(or, what teachers in FE and their managers should be doing with e-learning)
This is a Collection of 10 ideas, wrapped up in a series of resources and illustrations that explores how modern and emerging technology can, by good teacher design, help students get the most from their learning experiences.
These are all ideas relating teaching practice, but totally based on current and emerging possibilities of what can be done wholly or substantially through technology, or should be done because of the place of technology in the modern world our students live and work in. In all cases, the technology follows good teaching and learning.
The approach is to refer to them all not as challenges but rather frontiers. Challenges suggests that the progress of technology and human behaviour towards it is a choice or option that we choose to accept or duck. They are ‘frontiers' we are crossing rather than ‘challenges' because cross them we will as the world moves us on; the question is in what condition we will be in as we do it.
They are numbered 1 to 10, and start with an opening statement. Each concludes with ideas for implementing the idea.
I have used my own three principles for the use of technology in learning:
1. Preparing everyone for living and working in a digital society
2. Developing and demonstrating employability and skills for self-employability and active citizenship
3. Support learning as a life-long habit
Geoff Rebbeck QTLS
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This is a Collection of 10 things to do with modern e-learning. I will be sharing it with student teachers and other teachers I meet in the work I do. It supports the FELTAG message concerning the removal of barriers to allow the progress of e-learning. It is supported with illustrations and documents that reflect the new ways of teaching in modern FE education, all of which are made possible by the use of technology.
It draws heavily on the properties and opportunties of modern technology, the willingness of teachers and students to explore those possibilities and the willingness of their managers to enable it, all set against the three purposes of e-learning listed above.
The Collection starts with a statement followed by supporting resources by way of further explanation and finishes with changes that should be considered. Each sections concludes with a 'consdier this' list of changes to make. The Collection finishes with a review of the role of teachers who champion it and reflects on how learning as a behaviour itself has changed and what that means for its management by all concerned (including the students) and the circumstances and places where it is done.
These are the changes and these are the things I think we as teachers can do.
A Presentation in PDF
What do we need to think about as actions for the coming year? This is a thought piece on what the immediate challenges are both internally and externally for colleges. e-learning is notoriously difficult to envision because it is all changing so quickly.
This first section deals with learning design and how teachers can change course design to make the most of the affordances of technology in learning
Technology is ubiquitous in modern life and it is becoming cheaper and more portable, leading us all to carry all we need with us, relying on the cloud for storage, meaning we have less need for college devices, software and directories. Students will also bring their own portable technology, supported in college by fabulous Wifi and an interactive TV. All students can now face each other rather than the wall. A new definition of e-learning could be that students no longer have to face the same way to learn.
Technology joins together like-minded people and is a meeting place for ideas. This leads to collaborative learning. It is the opposite of technology that leads to students burying their heads into a personal hole of enquiry.
Do we have to reduce campus size or might we exploit the advantages colleges have in terms of location and resources? Consider how any of the following ideas in this respource might add to student numbers, range and profundity of learning.
The move to considering having fewer buildings is one part of the wider issue of rationalising FE provision. But there is another side to closing and selling. It might be possible to use the current rooms to better effect prior to making permanent reductions, and this respource proposes a prudent re-think about the value of college campuses as local cultural capital. These ideas fit into the 4 stated purposes of e-learning at the top of the Collection.
A huge benefit in using e-learning is the ability for students to collaborate on their learning. Technology provides a mechanism to support this.
From collaboration comes sharing knowledge that needs to be tested. FE students must master filtering through reliability and validity testing. Students need to travel from tech savvy to digital literacy to develop these self-managing of learning skills.
Flipped Learning in a picture.
These are the steps to critical thinking made necessary by the need to filter information. It comes about by the explosion of information available and the need to be able to filter it rather than search for it or be required to take only one source any more.
Technology alows learning to be a genuinely continous process, no longer seeing the classroom as the critical event in learning. What is the pedagogy of learning that technology now supports so that sutdents can develop the skills they will use throughout their working lives. Collaborative learning is not new, nir is it revolutionary, but t technology provides a mechanism to make it a truly improved learning experience.
With the explosion of information sources available through the Web, learning how to filter and share it to develop understanding is a study skill in FE and schools and not just in under graduate courses. It is used with validity and reliability judgements to make up the collaborative learning skill-set.
6 ways to respond and one to avoid.
Knowledge and information on any subject is a click or two away. Knowledge used to be in the gift of teachers, then books but now we have mulitple sources to explore. Faced with hundreds of sources of information and opinion, FE students need to learn how to filter information and decide what can be trusted and what should be discarded, leading to what can be shared wiht other students. It used to be a research skill tackled in HE but now we need to teach these filtering skills from the age a student can search the internet. Students must learn to 'doubt' information until they learn how to judge reliability and validity. Filtering and presenting what they judge to be the best sources is a central aspect of Critical thinking.
This resource provides details for students on the questions they need to ask.
Students also need to do this because being able to think critically is the way people in the wider world of work learn and produce together, and we are preparing students to thrive in that environment.
In our daily conversations we have the benefit of seeing the physical/facial reactions to what we say. Body language sets the context and tone for what we say and hear, but when it comes to exchanging ideas on-line, we don’t always have that benefit. The ability to misjudge the effect of what we say is made harder when we don’t know the the person we are writing to personally, or have not met the person. A further complication sets in when sharing ideas with people from other cultures, unintentional errors are easily made. So much of the judgements we make about people (for good or bad) are made ‘face to face’.
Netiquette are simple rules of mindfulness, to hlep students learn how to avoid unintentional consequences. Another eseential modern skill in the age of crowdsourcing ideas.
If learning is personal or can be personalised through uniques approaches as a means of concluding and publishing what has been uniquely learned, then reflective thinking is a critical learning skill because every learner needs to think and record reflectively to distinguish themselves from their classmates. Technology has enhanced it's value because personalisation of learning allows every student to make sense of their own learning, taking into account their circumstances and context and interests. It also promotes the culture of students managing more of their own learning choices and journeys.
This is why reflection is so importanct as a learning technique in the modern world. Reflection is the final stage in the process of learning from new information and it is made possible because technology supports unique learning journeys and pathways of enquiry in finding understanding. It does this through the emergence of personalised learning space and, more generally, personal and personalised technology.
One of two central purposes of FE is to equip students with the employability mind-set, such that they are able to create independent commercial success. This is more than simply securing a first job; that would be equipping students for employment.
Employability includes a sub-set of skills supporting self-employability. There may be uncertainty about the type or nature of future jobs, but it is certain that students will all need to consider and possibly undertake periods of self-employment as well.
This resource sets out the ground for Employability and the use of technology to support it:
1. Firstly as a means of capturing, sorting, martialling, and presenting experiences, achievements and accomplishments and,
2. Secondly, being able to articulate aspects of it as a published Portfolio to anywhere in the world, as a means of finding work.
e-learning can support apprentices who have particular learning requirements, as set by an emplioyer that can, with personalised technology, be made to define the outcomes of the contracted episode of learning. This Paper, suggests a new way in which each apprenticeship can use technology to manage the construction of learning around a learner agreement.
These are the four learning technologies of e-learning. Everything we do fits into one or more of these fields. Notice how the pedagogy behaviours are fitted into these (with a little bit of over straight-jacketing). The purpose of the diagram is to show that
the nuancing of good e-learning is in the behaviour of teachers and students and not the complexity of the software and platforms.
Students collaborate in the first, manage in the second, collect their accomplishments in the third and develop digital skills in the last.
Technology accommodates personalised learning behaviour and capture of a unique learning experience for each student, based on the context of their situation and preferences so it supports and encourages divergent thinking, where imagination and the personal perspective can be captured and acknowledged.
Stories are accumulated and published through personal learning space.
Students can now add their wider accomplishments and attributes to their learning story to make a presentation of who they are to prospective employers or customers that is more rounded and meaningful, meeting the requirements of demonstrating their ‘soft skills’. In essence it allows student to put what thye have learnt into a context of their own setting.
Students are more than a qualification. They are people with other abilities and prospective customers and employers want to see this rounded person.
Technology allows the presentation of this more rounded person; a sum of all our achievements and not just a qualification. It is arguable that a qualification is just one more aspect that makes up who we are and not the other way around.
Teachers have to help students develop and grow and to find ways to demonstrate these other softer skills.
Social Media is a useful means fo addign to the social cohesion of a class during a period of extended study. But it also has value in the curriculum as an ability to use it well is part of the employability set of skills.
This respurce considers the value of social media in course design and what new elements it brigns to learning when used as more than simply an administrative messaging service.
Students will experience to some degree three types of technology during their college time. They are learning, general and vocational technologies. The problem has been that we have concentrated on learning technology at the expense of general or structural technology and vocational technology.
If we don't do technology in college, it discourages students from using it for learning technology and we don't prepare them generally for the wider world of employment, or self-employment and active citizenship.
Learning technology is now almost free because it draws on students more and more using their own devices and resources rather than college ones and is a matter of teaching design that should be a basic skill of every FE teacher. General technologies should be a nil cost because it should be no more expensive than the savings made in staff time savings, the reduction of paper, office space, and secretarial support.
This Resource explains how our focus should be on delivering three types of technology, with the following responses.
We need to react in three ways to the three types of technology
FE bases it's vocational learning strengths on providing an authentic experience for learning. Hairdressers learn in salons, mechanics in workshops, caterers in restaurants etc., all provided on the college campus. It is supported by work-experience or work placements opportunities.
But there are occasions where Simulation Technology can offer an exception to the rule that the 'real thing' is always the best route. This Paper explains where those exceptions lie and gives examples of how it might be done.
What makes this so important to consider now is the rise in the need to teach the latest vocation-specific technologies to students.
There has been a parting in the road of e-learning development. I have called them'House and Cloud', representing the administration and enterprise aspects of e-learning.
The administration of learning is all the learning data metrics used by teachers, students and managers to track expected progress against the learning agreement.. It contains everything needed to track where a student is in their learning and what more needs to be done to complete.
Great administration of learning does not improve what is learnt but it spots immediately any deviation or fall away of where a student should be at any time.
It follows that in-house need not mean that physically, but it is secure and owned by the college and can be used to show how good the college has been.
What the features of the House and Cloud routes look like and how each complements the other.
How technology is used, and where it develops from the e-learning and vocational technology perspectives is by interaction between students and their teachers. With e-learning it is being led by changes in behaviour, with general technology, by changes in the organisational use of technology and in vocational technology by the industries or vocations themselves.
Managers have to support these changes, demonstrating agility in accepting where we are with it rather than attempting to regulate of lead it.
This is why we can say that capability lies in the potential of students and teachers to adapt and capacity lies with the managers in their ability to enable and support it.
Change in how technology is used in learning comes from the results of course design from teachers by design and student reaction to it and from other influences on both teachers and students in their wider use of technology.
The whole thing has come about because of the development of personal applcations and move away from shared software and college owned devices, lined up in rows in classrooms.
Personal mobile devices that are linked by solid Wifi support individual learning expereinces and routes of enquiry. Shared technologies required compliance in thought and activity that personalised technology does not. Critically, every student is able to discern their learning and development as a distinct learning journey compared to their classmates and other students preceding and following them on the same course.
(Think how technology in supermarkets drives compliant behaviour in how we go about shopping as opposed to how individuals construct a FaceBook time line.)
The role of managers is to enable the expectation that this will happen.
This is a diagram that shows the 5 degrees of Blend, and one form of 'no-blend'. Teachers design course using one, more or most of these methods. Each is charactierised by the degree to which students work together.
Three things flow from this.
Learning Objects and Learning Resources are two distinct things.
Everyone is being offered someone else's Learing Objects. This resource explains what good learning resources look like and what should be done to them to make them good Learning Objects. It fits with Flipped Learning and Directed Study and should be read in conjunctin with those ideas elsewhere in this Collection.
This is String Learning as a diagram.
A modern e-learning strategy is based on an entitlement that lists what will be the learner and learning experience for all students who attend college. Everything else points to that entitlement, which becomes part of the 'college offer' and is included in the publicity to encourage enrolment.
The entitlement is a hugely important because how technology is used is a deciding feature on how and where to study for students and employers.
An illustration of a learner and learning entitlement
Digital Inclusion: Redefining e-learning as a process with pedagogical purpose
We have always been clear that technology adds value to education. We see that value in the way we organise learning for better efficiency and greater profundity of learning and in steering what we learn into unique episodes of activity and learning journeys. But might we now start to think about ‘doing’ e-learning for a purpose beyond its role in learning? DO we know enough about e-learning so we can describe e-learning as an outcome in its own right?
Perhaps e-learning isn’t just for education but for life….
To answer this question, we need a purpose, a way of working to get there and a method of organising education to make it happen and I would describe all that as follows:
An e-learning Strategy is not based on infrastructure but now based on the learner and learning experience. It is arguable that the strategy should simply be a list of what students will experience as a result of being able to use technology. This Resource is a suggested general e-learning Strategy that takes this approach into account. It is written in the spirit of the FELTAG movement and has at its heart a learner entitlement.
It is a 'learner' one because, as colleges are learning organisations, it includes the experiences for staff who are learners too.
This is a short tour of the three wyas we have successively attempted to evaluate the effectiveness of what we have doen with technolgoy in Education. Understanding these overlaying methods of evaluation, along with the Impact formula and the importance of the lack of turbulence in teh wquation, provides a position on what is the value and purpose of technology. Without having a settled understanding as to the purpose of e-leanring, it is difficult to give it context.
This is a Manifesto that suggests what we should be doing in the emerging fields of e-learning possibility. FELTAG is primarily concered with the barriers that prevents natural progression, but we should then go on and include ideas about where the 'low hanging' friut is that we can pursue for picking now the barriers are down .....
There is only one way to describe the impact or e-learning and to evaluate it and that is through the language of pedagogy. This section suggests 10 ways in which e-learning make a substantial or unique contribution to learning and we can use these phrases to hang our technology rpoctice onto one of more of the 'hooks'.
For example: Rather than refer to our great use of Moodle, we should be celebrating how well students collaborate, and that they do it through Moodle.
e-learning is evaluated in a pedagogical construct, using the language of effective teaching and learning. A new way to make sense of what e-learning contributes is to formulate a language of things that e-learning specifically brings to the table, then listing illustrations of the application of technology under each heading.
Ten pedagogical advantages are listed where technology uniquely, or substantially contributes, to learning. A great way to be explicit about what you are doing and how you plan for it to contribute in a way that brings it all together in a coherent plan.
This is a graphic that summarises a list of ten concepts, separated into 4 categories. When evaluating or discussing the impact of e-learning, that evaluation should draw on one or more of these headings.
A formula and explanation for defining impact as it applies to e-learning, bearing in mind that impact cannot be measured summatively. It can be graded normatively and by criteria and measured formatively,. One problem of measuring e-learning is that it moves too quickly to give measurment much meaning and eduaction practice is almost as idiosyncratic as the user who is using it. It isn;t possible to standardise the personal. This paper goes back to Newton who first defined impact and attempts to provide a method of describing progress that is ipsative in process.
This final section deals with the role of those that want to champion all this. How should we describe the role? What is the purpose? Is this a role for teachers or technicians and should we describe the journey as a technological one or an educational one?
If we have a case for where we are and what we can do with e-learning then we need to be clear about our role as ‘Champions’ of the process and colleges should be looking to us to provide a lead. This Resource describes 7 things we do as a result of 4 big themes as outlined in the FELTAG Movement. Rather than a job description that defines the inputs, this list describes the effect of a good champion and where the effort of that effect should be brought to bear.
What teachers who champion e-learning need to do
Here is an alternative list of thinking skills teachers can demonstrate in their personal professional development. In teh spirit of FELTAG, they can be applied to their managers as well as they can demonstrate how they enable, and therefore mimic the same thinking skills.
It offers an alternative to thinking of skills as a set of fixed competences, or 'knowing how to' to a higher level. It suggestes that no matter what you do, it demonstrates a way of thinking that should be the mark of a professional teacher.
It follows that having these higher level (or meta) skills, each teacher can find their own way of using technology in learning to demonstrate their continuing professional development.
Governors have an important role in getting great teaching practice through technology. Apart from the skills that students need to acquire in life-long, life-wide learning, local businesses will expect access will be provided using industry-standard access to technology. The conditioning of students towards employability and self-employability is also now a central offer of any FE college.
To do this successfully, governors need to make sure that students are taught through these new learning methods, that it is properly managed, using learning, vocational and structural technologies, and that they are well taught and that it meets the employment and self-employment needs of students and local busisnesses and customers of self-employed services.
To do this, Governors need to understand the basic pedagogy and language and test it is is happening in line with the college e-learning strategy.
New learning perspectives for e-learning by Geoff Rebbeck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.xtlearn.net/L/8350/2/BCDEFM.