Here is today’s sneak preview from Daniel Scott’s book ‘Learning Technology’. This extract is taken from Chapter 1 ‘Identify needs’.
What is eLearning?
eLearning means electronic learning or enhanced learning. eLearning with a lower- case ‘e’ and uppercase ‘L’ signifies that ‘electronic’ is not the predominant process but the emphasis is on learning and pedagogy. eLearning can be viewed as peda- gogy that can be used through ILT, like a VLE for example. eLearning is a process that enables learning to be facilitated and supported appropriately within the VLE. It provides the essential pedagogical foundations that may be missing within the digital technology. eLearning can appear in many forms such as online participation activities and self-directed learning objects, often presented as an online instruction/ lesson. These can be produced by the tutor or an external company. Learning objects are covered in Chapter 2. eLearning can be participated in both online and offline; the latter may offer fewer opportunities for reporting. So to summarise, ILT is the tools and systems that support and carry the pedagogy (eLearning). If designed and used well, eLearning is independent learning in disguise that promotes self-management of learning and the ability to collaborate with other learners outside of the class- room. When learners are participating in any form of eLearning, there is a significant amount of independent learning, from using and engaging with the digital technology to applying existing and new learning through it.
What is blended learning?
Blended learning is a method of delivering teaching and learning that involves a mash- up of techniques involving face-to-face learning and ILT. This means that you will still be delivering teaching and facilitating learning face-to-face, but using ILT alongside to increase learners’ attention and enhance their learning uptake. There’s no set formula for this; it is up to you, with the help of your learners, to decide on the right ‘blend’ for your programme and context.
|Geoff is teaching reflective theories to his learners. After he taught this he tasked his learners to use laptops or their personal electronic devices to access a shared online document, a Google Doc – that he had prepared earlier. Geoff had pre- written some questions on the Google Doc and asked his learners to work in small groups to answer them. Learners can see each other’s responses and refer to this Google Doc throughout the lesson.
Another form of blended learning is the ‘flipped learning/classroom’. This is an approach where the theory or introductory activity is delivered online and accessed for homework in the learners’ own time. Valuable classroom time is then used to develop the knowledge further through the use of collaborative activities, allowing learners to put their knowledge into practice.
ILT and eLearning in the context of the FE and skills sector
In FE you may be given creative freedom to use ILT in any aspects of your curriculum, programme and lessons. Awarding Organisations tend to support and encourage this where possible. However, time to plan and try ILT can be very limited due to teaching, administrative and organisational pressures. Perhaps researching and practising as the programme progresses may help. While time can be restricted, to get the best out of ILT try to incorporate it into your practice as often as you can, as this will develop your knowledge as well as increase your confidence in using it. Alongside this, it’s helpful to have a good understanding of your own digital capabilities, assessing what you need to learn or improve on in the use of ICT tools and systems. As a result, this will enable you to develop ideas and identify challenges which are needed to innovate – these com- bined can make for outstanding use of ILT.
As well as aiming for you to make effective use of ILT, the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) is also monitoring its impact on learning and assessment. It aims to raise standards in education and skills in the United Kingdom, for all ages, through inspections and regulatory visits, publishing the outcomes online. It is good practice to follow Ofsted guidelines even if you are not likely to be involved in an inspection. The 2017 Ofsted inspection handbook outlines that inspectors will gather evidence from the following:
» learning activities in lessons or workshops that demonstrate the use of ILT to deliver and assess learning;
» staff have appropriate expertise to design learning resources that are to the required standard and specification to support their learners;
» assistive technology to support learners to overcome barriers to learning caused by impairment or particular educational needs;
» whether learners are developing the knowledge and skills to stay safe online: know potential risks, dangers and misuse – often referred to as eSafety.
Digital technology can be challenging for individuals in terms of their technological and cognitive competence. These challenges include:
» practical and functional skills;
» critical thinking and evaluation;
» staying safe online;
» cultural and social understandings;
» collaborating with information;
» curating information;
» being an effective communicator;
» being creative.
You can order Daniel Scott’s book on our website here.