Wednesday, March 18, 2009

21st century learners

Last week, one of our CPIT staff developer Robin Graham ran a lunch time Better Teaching session on learning design.

The concept was part of Robin’s work at the University of Gloucestershire on extending her work on ‘design for learning’. Design for learning was a project supported by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC ) in the United Kingdom. The evaluation for the project provides an overview of what took place & some of the findings. The Australian Universities Teaching Council also conducted a project on learning design. Some exemplars for various activity focuses provide examples of the visual way in which a focus on learning activities removes emphasis on content & channels lesson plans towards assisting student learning.

One of the books recommended as a background to learning design was ‘Rethinking pedagogy for the digital age’ which has limited reviews on Google books . This book is by Helen Beetham & Rhonda Sharp provides a good overview of how teaching & learning has moved from associative to cognitive / constructive towards situative / participative paradigms.

Siemen’s latest blog provides a link to A Handbook of emerging technologies in learning which is also available as a wiki. Again a good overview of how society is moving but education is still stuck in an increasingly disjunctive model. Learning is moving from ‘content to process' & from 'knowing to being'. Education is still premised on teaching content.

Then this week, via Will Richardsons’ blog comes an article by Margaret Weigel, Carrie James, & Howard Gardner in the inaugural issue of the International Journal of Learning Media on Learning: Peering backward & looking forward in the digital era. It’s one of the many projects emanating from Project zero a long term research project on how people learn. The article contains a good table that summarises the way in which learning has changed along with the associated shifts in pedagogies & instructional & cultural media. In summary, the article proposes:

Going forward, learning may be far more individualized, far more in the hands (and the minds) of the learner, and far more interactive than ever before. This constitutes a paradox: As the digital era progresses, learning may be at once more individual (contoured to a person's own style, proclivities, and interests) yet more social (involving networking, group work, the wisdom of crowds, etc.). How these seemingly contradictory directions are addressed impacts the future complexion of learning.”