One of the reasons I’m taking e-learning and digital cultures (edcmooc) is that I’m interested in being an effective educator. The world is changing fast as technologies and channels of communication evolve and I’m interested in adapting and riding the wave of opportunity they represent. I’ve trialled things like VLEs and websites in various forms, I’ve made audio and video podcasts, played with pdfs and had students submit homeworks in any number of forms including video, audio and even labanotation. I’ve learned several things.
- Personalisation and choice is important
- People think differently and communicate differently
- Some things take time and effort to understand
- Replay is powerful
- Good things happen when people meet and talk
- Learning is possible in anarchy
These point to several crucial factors for the learner.
- I want to learn what I’m interested in.
- I want to be able to think it through, over and over if necessary, until I understand it.
- I need to be in control of my learning resources.
- I need stimulus.
- I may need encouragement and support.
- I need access to a civilised environment.
Through all of these points, I see the role of technology in terms of providing access to resources on the learners’ terms: asynchronously, in a medium he or she is comfortable with, replayable, searchable, indexable, clippable ad aggregateable. I see the role of the learner as whatever he or she needs it to be, for his or her purpose. I see the role of the teacher to provide stimulus; resource; challenge and support and to facilitate meetings – ideally real but virtual if there’s no other way – between learners of the same material who can respond to the teacher’s prompting in order to develop further learning.
This describes for me a model of learning in which there is structure, content, challenge and assessment within a very human context – socially constructivist, if you like – which is made available through the enabling channels provided by technologies. These technologies offer recording and playback, tagging and organising by the teacher and the learner.
I think this model of learning is called, “blended learning” and I think it’s here, in the room, now. You might have noticed that I have not included peer commentary here – I’m not convinced that it’s necessary although I can see that it’s helpful.