Tag: learning

This is an archive of the 2013 version of ocTEL.

Learning support #ocTEL week 7

Hoping to complete all of the ocTEL activities this week, as the topic – supporting learners online – is one of the most important for me. First thing – initial reflection on learning support… ocTEL Experience We’re asked to talk about positive and negative instances of learner support that we’ve received during ocTEL so far. […]

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Learning Platforms #ocTEL 5.2

Reflection on learning platforms… What is your current virtual learning environment or the main technology you use? Blackboard – institutional VLE. How does it differ from the ocTEL platform? What learning styles does it afford that ocTEL cannot? Where is it restrictive? It’s a closed system in several respects: users …

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What is Learning?

Designing Active Learning

What is learning?

Activity: Think about the last time you learned something. Describe what you learned? How did you go about learning it? What strategies did you use? Consider this overview of categories of learning “suitable for instructional design planning“ in the table 

My learning activity, to use Twitter purposefully.

Two birds in a nest tweeting
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/ 

I learned about Twitter some years back, but didn’t feel the need to sign up until I attended a conference last year where they really promoted the value of Twitter for live participation during the events (think).
I needed something tangible to convince myself of the need to Tweet. The conference gave me a purpose. I signed up for a Twitter account, for work purposes only (IIa, III) (plan). I think I made two Tweets during the events (do) and observed people face down in their phones rather than facing the speaker (which was weird for me) (IV) (observe). I also sough out people and groups of interest to ‘follow’, my motivation here was ‘is what they were Tweeting of genuine interest or value to me’? (IIa, IIb, III) (think).
So knowing why I want to, need to share my thoughts, ideas, instantly with the world via Twitter (Ia) was my first challenge in learning the technology. Knowing what Twitter is, what it isn’t, the benefits and limitations are and how to develop protect my personal and professional reputation are also key (IV) (observe, think, plan).
I recently created an embed code so my tweets and those of ocTEL appear in my blog page (IIb) (do), I also added instructions in my Bb course environment for those colleague who want to embed Twitter into their courses (II) (do).

I recently posted several tweets, because there was a button on the page I was on, not because I really felt it was valuable to share my activities with others (do). Although I am happy to share my thoughts with those I now and trust within my personal and professional circles, I have yet to overcome my anxieties about Tweeting, warts and all (IV) (think). I admit that I am periodically Tweeting during this ocTEL course, but don’t prioritise my time to follow all the tweets of those I follow or seek out new tweets (IV) (do, observe, think, plan). Having said that when I do get round to logging in to Twitter I always find something to visit from those I follow (do).

I am confident and comfortable in explaining the value and terminology of Twitter to colleagues,  I appreciate the value in a technology like Twitter for sharing thoughts, ideas, links etc to others. I will continue to reflect  on ‘why I follow the tweets of others’, ‘why I Tweet’ and seriously would anyone really miss it if I didn’t! and continue to develop my ‘Twitter Literacy’ .

Key: A small typology of learning types

I attempted to fit my reflection on learning within the typology of learning types identified as “suitable for instructional design planning” but found I was drawn more to David Kolb’s learning styles model and experiential learning theory (ELT) http://www.learning-theories.com/experiential-learning-kolb.html  it is more fluid and feels less hierarchical.
Image : http://www.businessballs.com/images/kolb’s_learning_styles_businessballs.jpg

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Approaches to assessment

Just thinking about the four perspectives on assessment described in Effective Assessment in a Digital Age (www.jisc.ac.uk/digiassess): associative, constructivist, social constructivist and situative. The course Im teaching is an MA in Photographic History  http://www.dmu.ac.uk/study/courses/postgraduate-courses/photographic-history-practice/photographic-history-and-practice-ma-pgdip.aspx and I teach a module on … Continue reading

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Approaches to assessment

Just thinking about the four perspectives on assessment described in Effective Assessment in a Digital Age (www.jisc.ac.uk/digiassess): associative, constructivist, social constructivist and situative. The course Im teaching is an MA in Photographic History  http://www.dmu.ac.uk/study/courses/postgraduate-courses/photographic-history-practice/photographic-history-and-practice-ma-pgdip.aspx and I teach a module on … Continue reading

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This is a closed post.  This is all you get.  No further reasoning or rationale, no input or comments.        #adult_learning, #closed, #edtech, #learning, #MOOC, #ocTEL, #OER, #open, #tel

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Course Templates in Higher Education; Why Re-Invent the Wheel Every Time?

An interesting article for the Week 5 activity 5.1 in ocTEL (http://octel.alt.ac.uk): Derivation of electronic course templates for use in higher education.  As an instructional technologist in higher education, I frequently hear from  facult…

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Understanding Learners’ Needs

Activity 2.1 – Survey experience.

  1. Using the ‘readiness for online learning’ themes that you identified in the previous activity, discuss the extent to which they feel ready to engage with TEL.
  2. What expectations and concerns do they have about using TEL?
  3. Do these expectations resonate with your experience of this course?

What is the purpose of the survey?
Who is it for?
Does the university retain the data from the survey? What do they do with it?

I can see the value for the student in helping them to prepare/decide to undertake online learning. The survey would only be valuable if the student could access further support to become ‘ready’ where they are motivated to study at a distance and on-line.

The four surveys are rather simplistic but I can see their relevance.

I have fielded a few calls recently where students just haven’t appreciated the demands of a blended course where the majority of their time is out in practice (Nurses) undertaking study online from work and home (and anywhere in between) and appear to have little confidence with the technology and skills they needed to keep going. The main challenge was their motivation, the course is a mandatory aspect of their professional development. Geography required their undertaking the course in blended delivery.
In this situation I am unsure how these survey tools would assist the learner is answering the question ‘is online learning for me?’  
For the student who is deciding on whether to undertake online learning and has not done so before a survey may help them decide.

I completed http://www.ion.uillinois.edu/resources/tutorials/pedagogy/selfEval.asp

I scored 11.  Their response for the survey was “You are a great candidate for online learning.”

I selected yes against, When it comes to schoolwork and deadlines, are you a procrastinator? Because I am. It is amazing how interesting the Ironing can become if the topic I am studying isn’t engaging.

The important aspect of this type of survey is it sets out the technology expectations and requirements for the course and the attributes of the learner in a simple easy to follow survey. It may be a little too simplistic regarding Internet availability and service. Here in NZ you may have a computer and phone line but may limited Internet capability.


A more comprehensive survey. I scored 206. The feedback only went up to 201 so I am ‘more than ready to go’!

As before my skill and mastery in procrastination when I am not feeling engaged mean’t a few questions were lower rated.  This survey may provide potential students a greater feel of their readiness for online learning.

Responses to questions:

Having read through the posts in this weeks discussion forum, I observe a variety of participant views and experiences. There are many who are highly digitally literate, innovators, early adopters , digital natives (more Jargon I hear you cry!)  and there are those who are novices, potentially new users on distance/online learning as students, (perhaps some who are bravely trying out the MOOC to see how it feels to be a student in this environment).

Concerns focussed on their own student readiness. However the stronger voice questioned the value and validity on the survey, questions about who is the survey for?

Reflecting on the withdrawal of individuals from the ocTEL email list at the start of the course, would a survey question which asked about ‘familiarity or usage or email lists have prepared these users for the volume and frequency of emails received?

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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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