1- Changing perspectives
In nowadays society, knowledge creation is more and more a social construct. Learning to work in groups whether in distance learning or face to face environments is a challenge for most people, in particular for adults who have developed their own efficient and successful study and working habits. Still, there is much to be learnt and obvious advantages of group cooperation and collaboration. However, adults have to manage the constraints of having to adjust and manage their personal time tables (work and family time) in order to fit in with the demands of lifelong learning.
New communication technologies, allow for more flexibility in time, space, content, process, access.
One of the things I found rather interesting is that by using web 2.0 tools we can make possible cooperative freedom because we can create personal learning environments and share ideas, documents and so on, work and learn in groups and be connected to everyone involved in the teaching/ learning process.
Cooperative fredom simply wouldn’t be possible without these fundamental tools which allow a great flexibility in the learning process mixing self paced and group paced learning.
I think it is important to learn on our own – search and read information, think about it – but it is also important to have other people’s point of view on the different subjects. It’s enriching and stimulating.
As for flexibility, self paced learning offers great flexibility, because we are in full control of our time. Time management and organization skills are very important when we are on our own, and we have to be good at it, otherwise we may fail the deadlines!!!
But in virtual learning environments, such as this one, there are a great deal of flexibility too , because the communication is asynchronous. We are in a class, not alone. But we can access whenever we want to or can and it is a good thing to have other people’s feed back.
In this cartoon, the initial resistance to group work is successfully overcome with the help of communication technologies. Also, the feeling that the individual can participate with her ideas and work on her own time, space and pace is crucial for the change in perspective.
2- Online teaching techniques:
There are many different online teaching techniques. All based in communication technology applications. Some online teaching techniques are centred on students individual work and others promote group work based learning activities. This recent social dimension on distance learning courses is only possible due to the new communication tecnologies that allow everyone to communicate and interact wheteher in an asynchronous or synchronous way. According to Morten Paulsen (2003), in the chapter Online Educational Terms of Online education and Learning Management Systems retrived from www.studymentor.com . Online teaching methods are classifiyed according to their level of interaction: One-alone,one-to-one; one-to- many and many-to-many.
This short video aims to introduce briefly the online learning techniques of each category.
However, most of them support group based work collaboration strategies. In the following cartoon I focus on the ones used to foster cooperative learning .
3- Learning partners:
To promote cooperation, transparency is key. At institutional level , in higher education, an experiment was put forward at NKI. In the article Learning partner oportunities for cooperation in distance learning, Torhild and Morten Flaten Paulsen explain how the open web catalogue was created through students personal. This web catalogue is the key foster an innovative experience – learning partners.
This learning object attemps to explain the advantages of having/being a learning partner. It is meant to be a sort of an advertisement.
4- Final reflections:
In this learning module I’ve tried to give a logical order of the evolution of my findings through the readings I’ve done and the outcomes that are the learning objects. I felt that some improvemets were needed in the LO2 , as my reviewers pointed out. Some expansion on it was made through another cartoon on toonlet .com which I added here to make the bridge between LO2 and LO3. The cartoon doesn’t attempt to describe all online learnng techniques. Instead, I choose to refer the ones which we used most in this C.U and the ones that support Cooperative freedom.
I’ve also based the dialogues on the articles Learning partners for cooperation in distance learning by torhild Slaato and Morten Flate Paulsen publish in 2006 in elearningeurope.info; Social networkingsites : transparency in online education by Christian Dalsgard.
I believe that in this way I was able to produce a coherent learning module, making the most of the original learning objects.
Hope you like it and find it useful.