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An Investigation into the Social Learning Environment of On-Line Students. John O’Donoghue Gurmak Singh National ICT Research Centre, UK 6 – 8 August 2001 Madison, Wisconsin. BENEFITS OF VIRTUAL LEARNING. Liberation of the students from regimented conduct of traditional universities

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An Investigation into the Social Learning Environment of On-Line Students

John O’Donoghue

Gurmak Singh

National ICT Research Centre, UK

6 – 8 August 2001

Madison, Wisconsin


BENEFITS OF VIRTUAL LEARNING

  • Liberation of the students from regimented conduct of traditional universities

  • “In-time learning” allows the curriculum to become more fluent to suit the needs of the learners

  • Shift from the traditional “print culture” to a more sensory culture

  • ……………….


PARADIGMATIC SHIFTS

  • New emphasis on social contexts for learning

  • Learning occurs outside the classroom environment

  • Removal of traditional boundaries to learning


FINDINGS

  • First order relationships:

    TUTOR TO LEARNER

  • Second order relationships:

    LEARNER TO LEARNER

  • Third order relationships:

    LEARNER TO OTHER UNITS

  • Fourth order relationships:

    LEARNER TO WIDER SOCIETY


THREE FORMS OF LEARNING RELATIONSHIPS

1. EXPLORATIVE

- learning is about discovery

2. FORMATIVE

- building of understanding

3. COMPARATIVE

- acceptance into the social group


FINDINGS (cont…)

  • First order relationships

2. Second order relationships

3. Third order relationships

4. Fourth order relationships


RESEARCH DESIGN

  • Interpretive single case study

  • Unstructured group interviews

  • Semi-structured individual interviews


OBSERVATIONS

OBSERVATION 1

Outcome based approach - “Reverse Learning”

  • Implications:

    Design on-line material ‘back to front’

    Widen learner experience at the end


OBSERVATION 2Learners do not want to be taught on-line

Implications:

‘Directed’ facilitating approaches

Routing to appropriate sites

Learning styles to incorporate ‘Theorists and pragmatists’


OBSERVATION 3Interventions to change from informative/confrontational to catalytic/supportive

Implications:

Acknowledgement by departmental heads of training and resource issue.

Change in teaching to counselling/facilitating paradigm.


OBSERVATION 4Mature, self motivated students plan and develop their own programme of study

Implications:

Tutors to balance learning programmes between democratic and laissez-faire approaches

Need for strong induction programme


OBSERVATION 5Learners prefer small groups rather than large groups with no individual identity

Implications:

Encourage group/team cohesion (team building)

Understanding of socio-economic factors related to successful groups


Conclusion

  • Mature, self motivated students

  • Change in teaching approach

  • Design by interaction

  • Learning may take place in a wider context


Thank You

John O’Donoghue

j.odonoghue@wlv.ac.uk

http://www.learninglab.org.uk


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