Friday, 19 June 2009

What is your motivation??

It's been a while as I've been on holiday. Back now.

This doesn't refer to that Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World document which I banged on about last month. Instead, I been "motivated" to post by reading Tony Bates Expectations and goals for e-learning post on his blog. Very useful as it outlines common expectations and goals. They are:

1. To increase access to learning opportunities/increase flexibility for students
2. To enhance the general quality of teaching/learning.
3. To develop the skills and competencies needed in the 21st century, and in particular to ensure that learners have the digital literacy skills required in their discipline, profession or career - or, put simply, to get work in the future
4. to meet the learning styles/needs of millenial students
5. to improve the cost-effectiveness of the post-secondary education system
6. to stay at the leading edge of educational technology developments/to digitalise all learning - or put another way, to respond to the technological imperative
7. to de-institutionalise learning/to enable self-managed learning.
8. to embark on a journey of mystery to see where it will take me.

I commented on his blog and I want to record this comment here for reference. I wrote:

I have a role as a Learning Technologist at the Institute of Education, London so I spend a lot of time trying to convince Higher Education academics about the virtues of all things e-learning. Your list of goals is very useful.

I have used many of these at various times but the one I use a lot is where I present something as another tool to choose from in their toolkit when they design their course. I guess this is (2) more than anything else, but I don’t talk about improving quality because of the connotation that the quality isn’t good at the moment. It’s worth saying, however, that I think the social, informal learning offered by Web 2.0 can and should improve the learning for everyone. This is my main motivation for what I do.

Where it is clear, I will talk about cost-effectiveness (5) and flexibility and access (1) as these will always go down well. Tangible benefits like this where are indisputable are the hooks to get people open to your ideas.

3 and 6 are interesting. (6) never goes down well with sceptical academics and shouldn’t really be used. (3) I definitely agree with and one that I should use more often. It’s also increasingly hard to argue against. What I need is some more facts to back this up or at least some supplementary statements on this (I look forward to your further posts).

(4) - yes, but I think of it as - “let’s do what they are doing because they are doing it.” This sounds a bit silly but it’s valid. Another way of thinking about it is going into their world and speaking in a language that they understand (the web 2.0 world). I’m not in favour of using facebook or myspace but a comparable social networking facility - we don’t want to invade their private space. I’m not a fan of getting into learning styles because of the annoying “e-learning isn’t my learning style” mantra I often hear. This statement is so wrong on so many levels!

Self-managed or personal learning (7) is a phrase that is creeping into higher education but it’s often offered within a tightly controlled space which kind of misses the point (I agree with Jay about e-portfolios). I don’t find myself using this much unless it’s clearly what they want to hear. 8 is silly.

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