Thursday, February 16, 2006

E-learning and connectivity

Ongoing reflection makes me increasingly certain that it is the development of 'soft' skills that will enable both effective working and beneficial engagement with the connected economy.

Discussion around the phrases 'digital natives' and 'digital immigrants' often leads to the conclusion that the generations growing up with connective technologies will have inherent ability when interacting with those technologies. I would propose that, in fact, whilst the digital native may be better equipped to navigate the connected resource, it is possible that the digital immigrant will have the advantage of accumulated life skills and academic maturity, thus being better able to deal with the potential knowledge base.

Of course, Dilemma Theory would propose that we look for the best of both worlds and thus as the age of the mature digital native approaches the arguement will cease to be of significant relevance - or will it?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Social vs technical : a dilemma?

I'm still musing about the degree to which CMC enabled learning requires underpinning socio-cultural maturity .......

My thoughts have been further provoked by the learning object on Dilemma Theory which I have, this evening, encountered within the OU's H806 programme. Kangaslahti (2002) writes "If we speak of the two "horns" of the dilemma, it is important to understand that each horn always contains the other horn in the latent form." from which I should infer that part of our current socio-cultural development is our existence within the connected economy and that iterative socio-cultural development contributes to more effective engagement within that context.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Can "e-learning" suffice?

Servage (2005), in her article "Strategizing for Workplace e-learning:some critical considerations"*, brings to the fore the organisational tendency towards "technical and economical determinism" with the associated assumption that enabling a learner to interact with technologically supported learning materials will result in learning being attained.

She makes clear her concerns that the social benefits of learning are both less easy to quantify and most frequently neglected despite indications that the internet is, indeed, "very much a social space".

I do have to ask whether any learning can truly take place merely through the interaction with CMC enabled materials. Can we dissociate this learning from accumulated experience, from cultural influence and 'local' perspectives? How do the skills developed from birth and onwards into 'maturity' underpin this learning process - and are these facets a prerequisite for effective e-learning?

* Published within the Journal of Workplace Learning Vol 17 No.5/6, pp304-317 (Accessed on-line 03/02/06) Available from

Monday, February 13, 2006

Drivers ......... and Enablers

Various strategies and papers provide the government perspective on e-learning (e.g. DFES, HEFCE); the DFES document 'Harnessing Technology' was brought to life by Diana Laurillard at the HE Academy National Conference last summer. Her presentation can be found via the links section. Laurillard talks of both drivers and enablers within the context of improving the e-learning experience and directs the reader to a range of pedagogies which provide potential support for the development of e-learning methods.

My own enthusiasms are for the concepts of situated learning, this linked with problem-based and experiential learning and highly applicable to foundation degree design and delivery.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

What and where?

I am using the expression Interactive Learning to express my vision for the use of technologically enhanced, socially dynamic learning activity. The context for my exploration and reflection is that of HE in FE, with a particular focus on Foundation Degree activity and the way in which Interactive Learning can support the true characteristics of this potentially innovative educational vehicle.

I intend to explore the ways in which connectivity can support interactive learning and look forward to contributions from those with a similar interest and/or developmental experience in the field