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Design challenges for future learning


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What are realistic design goals for future online learning transactions and online environments in a Web 2.0 world. A talk given at the University of Leicester, UK, Learning Futures Seminar, 19 November 2008.

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Design challenges for future learning

  1. 1. one plus one equals three: design challenges for future learning environments in a Web 2.0 world CC by: Dr Steven Warburton King’s College London Learning Futures Festival 19 November 2008
  2. 2. context <ul><li>rhetoric - what we say </li></ul><ul><li>reality - what we do </li></ul><ul><li>challenges for social software use in education - identifying problem spaces </li></ul><ul><li>thinking about future learning environment design - building solutions </li></ul>
  3. 3. social software: computer programs that enable people to rendezvous, connect or collaborate through computer-mediated communication and to form online communities. wikipedia definition : accessed 27/03/2007
  4. 5. what are our models? <ul><li>e-learning: models, developments and drivers: </li></ul><ul><li>reusable learning objects </li></ul><ul><li>quality frameworks </li></ul><ul><li>standards (SCORM, LOM, QTI) </li></ul><ul><li>digital repositories (silos) </li></ul><ul><li>scripted learning activities (IMS LD) </li></ul><ul><li>content and assessment driven VLE deployment </li></ul><ul><li>self centred knowledge acquisition </li></ul><ul><li>the rhetoric of web 2.0 and social software </li></ul><ul><li>architecture of participation (power laws) </li></ul><ul><li>democratisation </li></ul><ul><li>collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>autonomy and ownership </li></ul><ul><li>emergent classifications </li></ul><ul><li>critical mass, complexity </li></ul><ul><li>freedom and empowerment </li></ul><ul><li>remix, reuse, redistribute </li></ul><ul><li>PLEs and OERs </li></ul>an open distributed model with flattened structures and community-based knowing a hierarchical industrial model that can respond to increasing student numbers and pressures on staff time
  5. 6. who are our learners? <ul><li>educating the Net generation </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>the Google generation is a myth </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>“ The report by the CIBER research team at UCL claims that, although young people demonstrate an ease and familiarity with computers, they rely on the most basic search tools and do not possess the critical and analytical skills to asses the information that they find on the web . The report ‘Information Behaviour of the Researcher of the Future’ also shows that research-behaviour traits that are commonly associated with younger users – impatience in search and navigation, and zero tolerance for any delay in satisfying their information needs – are now the norm for all age-groups, from younger pupils and undergraduates through to professors.”
  6. 7. who are our teachers? “ Teachers are split over the merits of Web 2.0 tools in the classroom, according to research conducted for ntl:Telewest Business. Half of teachers questioned believe that Web 2.0 applications, such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Wikipedia are valuable educational tools, yet the rest felt they are a distraction with no real academic benefit. ”
  7. 8. what are our learning spaces? VLE, institution: formal Internet, social software: informal ‘ Educational blogging’ – an emergent, disruptive learning space blurring the boundaries between informal and formal i.e. the demands of the internet versus the demands of the institution. Traditional student (resistant) negotiation of meaning Net generation (open) Summary slide from my 2006 project studying the use of blogs in distance education and the hybrid learning space that was used: Blogger and Blackboard (formerly WebCT)
  8. 9. lines of conflict <ul><li>‘ formal public controlled’ -> the ‘museum', </li></ul><ul><li>'collaborative, informal and exploratory’ -> the ‘playground’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ personal, private and exclusive’ -> the ‘refuge’ </li></ul> He suggested that these areas are often in conflict with each other in an educational context. Peter Hartley (at the JISC Next Generation Environments Conference 2007) identified three types of space that are inhabited by staff and students:
  9. 10. thinking future environments
  10. 11. thinking about design “ Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones” Herbert Simon (1969)
  11. 12. new transactional maps for learning
  12. 13. emerging technology maps: course designers
  13. 14. transitional design for learning - course <ul><li>It is not so much about doing away with institutional VLEs but rather shifting their position as the central point of reference - by allowing integration with and aggregation to and from other distributed tool-sets. </li></ul><ul><li>Can we design coherent multiple entry points to courses using disaggregated learning services that are integrated via open web platforms? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we reconcile issues of scale, control, attribution and redistributions of power within these more distributed learning spaces that attempt to merge personal and institutional demands? </li></ul>
  14. 15. emerging technology maps: learners
  15. 16. transitional design for learning - the learner <ul><li>Learners have not had to think proactively about their own learning environment design - this has largely been a given. </li></ul><ul><li>What tools and competencies are we now providing to help them with make sense of these expectations for actualising meaningful personal learning spaces? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it possible to traverse all of these learning spaces in a smooth and fluid manner to realise aspirations for life-long learning? </li></ul>
  16. 17. mixing it all up - learning in new spaces
  17. 18. formal, non-formal and informal <ul><li>“ I wonder how many are left actively participating and/or monitoring the CCK08 course. Some 2100+ allegedly originally registered, with 18 seeking credit. The Moodle forums have been drying up over the last 3 weeks, and the reported blogs trickle to a few postings during the week and some repetitious posting of the same in the Daily. Elluminate sessions run at less than 30 participants, down to the teens on one occasion.” </li></ul>“ From my perspective, absolutely not! I’m one of the many lurkers trying, and not always succeeding, to juggle life. I rarely get to participate in a synchronous manner, but do read (ok, skim), watch and listen as my schedule permits. I view courses like this as excellent pd and good use of my time. Indirectly, my college will benefit from my exposure to CCK08.”
  18. 19. learning in disaggregated spaces <ul><li>Follow-up of participation </li></ul><ul><li>Aggregation practices change from traditional newsreaders to mash-up platforms e.g. Netvibes </li></ul><ul><li>Managing expectations when dealing with scale </li></ul><ul><li>The illusion of participation </li></ul>“ It became apparent that the synchronous sessions were us students listening to our instructors, with an opportunity for “questions” but only an illusion of participation in the sense that we couldn’t really create anything in that space, only follow.” “ The most prominent impression is, of course, being overwhelmed by the huge amount of stuff. My way of approaching the confusing landscape of countless tools, sites, and resources, was to try and get a visual overview of the salient ones.”
  19. 20. “ There are no relations of power without resistance” Michel Foucault (1980, 142)
  20. 21. power structures <ul><li>Web 2.0 tools and social software resist elitist, top down models of content production and ownership </li></ul><ul><li>Yet, authority and power relations still flow through these so called free and non-hierarchical actor-networks </li></ul><ul><li>Authority is reinstated via a new set of practices and techniques: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>amplification of posts, power laws; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ my spaces’ – who is approved to post and comment; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>original source – where and what do we quote (have you thought it if you have not blogged it?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>pingback (as opposed to adding a comment) as a device to draw readers from original source to ‘my blog’; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>aggregation practices can hide filtering choices. </li></ul></ul>
  21. 22. what design challenges are being raised by these ‘future environments’? <ul><li>are group and network design approaches compatible? </li></ul><ul><li>can we balance structure with freedom? </li></ul><ul><li>where is knowledge -> in dialog, in the network …? </li></ul><ul><li>are we facilitating the wisdom of the crowds or stupidity of the masses? </li></ul><ul><li>how do we re-aggregate content in meaningful ways? </li></ul><ul><li>remix, reuse, redistribute – what happens to attribution? </li></ul><ul><li>how do we articulate, create and share design solutions? </li></ul><ul><li>Are these examples of future environment design? </li></ul><ul><li>CCK MOOC (University of Manitoba) </li></ul><ul><li>SocialLearn (Open University) </li></ul><ul><li>MUVEnation (European Project) </li></ul><ul><li>TogetherLearn (Jay Cross and others) </li></ul>
  22. 23. “ In design, one plus one equals three or sometimes more.” Josef Albers (1969). Search Versus Re-Search . Hartford USA, Trinity College Press . Dr Steven Warburton School of Law King's College London Email: Liquid Learning at