Monday, 7 April 2008

Plymouth, mentors, work based learning and Blogging

What a title but I think I should have covered it all! Mark and I went down to the Plymouth e-Learning conference, where Mark was the Key Note speaker. This had a lot of interesting things going on around work based learning, control and innovation (based on Marks talk), and "Web 2.0". Plymouth have a JISC project called Uspace, where they are looking at using iGoogle as a portal for their learners, and it will be interesting to see how they link that to university systems and authentication, at the moment most tools they are using appear to be those linked to Google, although they also link to their internal elgg installation. Another interesting point will be whether employers let learners access it at work (barriers on control/ what is learning and what is social). They have taken the approach that each partner college has their own tab within iGoogle - this is something that we will be looking at during the next meeting.

Other interesting issues linked to: Will learners really use devices they have for entertainment/social networking for learning? Previous studies have shown this to be unlikely so will we be able to encourage technology relating to learning as well as their other devices - or can we piggie back on devices they use for work? Are they happier using work/ personal devices as opposed to learning/ personal devices? No easy answers were there but still need to be considered and investigated.

The conference showed a move towards blogging in everyday learning, with learners now starting to complain that they have to reflect on too much. Where blogging has not joined the mainstream feedback shows the reason they like to do it is because it is new and different. I found it interesting one study appeared to have written their own blogging tool with a template for feedback in a certain way, the learners using this complained about the limited functionality and they had not been asked that if they had been given the template to go into their own blogging tool would they have been happier?

As we look at the Support Point and consider how the learner is being encouraged to blog their experiences will we have to think about linking learner blogs to different modules? And will the learner have to start thinking about different blogs for those modules? How will they be able to manage this experience?

Anyway enough of the questions!

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