what’s the context?

Received a newsletter from eLearnCampus.com today, a trusted organization, and was happy to hear a discussion about a glut of content and a lack of good “context.” I’ve been thinking about that recently, even though we are primarily a face-2-face school and this company focuses on online learning. I see a lot of Blackboard sites, which in our limited version are deliverers of content. I don’t spend a lot of time looking at the features we don’t have, so I can’t say for sure that Bb offers blogs, wikis, or podcasting tools, but those would be the types of tools that go beyond the file cabinet model of most LMS. But maybe we should be putting as much emphasis on context as content.

I can’t say it better than the newsletter:

It is time to focus on context. In other words, we must move past the presentation of content to the creation of context wherein learners can can apply and reflect upon the new knowledge they encounter. It is a matter of moving beyond “knowing” something to being able to do something with this new knowledge (e.g. make a good decision, solve a problem, improve a process, resolve a conflict, etc.) [emphasis added]

I’m always worried that while it’s easy to say we need to use technology to advance pedagogical purposes in the classroom, it’s not that easy to figure out how to convert old-style exercises into new ones when the only technology in the room is one computer on a podium. For that reason, I like the writer’s focus on context instead of on technology:

Creative Learning Design

  • Encourage active and applied learning via immersive cases, games and branching scenarios
  • Challenge learners, allow them to fail in safe environments and to learn from failure
  • Provide learners with opportunities for self-reflection

Enabling Community

  • Connect peers and allow them to learn from each other
  • Connect experienced pros with novices in mentorship relationships

Facilitate Learning on Demand

  • Nothing puts learning into context better than allowing learners to access it at the point of need and then use it immediately

Learning context, learning environments. Physical as well as social and psychological spaces within which to learn. It has me thinking.

You can read the original article here.

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Categories: document delivery, education, learning, teaching, technology

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