Thursday, 3 April 2014

Effective Online Learning in the 21st Century - #BCS event

On Wednesday 2nd April I attended a BCS event at University of Edinburgh Informatics Forum.  It was a joint event between the Edinburgh BCS branch and BCS Women.  I haven't been to a BCS event for some time so I was interested to see what sort of events and turnout they get in Edinburgh.
The presentation was by Professor Liz Bacon, President of BCS.

The presentation was about Technology Enhanced Learning and covered a variety of general and specific themes.  It was all interesting, most of it covered topics and ideas that I am already aware of but the majority of the audience were not from education or academia so it was very relevant to them.
I have posted my notes below - mainly unedited but they do provide a brief overview of the areas covered.
The points I found interesting were:
The success factors for successful online study - Metacognition, Engaging and immersive environments, Socialisation and Personalisation.  
The need to move to andragogic / heutagogic model of education - treat students as adults, constructivist , flipped classrooms.
Technological and digital solutions to issues with online assessment
Learning Analytics to inform learning strategies
The need to deliver independent, more employable learners  who are capable of lifelong learning.

Online technology will revolutionise learning and is already doing so.  We have had online learning for years so why is now so important?
Bandwidth wifi internet
Ubiquitous devices
Mobile technology
Variety of tools, environments, online classrooms
Ease of access

Student expectations - to learn where and when through any device. In the US in 2010 30% of degree students took an online course during their studies

Student attention span in lectures in 20 minutes. THE March 2014 - 76% of students wanted a recording of lecture for reference Lecture capture is transformative for international students on campus due to language skills

Education is big business and global, countries want it now, not in 3 years - can't build enough physical universities.  
Long term trend in IT market is growth in jobs and high youth unemployment.
Technology has to be at heart of the solution - need to train people in IT

Online is not about taking what we do f2f and repeating pedagogy.  Need to include socialisation.
Take advantage of new possibilities.  MOOCs disruptive (good and bad) - no attempt to save - sink or swim - online has poor success rates. Most MOOC learners already have degree so why is success rate so low?

Teaching Computer Science
Pockets of good practice but most still teach in traditional ways

Factors for successful study - from students perspective
Prior experience
Intrinsic interest

Also other factors that can influence
Learning strategies
Social and cultural characteristics including an ability to make friends online Metacognition

Factors for successful study - from education perspective
Engaging and immersive learning environment
Adaptive interfaces and personalisation of the environment
Support Blended

So success factors
Metacognition - this is not taught , generally expected to emerge but for some learners it doesn't
Engaging and immersive environments - relative depersonalisation of the learning experience but online learning has potential to provide a different range of learning experiences
Games provide social personalisation,  progression at own pace, repetition and reinforcement
Socialisation - isolation but some people may feel more able to socialise online, need moderation, Minerva project
Personalisation - environment can be built to adapt to an individuals needs, can provide personalisation en masse, online systems can provide online feedback that is personalised.

Need to move to andragogic / heutagogic model of education - treat students as adults, constructivist , flipped classrooms
Learning environments need to monitor and capture the students  experience. Provide instantaneous feedback to focus support where needed.  

Cheating in learning and assessment
Massive widespread cheating but how to detect and combat
Deterrents eg setting intermediate targets
Solutions - environments that monitor student behaviour and performance digitally.
Verifiable biometric authentication but not easy to put in all the measures

Assessment does not have to be an event, if students fail an assessment it should not mean that their education is over or that their potential to learn is zero.  As long as learning remains relevant could do assessment when ready.

Learning Analytics - can mine VLE for readership, analyse attention span of student, their learning strategies, mistakes made, how often, what they looked at to get help, when they called for help.
Increase student satisfaction, retention, progression and attainment.
Deliver independent more employable learners capable of lifelong learning.

BCS L&D looking at HE Quals , certifications Videos of members events streamed Online mentoring BCS CPD app Support for personal learning Future - free taster online courses - global reach - enhance brand and reputation

Questions about
Have universities embraced idea of 20 minute slots rather hour long lectures?
There is a space and estates issue to provide connectivity?
Online training and learning for specific job roles? Admin roles?
It's not just about HE and academia - it's across a broad spectrum. Giving all staff the opportunity.
Online learning for office skills, negotiating, presentation skills

Need Learning Technologists to help teachers and educators bridge gap between them and students and change online learning. 

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