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Situating e-portfolios: what do learners need?

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  1. Situating e-portfolios:what do learners need? Helen BeethamConsultant in Pedagogy JISC e-learning programme

  2. Who am I? • Research consultant in pedagogy, JISC e-learning programme: • Research reviews • Commissioning new work in ‘designing for learning’ and ‘understanding my learning’ • Informing development of systems and standards www.jisc.ac.uk/elearning_pedagogy.html • Poet, teacher of creative writing • Learning as reflective practice • Negotiating personal identity and goals within public definitions of quality • Portfolio as public performance, private commentary, and claim for recognition • Qualified mountain leader, etc… • Portfolio of ‘mountain days’ as evidence

  3. What does this reveal about the context? • Learners have multiple identities and present them differently in different contexts (venues) • Learners are likely to be engaged in multiple forms of learning • e-learning= ‘learning facilitated and supported by the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs or ILTs)’but… • Choice of technology may be made by the learner, provisionally, unconsciously, without emphasis • e- and m-technologies are already incorporated into learners’ lives • So we are not trying to articulate some new kind or part of learning • we are trying to re-articulate learning in a new technological context

  4. What do learners need?The theory • Curriculum focus: ‘designing for learning’ research strand • Range of research reviews, funded projects and pedagogic evaluations • Found three broad approaches to understanding learning and learners’ needs • Associative, constructive (individual and social flavours), situative • Suggest different types of teaching, different activities, and different assessment tasks

  5. Associative approach • In learning • Routines of organised activity • Clear goals and feedback • Individualised pathways matched to prior performance • In teaching • Analysis into component units • Progressive sequences of component-to-composite skills or concepts • Clear instructional approach for each unit • Highly focused objectives • In assessment • Accurate reproduction of knowledge or skill • Component performance • Components integrated (composite topic-knowledge or skill-set)

  6. Constructive approach • In learning • Conceptual development through integration of ideas • Ill-structured problems • Opportunities for reflection • Ownership of the task • In teaching • Provide interactive environments and appropriate challenges • Encourage experimentation and the discovery of broad principles • Coach and model thinking skills • Frame learning outcomes in meta-cognitive terms to encourage the development of autonomy • In assessment • Conceptual understanding (applied knowledge and skills) • Extended performance • Processes as well as outcomes • Crediting varieties of excellence • Development of self-evaluation skills

  7. Social constructive approach • In learning • Conceptual development through collaborative activity • Ill-structured problems • Opportunities for discussion and reflection • Shared ownership of the task • In teaching • Provide interactive environments and appropriate challenges • Encourage experimentation and discussion • Coach and model skills of problem solving and collaboration • Learning outcomes may be collectively negotiated • In assessment • Conceptual understanding (applied knowledge and skills) • Extended performance • Process and participation as well as outcomes • Crediting varieties of excellence • Development of peer-evaluation skills

  8. Situative approach • In learning • Participation in social practices of enquiry and learning • Development of identities as capable and confident learners • Development of learning relationships • In teaching • Creating safe environments for participation • Supporting development of identities • Facilitating learning dialogues and relationships • In assessment • Crediting participation • Extended performance, including variety of contexts • Authenticity of practice (values and beliefs as well as competencies) • Involving peers

  9. Common to all approaches • Activities must produce feedback to enable learning • Intrinsic – comes from the activity or environment • Extrinsic – comes from other people • Assessed feedback will be characterised by: • Explicit recording of process and/or outcomes of task • Explicit recording of feedback to the learner • There must be an opportunity for integration • Associatively: to make explicit the components of knowledge/skill and integrate into a coherent whole • Constructively: to apply the knowledge/skill critically; to integrate what is learned into a wider understanding of the world • Socially: to apply the knowledge/skill in collaborative contexts; to contribute to collaborative knowledge-building • Situatively: to practice the knowledge/skill reflectively; to integrate it into a holistic practice, and a developed identity within a community of practice

  10. A learning activity Identity: preferences, needs, motivations Competence: skills, knowledge, abilities Roles: approaches and modes of participating learner Context specific interaction with other learners, tools and resources, oriented towards intended outcomes organisational, wider social, cultural and economic contexts learning activity learningenvironment learning outcomes Tools, resources, artefacts; affordances of the physical and virtual environment for learning new knowledge, skills and abilities artefacts of the activity process

  11. adapt do reflect or integrate support apply capture or feedback Integration within a learning activity Identity: preferences, needs, motivations Competence: skills, knowledge, abilities Roles: approaches and modes of participating learner Context specific interaction with other learners, tools and resources, oriented towards intended outcomes organisational, wider social, cultural and economic contexts learning activity learningenvironment learning outcomes Tools, resources, artefacts; affordances of the physical and virtual environment for learning new knowledge, skills and abilities artefacts of the activity process

  12. Integration across learning activities • There must also be opportunities across activities and programmes to • receive feedback on progress • integrate knowledges and skill-sets • reflect on learning strengths, preferences and needs • And in a ‘lifelong learning’ context to: • articulate different learning experiences in the context of a larger learning journey • articulate different knowledges and skills in the context of a larger motivation for learning • reflect on identities and roles

  13. E-portfolio functions

  14. How can new technologies support this integration? • Within activities • New ways of capturing the processes and outcomes of learning • New ways of giving and receiving (and recording) feedback, including peer and self-review • New ways of collaborating and recording contribution to collaborative outcomes • Enabling learners to select what is recorded and communicated • Adding value to recordings through comment, annotation, sharing, re-visiting, peer / tutor review • Across activities • Ordering items for conceptual integration • Relating items across activities and programmes • Sharing items with others and developing shared assets • Presenting items in new narrative or purposeful order for reflection • Presenting items in new order for external review (assessment, application, accreditation etc) • Supporting self-analysis and action planning

  15. Strengths of e- and m-technologies for integration • Ubiquity • The capacity to participate in and record the processes of learning is extended in time and space • Communicability • New forms of dialogue possible, supported by traces of the learning process (blogs, tracking data, screen shots, video clips) • Transferability • Potentially, ownership devolves to learner • Adaptability to learners’ needs • Multiple media for recording and adding value to learning • Multiple modes for ordering and re-ordering items (mind mapping, narratives, outcomes-based etc) • Multiple formats for presenting and re-presenting evidence • Making processes explicit • For communicating about one’s learning with others • For making claims about progress and achievement • For reflecting on one’s own learning • File management and information processing • Re-presentation for multiple readers and purposes and in multiple contexts • Non-linear structures support multiple roles and identities

  16. What can the technology not support (on its own)? • Learners’ capacity to reflect on their own learning… • understand their identity as a learner, manage a range of roles, and participate successfully in a range of contexts • A recent review of the research (Wegerif 2004) concluded that ‘using technology can not, by itself, lead to transferable thinking skills’ • Supportive contexts of use • in which learners’ identities and achievements are recognised • in which learners’ particular needs are understood • in which learners’ identities and roles, as well as their competences, are developed • in which learners participate with others in an environment of trust, respect, openness… • Equality of access • Computer ownership => widening gap in participation between social classes • Transferability • Human processes cannot (should not?) be standardised

  17. What do learners really need and want? • Learner focus: ‘Understanding my learning’ research strand • Reviews of the research • Learner experiences of e-learning • Learner differences in e-learning • Study: learners’ perspectives and experiences • Conversations with learners • How do learners integrate their different experiences of learning, and of technologies? • What are the significant differences among learners? • prior experience; competing responsibilities; particular needs • What makes for a ‘good’ e-learning experience? • Working with the DeL tools projects • Make recommendations to developers, based on pedagogic evaluation of tools in use by learners • Develop scenarios of use • Explore the specific role of e-portfolios • Involve learners as well as teachers and developers in consultation

  18. For more information: www.jisc.ac.uk/elp_outcomes.htmloutcomes of the ‘design for learning’ theme, particularly relevant to the pedagogic evaluation of DeL tools www.jisc.ac.uk/elearning_pedagogy.htmlgeneral overview of the programme, including the new ‘understanding my learning’ theme and current projects www.jisc.ac.uk/index.cfm?name=elp_practiceEffective Practice with e-learning publication and case studies sarah.knight@jisc.ac.uk Programme Manager helen.beetham@tiscali.co.ukProgramme Consultant