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Youth & Lifelong Learning Directorate. Informal e-learning Research Metadata for Community Content Project Fred Garnett Head of Community Programmes - Becta. Informal e-learning Research. Purpose;

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Youth & Lifelong Learning Directorate

Informal e-learning Research

Metadata for Community Content Project

Fred Garnett

Head of Community Programmes - Becta

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Informal e-learning Research


We were commissioned to provide Metadata for Community Content, for UK online centres, however we had no definition of what Community Content was because;

1. The Community Learning sector (ACL) does not have a defined agreed national curriculum

2. Community Learning is often non-vocational

3. Community Learning is often non-formal

4. Community Learning is often informal learning

5. UK online centres should provide ‘additionality’ – learning activities not provided for elsewhere.

6. UK online centres should provide ‘progression’ to formal learning

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Informal e-learning Research

How do people learn on-line in UK online centres?

Metadata should map relevant community content and to how people learn informally.We drew together a team of people who worked in this context to brainstorm this;

Ronan O’Beirne of Shipley on-line

Ian Harford of the Manchester WEA CGfL

Malcolm Forbes of Brixton on-line CGfL

Steve Jeyes and Clive Church N.Lincs CGfL and Edexcel (inc Xtensis and IMS)

Alastair Clark and Fred Garnett (Becta – Derbyshire ACL & Lewisham TaLENT CGfL)

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Informal e-learning Research

What is Community Content?

Given the nature of the learner; drop-in centres, supportive environment, personal interest related and self-directed, we decide to make some assumptions about;

The Learner – Informal Learner – aiming to meet personal needs

The Pedagogy – Androgogy – self-directed learning

The Resources – yet to be built – CGfL’s working towards this

So Community Content needed to be resources that supported informal or self-directed learning not aimed at achieving an existing qualification.

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Informal e-learning Research

Brainstorming The Model

At this point we added in some values/observations relating to androgogy and informal learning;

Users surfing purposely to find information that meets their own needs, because, as LTRI inform us, they are very goal directed, and are very purposeful.

We assumed that centre users engaging in any self-directed activities were learners.

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Informal e-learning Research

Proposed model

Learners come into centres and are supported in;

Identifying purposeful activities they wish to participate in

Accessing and using a PC

Accessing and surfing the internet

In learning they carry out any on-line activities and would move between on-line activities requesting different resources they need that were harder, easier, more technical that mapped to a subject or identified outcome, etc.

The Metadata should support ‘learning by stealth’

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Informal e-learning Research


Bernie Dodge (web quests) identifies surfing as self-directed learning and he provide learners with assessment framework (rubric), so that they self-manage their learning process,

However our learning activities are not accredited as ‘learning’ it is ‘Unstructured Learning’.

Difficult to develop metadata for Unstructured Learning

We needed a framework to map to.

We wanted a Learning matrix that we could map any learning activity to.

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Informal e-learning Research

What is already out there?

Learner Outcomes – Kevin Donovan and Tony Tait - LSDA

Education Levels – MEG work in progress on mapping UK educational levels

IMS – 5 Levels of difficulty - very crude

Research into Informal learning and Non-accredited learning

Informal Learning – NIACE – Veronica McGiverney and Jane Thompson

Non-accredited learning – LSDA and NIACE

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Informal e-learning Research

What is missing?

Model of Informal e-learning

Resources to support this learning

Mapping of informal e-learning resources to ‘learning outcomes’

Understanding of how learners learn in UK online centres – the LTRI research

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Informal e-learning Research

What next?

Develop and circulate a model of informal e-learning

Develop the process by which resources are provided

Identify and specify the skills needed in this process

Developing the matrix to which learner activities can be mapped

Develop the metadata to support mapping learning resources to the matrix

Identify what learner activities map to what learning outcomes

Develop and test some learning resources

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Informal e-learning Research

Other Issues

Role of learner in managing their way through this process once mapped?

Demonstrating this ‘achievement’ e.g. – Portfolios (EIP – specification)

Transfer these Learning outcomes into all future activities (progression mapping?)