Thursday, November 26, 2009

New Ways of Learning (Conceptual & Technical) - Interesting points from "Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning"

The "Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning" by George Siemens & Peter Tittenberger was released in March of this year, but I've only just had a chance to read it. Here are some of the points I found most interesting about how the 'new ways of learning' are enabled by technology:

- education is currently facing "a duality of change - conceptual and technological" (pg 1)
- "Our learning and information acquisition is a mashup" (pg 1)
- "not everyone has aspirations of creating content, (but) everyone has interest in organising and packaging information" (pg 2) - which is where 'e-portfolios' would work well
- "Instead of content being pre-packaged, information can today be packaged according to the needs and interests of each individual learner" (pg 2) - ie moving away from the 'default LMS' mode to where the LMS meets 'Open Social'
- "Making sense of fragmented information through networks of peer learners offers an indication of future learning tasks and even pedagogical models" (pg 2) - where sensemaking is making sense of fragmented information through networks of peer learners
- "validation of information has also experienced change ... " (pg 3) - where we are moving from information validation by some (experts) to the many (communities, networks) and we are seeing a democratisation of information validation
- "content co-creation and re-creation (is) becoming the norm for online participants" (pg 3)
- "Unfortunately, ..... "web technology ... (is) ... primarily used for support of logistical processes rather than for pedagogical change" 12 Collis B & Moonen J (2008), Web 2.0 tools and processes in hihger education" (pg 3)
- "networked models of learning will replace existing curricular models" (pg 7) - ie moving from a 'regurigated' (epistemology - knowing) to creating and understanding (ontology - being), where learners ""forage for knowledge", instead of passively consuming knowledge" (pg 17)
- there is a movement (back) to 'guild learning' were "increased assistance (through tutors or instructors) (is) provided to learners", and greater emphasis on
  • self-governed problem solving and collaborative learning processes (pg 10);
  • active learning vs knowledge acquisition (pg 21)
  • "the notion of start/stop learning" (pg 36) is investigated
- "being an educated person means being able to see connections" (William Cronon) and patterns, so the need to eliminate the 'barriers to (connecting) is the greatest systemic challenges our institutions face", with "the role of teaching (being):
  • one of guiding, directing, and curating the quality of networks learners are forming" (pg 13),
  • helping learners "stay connected to a community even after completing a course or program" (pg 18)
- Embedding the use of technology in learning involves an "IRIS" model of moving from 'Innovations to Systemisation' (pg 20):
  • I - Innovation - What's possible? - (idea, need for change, change agent)
  • R - Research - How does it work? (existing models, theories)
  • I - Implementation - What is the real world impact? - (trial, test & evaluate - re-assess - re-research)
  • S - Systemisation - How do we duplicate it? (replicating, contextualising the model, communities of practice, sharing, professional conversations)
- our "brains process different media differently" - audio/visual (video) vs text (books) (pg 21)
- the process of selecting the right media type to achieve learning outcomes involves (pg 22):
  • clarifying the learning intent (outcomes)
  • determing and evaluating the media's functionality (product selection matrix)
  • selecting the media (based on criteria, policy, network input etc)
- "Use of aggregators, reading and visualising data, mashing up various types of information, and recognising new patterns in existing informations are key skills", with additional skills of: anchoring, filtering, connecting with others, being human together, creating and deriving meaning, evaluation and authentication, altered processes of validation, critical and creative thinking, navigate knowledge landscape, and acceptance of uncertainty (pg 28)
- in the new ways of learning, "many learning objectives can be achieved without direct guidance" (pg 29), with the "demarcation between what learners can (and should) do for themselves and what the instructor (and designer) should do for learners" (pg 35) being realised through the use of technology ie viewing 'how tos' videos on YouTube, user created content etc

As well as providing information about the "new ways of learning", this handbook also describes the e-tools available for teaching and learning (pgs 43-50)

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