ELESIG: Evaluating Learners’ Experience of e-learning

On October 6th I attended my first symposium of the Evaluating Learners’ Experience of e-learning special interest group (ELESIG), held in London on the topic of Effective Learning in the Digital Age. ELESIG is an international community of researchers and practitioners who are particularly interested in understanding how learners use and experience technology in their learning. It was an interesting meeting, where the highlights for me were presentations by students giving first hand accounts of activities they had been involved in, including a major survey soon to be published by the NUS on student perception of different technologies in a learning context.

As part of the day I had the opportunity to give a 10 minute presentation on the PC3 project as part of “Members’ Corner”. The presentation focused on our future activities working with Nick Halafihi and his team on the PDP module for Level 1 students in the Carnegie Faculty. One of our challenges is to engage with these students from the project perspective to get their feedback on the coaching activities, when we are not directly involved in the teaching process this time. We need unobtrusive but effective mechanisms for working with a relatively large group (220) of students that doesn’t place significant additional demands on them and doesn’t interfere with the module itself. We have some ideas but are keen to hear from colleagues about ideas that have worked for them. And ELESIG seemed a good group to ask.

Following the seminar I recorded a short video summary of what I had talked about:

Curriculum design, personal & professional development and employer engagement

Today Dawn and I had a discussion around the relationship between personalised curriculum design (in the PC3 model) and personal and professional development (PPD). As we have been developing the Personalised Learning through Coaching module, we have had a lot of interest in the approach from those around the university and beyond (including employer representatives) in its potential to support PPD or personal development planning (PDP). Tomorrow I am going to the Employer Engagement meeting for the Curriculum Design programme so this is timely. We have been working primarily with professionals and professional bodies to date but our discussions around providing personalised curricula for employee learning has raised an interesting issue. The private sector employer in question was very interested in coaching and personal and professional development provision but definitely did not want personalisation: the curriculum they had negotiated was preset with no optionality. But is it possible to provide coaching and genuine PPD opportunities without allowing some element of personalisation?

We thought we’d share our conversation here:

Update: validation, learning objects and roleplay

Just realised it is a couple of months since our last update – primarily a result of lots of activity leading to less reporting! So what have we been up to? We are essentially preparing for our first cohort – due to start at the beginning of March. Having decided to adopt a module-based approach to giving students access to personalised curriculum development we have had a lot to do: module validation (initially within an existing scheme called Leading Edge but we are now looking at a cross institutional validation), module design and content, as well as recruiting our first cohort and planning and designing our evaluation process. So a lot going on!

Our plan is to produce as much of our content as possible as reusable learning objects, making them available via our open educational resource repository. This is proving more tricky than we anticipated. We started using Glomaker as a production tool which is built around learning design patterns. We really like this model which embeds pedagogy into the design. However we found the components it currently offers too restrictive: without a lot of additional Flash development we were going to have difficulties doing what we wanted to do. So we moved over to CourseLab, which we are now trialling. However we quickly hit a snag with that too – unfortunately the scorm packages it produces do not display correctly within our VLE in any browser other than IE: not very open! So we are now initially preparing learning resources using our VLE’s learning modules, which will be converted to standalone objects for the repository where appropriate.

In the process of producing content, we have produced a series of role play videos to try to demonstrate the differences as we see them between tutoring, mentoring and coaching. These are in the process of being built into a learning object on the subject but are included here as many have asked for an explanation of this. Obviously these are somewhat stylised and caricatured to make the point but hopefully the differences, as we see them, will be clear! All three conversations tackle the same topic: giving presentations.

The Tutoring conversation: 

The Mentoring conversation: 

The Coaching conversation: 

Video update – October 2009

A brief video update focusing on our latest developments on coaching for the PC3 project.

A conversation about coaching

PC3 team members Margaret Christian and Tam Mason from Carnegie Leaders in Learning Partnership discuss coaching and, in particular, how it is different from tutoring and mentoring.

Flippin’ heck!

At the recent programme meeting in Oxford we were given a Flip video recorder – what a cool gadget! Everyone I show it to wants one – and it already looks like there’ll be a bulk order going in from here some time soon! I have been putting it to good use – and not just to film my dogs and my parents’ golden wedding party (for practice of course!)… So here is our first video update on the project – covering the Support and Synthesis meeting, our ePortfolio evaluation, potential partners and our user groups.

My editing (via the Flip panel) needs a little practice – and the auto upload to Youtube seems to have distorted the audio a little (I wasn’t underwater!) but this really was pretty much record, plug and play. So easy!