ALT-C 2013

Learning in the Open

Learning in the Open

by Jenny Mackness -
Number of replies: 2

This is the title of the workshop we will run at ALT-C 2013 next week. In this workshop we will share the work we have been doing on drawing footprints of emergence and encourage people to draw their own footprints. Here is an example of a footprint

A footprint drawn by an OLDSMOOC participant

and here is a link to our Executive Summary on our open wiki.

The footprint above shows that for this participant the learning experience in OLDsMOOC was very open, to the point of being chaotic for some aspects of the learning experience, but that opportunities for self-correction, negotiated outcomes and identity development were more limited.

We are now so familiar with the process of drawing footprints, that it is sometimes difficult to remember all the stages we went through to get here.

We would be interested in your first impressions of the use of footprints of emergence for investigating learning in complex learning environments.

In reply to Jenny Mackness

Re: Learning in the Open

by Ian Simpson -

I regularly talk to Subject matter Experts (SMEs) in the HE sector about the courses they want to put online - ususally through Moodle. Most often, probably because of the pressure they are under, they have not given a thought to how their students might construct their own learning pathways/ networks/ . The lecturers principal focus is (very often ) '... what's on Moodle...'

I can see how this approach to describing learning as not merely a pathway (long road to a goal) or network (grid-like) could help me talk to colleagues about how they might draw on student's talent for solving their own problems.

And so add to the quality and perhaps depth of their learning.

Could you please also design a tool that helps people like me show lecturers how they can let go - become more comfortable about students' talent for innovation. Please!

In reply to Ian Simpson

Re: Learning in the Open

by Jenny Mackness -

Thanks Ian for your comment. I think it's more than a question of time - it's something to do with having an open mind to new ways of thinking about teaching, learning and possibilities for education.

What we have learned from running workshops about drawing these footprints is that they are often counter-intuitive for people who like 'answers', like tidy outcomes, like to be in control and so on. Although people will readily acknowledge that learning is a messy process, somehow they can't seem to equate that to the messiness of emergent learning, and for emergent learning to occur we need environments in which there are multiple paths that students could take (along with many other factors that we have identified in our footprints framework).

We have found though that once people have got over their initial resistance to the 'messiness' of the footprints, and begin to discuss the factors in depth, then they are a bit of an eye-opener. Some people find that the footprint they have drawn is not what they thought their course was like. So the drawing process and more particularly, the discussion of the factors is what is value.

We are still working on/developing these ideas and we would be very keen to develop some software that would automate the drawing process, so that the focus can be firmly on the discussion.

Any thoughts?

And as far as a tool that helps show lecturers how they can let go - I think drawing footprints is a start.