Here’s my first attempt at the short abstract that will be ultimately be uploaded to Cloudworks as the announcement for my presentation at the February conference.
Note the words ‘first attempt’, so I’m sure there will be a lot of reworking, but I’m quite happy to share this as it might help, or not, others on the current Open University H818 course.
The word limit is 500, so the abstract is a little over at the moment and will need reducing; the references would come at the end of the complete TMA, which also includes a full length abstract.
Part A: Abstract
“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 so as to meet the needs of a modern society and workplace, whilst at the same time creating an engaging and collaborative learning environment that provides for an immersive learning experience?
Workers will need to keep skills up-to-date and relevant in the rapidly changing employment market of the 21st Century (Anderson, 2010?), whilst educators will need to respond to the ways in which learners engage with the learning process, providing them with effective opportunities for life-long learning. Rethinking the most appropriate way to encourage adult learners, especially those wishing to further their vocational knowledge and skills, will provide a challenge for educators, however, recent years have seen the learning approach of heutagogy (or ‘self-determined learning’), which builds on existing pedagogies, offering a ‘theory for guiding the use of new technologies in distance education’ (Blaschke, 2012).
There are many online tools which can facilitate the learning process and ensuring you have the right blend of tools within an online platform is a key to successful learner engagement because “there is growing evidence that Web 2.0 improves informal learning’ (Song & Lee, 2014). The potential success of openness in education can be significantly influenced by what people give and contribute and not just take, which Weller terms ‘shifted reciprocity’ (Weller, 2011); having an engaging and immersive platform for specific subject matters could be used to develop a positive reciprocal atmosphere.
The subject matter, chosen to illustrate the connected concepts, for the demonstration is that of the learning requirements of the new Level 2 Groundsmanship Apprenticeship Standard (SFA, 2015), which has been developed to meet the needs of employers and to address the perception of low quality apprenticeship programmes (Weale, S. 2015).
Whilst social, collaborative, learning has been shown to benefit from the use of Web 2.0 tools (Vorvoreanu et al, 2015;Ioannou et al 2015), there are clearly challenges within this emerging field of online learning, especially regards the social aspects of the learning process and the understanding of the usefulness of some web tools, especially within Personal Learning Environments, which “are activity spaces in which students interact and communicate … using loosely coupled Web 2.0 tools, [and] the ultimate result of which is the development of collective learning.” (Rahimi et al, 2015a; Rahimi et al, 2015b).
This multimedia conference presentation makes connections between the use of Web 2.0 tools, open education and the application of a self-determined learning approach, demonstrating this through the project artefact of an online platform, Open Turf. The platform is conceived as a Collaborative Learning Environment (CLE), which allows learners to comment or create new content directly on the site, or to easily share links and content that they are comfortable, or wish, to share from their own PLE with the CLE.
The proposal is that this artefact be used to generate discussion in this area and be used as the basis for designing a comprehensive online ‘immersive’ learning platform to thoroughly engage and enthuse learners.
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