#CCK11 On e-learning, research and PLE

My response to Tony’s post on e-learning and its challenges.

My comments in italics

Hi Tony and others,

I have posted here on suggested Assumptions Theory.
Here I would like to share my views:
1.The development of a clear and coherent conceptual framework for e-learning research is hampered by the multitude of different terms that are used to describe the use of digital technologies to support teaching and learning.

If learning disregards the dynamic nature of interaction amongst learners, facilitators and artefacts, then surely a coherent conceptual framework is enough for e-learning.  Is that assumption based on a static e-learning model?

2.It is naïve and unrealistic to assume that the use of e-learning, however it is defined, in and of itself will transform students into autonomous and self-directed learners.

Can we expect the use of e-learning alone could transform students into autonomous and self-directed learners?  What assumptions have the authors made in assuming this to be the case?  Are there any one who could make such a promise?  Even with the classroom learning, there hasn’t been any transformation occurring in learning.

3.There are substantial gaps in e-learning research, particularly at the institutional and system-wide level.

There are always gaps in e-learning research.  Again another great assumption.  But what sort of research is required?

4. Both e-learning research and practice face inherent challenges. We need to fully understand the benefits and limitations of implementing e-learning, in relation to costs and learning effectiveness, and the potential impact on access and the ability to improve or worsen the digital divide.

We assumed that if we know all the costs and benefits, then we could fully implement e-learning.  This is a very difficult to achieve goal.  Why?  There are so many assumptions here, and back to (1), that we may be convinced by the self-fulfilling prophecy – that PLE is not working, that e-learning is too expensive, and that we need to invest on teacher training, that may be too costly.  And so we just wait for another decades for PLE and e-learning to be used in institution, based on those assumptions.

We need to consider the risk management approach towards all these. Do we?Thanks Tony for the sharing.

John

Postscript on this paper:

The benefits of using technologies should be considered in relation to their cost or added value. If they provide a distinct added value in various learning/teaching practices, their implementation might be justified, even if they are more expensive as compared to existing technologies and practices but if the findings of studies point to a “zero sum effect” compared to traditional practices, then their applications are justified only if they provide economies-of-scale. Very few studies exist currently on the costs of applying the new technologies. Technologies should not be implemented by any means just because they are considered to be innovative in nature. They should be implemented only if they prove to be better or cheaper.

What are the assumptions here in education and learning with the use of technologies?  Should technologies be implemented only if they prove to be better or cheaper?  What is the purpose of education?

How about the values of using technology in the promotion of values of education in learning with and through communities and networks?  How about the values of discourse on open education, PLE, and the use of technology in formal and informal learning with technologies in social networks, K-12, HE?  Are these values “measurable”?


Connectivism Technology Web2.0 Education Learning and Research

I will continue to explore in these areas:

Connectivism, Technology, Web2.0, K-12 Higher and Open Education, E-Learning and Personal Learning Environment and Research.

Please leave your comments here on this blog or ConnectivismEducationLearning

No spams please.

Best wishes.

John

E-Learning 2.0

In this article on How to Connect Technology and Passion in the Service of Learning http://www.johnseelybrown.com/howtoconnecttech.pdf by John Seely Brown, he suggested that:

 We should extend our thinking around open education to include more of a Learning 2.0 perspective, based on Web 2.0, for two key reasons….that students bring their social networks with them. Those networks reach back into the students’ communities and schools. Using the social-software and social-network tools of SMS, IM, Facebook, and MySpace, they extend the discussions, debates, bull sessions, and study groups that naturally arise on a campus to encompass that broader constituency — thus amplifying the effect the university has across the country

 

In Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_2.0

 

The term e-Learning 2.0[14][15] is used to refer to new ways of thinking about e-learning inspired by the emergence of Web 2.0[16]. From an e-Learning 2.0 perspective, conventional e-learning systems were based on instructional packets that were delivered to students using Internet technologies. The role of the student consisted in learning from the readings and preparing assignments. Assignments were evaluated by the teacher. In contrast, the new e-learning places increased emphasis on social learning and use of social software such as blogs, wikis, podcasts and virtual worlds such as Second Life. This phenomenon has also been referred to as Long Tail Learning[17]

The first 10 years of e-learning (e-learning 1.0) was focused on using the internet to replicate the instructor-led experience. Content was designed to lead a learner through the content, providing a wide and ever-increasing set of interactions, experiences, assessments, and simulations. E-learning 2.0, by contrast (patterned after Web 2.0) is built around collaboration. E-learning 2.0 assumes that knowledge (as meaning and understanding) is socially constructed. Learning takes place through conversations about content and grounded interaction about problems and actions. Advocates of social learning claim that one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to others.[18]

There are  many social networks in place which exemplify the e-Learning 2.0 phenomena.   So Social Network Learning seems to be the connerstone of contemporary e-Learning with an emphasis on connections, and learning through such conversations.   

Have you been involved in any of these e-learning  2.0 recently?

How did you find it different from typical e-Learning programs?

 

Learning at work: e-learning evolution or revolution?

The paper Learning at work:e-learning evolution or revolution? Latest trends and blends in management & leadership development is based on a study conducted in the UK by Professor William Scott-Jackson, Terry Edney and Ceri Rushent from the Centre for Applied HR Research at Oxford Brookes University. It involves an online survey of 1087 CMI members and in-depth interviews with fifteen leading public and private sector organisations.

Some of the important conclusions  include:

There is no doubt that the use of blended learning is on the increase. The simple combination of ‘face-to-face’ programmes and e-learning has both shown the benefit of combining more than one type of learning and brought e-learning into the mainstream training arena.

There are still challenges however – both technical and cultural. As well as a cultural change amongst employees, where they see learning as an important and ongoing process, the training and development function itself will have to adapt to a new role.  This may be the biggest barrier to blended learning as the skills required to design effective learning are very different to the delivery skills traditionally required, and valued, in training professionals.

The research demonstrates the continued growth of managers at all levels using online technologies to select and access their learning resources.  Through the case studies we are now seeing the evolution of a more integrated, blended learning offer, where both online resources and traditional face-to-face training and development are offered as a complete learning experience.  It is by clearly identifying the desired learning outcomes and mapping this to career paths that organisations can seek to align personalised blended learning experiences to ensure they are building the management and leadership capabilities required to drive performance.

Recommendations

The following are examples, arising out of the current research, in which organisations are using ‘blended solutions’, and demonstrate how the move towards blended learning can be introduced incrementally.

1. Put assessment online.

2. Follow up with a community of practice.

3. Make reference materials available.

4. Deliver preparatory online learning.

5. Provide online office hours.

6. Use mentoring/coaching as a tool.

7. Access experts.

8. Maximise communications and messaging.

My reflections on blended learning, some of which resonated with the report findings are listed below. 

For me, blended learning has been my favourite since 2000.  I am intrigued why it has taken such a long time for the implementation of  blended learning in management development amongst managers in business and industry.  One of the issues may be a lack of promotion of blended learning in the workplace.  This may be due to a misunderstanding of blended learning amongst employers and employees in the past decade.  Another issue was the inadequate application of the first generation e-learning where e-books and web-based resources were used in training, which were based on factual information and were presented in a linear structured fashion.  Some of the learning resources were hardly interactive or of a multi-media type.  This led to a loss of interests and motivation in the learners in completing those e-learning programmes.  Fortunately, the contemporary ICT including Web2.0 such as mobiles, blogs, wikis and social network tools provide more options for personal learning, and have allowed more interactions and connections amongst the learners.

My experience in mentoring and e-mentoring in industry and online learning reveals the importance of support and  guidance for developing managers.  A manager also needs to immerse in both group learning and networks (such as intensive management workshop and networks) and integrate the learning with individual mentoring development program to reap the full benefits of blended learning.  The use of mentoring, coaching, blended with e-learning and on-the-job training would deliver cost effective solutions, and could provide excellent results, if it is supported by the organisation.  This is also highlighted in the findings of the paper. 

  

The traditional use of management development workshops on top of e-learning management programmes may be of value if there are follow on application of the skills acquired in the workshop.  

 

However, I have noted that many top CEOs, senior executives and managers are not buying in with the typical “flavour of the month” management development workshops because of the “brainwashing” one-off type of training.  Some of these “guru-delivered” type of training conferences or workshops are often short-lived due to their limited applications at work.  Some other training became another “Management training fads of the month” and dies off as soon as another “Management training regime came in and replace the previous one”.  

  

It would be worthwhile to introduce e-conference or “hot topic conversation” where executives and managers are invited to share their leadership, management, communication and training experience.  This could be integrated with a Community of Practice approach to allow managers to adopt best practise and benchmarking their performance across the supply chain, rather than the sole improvement of performance in their organisation.  More extensive training and learning of technology and tools such as: blogs, wikis and social networking tools would also be helpful in equiping the managers with skills required for success in the workplace.

  1. What do you think about a Community of Practice for Managers or Leaders?

Please also refer to my previous post on Distribution Centre Training on some of the findings in on-the-job training.

Connectivism and e-learning

I have attended the e-learning 08 held on 4-5 December 2008 at University of NSW. Here is the website for Australian Flexible Learning Framework http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/flx/go

E-learning is now being mainstreamed across vocational education and training (VET), a new survey reveals.

The national E-learning Benchmarking Survey shows 91% of students and 88% of teachers and trainers now say their VET experience includes at least some form of e-learning.

Another valuable resource is ARED (Application for Rapid E-learning Development).
AREDv2 is a fee resource from the Framework – could be downloaded from
flexiblelearning.net.au
then “home”->”Business activities”->”Past activities”->”2006 Projects”->”New practices in Flex L…”->”AREDv2-Applications for Rapid..”

How do you find use of the above resources? Are they useful for instructional design?
How do these resources relate to connectivism?

So connectivism and e-learning, it is emergent.