eduMOOC EPortfolios and its significance in our life

Thanks to Helen, grandmother of ePortfolios for such an inspiring talk.

Have watched it last year, when it was first posted.  In response to Heli on FB: Good for the retirees or going to be? Love what Heli quoted – we need re-wirement, only that the motivation may be a matter of re-emergence – of our presence – of peer enlightenment, self & community actualisation. Portfolio to me is a philosophy of life – how we live, learn, love, and leave a legacy (as quoted by Steven Covey) when we leave the world. I would add that these are all inscribed within our hearts and mind when we interact, and converse at a deeper level of understanding of each others. It is captured through those snapshots of life when we share, in forums, blogs, FB, Twitter etc, that once upon we have left our digital footprints (as Visitors & Residents), that makes the difference. A tiny step on the digital space, but a big impact on our mind.

Back to you.

#CCK11 #PLENK2010 Transformational learning

It’s an interesting read on nuts-and-bolts-from-classroom-to-online-think-transform-not-transfer – Think Transform not Transfer 

Stephen posted here with his comments:

You are helping students become something, not acquire something. Sadly, that wasn’t the point of this article. This “nuts and bolts” missed the most practical advice of all!

Hi Stephen,
I agree with your views that transforming the students to become a more autonomous learner is much better than transferring information. Often, educators were using strategies such as that proposed by the author of the article: “a good instructor brings to the classroom, such as responsiveness, a sense of humor, interesting stories and examples, and immediate feedback”. However, this would only address “good teaching”, and have made numerous assumptions about learning, in that learners are the receptors, ready to be fed with those interesting stories, and receiving feedback from the teachers.

How about learning in the online classroom? Are the teachers also learning? Would such practice help the learners to learn outside their online classrooms, in the communities, amongst networks etc.? What is a more learner-centred approach towards learning, apart from teaching?
@jkunrein, “Sadly, in the world of corporate elearning (which is, after all, the Guild’s main audience), “just” transferring knowledge would be a vast improvement for a large percentage of courses.” Isn’t this similar to feeding the learners with fishes, like what the fisherman normally does? Teachers as fisherman should be providing a space, or showing people with spaces to fish and supporting them so the learners know where and how to fish, and thus won’t have to rely forever on the fisherman (the teacher) to provide them with the fishes. “the transformation she’s suggesting is in the service of more effective elearning, and her advice to that end is solid and practical.” May be if the transformation is based on the learners’ needs in the long run, then we need to consider what transformation really means, rather than just the mere transfer of “knowledge” or the acquisition of “knowledge and skills”.

The elearning world can never suffer from too much improvement”. Why not? Have we been using innovative approaches such as PLE to improve the elearning world? Have we improved together with our learners?  Our current researches indicate that Web 2.0 practices and PLE/PLN are all leading to great advances in elearning, on top of the fixed schedule, teacher instructed online classroom session where students are mostly reactive rather than active in the participation, if it is based on teachers telling their stories (the typical lecture). We may please our customers (learners) by giving them lots of fishes, but my experience for the last two decades with corporate world (training) is that our learners might be much better off if they could share their great learning by teaching each others, rather than being a passive learner sitting in an online class only.
I will share our latest research in MOOC which fully validates what Stephen has said.
Thanks Stephen for relating to a stimulating article, and your great insights.

CCK11 Learner Autonomy

Great list of the characteristics of an autonomous learner by Jenny here. I may have to dig deeper into our research findings to reflect some of those listed. Would some of them be interwoven with each others? Being proactive would also be showing initiative, and that may be related to intrinsic motivation (plus extrinsic motivation) etc. So, would a concept map linking of these attributes (with some cause and effect) help? Autonomy could also be based on personal taste, which could be translated and interpreted differently when one takes up a particular role. For a learner who is also an educator, being autonomous in learning could be in conflict with the autonomy in teaching, as wearing a teaching hat does assume certain responsibility that is beyond a typical learner would embrace.

This David Little’s paper on Learner Autonomy

Holec began by defining learner autonomy as the “ability to take charge of one’s own learning”, noting that this ability “is not inborn but must be acquired either by ‘natural’ means or (as most often happens) by formal learning.

Implications of this definition of learner autonomy

We take our first step towards developing the ability to take charge of our own learning when we accept full responsibility for the learning process, acknowledging that success in learning depends crucially on ourselves rather than on other people. This acceptance of responsibility entails that we set out to learn, “in a systematic, deliberate way” (Holec 1981, p.3), the skills of reflection and analysis that enable us to plan, monitor and evaluate our learning.

So, there are lots of assumptions here, where responsibility could be one of the keys for learner autonomy – so the learner could take charge of learning.  Would this also require an understanding of the skills necessary to determine what a successful learning means?  This may relate to the goals and plan set by the learner in order to achieve personal learning.  Are the goals set by the learners in alignment with the education in a school or HE setting?

In What is Learner Autonomy and How Can It Be Fostered?  Dimitrios Thanasoulas explains that:

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.

So, I think learning with learner autonomy could be quite distinct from the formal education pathway where educational goals are normally pre-set by the institutions rather than the learners.  Would learner autonomy be more relevant for more independent and self-directed learners who are seeking alternative learning pathways, especially when such learners are learning through social media or learning networks which are not directly linked to educational institutions?

To be continued.