I found out last week that the abstract I submitted to Moodlemoot AU 2013 had been accepted. The talk will attempt to outline what I’m hoping will be my primary line of research over the next couple of years, which is probably going to be something like
- How can the design of institutional e-learning tools be improved to support teachers and students to learn?
- If this is done effectively, what happens?
The focus on institutional e-learning tools is mainly one of self-interest. I have to work with these tools in my current position and I want better tools. If my research can help my teaching, then it’s two birds and one stone.
In an earlier post I gave an initial idea of the “knowledge” problem that is one area with potential for improvement. i.e. most of the existing e-learning tools do less than a stellar job of helping teachers and students develop/access the sort of knowledge needed to get the most out of e-learning.
This morning, first Stephen Downes and then Steve Wheeler took me over to Jane Hart’s 5 characteristics of how Knowledge Workers like to learn at work. A post that describes findings from a 2013 “Learning in the Workplace” survey with 600 respondents from 46 countries. The image below summarises the 5 characteristics.
These characteristics may offer suggestions about how e-learning tools can be better designed to help teachers and students.
In the flow of work and other characteristics
The first characteristic is “In the flow of work” which Hart describes as
Workers don’t want to leave the workflow unless it is absolutely necessary for them to do. This means EITHER physically to go to a classroom OR virtually to work on an online course for an extended period of time (i.e more than about 10-15 mins) and/or which is more than a couple of mouseclicks away. (Taking a course at your desk, doesn’t mean it’s in the workflow!) Workers prefer to learn as an integral (NOT an extra) part of their daily job and not separately from it, either.
This resonates with me. For better or for worse, when I’m currently teaching “in the flow of work” means within my Moodle course site. The Moodle course site is the learning environment I work most in. If I want to learn – be it something about the students in my course or some new pedagogical strategy or technological technique – I would prefer it to be in the flow of work. i.e. in the Moodle environment. When I’m using BIM (or any other tool) I want it to be able to help me learn about my students, their learning and how I can improve it. I don’t want to book a session with an instructional designer or attend a scheduled training session. Raising the questions of what shape might this take and how might you do it?
The remaining characteristics offer similar suggestions. In particular, Immediately
Workers want to be able to find answers to their learning and performance problems as soon as they encounter them
which has some overlap with the above.
Socially suggests knowledge workers want to learn from others, as they work both internally and with external networks and communities. Are there any e-learning tools (within an LMS) that allow teaching staff to connect with a network of other people using the tool? To compare and contrast how others are using the tool and learn new ideas about how the tool might be used.