Friday, 12 June 2015

Putting learning into eLearning

I'm in my second and last year of doing the Technology Enhanced Learning MSc.  So I've started to think and plan for my dissertation proposal over the Summer.  My title or working title at the time of writing is:  Putting learning into eLearning: exploring the gaps between face-to-face, blended and self-directed learning methods to improve eLearning delivery.  It's not a case of reinventing the wheel so to speak, but the effort I'm doing to make changes and change thinking of eLearning practice is what it is about.  I want this research to examine how converting from face-to-face learning into eLearning can lose essential pedagogical components.  As in most eLearning activities they can be viewed as 'page turners' and can be demotivating and cause learner fatigue.  By the end of the research I want to develop a model of good practice that is successfully tried and tested and that is built upon the framework on the face-to-face learning method and how that can be incorporated into future eLearning innovations.  I suppose I touch on this in A Desktop Analysis of eLearning Packages.

I started this off by trying to think about how people learn by finding out methods to get to know learners more, to inform designs and solutions to increase cognition in the eLearning experience.  I've also recently become aware that eLearning tends to meet business objectives rather than learning objectives, which is another reason I wanted to seek more methods of needs assessment for learning.  I asked this through the ALT Mailing List and to see if I was approaching this in the right way.  It turned out I wasn't but it did help me consider some other things such as metacognition, learning analytics and learning to learn skills.  I also asked our Advanced Practioner teachers on what their views were, which was mainly ongoing evaluation and feedback with learners.  But it wasn't a wasted effort as it has given me ideas and theories to consider later on.

So to summarise, I'm looking at what is lost between these learning methods through conversion and suggesting how they can be bridged with improvements: Face-to-face > blended > self-directed.  In each one I'm looking into:

  • Why they came about?
  • What each one is made up of?
  • Why are they being used?
  • Why are they good?   
  • What do you get in that method that you don’t get in others?

In my first year of doing this masters I have talked about how much I need to improve my academic ability.  I will continue to seek ALT's expertise and intellect throughout this next stage.  I just hope to provide something that is not only is meaningful locally but to others in this profession.