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#Codesign16: The story so far – Next Gen Digital Learning Environments

#Codesign16 Launched on 31st October, so far the hashtag has appeared over 4000 times and discussion across all the challenges has been lively.

The area I am leading is Next Generation Digital Learning Environments, receiving over 600 tweets and a dozen blog posts from across the sector. We asked a range of questions, including:

  • What possibilities now exist to create the next generation of learning environments?
  • How can we harness the power of social connectivity to allow people to come and learn when they need answers to their problems?
  • How can we provide them with a system that allows social learning and still provides essential assessment and accreditation?
  • Is it possible to create chameleonic virtual environments that are responsive to staff teaching needs and adaptive to students as they go through their learning?

The Key themes emerging so far focus on the following:

Students:  and how their behaviours and learning is changing

One of the most cited papers is Gutierrez 2014, who postulated that learning is changing in four ways;

  • From Individual to Collaborative Learning
  • From Passive to Active Learning
  • The Rise of Differentiated Instruction
  • The Phenomenon of Multi-tasking

Peter Bryant highlighted this excellently in his blog post and also called for us to focus on the things that are evident in our future educations:

  • Social media
  • Participatory culture
  • Digital Citizenship!

Andrew Middleton in his post reminded also reminded us to account for the Holistic Student Experience.

There was inevitably a discussion about “what’s wrong with what we’ve already got?”

Tools: too much emphasis

  • “Swiss Army Knife” – just good enough, and not sure what they are all for
  • Tools are sweeteners for institutions to “buy”
  • Streamlining and administration over learning and teaching
  • Existing tools driving the pedagogical approach
  • Existing tools are problematic. Current platforms and systems –  closed, controlled, quantified, content-based education… the desire to control the academy…
  • Tools are seen as being of service only to the VLE – not the student not the Institution

Simon Wood in his post summed it up nicely

The VLE vendors have been stuffing more and more tools in there (each one of them just about “good enough”). Maybe to create a swiss army knife, or perhaps as yet another “sweetener” to encourage institutions to pick their product. But we can’t blame them; it works – the institutions buy it.

What next?

At the moment the consultation is still going on, and there is a lot of great discussion – so get involved using the hashtags #Codesign16 and/or #NGDLE if you write a blog post in response to this challenge let me know so I can highlight it and promote it, you can comment on this post with your thoughts – or if you want to keep them private drop me an email I’m easy to find on the Jisc website.

For the rest of the challenge let’s focus on the possible – what would you like the digital learning environments to look like – let us know.

I’ll close with Donna Lanclos’ hope for the future.

My hopes are that this is an opportunity to de-center platforms, and to re-imagine teaching and learning around the values of scholarship. To be a way to enact and make visible the networked human processes of scholarship.  A way to fight the reduction of academia to a factory for publications and “employable” students.

be part of a wider conversation
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  1. Can’t help but feel that the last quote from Donna Lanclos errs towards hoping for an ‘environment’ that academics want rather than one that people necessarily need. Some people will need the model Donna hopes for. Others will need a more direct, skills focused model. We have to be pragmatic about that. On that basis, the successful learning environments of the future are likely to vary, perhaps drastically, depending upon the aims and motivations of the learners who use them.

  2. Agree with all of this with one exception – I disagree with Lanclos – You can define success in many ways – but if we really put the learner at the centre then one of the outcomes of learning needs to be employability and engagement even if that is self employability – or you need to redefine Higher Education back to being a cloistered reflective place suitable only for a very few learners – who are aware that this is the purpose of University,

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