Thursday, 19 November 2009

eLearning report: Review of Learning 2.0 Practices by Christine Redecker

If you are interested in eLearning and Learning2.0 in particular, this study on the impact of Web2.0 innovations on education and training in Europe written by Christine Redecker might be your cup of tea.

Christine does not talk of social media use, but of social computing when refering to blogs, wiki's... in this report issued by the European Commission, she focuses on two studies that were undertaken to look at the potential of learning2.0. These studies were done by the Institute of Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) launched and the interesting difference between these studies was that (1) in informal settings and (2) was taken place in formal education & training (E&T). Both studies were based on extensive desk-research combined with stakeholder consultations and the in-depth study of promising Learning 2.0 cases.

The report is 122 pages long, written with great clarity. And it comprises a lot of interesting topics: connectivism, new skills for the digital age, collaborative content production, access and digital skills, motivation and personal learning skills,... The report covers a lot of ground and gives a clear insight in benefits of eLearning2.0.

From the abstract of the report: "Though social computing has its origin outside educational institutions, its deployment within formal E&T displays a huge potential for enhancing learning processes and outcomes. IPTS research in this area indicates that Learning 2.0 can foster technological, organisational and pedagogical innovation in formal E&T, and can thus positively contribute to the modernisation of E&T institutions that is required to fulfil the learning needs of contemporary society. Within formal E&T settings, social computing can in particular foster the following:
  • New supply of and access to learning material by making study material more readily available, thus supporting different individual learning styles;
  • New learning methods and tools, increasing performance and academicachievement in a broad range of subjects. As a consequence, new pedagogicaland scientific methods evolve that change the way in which a particular subject islearned and taught;
  • Collaboration and networking provide peer support, encourage active participation and learning collaboration, improving both overall and individual performance. Online networks among teachers facilitate knowledge exchange andcan support the joint creation of learning content;
  • Improved support for differentiation and diversity: Social computing supplies learners and teachers with a wide variety of didactical and methodological toolsthat can be fitted to the respective learning objectives and to the individuals’needs.
  • Improved personal and learning skills: The affective and social dimension of thelearning process can allow learners to both enjoy learning and acquire skills thatempower them to actively engage in the development of their personal skills andcompetences. Along with motivation higher order cognitive skills, like reflectionand meta-cognition, and self-directed learning skills can be enhanced.
  • Empowerment of the learner. Learners are enabled to create and personalise their learning processes in a supportive environment of mutual assistance, reflection and critique and in interaction with their teachers and peers, combining formal, non-formal and informal learning activities."
If within your institution there are still some sceptics that say social media is just a bubble, a hype, something that will fade once the novelty wears of... than just read the conclusion of this out loud to these sceptics (and start debating again with more arguments, thanks to Christine).

"Both studies suggest that the potential of Learning 2.0 in enhancing learning processes and methods is significant. In particular, social computing applications contribute to the personalisation of learning, enabling learners to better adapt learning strategies to their individual needs and constraints. At the same time, social, networked and collaborative learning are supported, opening up new opportunities for accessing, managing, producing and sharing knowledge. However, policy has to address the challenges associated with these new learning approaches by providing learners with the necessary skills to participate in a networked knowledge society, thus making lifelong learning a reality."

Christine Redecker is very strong eLearning researcher. I have the honor of sitting in a debate with her during the upcoming Online Educa Berlin. So I am looking forward to meeting her in real life.