Category Archives: education 2.0

Personal Learning Environments, Self Directed Learning and Context

Ten days ago I had an email from Alexander Mikroyannidis from the UK Open University. “Together with some colleagues from the EU project ROLE (http://www.role-project.eu)” he said, “I’m preparing a book to be published by Springer. It will be entitled “Personal Learning Environments in Practice” and it will present the results of applying PLEs in different test-beds in the project.

For each chapter, we have invited an external expert to provide a 2-page commentary that will also be published in the book. Would you be available to write such a commentary for the chapter that describes the vision of the project?”

How could I refuse? And here is my contribution:

Research and development in learning technologies is a fast moving field.  Ideas and trends emerge, peak and die away as attention moves to the latest new thing. At the time of writing MOOCs dominate the discourse. Continue reading

Learning Layers: supporting the emergence of innovation clusters

My colleague Pekka from the University of Bremen has posted a series of useful reports on this site about the Application Partner Days, held as part of the Learning Layers project, funded by the European Commission IST programme.

Learning layers is aiming to increase the use of technology for learning in Small and Medium Enterprises in Europe, particularly through the use of mobile devices for informal learning in two ‘industry clusters, in the north German construction industry and in the medical sector in north east England.

Obviously such a project faces a number of challenges, given the slow take up of technology enhanced learning in SMEs. The Application Partner Days are designed to bring developers and researchers together with potential end users in organisations in the two sectors. And prior to the Application partner Days in north Germany, we also spent two days visiting companies and organisations in the Continue reading

The Learning Layers project scales up informal learning at the workplace

Last week Dirk, Jenny and I attended the first meeting of the European Commission IST programme Learning layers project. You are going to be hearing much more about the project on this blog, but here is a quick summary in the project’s first press release.

“With significant co-funding from the European Community, the Learning Layers project has recently started to research the role of information technologies in informal learning at the workplace. “It has been known for a long time that most learning that happens at the workplace is informal in nature”, says Tobias Ley, Professor at Tallinn University and scientific coordinator of the project, “but if we look at the learning technologies that are employed today, then most follow a very traditional model that mirrors course-based classroom learning.”

At the same time, mobile and social information and communication technologies have entered all parts of our lives. Nowadays we use them naturally to keep in contact with our friends, to seek information, to buy things and to work. Continue reading

Seven things we have learned about MOOCs

With the explosion of interest in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), both in numbers of courses and students, and in press reporting on the rise of MOOCs, it is worth thinking about the significance of all this. Here is a short version of five things that we have learned – a longer version (possibly) to follow.

  1. There is a huge pent up demand for education. MOOCs provide free and flexible access tot hose who could not previously take part in education. That includes not only from poorer countries with a limited education infrastructure but also from rich countries. And whilst some of the demand my be due to people wishing to improve their qualification, for many others the main motivation is personal interest.
  2. Continue reading