grading incentives were needed.” “ Since it wasn't clear about how we needed to use it or if it was graded, we used it the way that we wanted to.” “ I think the more that I would go in there and read the posts and try to put in my own two cents, the more I liked it and the more I wanted to use it. ”
  27. 28. Learning Activities <ul><li>Much of existing literature is tool-focused </li></ul><ul><li>Align certain learning activities with certain tools </li></ul><ul><li>We saw each tool used for wide range of learning activities </li></ul><ul><li>No “one-use-fits-each-tool” </li></ul><ul><li>Convergence of tools OR evidence of student’s adapting tool to their needs </li></ul>
  28. 29. Learning Activity Focus <ul><li>Call for switch of focus </li></ul><ul><li>Start with underlying goal or objective, then apply technology </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple tools could do the job </li></ul><ul><li>Easier for instructors to approach, integrate, evaluate </li></ul>
  29. 30. Challenges / Takeaways <ul><li>Students struggled with work-load balance </li></ul><ul><li>Instructors faced many social, pedagogical and technical challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Were able to overcome social and pedagogical, but technical was a show stopper </li></ul><ul><li>Instructors said that they would use the system again, but with adaptations </li></ul>“ Some call it ‘ fun ' and it’s like, no it’s actually work. Staying on top of what people are posting, commenting and finding your own stuff is actually a lot of work.” I haven’t used it much because I hate passwords, and I forget them and cannot access the site. I would devote 15 minutes of each lecture to talk about the blog. That says: I did read this stuff, I’m going to give you credit for figuring out a good thing, and I’ll give you some air time.
  30. 31. Conclusions and Next Steps
  31. 32. Preliminary Conclusions <ul><li>Learner-centered approach is important to most, but an adjustment for many </li></ul><ul><li>Learning environments are nuanced social systems </li></ul><ul><li>Activities and adoption vary among courses </li></ul><ul><li>Many factors can influence use </li></ul><ul><li>In some cases, learners can use the tool(s) to self-direct learning </li></ul><ul><li>Tools can support many different learning activities </li></ul>. ” “
  32. 33. Preliminary Recommendations <ul><li>Lead with the learning activity or goal first, then apply technology </li></ul><ul><li>Provide “self-service” pMedia in courses where collaborative activities may or may not be scaffolded </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- Always on </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- Easy to access from other online course materials </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- Notifications with RSS or other feeds for quick attention </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Scaffold use of pMedia outside of courses to provide models and set expectations for use within courses </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- Include in orientation, intro courses, other required activities </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- Structure learning cohorts </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- Teach pMedia “rules of engagement” and leadership skills </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Facilitate community-building </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- Require identity (name and avatar, not anonymous) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- Allow commenting </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- Continue participation after and across courses </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  33. 34. Implications, Future Research <ul><li>Observe more courses, conduct interviews with more students and instructors, broaden survey results </li></ul><ul><li>Map learning activities to learners’ tool choices </li></ul><ul><li>Analyze interplay and weighting of varying influences on use </li></ul><ul><li>Illuminate motivations and factors behind self-directed learning </li></ul><ul><li>Investigate social issues (privacy, identity, ongoing relationships, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Observe use of other participatory tools (video, mind maps, etc.) </li></ul>
  34. 35. Thank You! <ul><li>Center for Next Generation Teaching and Learning: </li></ul><ul><li>Blackboard Institute: </li></ul><ul><li>Contribute to the next phase of research: </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] [email_address] </li></ul>