This talk from John Seely Brown is 3 years old now but still much food for thought. Seely Brown’s book on ‘The New Lanscape of Learning‘ (co-authored with Douglas Thomas) is one that I suggest to my SSC students to read and review and it always gets a posiitve response. However the students that present this book always highlight that the curriuclum doesn’t particularly embrace these new landscapes of learning and they question whether we are preparing the for the change they will constantly face when they graduate. So after some quick reflection I’m left thinking are we helping to prepare our students to develop their participatory learning skills along with their self-directed and self-regulated learning skills. With the growing trend of viewing students as consumers and spoon feeding is it time for us to start innovating more in our teaching and to become entrepreneurial teachers if we want entrepreneurial learners?
In medicine it sometimes seems that students are almost like slaves to learning outcome and objectives, so much of their learning is driven by assessment. The one opportunity they have to break the tyranny of objectives is when they choose their student selected components, they can propose their own 4 week module and set their own objectives. It’s a bit like when you’re at primary school and you all get to pick a topic to explore and create your own topic book. There are things that standout and almost glisten as they grab your attention and stimulate your interest and curiosity. You get drawn to question and explore as they lead you to discover a whole series of other interesting things and take you down paths you’ve never been down before.
I’m not sure what my learning subjectives are but there are things that I’ve been thinking about the past few months including an exasperation around the concept of minimum standards in VLEs and the fact that so often when it comes to technology in higher education there seems to be tunnel vision and a lack of joined up thinking. I’m not sure if these directly relate to the whole concept of rhizomatic learning but perhaps #rhizo15 might serve as a catalyst to help me put aside some time to think and explore and unpick the things that are glistening and catching my eye.
by Steve took it
Technology enhanced learning (TEL) is playing a growing role across the continuum of healthcare professions education supporting both formal and informal learning. Virtual learning environments, e-portfolios, e-assessment, online learning and apps are all features of the TEL landscape. Social media is also supporting learning conversations via hashtags like #FOAMed, #ecgclass, #wenurses etc and hosting videos and podcasts on blogs and YouTube. There’s lots to like in the world of TEL in healthcare professions education but there are also frustrations. Frustrations about the clunkiness of institutional learning tools, the barriers to accessing resources from within an NHS setting, the lack of the right sort of apps to support mobile learning. Alongside these problems there are also lots of ideas of how to improve things and make things better together with dreams of how to present and develop content in new more imaginative and effective ways. But these ideas can sometimes lead to additional frustration as indviduals aren’t sure how to turn their ideas into a reality. To help address this NHS Health Education England and the Higher Education Academy are teaming up to run a healthcare professions education hack day – #hetelhack – in Leeds on 7-8 March.
#hetelhack is hoping to build on the success of NHS Hack Days, which have attracted individuals from across the healthcare professions together with patients and developers and coders. The most recent NHS Hack Day in Cardiff is a great example of the creativity and innovation that happens at these events.
Workshops at ASME and AMEE last year highlighted that many of us involved in healthcare professions education face similar issues. Som eof the things that educators and students alike are looking for include
- that elusive intuitively designed e-portfolio solution
- how we might be able to use technology to make topics like ethics more interesting and engaging
- a learning repository that looks more like youtube or slideshare
- how we can use tehnology to support the role that patients can play in healthcare professions education
- how we might use immersive environments and virtual reality to support developing skills in team working and situational judgement/awareness to help improve patient safety
- ways to effectively use 3D printing to support learning
- an application that supports collaborative learning
- a content authoring app you can quickly and easily use to author and create a short piece of learning that outputs as HTML5
#hetelhack provides an opportunity for individuals to come together and work together over a weekend with coders and designers to solve some of the problems we face or to explore a new idea and be creative. This is the first NHS focussed hack event which has a focus on education and one of the hopes is that we can start to build a network which can also take the ideas that emerge from the hack and collaborate to see them developed further.
There’s been a lot of interest in the #hetelhack but there are still spaces for developers, coders and designers so if you’re free that weekend come along to Leeds.
For more info on #hetelhack and to sign up visist the NHS HEE webiste.
Here’s the second of my post AMEE blog posts which focuses on the pre-conference workshop I ran with John Sanders from the University of Sheffield on ‘How to create personalised learning opportunities in the information age: Essential skills for the 21st century teacher’. John kicked off the workshop looking at why we might personalise learning and some relevant learning theories and how technology is being used to personalise learning.
I went on to give a quick overview of how I’ve been using technology to support my own learning and talked about some of the elements of my personal learning environment (PLE) and how I’ve built a personal learning network (PLN). I talked about how this related to my ongoing learning in relation to professional development and the 12 roles of the medical teacher outlined by Crosby and Harden (1) back in 2000. Whilst their focus is on medical education a good number of these roles apply to lecturers whatever their discipline or subject area in higher education.
You can see my slides below which walk through my journey of using social media including blogs, Twitter and the emergence of free open access meducation – FOAMed.
For those of us who’ve been inhabiting digital landscapes for sometime the concepts of PLEs and PLNs are nothing new but for some these are new terms. In the lead up to the conference I was struck by a blog post by Martin Weller asking the question ‘Why don’t we talk about PLEs anymore?’. I think Martin is right, there’s less discussion these days on Twitter and in the blogosphere about PLEs than there was 5 years and I posted this comment on Martin’s blog with some of my thoughts on why this might be.
I wonder if it’s also dropped off the radar slightly because personalised learning is talked about much more rather than personal learning. Much of this is perhaps being driven by the attention on learning analytics and how this can be used to support personalised learning. Along with MOOCs and the flipped classroom, learning analytics seems to be one of the big buzzes (hypes?) in education. I do wonder whether this is a good thing and whether we should actually be focusing more on personal learning so that students develop the skills to become lifelong and wide learners.
I picked up on these themes in another section of the workshop and made the distinction between ‘personal’ learning which is made by and for oneself and self-organised and managed versus what seems to be the current trend around ‘personalised learning’ which to me seems to have become more about learning being customised for individuals and linked to machine learning. Learning analytics seems to be the big driver here and whilst I can see that this can all help support student learning I do have concerns that this is technology spoon feeding students rather than encouraging students to become independent self-directed and regulated learners. Once our graduates are in the work place they have to take personal responsibility for their own personal development and lifelong learning, I’m not sure learning analytics are going to be prescribing learning pathways for them in the world of work (but who knows MOOCS might have taken over the world and this will be the future!).
John went on to look at the importance of both students and teachers having the digital, information and learning literacies to be able to personalise their own learning. He also highlighted that teachers need to have the skills to be able to design learning activities which provide the appropriate scaffolding for students to develop their own personal learning approaches. I think we still have a way to go with teachers developing these skills and the continued reliance on the walled garden of the VLE perhaps doesn’t help. There have been several posts over the past few days about VLEs/LMSs talking about why we’re sticking with VLEs which if time permits I’d like to respond to but in essence I think they kind of miss the point. I think these posts also provide a further answer to Martin Weller’s question about why no one is talking about PLEs anymore, which I think is a real shame.
Within the medical education and health care professions world there is still some scepticism around the use of social media for learning, not least from students who make great use of facebook to support collective learning in their year and study groups but don’t connect much beyond that. There are growing communities around #FOAMed, #WeNurses, WePharmacists etc and there’s a nice editorial by Moorley and Chinn (2) in the Journal of Advanced Nursing looking at using social media for continuous professional development. Closer to home I was interested to see that NHS Education Scotland (NES) have teamed together with the The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS) to make this video on building your personal learning network.
The press release that accompanied the launch of this video included a great quote from Malcolm Wright who’s the Chief Executive of NES. He said:
‘The social use of knowledge is an important strand of the Knowledge into Action strategy which aims to make finding and using knowledge a routine part of everyday work. By social use of knowledge we mean the tools, techniques and skills that connect people so that they can share experience and find ways of applying knowledge.
We know that published evidence does not translate into practice until people start talking about it and sharing practical examples. Social networking tools such as communities of practice, Twitter and Yammer can play a vital role in this socialising process.’
If you walk the online corridors of #FOAMed this is exactly what you see, personal networks talking over the latest evidence, guidelines, critically appraising them. Senior medics serving as virtual mentors to new doctors and students. With organisations like the NHS recognising the benefits of PLNs perhaps we can start to get PLEs talked about again.
If you’re new to the concept of a PLN and PLE take a look at Join the PLN Challenge and Earn a Rare Prized Badge to get some useful tips.
(1) Crosby, R. H. J. (2000). AMEE Guide No 20: The good teacher is more than a lecturer-the twelve roles of the teacher. Medical teacher, 22(4), 334-347.
(2) Moorley, C., & Chinn, T. (2014). Using social media for continuous professional development. Journal of advanced nursing.
Back in February I blogged about attention and and whether students were checking out of the flipped classroom. In the post I mentioned the work Howard Rheingold has done around attention literacy and videoing one of his classes and then subsequently only allowing one or two students to take notes on laptops in his classes.
Several months on I continue to mull over these issues and so probably no surprise that a tweet linking to a piece on Medium from Clay Shirky outlining why he’s asked his students to stop using laptops and mobile devices in his classes caught my attention. Shirky has banned the use of laptops in class unless they are required and in the piece he explains his rationale. He says:
Over the years, I’ve noticed that when I do have a specific reason to ask everyone to set aside their devices (‘Lids down’, in the parlance of my department), it’s as if someone has let fresh air into the room. The conversation brightens, and more recently, there is a sense of relief from many of the students. Multi-tasking is cognitively exhausting — when we do it by choice, being asked to stop can come as a welcome change.
So this year, I moved from recommending setting aside laptops and phones to requiring it, adding this to the class rules: “Stay focused. (No devices in class, unless the assignment requires it.)”
Shirky goes on to outline the problems with multi-tasking, including the long term negative impact it can have on declarative memory. He says:
People often start multi-tasking because they believe it will help them get more done. Those gains never materialize; instead, efficiency is degraded. However, it provides emotional gratification as a side-effect. (Multi-tasking moves the pleasure of procrastination inside the period of work.) This side-effect is enough to keep people committed to multi-tasking despite worsening the very thing they set out to improve.
On top of this, multi-tasking doesn’t even exercise task-switching as a skill. A study from Stanford reports that heavy multi-taskers are worse at choosing which task to focus on. (“They are suckers for irrelevancy”, as Cliff Nass, one of the researchers put it.) Multi-taskers often think they are like gym rats, bulking up their ability to juggle tasks, when in fact they are like alcoholics, degrading their abilities through over-consumption.
Shirky doesn’t say how his students have taken to this laptop ban though he does highlight that some students will opt of paying attention anyway (something which has always happened anyway even in the days when we didn’t laptops).
Has Shirky been too radical? It would be interesting to hear what lecturers and students think about banning laptops. Is anyone else thinking of banning laptops or already done it. How has that gone down with students.
Last week I was at the annual AMEE conference, which is probably the largest international conference in medical education attracting delegates from across the health care professions and the continuum of education. It also has a reasonable amount of engagement from students and it was great to see so many students presenting both posters and short oral communications. I’m hoping to write a few posts following on from last week and this one is the first in the series with some notes on the symposium I took part in on ‘Creating effective learning with new technology in the 21st century: the importance of educational theories’. Here’s the abstract for the session:
There is an increasing variety of technology available to the 21st medical educator, from social media (such as Twitter and You Tube) facilitating free open access education (FOAMed) to large knowledge repositories and simulations to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The challenge for all medical educators is to resist the temptation of adopting the latest technology without considering how the technology can be used to facilitate effective learning. This symposium will offer participants a range of established and newer educational theories, from multimedia design and deliberate practice to ecology of learning and connectivism, and illustrate how these theories can critically inform the use of technology to create effective personal and collaborative learning. Participants will have the opportunity to consider the extent to which they currently use theory to create learning opportunities with technology and to explore how they can produce innovative learning with technology by the use of newer theories.
John Sandars, Director of Research at the School of Medicine, University of Sheffield chaired and introduced the symposium and started off by sharing Jean Marc Cote’s vision of a 21st century school from 1901. John went on to outline the importance of the role of the instructor (a theme which was revisited in the discussion) and the need to think about both educational philosophy and theories when designing an instructional approach.
“France in XXI Century. School” by Jean Marc Cote (if 1901) or Villemard (if 1910)
http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/06/30/france-in-the-year-2000-1899-1910/ – A reproduction of the early 20th century, scan / Репродукция, скан бумажной карточки. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
John went on to introduce the four co-presenters in the sympoisum and the topics we’d be covering. First up was Pat Kokatailo, Professor Of Paediatrics at the University of Wisconsin who looked at ‘What type of learner do I want?‘ Pat focused on John Dewey and his core beliefs of the teacher as a facilitator or guide, presenting content in a way which enabled the student to relate to prior experience and engage in active inquiry based learning. She went on to detail how Dewey had informed Flexner and him advocating small group and hands on teaching and how this in turn informed Schon’s reflective practice. Pat went on to talk about what kind of learners we want in medical education, a theme picked up in my presentation and we both highlighted the need for students to develop into independent life long learners who were active and inquisitive and knew where to find information. The role of technology was then considered in how it could be used to develop inquiry by designing activities that encouraged self-direction, promoted interactive activities that also provided feedback to students.
Next up was Goh Poh Sun from Yong Loo Lee School of Medicine in Singapore who presented on ‘Designing effective individual learning’. You can take a look at Poh Sun’s presentation on his Designing effective individual learning blog and the further resources he’s posted on Padlet. One of the themes of Poh Sun’s talk was cognitive load and multimedia learning theories which Richard Mayer has written about extensively.
I then went on to my slot where the focus was on social learning and you can take a look at my slides below.
My main focus was on communities of practice, networked learning and connectivism. There are clearly others such as Bandura’s social learning theory but there’s only so much you can say in 10 minutes. These theories are inter-related and can be used as lenses to gain perspectives on social learning and help develop frameworks to support the design of social learning activities.
Finally Rakesh Patel of the School of Medicine, University of Leicester went to provide a helpful overview of Emergent theories for effective learning. Rakesh’s focus was learning in the clinical and work-based setting and he emphasised the need to prepare our learners for the fast-paced and ever changing workplace that they will practise in. The importance of developing and being able to assess clinical reasoning skills was highlighted and the role that technology might play n helping to identify gaps in student knowledge as well as supporting feedback.
The educational theories outlined by Dewey, Vygotsky, Mayer, Lave and Wenger seemed to weave together through the presentations and it’s clear to see their relevance when designing effective learning with technology. What was clear from the 45 minutes of discussion is the need to explore these further and develop frameworks to support the design of effective learning approaches. Too often our use of technology in learning and teaching has been technology lead, we’ve learned about a new technology and want to use it rather than thinking about what our students need to learn, what skills we want them to develop and how that can best be achieved. The importance of the teacher came through time and time again from the audience and it’s we that need to be the agents of change. With that in mind I’d recommend having a look at this paper by Kirkwood and Price ‘Missing: evidence of a scholarly approach to teaching and learning with technology in higher education‘.
You can gain a further insight into the session by checking out the Storify which includes links to resources and live tweets from the Symposium just click the link below.
IHE report that Chuck Severance, who’s Chair of the Sakai Project Board has commented that this year’s round of LMS/VLE vendors have been characterised by their lack of major announcements.
“I think we’re in a weird place right now in the marketplace — partly because there’s a lot of parity between the systems,” Severance said. “You can almost throw a dart at a dartboard and pick an LMS, and it won’t be that bad.”
He added, “Everyone is struggling to figure out what the next steps are.”