#Change11 Engagement, Sharing and Learning in Times of Abundance – Learner Autonomy Part 3

How about the claim for traditional education, back to the future?  Everyone wants a quick answer.  In this post Maths teacher still believes in old school calculations. “Even though students have changed through the years — “They want a quick answer” — and rely heavily on electronics, the good ones still understand they must comprehend what they’re learning, he says.”  It seems to work out with his school, and his school students.  So, no computer, no mobile phones in class.

However, would this sort of traditional school teaching work in distance education and informal learning?  I don’t think it is easy.  In this Khan Academy, it seems to work.  What have we prepared students with?  Quick answers, in response to questions?

I am still not sure on the effectiveness of teaching based on Khan Academy, though there seems to be lots of potential in leveraging videos in teaching and learning.  However, I am not convinced on the use of badge in “awarding” or “rewarding” children in learning as that may hinder their learning, where learning is more than the mere mastery of skills, but development of critical thinking skills, and metacognition, so as to become autonomous and independent and inter-dependent learners.

How about learner autonomy, when learning in an online environment?  Though this paper was written long time ago, I reckon learner autonomy is the most important element in successful online learning.

In this learner autonomy:

“On a general note, the term autonomy has come to be used in at least five ways (see Benson & Voller, 1997: 2):

  • for situations in which learners study entirely on their own;
  • for a set of skills which can be learned and applied in self-directed learning;
  • for an inborn capacity which is suppressed by institutional education;
  • for the exercise of learners’ responsibility for their own learning;
  • for the right of learners to determine the direction of their own learning.

It is noteworthy that autonomy can be thought of in terms of a departure from education as a social process, as well as in terms of redistribution of power attending the construction of knowledge and the roles of the participants in the learning process.”

I  think one size doesn’t suit all, and though we might have different teaching and learning strategies in dealing with these challenges in education, it all depends on how we apply those strategies based on context, and the type of students we have.

Though I tend to agree with most principles here,  I am starting to wonder if online course is the best way to approach online learning. I am yet to learn a course which fulfils all the nine principles and is excellent. Again, what are the assumptions behind the principles underpinning the pedagogy?

The reasons I raised these questions of assumptions are that educators would likely consider the pedagogies from “teachers and course perspectives” and thus would put high priorities in achieving course outcomes, best “teaching” practices, etc. What may be equally important, or even critical in online learning is the learner. What are the assumptions about the learners in the open learning environment, and their perspectives in a student-directed or self-organised learning environment. How do they think those pedagogy would be like? Are they based on an instructivist, constructivist, social constructivist, COPs, situated learning or connectivist approaches? Why would they prefer a particular pedagogy or a combination of pedagogies? Would that provide a more holistic picture? Are the principles based on a reductionist or deterministic approach? I think we share that the principles are “sound”, only that most researches done belong to the past, and thus it’s time to understand how they could be applied in novel and changing learning environment, where new learning experience would require a “joint” approach in developing those best-practice principles. May be there would need to incorporate principles that relate to chaos, complexity theory. How about the emergence and self-organising principles and those related to Swarm Theory?

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3 thoughts on “#Change11 Engagement, Sharing and Learning in Times of Abundance – Learner Autonomy Part 3

  1. Pingback: #Change11 Engagement, Sharing and Learning in Times of Abundance – Learner Autonomy Part 3 | Educación a Distancia (EaD) | Scoop.it

  2. Pingback: GT MOOC Week 11: The Nature of Technologies with Jon Dron | The Georgia Tech MOOC

  3. Pingback: #Change11 Autonomy in Networked Learning and Connectivism | Learner Weblog

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