Aim: Successful courses

Continuing to read through ‘Emergence and Innovation in Digital Learning’  (Veletsianos, G. (July 2016), Athabasca University Press) I found the concluding statement of chapter 9, which is a quote from a student, captured my attention:

“The best part of this course is that it’s not ending. With the connections we’ve built, it never has to end.”

This resonates with me in that it projects an image of a student who is excited by what they have learnt and wants to continue in a process of life-long learning within a social and collaborative learning environment.

So why did it capture my attention so much?

It is a statement which could so easily have come from a future learner on a course in the theory and practice of groundsmanship and turfculture. Such a course would be delivered and engaged with by the learner using (transferable skills gained with) web 2.0 technologies where the learner determines content (or additional to some starter content) and provides solutions to the contextual application of the course.

In essence this is a partial reflection of  my idea original for

“the OpenTurf platform [which] is to encourage users in determining what they want to learn and in a way that suits them, and on a web platform that provides the interest and enthusiasm to stay engaged with the learning process.”

(Source, Gray, C.E. (December, 2015) “OpenTurf (H818) Project Update“)

Providing a rich, collaborative (student-tutor, student-student, student-community) learning experience for all learners which really captures their imagination is certainly an aspiration many tutors and trainers would wish to engage with. Addressing the many challenges, such as political leanings and opinions, financial limitations, technological developments, time-constraints, resource constraints and initiating the initial learner engagement do need to be considered when creating the course (which in this context is really a metaphor for life-long learning) that never ends.

My perspective is that core content, starter content, guide content, ‘catalyst’ content, or similar terminology for some ‘seeded content’ would be available on an online platform from which a learner would determine what web technologies and tools they would use in gathering content that meets their particular needs in addressing their learning outcomes.

Their learning outcomes can be a further extension of the formal / informal course outcomes, demonstrating an ability to improve their personal capability in addressing unforeseen challenges over and above ‘competencies’ expressed in the formal /informal course outcomes. This is part of the premise of heutagogy, or self-determined learning, whereby a learner develops their capability rather than just achieve a competency which does not adequately prepare a learner for the unknown and limits their ability to adapt to the modern work environment.

Competencies can be suitable for an initial benchmark of skills and applied knowledge, but as a measure of life-long development and maintenance of skills and knowledge is a poor measure of excellence. Creating an exciting and progressive learning suite of courses is an important part of engaging learners with the process of life-long learning.

Chris Gray, July 27, 2016

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