Abstract for OU H818 Online Conference February 2016

Here’s the final draft for my abstract for the up and coming OU Conference in February 2016

An online poster for my presentation is currently hosted on Padlet.

Poster for the conference presentation in February 2016

Poster for the conference presentation in February 2016

“Open Turf: The effective use of Web 2.0 technologies in creating a collaborative platform for self-determined learning”

Online innovations in the form of Web 2.0 tools are ubiquitous, whilst the pace of technological and social change in society appears relentless. How can educators and adult learners embrace these changes to meet the needs of a modern society and workplace? This presentation looks at what is required to create an engaging and collaborative learning environment that meets these challenges.

Workers need to keep skills up-to-date and relevant in the rapidly changing employment market of the 21st Century, whilst educators need to respond to provide them with effective opportunities for life-long learning (Rahimi et al, 2015).

Continuing to rethink the most appropriate way to encourage adult learners, especially those wishing to further their vocational knowledge and skills, is a constant challenge for educators. This project explores the application of research into heutagogy, or self-determined learning. This approach to learning is built on existing pedagogies and which can, according to Blaschke (2012) and others, be especially suitable for distance education where new web technologies are utilised.

There are many online tools which can facilitate the learning process. I draw on recent research, by Song and Lee (2014), that shows how Web 2.0 tools can revitalise learning. Ensuring that the right blend of tools are utilised is an important criterion in facilitating successful learner engagement and I demonstrate a practical application of these tools.

The potential success of openness in education relies on the effectiveness of a sharing and collaborative environment. This can be significantly influenced by what people give and contribute and not just take, which Weller (2011) terms ‘shifted reciprocity’: By having an engaging and immersive platform, a positive reciprocal atmosphere can arise.

Whilst social, collaborative,  learning can be shown to benefit from the use of Web 2.0 tools, there are clearly challenges within this emerging field of online learning. This presentation offers solutions to some of these challenges, with the ultimate aim being how to develop effective collective learning.

This multimedia presentation, in SlideShare, provides an innovative approach to the interconnections of Web 2.0 tools, open education and the practical application of self-determined learning.

The project artefact consists of a web-platform, Open Turf, which has been conceived as a Collaborative Learning Environment (CLE), to demonstrate the explored interconnections. To further enhance the value of the project I have used the learning requirements of the new Level 2 Apprenticeship Standard developed by the Groundsmanship trailblazer group; the reason being to illustrate how this approach could be applied to any, or most, learning outcomes or courses.

The project artefact and presentation can be used to generate discussion in the areas explored and can also form the basis for educators to contribute in the design and deployment of a comprehensive online immersive learning platform which will engage and enthuse learners.

Key words: Web 2.0, open education, collaborative learning, heutagogy, self-determined learning, online learning, web-platform.

[Word count: 490]

The previous version of the abstract is available at http://blog.openturf.co.uk/h818-tma02-short-abstract. Significant improvements have been made to create this current version following constructive feedback from H818 course members, so thanks for everyone who commented on my early draft.

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