Posts Tagged ‘ple’
In recent years Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) or Learning Management Systems (LMS) have been widely adopted within Higher Education and other educational domains. However, it seems that these widespread changes have had more effect on administrative practices than on fundamentally reshaping pedagogy. Many proponents of technology- enhanced learning (including myself) view technologies as vehicles or opportunities for reshaping existing pedagogies, typically toward more active, student-centred, dialogical, collaborative, and knowledge-creating modes of learning. However, the pedagogical realities of VLE implementation seem to include less radical pedagogical changes. Often VLEs become more or less static repositories containing course descriptions, curricula, readings, lecture notes, and slides with only little interaction, collaboration, and critical dialogue. As described by Dirckinck- Holmfeld & Jones, this has led many e-learning pioneers to view VLEs as a retrograde step in terms of pedagogical development. This is reflected in current debates about Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) (or social software and Web 2.0) vs. Virtual Learning Environments. In this debate, particularly in the blogosphere, we find loud calls for a shift away from institutionally controlled, walled-garden and static VLE-silos, as these are said to enforce a ‘traditional’, teacher-centred pedagogy of transfer where students consume and reproduce existing knowledge. The alternative is presented as a move towards student-owned and controlled PLEs, which are positioned as reflecting a ‘progressive’, student- centred pedagogy where students become collaborative producers of knowledge. In particular, Web 2.0 technologies have become the rhetorical lever for realising these techno-pedagogical changes, as Web 2.0 tools are key ingredients in notions of PLEs as loosely coupled collections of personally owned tools for students’ self-directed or collaborative learning.
People interested in Massive Open Online Courses will probably be aware of the research by Helene Fournier and me on Personal Learning Environments and MOOCs. We carried out research in the MOOC PLENK2010 (The MOOC Personal Learning Environments Networks and Knowledge that was held in the fall of 2010). The data collected on this distributed course with 1641 participants has been massive as well. Its analysis has kept us and some fellow researchers busy over the past year. The research has resulted in a number of publications and I thought it might be useful to post links to all of our journal articles, conference papers and presentations that were published in relation to PLEs and MOOCs in one space. Each publication looks at the data from a different perspective, eg, requirements in a PLE, self-directed learning, learner support, creativity.
After speculation in the literature about the nature of possible Personal Learning Environments, research in the design and development of a PLE is now in progress. Rita Kop and Helene Fournier will report on the educational research involved in the National Research Council of Canada, Institute for Information Technology’s Personal Learning Environment project. This presentation will highlight important components, applications and tools in a PLE as identified through surveys of potential end users. The learner experience and the minimum set of components required to facilitate quality learning will be placed at the forefront.
In this presentation, and in the Informal Discussion which followed, I looked at three major themes: personal learning environments, connectivism and open learning, and argued that each of these three needs the other two.
But more than that: we need, first, to take charge of our own learning, and next, help others take charge of their own learning. We need to move beyond the idea that an education is something that is provided for us, and toward the idea that an education is something that we create for ourselves. It is time, in other words, that we change out attitude toward learning and the educational system in general. That is not to advocate throwing learners off the bus to fend for themselves. It is hard to be self-reliant, to take charge of one’s own learning, and people shouldn’t have to do it alone. It is instead to articulate a way we as a society approach education and learning, beginning with an attitude, though the development of supports and a system, through to the techniques and technologies that support that.
In a recent post to Dave’s Educational Blog, Dave Cormier made a number of comments about MOOCs (massively open online courses) in general, #PLENK2010 in particular, and personal learning networks/environments. Most of what he had to say was, as usual, quite insightful and very much in line with the way I tend to think about these issues, but he expressed a rather forceful caveat about the phrase personal learning environment (PLE). In short, he does not like its potential emphasis on the personal, or individual learner distinct from the group.
A model of:
One of the most important digital literacies students require today is the ability to create appropriate content. Content creation is an important feature in many personal learning environment (PLE) models, and together with organising and sharing, makes up the cardinal triumvirate of skills that provides learners with a clear advantage. If you subscribe to constructivist theories of learning, you will understand why the creation of content is important in any context. We learn by doing, and we more actively engage with learning when we create artefacts that can be shared within social contexts such as communities of practice. Artefacts are a material outworking of knowledge creation, and according to Vygotsky, they can be aids to solving problems that could not be solved as effectively in their absence.