E.Learning Theme 2: Online Pedagogy

Learning outcomes;

  • Have considered differnt pedagogical approaches (objectivist, constructivist)
  • Considered pedagogical principles underpinning elearning including; social constructivism (Vygotsky), Commnities of practice (Wenger), the community of inquiry model (Garrison, Anderson et al).
  • Have considered the role of PLN's (personal learning networks, PLE's (personal learning environments) and e-portfolios in linking together a range of e-learning experiences.
  • be familiar with the concepts of "collective intelligence" and "blended learning".

Key understanding 1: - E.Learning a tool not a learning pedagogy (methodology)
  • Quote by Benjamin Kehrwald (2008) There are no models of learning exclusive to online learning environments ...rather there are e.flavours....
  • Our educational approach (how we perceive learning/teaching along the epistemological continuum (DC Phillips, 1995) will influence how we conduct online learning.
  • "Instruction by nature, nature as 'template' (known truths that can be taught) --> "Humans as creators of knowledge";
  • To the belief that we shape our own mental map of realilty can be added a question of whether this reality is socially (sociopolitically constructed) or constructed as an individual creator of knowledge.

  • Your view of pedagogy - whether you believe in constructivism or behaviourism will impact the way that you use the technology.
  • Just because you use online tools does not make them social constructivist - can use them in very traditional ways to transmit or impart knowledge to others.
  • Requires a swing in your teaching practice to seeing humans as creators - online environments are not going to be able to achieve the collaborative, deep or critical thinking possible with them if they are not spaces that are facilitated by teachers/lecturers.
  • Where are institutions in their understanding of the resourcing and support required to maximise the learning potential of an online learning enivironment.

Key Understanding 2: Social Constructivist Pedagogies defined

Moodle Philosophy document:
  • Constructivism - "view that people actively construct knowledge as they interact with their environment - it is tested against your prior knowledge and if it is viable within your mental world, may form new knowledge you carry with you".
  • Constructionism - ""asserts learning is particularly effective when constructing something for others to experience.
  • Social Constructivism - "constructivism extended into social settings, groups construct knowledge for one another, creating a small culture of shared artifacts with shared meanings - an added dimension to learning how to be a part of a culture on many levels". Move from separate behaviour (holding on to your POV - objective/factual) to connected behaviour (emphatic, effort to understand others POV)
  • Conclusion - Changed role for teacher from "source of knowledge"to influencer and role model of class culture, focus on learners experience and participation.

The term Social Constructivism:
Was first coined by Lev Vygotsy (1930's) and ideas and definitions further developed by Glenn Finger et el (2007):
"The learner actively constructs while working on authentic problems usually collaboratively (constructivism + others = social constructivisty)"
3 main characteristics of social constructivist scenarios (pedagogies) set out by Dr Axel Bruns and Dr. Sal Humphries (2005):
  1. Based on realistic problems (complex and set in the real world);
  2. Requires group collaboration, interaction and cooperation
  3. Learners have some role in setting goals.
However it is not open slather free for all environments. They take time to develop, have to be carefully set up as project based; problem based or enquiry based.
Have to provide tools and goals for students to engage in collaborative and individual knowledge base.

Approaches to achieve – Social Constructivism
Inquiry Based Learning (Singapore Example)
  • Achieved by doing away with individual syllabuses and integrating it into an inquiry project.
  • Sometimes called problem based learning (but some people have problems with this notion of focusing on problems.
  • Debate about whether inquiry should be self-directed to be truly student based learning. (link with Elaine – info. Literacy place for teaching of rules first)

Other approaches to learning
Community of Practice Approach (Etienne. Wenger)
  • Learning within a community that shares a concern or passion, learn to do it better as they work together on common problems.
  • Linked to situated learning approach – notion that you learn better if learning is applied to real life situation
  • Notion of ‘Legitimate Peripheral Participation’ that lurking within a community practice site is ok (especially if you are a novice in the area), provides time to learn the discourse, allows people to build familiarity.
  • Very different to social constructivist push for active participation – that you do not hang back.
  • Acceptable as communities of practice tend to stay together for a long time, not dependent on dedicated e.learning situation or outcome.

Community of Inquiry Approach (Randy Garrison, Terry Anderson)
Provide a model of E.Learning - 3 key elements essential for the E.learning environment:
  1. Cognitive Presence -refers to the content; what you want them to learn, based on the learning outcome wanted
  2. Social Presence - refers to the sort of mechanism (what channels) to ensure social collaborative learning.
  3. Teaching Presence (not necessarily just teacher/students also)– refers to what extent can you set things up so students can teach and learn together – to what extent you can become teacher as facilitator?

Integrate these ideas about e.learning into your rationale – use this model to break down what is and is not happening effectively.
Need to scaffold familiarity with technology and with protocols for communication.

Key Understanding 3 - The importance of Using PLN, PLE’s and e.portfolios to tie it all together

PLE – Personal Learning Environment
Again built on social networking principles. Distinct as relates to personal learning spaces created by the individual consisting of mini PLN's and students own work.
Main tools to build PLN’s - project by Jen identified – RSS aggregators, Delicious (bookmarking tool), Diego and Twitter.

PLN's - Personal Learning Networks
Relates to Trusted Digital Networks of resources and people you can go to for support (Person centric). Can also include links to experts, linked to life long learning need. Made up of people (experts and peers) and resources (sites and tools). Serve as sources of support and information.

Our role in education should be to help students to set up personal learning networks.
  • Blog used to explore and create a learning environment,
  • Social bookmarking tags
  • Blog roll - links to networks and experts
  • Twitter - quick people and resources links
  • Aggregator platforms - like symbaloo to bring PLE's and PLN's together
  • EverNote to be able to track websites
  • Blogster to create posters
  • Skype - to ask scientists questions
  • Flavours ME - all updates on one singe page - like a newspaper read.

Assist students in establishing their mini PLN's and the hope that the ones they set up in class can be taken with them so they can continue to follow their own interests in life long learning and to connect with communities of practice.

Selectin of best work you have done in your work online that can be used.

Concept to Classroom. (2004). Constructivism as a paradigm for teaching and learning. Educational Broadcasting Corporation.
Garrison, D.R., & Anderson, T. (2003). Community of inquiry. In E-learning in the 21st Century: A framework for research and practice (pp. 22-31). London: Routledge Falmer. (CMO link given).
Roblyer, M.D, & Doering, A.H. (2010). (Excerpt from) Theory and practice: Foundations for effective technology integration. In Integrating Education technology into Teaching (pp. 33-44). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. (CMO link given).