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Week 3

Made it so far! Last week was a struggle as I was quite busy at work but I was determined to participate more this week. I have already posted my ‘Learners Perspectives’ for the ‘Week 3 – if you only do one thing …’ so have a look at that too.


This week’s aims

By the end of this week, we aim for you to be able to:

  • identify appropriate digital resources for particular learning contexts by reviewing implications for accessibility, learner requirements and implementation;
  • appreciate discovery and reuse issues with open educational resources (OERs)
  • explore a range of options for creating new digital resources;
  • assess the affordances of different learning platforms and their impact on learning;
  • apply your understanding about pedagogical affordances to current trends.

All very crucial topics for us at the moment – so looking foward tokeeping up with discussions.


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Tuesday 13th Webinar

Today’s webinar is about the opportunities and challenges of learning design for student-directed learning. We will have a presentation from Dr Panos Vlachopoulos (Macquarie University, Australia) who will focus on how a more student-directed learning design can support and empower the creation of togetherness and belonging in a community of distance learners in formal higher education.

What do we know about student learning?

It can be Teacher focused, student focused, teacher or student centred/directed/self-directed. Here are 4 useful resources which each state different ideas about this …



1. ‘Freedom to Learn’ bu Carl Rogers – How people connect together – teacher as fellow learner must participate and think like them

2. ‘On Becoming an Innovative University Teacher’ by John Cannon – Student directed learning from reflected practice approach, where learning is open for discussion

3. ‘The Power of Critical Theory for Adult Learning & Teaching’ by Stephen Brookfield. The University’s aim is to create student directed learners. Exercise control over their lives. Choose how they are assessed etc …

4. ‘Teaching as as a Science’ by Diana Laurillard – University/inistituion  – think and plan for student directed learning

So what it (student direct learning) means influences approach you take. Can we allow students to do this? How much will we let them take control of learning? Are we brave enough?

Education – is political andtherefore has expectations for society. Do we feel there is enough freedom/choice to allow us to start thinking about student directed learning?

Some of the comments on the chat screen are:

“Plenty of scope for informal learning”

“QA will take precedence …as long as there are specific learning objectives/outcomes and that these are achieved I think we should be able to use whatever methods each individual should be deem appropriate and they are happy using”

“useful to remember that learning design needs to compliment the environment – remember reading some papers on learning design in ‘command and control’ professions such as police/fireservice etc

” I agree with the last comment you made and self directed learning must fit into a well designed structure

” think there is too much financial consequence for enrolment and funds distribution for there to be too much student led learning.

Panos then said that we must allow negotiation of learning outcomes if students are to take control of learning. If it is to be truly student directed there should be a period of learning during the activity.




It was interesting in this analysis of the task that he presemted that the hightest value accredited was for the Async discovery task and the Async guided tasks.But both of these scored low for community building. This is becuse Community building is seen as a synchronous activity – but think when to do this – if doen early on it might stifle creativity by the learners or to do this later in teh activity.

Therefore students who are empowered from outset with carefully designed activity which allows them more freedom to learn will find their way of interacting without needing strict monitoring of tutor. This is important for future online education being flexible and open. This means that the Teacher is a facilitator and not the director. Is about shifting responsibilities and developing abilities on both sides. It comes down to the fact that student directed learnign is risky and unsettling so there is resistance in the institution. Learning becomes more personally significant.

In summary at the start of the course you need to build relationships nad give some sort of direction or agreement towards the way forward. As it progresses you can give learners more agency and you would move towards asynchronous discovery. It is a sort of student evolutionary process as they go through the discovery process towards their end goal.

Extras for interest … He uses the VLE – good space for dominant space (dynamic space) but is asyncronous and then allow students to use own blog areas. Use it to create ‘rooms’ that they need or but also give them options to open up to extra tools (Google Docs) etc…

SNAPP – create visual interactions by students – SNAPP is great starting point

Shared links –


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Digital Literacy – my score!

I just did the digital literacy survey by Helen Beetham:

These results show the areas of digital scholarship that you already find valuable (towards the outer edges) and those you have yet to explore in depth. Think about how you can develop the aptitudes you already have using the feedback here.

We include scepticism as a positive quality – good judgement requires a discerning and critical approach to new technologies, as well as confidence in adopting them. Then go back to the questions and look at what other researchers are doing that you have not yet tried.

My results

Although I agree with some of them – they are not all a true reflection of how I see my own level of literacy and experience. I am not quite as media savvy as it seems to think I am (say 5 or 6, not 8)! Also, I don’t check Facebook every morning (Learner Networker) – although if I was taking a course where some communication was via this medium I would be.The Global Citizen score of 5 is spot on! And I am not sure how I ended up with such a low score for Digital sceptic as I am sure I am not!

Obviously I have not selected the answers as carefully as I could ot that they were not all relevant to my work environment. However they are interesting and provide interesting ways to develop which are worth looking at.


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Week 1 – Explorer 1.3

Having a look at the 3 questionnaires ( the first one would not display in my browser) – the common themes are:
1. Need – what are you doing the course for?
2. Access to IT/internet etc…
3. Willingness to participate/submit on time etc …
4. Skill/understanding level and technical knowledge
5. Motivation
6. Ability to work away from others in f2f environment
7. Time management

I think they are potentially very useful to ascertain who your delegates are on the course and what they might be able to do. Your course needs to be designed with every learning style and ability in mind. Having said that – if the answers come back that a person is obviously not willing to learn in this way/demotivated and does not have the skill level to be able to access and navigate the course then perhaps that individual can be persuaded that this type of course may not be the right thing for them at this moment.
You are very dependant on the form-filler being honest about their ability. This data can inform the design and content of your course; designing a clear progression path through with clear aims and learning outcomes. The information offered in advance about the course should also serve to clarify what kind of course it is and what nature of study and interaction will be required by the participant before they start. Manage expectations!
I haven’t actually used something like this with my own students but in the context of assessing the digital literacy of our learners then something of this nature would be invaluable to see what skills they have and how we can help them develop the skills they require.

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New things!

I learnt a new term today – ‘ipsative assessment’.

An ipsative assessment in an education/learning context compares a test-taker’s results against his or her previous results. I.e. This is how I measure myself at the gym – I am pleased that I am doing better than I have before. I’m not worried if this meets some external criteria or if I’m better or worse than other people.

This type of assessment is used quite a lot and I am sure we do it ourselves without thinking about it – have I lost weight since I last weighed myself …have I run further than my last attempt at the marathon?

Isn’t this just learning from our mistakes too? Does it need a fancy name…

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