Tag: experiential learning

This is an archive of the 2013 version of ocTEL.

Induction Weeks

Induction week.  Week Zero.  Course Orientation.  Different names for similar activities.  Course orientations can be such a critical time for students, they may even drop a course during the induction week because of a poor experience. (Jones, Jones, & Packham, 2009; Schofield & Sackville, 2010)  Induction week can be the time that participants learn (or have a refresher) about the institution’s policies, resources, support areas, and study skills.  It is an opportune time to familiarize themselves with the LMS/VLE and other technical requirements of the course.  They can be introduced to their instructor, their tutors or teaching assistants, and their peers. (Motteram & Forrester, 2005; Schofield & Sackville, 2010)

Peer support during Induction Week activities can be extremely helpful for inexperienced online or TEL learners, to help them become more comfortable and acclimated to the environment.  The tricky part is getting the experienced learners to participate in the Week Zero activities, to assist and help with the inexperienced.  Not only can the experienced learners assist with technology issues, but also give tips and guidelines on how to manage the different aspects of the course, maybe previous experiences with the instructor, etc.  (Motteram & Forrester, 2005)  It takes the readiness evaluations we looked at earlier in ocTEL and applies them.  Participants can seek assistance based on the results of their self-assessment; or, if those results are shared with the course tutors, targeted tutorials can be offered.  (Jones, Jones, & Packham, 2009)  Here is the dry run, the dress rehearsal, for the learners to get used to the course mechanics and get their feet wet.  They don’t have to waste instructional time learning how to use the tools, they can do it during the Induction Week.


Jones, P., Jones, A., & Packham, G. (2009). E-learning induction design for an undergraduate entrepreneurship degree. International Journal Of Management Education (Oxford Brookes University), 8(1), 37-51. doi:10.3794/ijme.81.210

Motteram, G., & Forrester, G. (2005). Becoming an Online Distance Learner: What can be learned from students’ experiences of induction to distance programmes?. Distance Education, 26(3), 281-298. doi:10.1080/01587910500291330

Schofield, M., & Sackville, A. (2010). Student Induction/Orientation: From Event to Entitlement. International Journal Of Learning, 17(7), 113-124.

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Learning from experience, narrative style #octel

This week #ocTEL MOOC takes a look at “Platforms and Technologies“. It’s a topic that I’ve really been looking forward to as I want to gain a better understanding of the pros and cons of hosted and open source options. Why? because like it says in the course notes and commentary, I realise that ultimately […]

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Kolb's Learning Styles and Social Media Tools

Review Kolb’s Learning Styles at http://www.businessballs.com/kolblearningstyles.htm or http://www.simplypsychology.org/learning-kolb.html

In a (very simplistic) nutshell:  Kolb’s Learning Cycle is a process of experience, reflection, abstraction, and experimentation, which feeds back into experience.  Kolb also classified four different types of learners based on their preferences within the learning cycle: thinking, feeling, doing, watching.

Considering all the different social media tools available, they share a fundamental function; one can be a consumer or voyeur, or one can be an active participant.  It is the difference between “watching” and “doing”, from Kolb’s learning styles.  Consider the following social media applications:

  • YouTube – Can be viewed entirely at a “consumer” level, and not as an uploader or participant.  Or, one can contribute to the community and content base; 
  • Twitter – Can be view-only, or can contribute.  Great for starting dialogue, brainstorming, quick sharing; 
  • Instagram – Photo-sharing; 
  • Pinterest – Collecting images and links, organizing and categorizing;

I realize there are many, many more social media sites available that each have their own “angle”; this is not an exercise in listing all the social media sites available, but a simplistic example to illustrate SM to Kolb’s theory.

At the “watching” level, anyone can become a consumer of the content, browsing at will, or subscribing to specific feeds or channels.  Not until participation occurs, however, does it cross into the “doing” level.

Even as watchers though, consumers can use their experiences as “feeling” for further reflection and “thinking”.  Certainly as active participants who are “doing” and interacting with the social communities, “feeling” as concrete experiences can lead to further “thinking”.  In this manner, social media applications seem to fulfill all aspects of Kolb’s learning styles.


McLeod, S. A. (2010). Kolb’s Learning Styles and Experiential Learning Cycle. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/learning-kolb.html 

#edtech, #experiential_learning, #learning, #ocTEL, #tel, #social_media, #kolb

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The Curriculum of Adult Life

Adult life is a massive social space, filled with experiential learning.  Bohn equates adults’ experiences within the cognitive domain.  Many cognitive resources, including “locus of control, self-efficacy, problem solving, decision-making, judgment, analysis (sizing up a situation, sizing up people), creativity, cause and effect, trial-and-error are the essence of experience.” (Bohn, p. 26)  The lessons of adult life are learned formally and informally.  Formal lessons include our formal education; P-12, undergraduate, and graduate schools.  Also part of formal lessons are job training, trade apprenticeships, workforce development, religious, and community learning.  Informal lessons seem to be mostly learned individually by trial-and-error, by observation, and vicariously.

The hidden curriculum of adult life is also known as social mores.  These mores are called “rules-of thumb” by Bohn. (p. 26)  These are the unspoken rules that are “understood” by community, society, and culture.

Curriculum is defined by roles.  Each person performs multiple roles; parent, employee, partner, community member, etc.  This is also referred to as context.  Each role has its own content and own ways of socialization.  In my role as an IT professional the context of learning is very technical and sterile.  In my role as a parent, the context of learning is very much more informal, and trial-and-error.  My role as a graduate student is completely immersed in formal learning with a specific curriculum.

Content, context, community, and participation provide the environment for situated learning.  (Stein, 1998, p. 2; Stein, 2001, p. 422)  Situated learning (also called situated cognition by Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner) occurs when the learning situation and the learning process are inseparable. (2007, p. 178)  Lessons in the hidden curriculum appear to be situated learning; the process of trial-and-error is itself situated learning.  Lessons learned by error might be more memorable than lessons learned by successful trial, because the failure of error creates a more emotional response.


Bohn, James. 2002.  Toward an Analysis of Adult Experience.  Presentation From 2000 Annual Midwest Research to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education.  c.f. Glowacki-Dudka.

Glowacki-Dudka, M. (2000). Honoring Our Roots and Branches… Our History and Future. Proceedings of the Annual Midwest Research to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education (19th, Madison, Wisconsin, September 27-29, 2000).
Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 
Stein, D., & ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education. (1998). Situated learning in adult education. Columbus, OH: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, Center on Education and Training for Employment, College of Education, the Ohio State University.  
Stein, D. S. (January 01, 2001). Situated Learning and Planned Training on the Job. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 3, 4, 415-424. 

#ocTEL #tel #edtech #adult_learning #learning 

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Cognitive Apprenticeship and Human Mirror Neuron Systems

While reading through articles for one class, the notion of Mirror Neurons and the Mirror Neuron System (MNS) in humans has stuck with me for several weeks.  Now, while working on a project examining Cognitive Apprenticeships (CA) in a different class, I had a potential aha moment; are CA, and less specifically, apprenticeships, effective and had such longevity as a teaching style because they play directly to how our brains are wired for learning through imitation?

 The MNS are neurons that increase their activity specifically during the act of imitation while seeing and hearing corresponding actions being performed by others. (Gallese, 2009;Keysers, 2009)  The MNS may also be responsible for empathy and emotional matching mechanisms (Gallese, 2009)

Cognitive apprenticeship aims to reproduce instructors’ cognitive problem solving abilities through observation and imitation. (Boling, et. al., 2012)  Duncan (1996) states that modelling, scaffolding, coaching, and correction are foundational to CA and to apprenticeships at large, and  “mirror the methods used by experts and apprentices for hundreds, if not thousands of years.” (Duncan, 1996) This behavior is also observed in very young children through mimicry and imitation of older siblings, peers, family members, and family pets.

“Cognitive apprenticeship comes from a tradition of apprenticeship learning that originated at a time when crafts and skills were learned in a more teacher-guided apprenticeship model, e.g., tailoring, carpentering, and farming. Apprenticeship is still being used in a variety of skill-based contexts, including medical internship and judicial clerkships. However, as education became more formalized in a classroom setting, knowledge was presented in more and more abstract formats.

In general, cognitive apprenticeship is based on teaching decision-making processes. Cognitive apprenticeship is especially useful for skills that are not as readily apparent as those in crafts and trades. In traditional apprenticeships, there are typically three component parts: modeling, scaffolding, and coaching. Cognitive apprenticeships have the additional components of articulation, reflection, and exploration.” (Chan, Miller, & Monroe, 2009)

I think this could be a very interesting topic to explore. 


Amory, A. (January 01, 2010). Education Technology and Hidden Ideological Contradictions. Educational Technology & Society, 13, 1, 69-79.
Boling, E., Hough, M. M., Krinsky, H. H., Saleem, H. H., & Stevens, M. M. (2012). Cutting the distance in distance education: Perspectives on what promotes positive, online learning experiences. Internet & Higher Education, 15(2), 118-126.
Buccino, G., Lui, F., Canessa, N., Patteri, I., Lagravinese, G., Benuzzi, F., Porro, C. A., … Rizzolatti, G. (January 01, 2004). Neural Circuits Involved in the Recognition of Actions Performed by Nonconspecifics: An fMRI Study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 16, 1, 114-126.
Chan, P., Miller, R., & Monroe, E. (2009). Cognitive Apprenticeship as an Instructional Strategy for Solving Corporate Training Challenges. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 53(6), 35-41.
Duncan, S. (1996). Cognitive apprenticeship in classroom instruction: implications for industrial and technical teacher education. Journal Of Industrial Teacher Education, 3366-86
Gallese, V. in Pineda, J. A. (2009). Mirror neuron systems: The role of mirroring processes in social cognition. New York: Humana.
Keysers, C. (2009). Mirror neurons. Current Biology, 19(21), R971-R973. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.08.026

#ocTEL #tel #edtech #adult_learning #learning 

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Meta-neural social learning and technology

While completing coursework for spring semester and considering week 1 questions from the ocTEL MOOC (http://octel.alt.ac.uk/course-materials/tel-concepts-and-approaches/) I find myself considering the social aspects of MOOCs, how social development en…

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