Keynote Title: Institutional Personal Learning Environments – Paradise or Paradox

Keynote Lecturer: Dr. Hugh Davis

Keynote Chair: Dr. David Kaufman

Presented on: 17-04-2012

Abstract: Traditionally learning has been seen as a solitary and individualistic task; learning has been represented as committing knowledge to memory and the personal acquisition of skills and literacies. The affordances of early computer technologies amplified this perspective, and transitions of learning technologies to networked platforms sustained the individualist context within the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). However constructivist critiques of learning environments have emphasised the value and importance of social interactions and the benefits of working in groups to solve problems as a means to learning and knowledge acquisition. Advances in Web technologies over the last decade (the so called Web 2.0) have paralleled these changes and have enabled us to build tools to support and integrate many kinds of collaboration and learning in networks. Such tools have been retrofitted to existing VLEs. This presentation argues that the current generation of Virtual Leaning Environments is no longer fit for purpose; they embody educational processes that promulgate ineffective/inappropriate didactic methods, and do not complement the expectations or approaches to learning taken by Generation Y learners. Nor do they prepare students for using the tools and working methods that will be required in the increasingly virtualworkplace. Personal learning environments put the onus on the learner to take responsibility, not only for their learning but also how they go about that learning and the tools that they use. Such self-determination and choice is ideal in a self directed or informal learning scenario, but how can institutions provide such an experience for groups of learners? Is this even possible? A number of Universities are attempting to deploy personal (personalised and personalisable) rich learning environments in an attempt to scaffold their learners (and teachers?) to become independent users of authentic tools to support their lifelong learning beyond the university. This talk will examine the some of these environments, and the part played by Web 2.0, linked data and cloud computing.

Presented at the following Conference: CSEDU, International Conference on Computer Supported Education

Porto, Portugal
April 2012

Conference Website

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