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Hong Kong Knowledge Management Society


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This is a presentation that I gave to the Hong Kong Knowledge Management Society. It is a high level look at the learning management system in higher education and the presentation makes the case for needing to focus on teaching and learning if eLearning is to be successful.

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Hong Kong Knowledge Management Society

  1. 1. Hong Kong Knowledge Management Society Dr. Iain Doherty Associate Professor eLearning Pedagogical Support Unit,Centre for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning, The University of Hong Kong 16th November 2012
  2. 2. Overview• eLearning has for the most part been unsuccessful in Universities.• HKU has a recently implemented eLearning strategy which needs to be successful.• Without a fundamental change in teaching practices the strategy will not be successful• Connectivism might provide the foundations for the necessary change.• Knowledge Management and Connectivism 2
  3. 3. Lack of Success with eLearning• The history of eLearning within Universities is one of failure. – The predominant use of the LMS is to store files and to post news announcements to students.• We know this from three large research studies (Beer, Jones, & Clark, 2009; Malikowski, 2011; Browne, Jenkins, & Walker, 2006)• I would submit that the key reason for the failure is the fact that teachers have not changed the way that they teach (Zemsky & Massy, 2004). 3
  4. 4. eLearning Strategy• “The aim of [the] eLearning strategy is to enhance student learning through effective use of technologies. It emphasizes the centrality of learning and the use of technologies as a tool to enrich the quality of learning and open up new opportunities for learning”.• In the HKU strategic document “eLearning focuses on the use of all types of technologies to enhance teaching and learning in conjunction with face-to-face learning”. 4
  5. 5. eLearning Strategy Level 1• “Teaching and learning is assisted by technology for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Students are provided with on-line access to: – Information regarding their programmes of study, including administrative procedures relating to course enrolment, assessments, degree audit, student evaluation of teaching and learning (SETL); and – resources for learning, including all course outlines and digital materials, course learning outcomes and assessments”. 5
  6. 6. eLearning Strategy Level 2• “Teaching and learning is enriched by technology through enhancing opportunities for active learning within and beyond the classroom, provision of links to digital library resources, provision of just-in-time formative and summative feedback and assessment for learning, fostering teaching-research nexus, establishing a closer link with schools, community partners and employers”. 6
  7. 7. eLearning Strategy Level 3• “Innovative pedagogy, curriculum design and assessment are brought to new heights by technology, including, but not restricted to, internationalization of the curriculum, collaborative teaching and learning within HKU courses and with overseas universities, integration of campus-based and experiential learning, involvement of employers and community partners in the learning processes”. 7
  8. 8. Where are We Now?• Looking at the LMS usage statistics we see the predominant use of file upload (around 80% of users) with a minority of users making use of the discussion forum (about 25%) and a very small minority making use of other Moodle functions such as the database activity, lesson activity and book activity.• There is nothing surprising in this sort of usage as it mirrors usage found in the longitudinal studies.• We would like things to be different  8
  9. 9. Changing Teaching• Remember that the HKU strategy emphasizes the centrality of learning.• I interpret this to mean that we should be looking at teaching practices and then looking at how technologies can assist teaching.• The trouble is that looking at teaching practices actually means having teachers fundamentally re- think about how they teach.• Teachers have to reconceive their approaches. 9
  10. 10. Changing Teaching• The traditional lecture format still predominates i.e. knowledge transmission.• These are supplemented by tutorials / seminars i.e. discussion.• If teaching continues to take this form then HK will find itself in the same position as many other universities.• That is, the LMS will be used to transmit knowledge (the majority) and to have discussions (minority). 10
  11. 11. Connectivism
  12. 12. The Three Theories Predominate• Behaviorism leading to drill and practice.• Cognitivism leading to reflection on information storage and retrieval.• Constructivism leading to the social negotiation of knowledge in order to build perspectives.• These theories are tried and tested but there is a question whether they are sufficient for the current age. 12
  13. 13. Connectivism “Understanding knowledge in a particular era is important in ensuring that we have aligned our spacesand structures with the nature of knowledge” (Siemens, 2006).•Are we teaching in a way that aligns with the nature ofknowledge acquisition in contemporary society?
  14. 14. Connectivism “The rapid development of information . . . requires a model that sees learning less as a product (filling a learner with knowledge) and more of a process ofcontinually staying current and connected (learning as a process of exploration, dialogue, and interaction)” (Siemens, 2006). 14
  15. 15. Connectivism “. . . Internet technologies can be used to make course content more cognitively accessible to individual learners by allowing them to interact with diverse, dynamic, associative and ready-to-hand knowledge networks” (Coates et al, 2005).•What do we mean by a knowledge network?
  16. 16. Connectivism “Connecting with people and content is a constant, ongoing, daily activity . . . Learning is a continual, network-forming process . . . As we encounter newresources (knowledge, people, and technology nodes), we may choose to actively connect and create our personal learning network” (Siemens, 2006).
  17. 17. Connectivism• We want to see, “ . . . A shift away from the model in which students consume information through independent channels such as the library, a text book or an LMS, moving instead to a model where students draw connections from a growing matrix of resources that they select and organize” (Mot, 2010) 17
  18. 18. Connectivism• The starting point of connectivism is the individual. Personal knowledge is comprised of a network, which feeds into organizations and institutions, which in turn feed back into the network, and then continue to provide learning to individual. This cycle of knowledge development (personal to network to organization) allows learners to remain current in their field through the connections they have formed (Siemens, 2005). 18
  19. 19. Does the LMS Suffice?• We can say for the sake of argument that there is something in Connectivism.• The question then becomes whether the LMS is the sort of tool that can instantiate a connectivism pedagogy.• Siemens would probably argue that it cannot (Siemens, 2004) but it seems that the LMS can support a Connectivist pedagogy if it is used creatively. 19
  20. 20. Connectivism• FaceBook• Bebo• Blogs• LinkedIn• Yammer• YouTube• iTunes U• Skype• Messenger 20
  21. 21. Does the LMS Suffice?• There are two issues with Connectivism and the LMS: – The first issue has to do with the extent that learners are “connected” as consumers to other nodes within an LMS. – The second issue has to do with the extent to which learners can create personalized representations of their knowledge as producers of knowledge.• This is where creativity with the LMS comes in to play. 21
  22. 22. Does the LMS Suffice?• The LMS is obviously a secure environment and to that extent connectivity is limited but it is there e.g. the capacity to connect registered students to one another.• Beyond this fact, it is a relatively easy task to create learning activities that connect learners with other external nodes through using supplementary services. 22
  23. 23. Does the LMS Suffice?• There is also limited capacity for students to create personalized representations of their knowledge e.g. enabling the portfolio function so that students can export their activities to e.g. GoogleDocs.• However, again, it is also a relatively easy task to create learning activities that require learners to produce information that is distributed to accessed by external nodes other nodes e.g. a portfolio in WordPress. 23
  24. 24. Does the LMS Suffice?• This has been a very low level look at the LMS and Connectivism.• A lot more thinking is required but the question of the place of Connectivism in higher education does seem to be an important one.• We know the reasons why LMS implementations do not lead to the sorts of usage that we would like to see.• We need to address this through supporting teachers in their teaching. 24
  25. 25. Knowledge Management• Knowledge management (KM) comprises a range of strategies and practices used in an organization to identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences. Such insights and experiences comprise knowledge, either embodied in individuals or embedded in organizations as processes or practices. – ( 25
  26. 26. Knowledge Management• Pushing a Connectivist agenda might achieve at least two things: – First, this learning theory would create possibilities for making better use of technologies in teaching and learning by having students “identify, create, represent, distribute, and enable adoption of insights and experiences”. – Second, we would be growing students better prepared to take their place in the world / fit into a knowledge society. 26
  27. 27. Conclusions• Universities are large and complex organizations with multiple drivers.• Bringing about change is difficult particularly in teaching and learning.• Much more thought would have to be given to Constructivism.• Improved quality of teaching and learning would need to be show. 27
  28. 28. References• Beer, C., Jones, D., & Clark, K. (2009). The Indicators Project Identifying Effective Learning : Adoption , Activity , Grades and External Factors. Same places, Different Spaces. Proceedings ascilite Auckland 2009 (pp. 60–70). Auckland, New Zealand: ascilite. Retrieved from ocs/beer.pdf 28
  29. 29. References• Browne, T., Jenkins, M., & Walker, R. (2006). A Longitudinal Perspective Regarding the Use of VLEs by Higher Education Institutions in the United Kingdom. Interactive Learning Environments, 14(2), 177–192. doi:10.1080/10494820600852795• Malikowski, S. R. (2011). A Three Year Analysis of CMS Use in Resident University Courses. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 39(1), 65–85. doi:10.2190/ET.39.1.f 29
  30. 30. References• Siemens, S. (2004). Learning Management Systems : The Wrong Place to Start Learning. elearningspace. Retrieved September 17, 2012, from 30
  31. 31. References• Zemsky, R., & Massy, W. F. (2004). Thwarted Innovation - What Happened to e-learning and Why? A Final Report for The Weatherstation Project of The Learning Alliance at the University of Pennsylvania in cooperation with the Thomson Corporation. (pp. 1– 76). Pennsylvania: The University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved from innovation-what-happened-e-learning-and-why 31
  32. 32. Contact• Email:• Web:• Linkedin:• SlideShare: 32