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Design for problem and project based learning in a networked society
Symposium Organiser: Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld, Aalborg University
The networked society is challenging the localisation-based organisation of learning and education, especially for professional masters. The professionals need and want to be able to participate in continuing education and life long learning throughout life, however they don’t have to or want to move to university cities in order to pursue a master as well as they want to integrate the study with work based experiences and challenges. Therefore, there is a need to explore and develop new ways of organising educational programmes at masters level, which respond to the needs of the learner, utilize the opportunities of new ways of organising research based teaching and learning at the highest level.
The solution is to design for research based learning organised as networked learning. Doing so offers access to a dynamic and flexible learning environment for students as well as professors.
MIL (Master in ICT and Learning) is a masters programme organised as a networked learning environment for professionals and professors. MIL is in 2010 celebrating 10 years of birthday. More than 300 masters have graduated, most of them playing an active role in the transformation of the Danish educational system integrating new learning approaches supported by ICT. MIL as an institution in itself is a network, based in collaboration among leading research centres within five Danish universities on different core aspects of ICT and learning.
This Symposium gives us an opportunity to reflect on selected issues and practices within MIL. We have selected four issues to explore, reflect and discuss more deeply:
• Overall design of a networked learning master environment for
The overall theoretical approach is based in socio-cultural learning and cognition, and the methodological approach is practice based research.
Symposia participants and paper abstracts
Design of a Networked Learning Master Environment for
Professionals – using the approach of problem based learning
to establish a community of practice
Problem-oriented Project Studies – the role
of the teacher as supervising / facilitating the study group in its learning
Exploring the Digital Democratic Dialogue in Networked
A Theoretical Design for Learning Model addressing
the Networked Society
Design of a Networked Learning Master Environment for Professionals – using the approach of problem based learning to establish a community of practice
Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld, Aalborg University
The paper is presenting the overall learning design of MIL (Master in
ICT and Learning). The learning design is integrating the principles of:
1. Problem and project based learning 2. Networked learning / learning
in communities of practice. The paper discusses how these principles interact
productively in the design of a networked learning environment for professionals.
The paper challenge the definition of networked learning focussing on
connections. This definition has been important to throw light upon the
importance of weak ties, and how much weak ties are used within networks.
However in order to really use the potentials of the socio cultural understanding
of learning as based in relationships and connections we need a stronger
concept of networked learning as a socio-technical way of organising learning,
which make learners interact, connect, engage, relate and collaborate
on joint enterprises and activities, through both strong and weak ties,
and to dynamically accumulate and rework concepts, artefacts and knowledge
in a variety of forms and from a variety of sources. The MIL case based
on problem and project based learning demonstrates how this understandings
of networked learning can be organised for.
Problem-oriented project studies – the role of the teacher as supervising / facilitating the study group in its learning processes
Oluf Danielsen, Roskilde Universitet
This contribution focuses on 'problem based learning' (however we prefer the notion of ‘problem-oriented project studies’) and the role of the teacher in such a context. The classic traditional role as an expert deciding the curriculum, providing lectures and seminars, giving assignments and marking papers / essays is complemented and in some way overruled by a new role as supervisor and facilitator for the group of students working with a research problem, they themselves have picked. However different dimensions of this new teacher role can be seen – from expert in an academic field (result-oriented focusing on how the final product demonstrates the students’ ‘correct’ way to handle the academic aspects of the subject in mind) to a role more focusing on processes, methodological dimensions and stressing the importance of a reflexive approach. Some teachers may even tend to take on a role of a ‘therapist’, questioning and assisting the members of the group in the complex task of acting together with fellow students in an uncertain and volatile context and environment.
Democratic Collaborative Dialogue and Negotiation of Meaning in Digital Teaching and Learning Environments: Reflections
Elsebeth Korsgaard Sorensen
This paper explores, from a theoretical perspective, the methodological potential of digital democratic dialogue as a vehicle for enhancing intercultural collaborative education in networked learning environments. It examines the dialogical approach to design, which has been practiced, developed and unfolding within parts of MIL (Master programme in ICT and Learning) throughout the last 10 years, guided by a design based research perspective. Theoretically, among other theoretical positions, the paper draws on Wittgenstein’s notion of ‘language games’. The paper makes a plea for the notion of language games as a means of identifying the smallest analytical unit of democratic dialogues in digital negotiation of meaning.
Enhancement of dialogic quality in computer supported collaborative learning processes on the Web appears a broad, complex and multi-faced challenge. The central challenge is to identify and employ aspects of instructional design that stimulate and support the evolution of collaborative democratic dialogue in digital environments. A related challenge is the task of choosing criteria for the evaluation/assessment of these processes. Addressing these issues usually involves establishing balanced design criteria in the instructional marriage between technology and pedagogy. It also presumes a rooting in a set of values as well as an ethical dimension concerning inter human and intercultural co-existence. If we think beyond simply creating an online mechanism for dialog to creating a framework that will promote high-quality interaction and allow for relevant evaluation/assessment, we must search for the appropriate, educating analytical unit. In order to do so, I need to start from a clarification of the learning perspective behind the design and construct the analytical unit from this perspective.
Departing from previous research, the paper presents a theoretically
based conceptual framework based on the notion of “collaborative
learning in online communities of practice” (Dillenbourg et al.,
1995; Harasim, 1995; Koschmann, 1994; Wenger, 1998) for understanding
and identifying collaborative knowledge building dialogue for democratic
citizenship. This includes identification of an alternative analytical
and evaluative unit in distributed collaborative knowledge building on
the Web, inspired by the concept of “language games” (Wittgenstein,
1974). I also discuss implications of this for design learning processes
that allow students to collaboratively develop “knowledge tapestries”
through meta-awareness of how such language game structure is developed.
The paper builds on previous reports on collaborative knowledge building
(e.g. Sorensen and Takle, 2001).
Janni Nielsen, Copenhagen Business School
The transition from the industrial to the networked society produces contradictions that challenge the educational system and force it to adapt to new conditions. In a Danish virtual Master in Information and Communication Technologies and Learning (MIL) these contradictions appear as a field of tension between time resources and the demand for educational quality. The size of curriculum is growing while the time available for learning is continuously decreasing. We teach for deep learning but are confronted by students’ cost-benefit strategies when they navigate through the study programme under time pressure. To meet these challenges a Design for Learning Model has been developed. The aim is to provide a scaffold that ensures students´ acquisition of the subject matter within a time limit and at a learning quality that support their deep learning process during a subsequent period of on-line study work. In the process of moving from theory to application our model passes through three stages: 1) Conceptual modelling; 2) Orchestration, and 3) Operationalization that direct the students’ performance in practice when the design model is applied. Moving from conceptual modelling and orchestration to operationalization is a move from the generic theoretical modelling into a specific description of an application of the model in a specific context. We discuss our theoretical Design for Learning Model arguing that the model gives birth to scaffolding which enables students to maintain progression in the learning process and develop Networked Society competencies.