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the human domain ‘set the scene for pedagogy/ practitioner considerations’ e-Learning and Pedagogy Helen Beetham, research consultant Pedagogy strand of JISC e-learning programme Parallel to Technical Frameworks and Tools, Distributed e-Leaning, and Innovation

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The human domain l.jpg

the human domain

‘set the scene for pedagogy/ practitioner considerations’


E learning and pedagogy l.jpg
e-Learning and Pedagogy

  • Helen Beetham, research consultant

  • Pedagogy strand of JISC e-learning programme

    • Parallel to Technical Frameworks and Tools, Distributed e-Leaning, and Innovation

    • ‘conscience of learning and teaching’

    • involving researchers, practitioners, learners

  • Since Jan 04: range of studies under the theme ‘Designing for Learning’

    • Investigating the practices of ‘designing, planning and orchestrating learning activities as part of a learning session or programme’

  • Today’s overview:

    • Why ‘designing for learning’?

    • What are we investigating and how?

    • How can our outcomes inform the development of tools, technical frameworks, standards and systems?


Why designing for learning l.jpg
Why ‘designing for learning’?

  • Pedagogic research and practitioner education converge on ideal of:

    • active, constructive learners carrying out relevant tasks to progress towards their own learning goals

  • Widespread adoption of virtual learning environments and tools, but:

    • ‘ VLEs do not obviously support innovative or diverse learning activities… [They are] strongly based around information transmission Britain and Liber (2004)

  • Practitioner demand (consultation)

  • Strategic push (DfES, HEFCE, JISC)

    • Engaging teachers and lecturers through simple e-learning design tools would bring them closer to experimenting with pedagogical designDfES(2004)


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What are we investigating?Key questions

  • What significant decisions do practitioners make in designing for learning?

  • What features of the learning situation do (and should) they take into account?

  • What alternatives are available to them in terms of tools, resources and approaches?

  • What is the relative effectiveness of the different alternatives? (Or rather: what are the criteria for evaluating effectiveness)?

  • How can we represent these alternatives? (What kinds of narrative? What examples? What terms?)

  • What support do practitioners need to make good design decisions and see them through? (What tools, standards and frameworks)?


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How are we investigating?

  • Projects funded to date:

    • E-learning models project (led by University of Essex)

    • E-learning practitioners study (led by UCL)

    • E-learning case studies (led by Netskills, LTRI at London Met, and the OU)

    • LAMS evaluation project (now led by the University of Oxford)

    • Various review and synthesis studies (individual consultants)

  • Upcoming projects:

    • National learner survey

    • Elicitation of practice models

    • Further evaluation of LD tools and processes

    • Ongoing review, synthesis, collation and communicationof outcomes

      www.jisc.ac.uk/elearning_pedagogy.html


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Significant featuresof the learning situation

  • Curriculum context

    • subject domain

    • aims and outcomes

    • overall approach

  • Activity

    • May be managed as sequences or clusters of alternatives

  • generic task

  • specific technique

  • mode of feedback

  • Learners (LD equivalent ‘roles’)

    • number

    • attributes (access, competence, QCL)

      • New focus on learner perspective, participation and significant learner differences

  • Environment

    • social location (staff, peers, locus of control)

    • physical location

    • tools

    • resources


  • Slide7 l.jpg

    Learner(s)needs, motives, prior experience of learning, social and interpersonal skills, learning styles and approaches

    Prior subject knowledge and skills of learner(s), prior conceptions, motivation to achieve specific outcomes, match of style/ approach to content

    Prior experience of learner(s) with tools, environments, services; match of learning style and approach to affordances of learning environment

    Curriculumsubject/discipline area, target knowledge/skillsintended outcomes

    Environmentavailable tools, facilities, services, resources, environments etc

    Knowledge represented in specific media and formats; skills facilitated through specific tools; impact of learning environments on the meaning of knowledge and skills

    Activity

    ‘interaction of learner with environment, leading to planned outcome’

    A specification for learning activities (H.Beetham, Feb ‘04)


    Significant decisions l.jpg
    Significant decisions

    • General approach (‘practice models’)

      • broadly, approaches may be associative, constructive or situative

      • different implications for learning, teaching and assessment

      • range of (e)learning approaches or practice models within each category

    • Activities and sequences

      • range of generic learning activities defined

        • task – tool – technique (ref. LD tools interface project)

      • activities may be sequenced or otherwise organised

      • some sample sequences defined

        • mapped to the three types of approach

        • mapped to key features of the learning situation

        • potential for mapping to tools, resources and techniques


    Representing significant features and decisions l.jpg
    Representing significant features and decisions

    • case study template

    • mapping tables

      • conceptually linking features

      • now mapped to the case study template

      • draws on Fowler & Mayes work, but also other taxonomies (e.g. Dialog+, BEI) and standards (IMS LOM, LIP and LD)

    • practitioner planning and reflection/evaluation tools

      • based on mapping tables

      • variable degree of complexity to suit different types of practitioner (different roles/reference models)

    • learner differences

      • could be represented in terms of reference models


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    Supporting practice with tools and standards

    • features of effective support (tools, systems, services):

      • available, adaptable, contextualised for and owned by communities of practice, developmental, focused on learning design

    • features of effective LD tools (LAMS evaluation):

      • outcomes for learners; acceptance by practitioners; capacity building potential

    • mapping outputs to LD standard (and others?)

    • scoping future work on controlled vocabularies and taxonomies for (e)learning (DfES, TLRP, dialog+, BET)

    • Providing appropriate input to Technical Frameworks & Tools, Innovations and Dist-eL strands

      • ‘provide a link between learning and teaching practice and technical development’

      • but HOW??


    Working across development and pedagogy l.jpg
    Working across development and pedagogy

    ‘It is necessary to link much more closely the pedagogical investigations with the development strands, ensuring both that the findings of the eLearning programme are geared to supporting the development programme, and that the outputs of the development programme are subject to close study of their use and the new approaches and requirements that they give rise to... in a continuing iterative cycle’

    Bill Olivier


    The key issues l.jpg
    The key issues…

    • Describing and sharing effective practices

      • expressing ‘narratives’, scenarios and use cases in technical as well as educational terms

      • exploring both richly contextualised and transferable/standards-based representations

      • developing metadata, taxonomies and vocabularies relevant to learning activities

      • no common language but may be common tasks and bridges across the chasm…

    • Supporting different:

      • pedagogical approaches

      • authoring/design practices

      • learner preferences and needs

    • Identifying patterns of learning activity

      • Do different discipline areas give rise to different patterns?

      • Do different learning sectors and learner needs -”-?

      • What contextualising information is needed to re-use patterns?

    • Providing criteria for evaluation of outcomes


    Some practical ideas l.jpg
    Some practical ideas

    • Working dialogues between practitioners and developers

      • Expert practitioners involved in development/ demonstrator projects

        • ‘iterative and incremental approach in which requirements are emergent and co-evolve with the system …’

      • New communication channels e.g. UNFOLD project; CETIS Pedagogy group, eLaP experts’ group

      • No common language BUT common tasks and cross-over terms: workflow = lesson plan; use case = learning activity; reference model = learner needs

    • Work towards defining metadata for learning approaches / learning activities

      • metadata layer above LD spec (working with DELTA)

      • co-ordinate work on pedagogical taxonomies with dialog+, BEI, TLRP, DfES…

    • Support authors/designers to move from a 'narrative' to a more formal description of a learning design

      • paper process or embodied in support software

      • evaluate LAMS and other LD tools currently being developed by the programme…


    Some practical ideas14 l.jpg
    Some practical ideas

    • Further development of conceptual frameworks and mapping to standards such as LD, simple sequencing

      • Elicitation of actual, ‘real-world’ practice

      • Test ‘expressiveness’ of standards against rich conceptual representations

      • Test ‘usability’ of conceptual representations against standards

      • Models need to be flexible, adaptable to different practices and schools of thought, available in different formats (e.g. XML topic files? Ontologies? Patterns? Narratives?)

    • Develop a more sophisticated stakeholder framework

      • Reference sets for different practitioners, drawing on current project on ‘elicitation of practice models’

      • Reference sets for different learner requirements, drawing on report into ‘learner differences’


    Why the interest in learning design l.jpg
    Why the interest inlearning design?

    • Pedagogic research and practitioner education converge on ideal of:

      • active, constructive learners carrying out relevant tasks to progress towards their own learning goals

    • Widespread adoption of virtual learning environments and tools:

      • but ‘… VLEs do not obviously support innovative or diverse learning activities… [They are] strongly based around information transmission .. with little consideration given to the activities that the learners themselves might engage inBritain and Liber (2004)


    Why the interest in learning design16 l.jpg
    Why the interest inlearning design?

    • Practitioner demand (consultation):

      • ‘curriculum design for e-learning’, ‘practical examples of e-learning activities’, ‘designing activities for VLEs’

      • ‘a means of describing practice’, ‘a means of mapping theory onto practice’ ‘a means of mapping activities onto outcomes’, ‘a common set of terms’

    • e-learning strategy:

      • Engaging teachers and lecturers through simple e-learning design tools would bring them closer to experimenting with pedagogical design DfES (draft 2003)


    Therefore l.jpg
    Therefore…

    • Learning activities are central to learning

    • But designing, selecting and orchestrating learning activities is difficult

      • especially in computer-based learning environments

      • where actions are highly constrained or stereotyped (access, post, submit etc)

      • where everything has to be represented explicitly (usually in advance)

    • There is a demand for conventional ways of representing activities so that:

      • effective activities/tasks can be shared

      • practitioners can make informed decisions about activities and approaches (including e/non-e)

      • evaluators can compare outcomes of different approaches

      • systems can be developed to support more pedagogically effective activities

      • learners themselves can reflect more effectively on their activities


    Key tasks from review e learning models l.jpg
    Key tasks (from review: e-learning models)

    • Define a range of practice models, i.e.

      • distinct but comparable approaches to the design of learning activities, from which practitioners, working in a specific context, can make an informed choice

    • Investigate which theoretical models provide criteria for elaborating, comparing and evaluating practice models

    • Investigate whether practice models can be mapped to technical standards and specifications(to ensure that systems meet the needs of learners and teachers).

    • Investigate whether modelling framework and terminology meet the needs of practitioner communities

      • e.g. does the LD specification offer an appropriate framework for representing different practice models?

    • Investigate effective ways of supporting practitioners to make effective design decisions

    • Focus on learning activity/task as the central unit of modelling


    Alternatives available to practitioners l.jpg
    Alternatives available to practitioners

    • ‘menus’ for each feature

      • examples given by Mayes & Fowler

      • taxonomies for tools and resources

      • links from other features to controlled/structured vocabularies (illustrative only)

      • equivalent to ‘services’ feature of LD is very richly represented (task – tool – technique)

    • scenarios relating several features

      • around 20 provided by Mayes & Fowler and/or extrapolated from case studies

    • case study exemplars

      • 30 funded within the e-learning programme

      • 35+ available via LAMS evaluation

      • mapped to scenarios (ongoing)

      • increasing use of a common template (i.e. common features are recorded and compared)

      • development of the template to ensure consistency and usability


    Effectiveness of different alternatives l.jpg
    Effectiveness of different alternatives

    • 20 ‘appropriate’ or ‘effective’ scenarios

      • conceptually sound rather than evidence-based

      • could be used as hypotheses for testing/evaluation of real-world cases

    • criteria for evaluating effectiveness of approaches

      • may be associative, constructive or situative

    • evaluated real world instances

      • variable (but improving) rigour and consistency

    • LAMS project will evaluate effectiveness of different ‘learning designs’

      • consistent and rigorous approach

    • criteria for choosing tools and resources in different contexts

    • reference models to focus and support evaluations

      • for different learners

      • for different practitioner roles


    Representing alternatives to practitioners l.jpg
    Representing alternatives to practitioners

    • planning tools

      • Paper-based guidelines

      • Computer-based system (DELTA project)

    • case studies

      • Narrative text

      • Formalised/searchable data (metadata?)

      • Video clips (interviews, observations)

    • Consultation found conflicting practitioner needs:

      • Rich, narrative, expressive representations (e.g. case studies, discussion forums)

      • Contextualised, bite-sized representations (e.g. toolkit)

      • Possible need for both, linked thru metadata schema?

    • Practitioner study suggests representations should be

      • available, adaptable, contextualised for and owned by communities of practice, developmental (oriented towards professional learning), focused on learning design

      • embedded and used (more significant than format)

      • focused on people and processes in the context of practice


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