A Fresh Look at eLearning

This was the eLearning Network's first event of the year (23rd March, and I've only just got round to writing it up - might be better doing it there and then, in truth...) - focus on what makes eLearning effective. Here are a few of the highlights for me.

Laura Overton, Towards Maturity: The 6 characteristics of top performing learning organisations. What's worked and what hasn't. A very good presentation, underpinned by Toward's Maturity's own excellent research base. Laura spoke of:
  • the hunger for technology and learning to deliver business agility,
  • how to align elearning with company strategy (more mature organisations set measurable targets)
  • whether what companies do with technology supports skills and development,
  • the need for a personalised learning experience that is relevant to people
  • the need to support staff career aspirations with learning technologies and to support talent management
  • the importance of aligning to need and delivering impact
Ben Betts, HT2: Five big trends for the next five years. The core theories of learning and the potential impact that Social and Games-based learning technology has on each.  Absorbing presentation began with discussion of social learning - is it fad? what does it mean? there's nothing sadder than an empty forum... So...
  1. what is known about the role of social interaction in a learning environment? social constructivism, action learning, communities of practice - Bandura's Social Learning Theory.
  2. what is social software and how has it impacted society at large? social software can only be used in conjunction with other people. content is now being made in greater quantities than any other time in history - digital natives not good, but digital residents vs digital visitors is more compelling - it's a continuum - residents happy to spend their lives online - visitors get a tool out of the shed, job done.
  3. How might social software impact the pedagogical approaches available to online teaching?
  4. Motivation? intrinsic - macro theory (self-determination theory) - three innate psychological needs:  1. competence    2. autonomy    3. relatedness
Curator software (Ben's own) development revealed 5 key themes (these are the five big trends):
  1. content is everywhere - curation is king (do we really need to develop another leadership course?), not content
  2. gamification works - don't knock it till u've tried it - when it's done properly it's extremely effective - example, make a comment to get points
  3. social is enormously important and yet has barely yet begun (every second, one hour of video is uploaded to youtube)
  4. interfaces are evolving - touch, gesture and voice
  5. byot is going to be huge (bring your own technology)
 Julie Wedgwood, Productive Ltd: How to enable learning anywhere. Julie's energised session showed and shared a few learning technology tools that can be easily used to engage and encourage.
and not turn people off:
  • shakespeak - voting on sms, website or twitter - use a word cloud in wordle after, cut and past file info - also start with learners choosing which link from powerpoint
  • Linoit - web-based postit notes, can also be private, great for brainstorming, sharing teaching - have a backchannel on the board - then todaysmeet - create a room
  • Quizlet - flash cards - quick quizzes
  • www.xtranormal.com - give to learners to play with - text to movie