"Carol Dweck says colleges could improve their students' learning if they relentlessly encouraged them to think about their mental skills as malleable, rather than as properties fixed at birth" (David Glenn, May 9, 2010).
"This site is for the support of the Moodle Reader Module, a module that provides quizzes on over 1600 graded readers and books for young readers, so that teachers can have a simple way to assess their students' work" (¶1, retrieved 2011.08.29).
Anderson, T., & Dron, J. (2010). Three generations of distance education pedagogy. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 12(3), 80-97. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/890/1663
Some technologies may embody pedagogies, thereby hardening them, and it is at that point that they, of necessity, become far more influential in a learning design, the leaders of the dance rather than the partners. For example, a learning management system that sees the world in terms of courses and content will strongly encourage pedagogies that fit that model and constrain those that lack content and do not fit a content-driven course model. The availability of technologies to support different models of learning strongly influences what kinds of model can be developed
30 years of research has yet to show differences in learning outcomes between learning designs with high or low levels of social presence, that is if one confines the definition of learning to the CB notions of acquisition of pre-specified facts and concepts.
Social-constructivist pedagogies, perhaps not coincidently, developed in conjunction with the development of two-way communication technologies. At this time, rather than transmitting information, technology became widely used to create opportunities for both synchronous and asynchronous interactions between and among students and teachers. Michael Moore’s famous theory of transactional distance (1989) noted the capacity for flexible interaction to substitute for structure in distance education development and delivery models.
It is notable that social-constructivist models only began to gain a foothold in distance education when the technologies of many-to-many communication became widely available, enabled first by email and bulletin boards, and later through the World Wide Web and mobile technologies. While such models had been waiting in the wings for distance education since Dewey or earlier, their widespread use and adoption was dependent on the widespread availability of workable supporting technologies.
It remains challenging to apply learning where it can blossom into application and thus demonstrate true understanding.
Teaching presence extends beyond facilitation of learning to choosing and constructing educational interventions and to providing direct instruction when required.
teaching presence in constructivist pedagogical models focuses on guiding and evaluating authentic tasks performed in realistic contexts.
Ironically, constructivist models of distance education began to share many of the affordances and liabilities of campus-based education, with potential for teacher domination, passive lecture delivery, and restrictions on geographic and temporal access.
Connectivist learning focuses on building and maintaining networked connections that are current and flexible enough to be applied to existing and emergent problems. Connectivism also assumes that information is plentiful and that the learner’s role is not to memorize or even understand everything, but to have the capacity to find and apply knowledge when and where it is needed. Connectivism assumes that much mental processing and problem solving can and should be off-loaded to machines
Connectivist cognitive presence begins with the assumption that learners have access to powerful networks and, as importantly, are literate and confident enough to exploit these networks in completing learning tasks. Thus, the first task of connectivist education involves exposing students to networks and providing opportunities for them to gain a sense of self-efficacy in networked-based cognitive skills and the process of developing their own net presence.
The artifacts of connectivist learning are usually open, accessible, and persistent. Thus, distance education interaction moves beyond individual consultations with faculty (CB pedagogy) and beyond the group interactions and constraints of the learning management systems associated with constructivist distance-education pedagogy. Cognitive presence is enriched by peripheral and emergent interactions on networks, in which alumni, practicing professionals, and other teachers are able to observe, comment upon, and contribute to connectivist learning.
Connectivist pedagogy stresses the development of social presence and social capital through the creation and sustenance of networks of current and past learners and of those with knowledge relevant to the learning goals. Unlike group learning, in which social presence is often created by expectation and marking for participation in activities confined to institutional time frames, social presence on networks tends to be busy as topics rise and fall in interest.
Connectivist learning is also enhanced by the stigmergic knowledge of others and the signs that they leave as they navigate through learning activities. The activities, choices, and artifacts left by previous users are mined through network analytics and presented as guideposts and paths to knowledge that new users can follow (Dron, 2006). In this way, the combination of traces of people’s actions and activities generate an emergent collective, which may be seen as a distinctive individual in itself, both greater and lesser than the sum of its parts: it is a socially constituted entity that is, despite this, soulless, a reflection of the group mind that influences but does not engage in dialogue (Dron & Anderson, 2009).
As in constructivist learning, teaching presence is created by the building of learning paths and by design and support of interactions, such that learners make connections with existing and new knowledge resources. Unlike earlier pedagogies, the teacher is not solely responsible for defining, generating, or assigning content. Rather, learners and teacher collaborate to create the content of study, and in the process re-create that content for future use by others. Assessment in connectivist pedagogy combines self-reflection with teacher assessment of the contributions to the current and future courses.
Teaching presence in connectivist learning environments also focuses on teaching by example.
A final stress to teaching presence is the challenge presented by rapidly changing technologies. No one is current on all learning and communications applications, but teachers are often less competent and have less self-efficacy; thus, connectivist learning includes learners teaching teachers and each other, in conjunction with teachers aiding the connectivist learning of all.
Learning in connectivist space is, paradoxically, plagued by a lack of connection.
In connectivist space, structure is unevenly distributed and often emergent, with that emergence seldom leading to structure that is optimally efficient for achieving learning goals.
Cognitive-behaviourist models are most notably theories of teaching and social–constructivist models are more notably theories of learning, but both still translate well into methods and processes for teaching. Connectivist models are more distinctly theories of knowledge, which makes them hard to translate into ways to learn and harder still to translate into ways to teach. Indeed, the notion of a teacher is almost foreign to the connectivist worldview, except perhaps as a role model and fellow node (perhaps one more heavily weighted or connected) in a network.
As concerns about privacy mount and we come to adopt a more nuanced approach to connections and trust, our networks are bound to become more variegated and specialized. It is already becoming clear that connectivist approaches must become more intelligent in enabling people to connect to and discover sources of knowledge.
Although the prime actors in all three generations remain the same—teacher, student, and content—the development of relationships among these three increases from the critical role of student–student interaction in constructivism to the student–content interrelationship celebrated in connectivist pedagogies, with their focus on persistent networks and user-generated content. The popular community-of-inquiry model, with its focus on building and sustaining cognitive, social, and teaching presence, can be a useful heuristic in selecting appropriate pedagogies.
It is clear that whether the learner is at the centre or part of a learning community or learning network, learning effectiveness can be greatly enhanced by applying, at a detailed level, an understanding of how people can learn more effectively: Cognitivist, behaviourist, constructivist, and connectivist theories each play an important role.
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