This session, which I facilitated at OEB16, had one of the ‘slow cooking’ formats. It takes time for all the elements to come together, and you work with those elements you find in the room (so thank you to all the participants) and … somehow magic happened as you can see from the results shared below. Each of the participants got this synopsis sent to them. The participants had a background in volunteering (and supporting the volunteers across the country through offering online solutions to their questions), corporate environments (ranging from actual online developers, to medical support professionals, to management), and academics & teachers. All of us are faced with similar challenges as the world keeps coming up with technical solutions and keeps changing, where our task as educational technologists/trainers is to keep bridging the divides created by change and innovative technology.
The aim of this OEB session: enabling personalised learning by sharing experiences/knowledge
In this blogpost, I will first share the list of challenges that we (all who participated) came up with (pictures), then share the actions that could lead to solutions (also 5 pictures from the flip papers), and finally the way I interpret those challenges and solutions. To all, feel free to add your interpretation, as many brains make stronger solutions.
The list from the challenges we face: grouped as learning characteristics, technology and media, individual & collaborative learning, contexts, and organising learning.
The list of solutions we started to think off:
How can we enable personalised learning looking at what the participants shared. My interpretation of what we came up with:
From trainer/teacher perspective:
- Try to cater to intrinsic motivation: solutions for the learner, adding to the interest of the learner, using tools the learner feels comfortable with.
- Provide options for just-in-time learning (the concept comes from mobile learning, but the reality is that we live in a constantly connected world where just-in-time is more broadly available, yet under-used).
- Deliver authentic learning opportunities. This includes selecting people in the field/workfloor to become trainers/teachers (eg. Offer action cam to record actual processes).
- Crowdsourcing the learners for needs and solutions. Start from learning goals the learners might have: start from their learning goals to direct them to solutions, or – if the solutions is not yet existing – allow them to share a solution once they found it. This means following up on problems put forward by the learner. Maybe built a channel or list with problems or needs voiced by the learners.
- The learner-generated products (movies, written problem solving options… all media) must be made retrievable afterwards in order for these materials to be found: meaningful meta tagging, offer strands of learning (see next point).
- Offer strands of learning: e.g. offer Continued Professional Development options per field, where learners can register for updates on particular fields (e.g. if they work on language learning, provide a push-solution that notifies them when a new bit of information is available (a push-solution is a messaging service that pushes news towards either a mobile or internet-connected device to which people are registered. For instance: registering for an online list which only shares new information in one particular field). Another strand of learning is a blockchain learning option that can be build: one learner finds a solution for learning how to draw in YouTube (and shares it on a central list), another learner begins advanced learning by following a MOOC on it (and shares it)… where at the end the learners have collaboratively set up an informal curriculum for learning how to draw and become really good at it. Use micro-learning as a way to solve small needs, yet be able to organise these micro-learning moments into a larger learning pathway.
- Stimulate informal as well as formal learning inside and outside the institute/company/organisation: if someone faces a problem, but they found a solution outside the company/university… then tell them where they can share that location or solutions.
- Increase literacy skills by a variety of ways: using fun games, and formal dry options, … when digital literacy skills increase, more tech solutions can come from the learner.
- Make learners aware of copyright options.
From a manager perspective:
- We need to activate the experts: enabling durable sharing of expertise. Reach those who are willing to become champions for specific topics or skills.
- A sharing culture is something that needs to be visible and used at all levels: top managers sharing what they learn, as well as volunteers. Leadership in sharing and collaborating must happen at all levels.
- Make the outcomes of learning visible (indicators, productivity…) to show that investment in learning pays off.
- Provide socializing spaces and times: on many occasions people keep information to themselves, until they hear others are also facing the same problems. By creating more social spaces, more information exchange can take place.
- Allow learner-generated production time to take place (this is a way to compensate those learners who are willing to be champions in a specific field and allow them to deliver useful material).
- Set up a learning support task force (a new product is launched, or a new production line or workflow needs to be implemented; the support task force can help with building change enablers or customised content with the help of the learners/workers/volunteers): instructional designers, media savvy people that can help to make learner-generated media/products be disseminated across the group/department/peer experts.
- Provide a clear pathway from the moment a problem arises at the learner/worker/volunteer level: if something is a problem, to whom must they convey the problem and how. And once the problem is communicated, how will it be solved/acted upon (and by whom). Making these learning/teaching pathways transparent to all.
- Designate content curators: allow people with expertise to curate content for a group. Make the curated content available to the rest of the group, like digital newspapers that highlight potentially useful new insights.
From developers perspective:
- Integrate self-evaluation or visible learning options inside learning apps/designs/hard-& software.
- Allow inside and outside information to be gathered or linked to: to enable learners to add additional information that might help others.
- Use more learning solutions from the mobile learning evidence-based theories: make learning seamingless, use augmented/alternate reality options, just-in-time learning, provide access to immediate sharing of knowledge opportunities (e.g. mobile movies streaming from a device, sharing descriptions to an easily retrievable specific field content area).
- Allow collaborative learning to take place: enable group formation to communicate more efficiently or intuitively to work on a problem.
- Allow integration of existing tools (that way the learner can come into your tool, while still using their own preferred media).
- Make the data that users produce secure, yet allowing them to share on other platforms (if it is allowed, and they want to).
- Provide a granular approach, that can be embedded into existing systems, yet adds easy micro-learning options.
- Create ways to indicate the usefulness of any part of the solution.
From a learner perspective:
- Make learning visible for the learner: showing them the progress they have made (projects, building digital or real life artefacts), provide self-evaluation options (e.g. reflecting on the process, thus increasing meta learning skills).
- Learning how to describe an existing need: knowing how to isolate the problem, where to go to next, and describing it to others that might be able to help.
- Share with others (in corporate terms: Work Out Loud). Sharing can be quite scary at first, but sharing makes your own learning visible, it allows others to see you as a champion, and it increases your skills and knowledge as you automatically reflect deeper on any subject as you share with others.
- Daring to fail: learn that it is okay to fail at first, but simply keep doing something if you think it will be useful in the end.
- Built a network of people that are expert in your field of interest.
When looking at the above, I think that in most cases information is available, but enabling people to be able to find (and distinguish) good quality information, and resharing that new knowledge is still a challenge. The thought that sharing is caring, and will help all of us, must be either reinforced or reignited.