Thursday, June 23, 2011

52.E-learning and the 21st Century

E-Learning in the 21st Century
A Framework for Research and Practice, 2003
D.r. Garrison & Terry Anderson
New York

Where to begin to list the merits of this great book about E-learning... It is so great i so many ways, that I would say it is a definite read for the end of the discovery of the journey about e-learning. Some articles reviewed before in this blog refer to the book, and they help readers get a sense of the complexity of the nature of e-learning. They prepare you to fully appreciate what the authors of this book have done in providing a very descriptive and meaningful tool to read and understand the world of technology-assisted learning.

This brief review will only list some salient concepts - I a actually using the pages of this document to guide me in the current new project I am working on here in Alberta and Canada. I highly recommend you visit the pages of this book before you make sense and define your own strategies to approach ESL and online learning.

  1. we still know very little about the new medium - the web and its interactive tools along with the software and its innovations are still a mystery to us, and especially to their full impact on education.
  2. technology affects the educational transaction - wether we intentionally use it or not.
  3. technology will transform - or already has - teaching (p. xii)
  4. the transmission (presentational) model still permeates the education field - we need to move towards the constructive and collaborative transaction model and technology is in a sense innately predisposed for that mode.
  5. "E-learning cannot be ignored by those who are seriously committed to enhancing teaching and learning." (page 2)
  6. Mentioning the Advisory Committee for Online Learning the authors indicate: "CReating an e-learning experience involves serious commitment to understanding the very different features of this medium and the ways it can be used most advantageously to impart learning"(page 3)
  7. Education is about ideas not facts (p.3)
  8. using technology brings about the paradigm shift in education.
  9. think about what e-learning allows us to do that could not be done before - but also think about the losses of using technology.
  10. as McLuhan teaches us, the uses of a new technology are always based on the older or the one that preceded it.
  11. today's key challenge is no longer 'access' to information but making sense of the info overload.
  12. critical thinking skills can be truly enhanced by the correct use of the technologies - and these can follow the model of the triggering event, exploration, integration and resolution of the problem (the wicked problem so often mentioned in other literature and readings)
  13. the domains that affect perceptions and approaches to learning, according to Ramdsen (1988) are assessment, curriculum and teaching. Assessment brings in the value to the learning, curriculum determines the amount and quality of the content learned and teaching shapes the environment and learning outcomes.
  14. a great of the conversation in the book is based on the text-based and written-based nature of the transaction online and how writing is not to be considered a second-class substitute for face-to-face communication. it is a different transaction that has different features.
  15. consider students as independent thinkers and interdependent collaborative learners (page 22)
  16. "The affordability and ubiquity of e-learning, not to mention its capability to support a community of learners, is clearly disrupting technology in higher education - the lecture." (page 24)
  17. remember the reflective and explicit nature of the writing process - the written text seems to have prevalence in the e-learning environment. Similarly any type of documented asset online, like a video or a recorded audio can work within the same characteristics - intentional and explicit.
  18. the framework proposed in the book follows the model of Community of Inquiry, based on the three key presences in the learning experience: the social presence, the cognitive presence and the teaching presence.
  19. the book makes a list of the different generations that went through the concept of distance education - first generation (distance learning packages); second generation CD ROMs and DVDs/TV education; third generation synchronous and asynchronous uses of technology; fourth generation makes use of the key characteristics of the NET, which are great amount of information retrieval, computer mediated communication tools and processing powers of computers (Java).
  20. we should remember the principle that learning is influenced by what we learn, how we learn it and when.

The book, as I said, is filled with details about the framework approach and the fundamental take on e-learning that supports the idea of the paradigm shift, the need to understand the tool and how it impacts the message and how the technology brings about new pedagogies. Definitely worth considering.

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