"The proposed invisible learning concept is the result of several years of research and work to integrate diverse perspectives on a new paradigm of learning and human capital development that is especially relevant in the context of the 21st century. This view takes into account the impact of technological advances and changes in formal, non-formal, and informal education, in addition to the 'fuzzy' metaspaces in between. Within this approach, we explore a panorama of options for future development of education that is relevant today. Invisible Learning does not propose a theory, but rather establishes a metatheory capable of integrating different ideas and perspectives. This has been described as a protoparadigm, which is still in the 'beta' stage of construction."
The first edition of the book has been published in Spanish.
The authors of this work are:
Cristóbal Cobo (PhD) University of Oxford.
John Moravec (PhD) University of Minnesota.
The article discusses a proposal for introducing e-learning into a traditional university that is based on the educational change concept. It reviews the major obstacles that hinder the introduction of e-learning into American Higher Education institutions, and delineates strategies and incentives universities should implement to accomplish the task. Regarding the possibility of fully online degree programs and blended learning programs, the article also address the following: (a) how to build the program, (b) sell the program within the educational setting, and (c) assess the effectiveness on a continual basis. It is important for traditional universities to consider an e-learning and hybrid proposal to keep a competitive edge.
cMinds aims to deploy information technology, and specifically visual programming concepts, as an avenue for developing analytical, structural, and creative thinking among elementary school children through blended learning activities that can be integrated into existing school curricula as complementary educational tools.
Analytical thinking is a transversal learning skill that can help an individual develop experience and excel in wide areas, academic, social, civic, and professional. It facilitates skilled reading, writing, reasoning independently of the thematic area, problem solving, evaluation of values, and informed decision-making. It helps individuals set goals, develop alternatives, and identify sound courses of implementation.
Despite the applicability of analytical thinking throughout an individual’s lifetime, development of the skill in early life in the context of school curricula in primary schools is not representative of its importance. Current teaching avenues mainly deploy math, which provides a general theoretical background. However, the interest of children in math education may lag behind other subjects as children do not see direct links to everyday life. Interestingly enough analytical thinking is missing from early formal technology education. This is predominantly a result of teaching approaches that follow dry presentations and exercises. Current teaching practices fail to leverage the inherent link between technology education and creativity, which emerges when children are encouraged to find innovative solutions through brainstorming and problem solving sessions.
nformation technology provides a new medium for developing analytical thinking through programming concepts: it is precise, structured, step-wise, and requires the setting of goals, exploration of alternatives, and evaluation of implementation approaches in a typical problem solving, project-based methodological structure. Learning activities that explore programming concepts may serve as complementary tools for developing critical thinking in the context of science education curricula. Finally, the technology offers additional advantages, such as the option of visual solutions that can be tailored to inspire children’s curiosity, promote creativity, and increase motivation.
Activities will encourage children to analytically break down selected themes and visually demonstrate solutions that are the result of collective, creative problem solving and will take into account computer literacy levels in the selected age group. The objectives more specifically are:
- To develop age-appropriate inquiry and project-based didactical methodologies promoting analytical and structural thinking and the development of independent minds in wider inclusive, collaborative educational environments
- To develop proof of concept learning activities on the deployment of programming as an educational tool that motivates analytical thinking. The activities will encourage children to set goals, explore alternatives, evaluate solutions, and iterate for optimization. Learning design will ensure quick early results instilling a sense of success and encouraging further engagement. Individual work and class collaboration will demonstrate how different solutions may work better for different individuals
- To build a collaborative school network through which children and teachers can share ideas, findings, know-how, and good practice recommendations
- To validate methodologies and learning activities through their deployment in real life educational settings in several countries, including Greece, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Sweden
- Finally, to reach a wide range of stakeholders and to promote the integration of proposed methodologies and learning design into school curricula through targeted dissemination and adoption strategies
DIsclaimer: This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
How to promote social media uptake in VET and adult training systems in Europe – practical example of the “SVEA” European project
Social media applications such as Twitter, blogs and Facebook are used more and more in our daily personal and professional lives. Also, many educational institutions are becoming increasingly aware that such social media applications can be effectively integrated into their learning and lifelong learning delivery systems.
However, very few are currently actually using these applications to innovate their training systems and to offer more learner-centred services.
To promote the benefits and, hence, the uptake of social media within the vocational education and adult training system, further targeted measures are needed. One such measure would be to provide trainers with the knowledge needed for them to integrate Web 2.0 applications in their training delivery and encourage use across the vocational education and training (VET) sector.
However, before training in the use of Web 2.0 applications can be developed effectively, it is necessary to understand both the barriers to their use and the needs of the user, which have to be taken into account when developing new training methods that integrate social media applications. This article outlines the barriers and challenges, as well as the opportunities offered by Web 2.0 tools, which are currently influencing European training systems in the development of more collaborative and learner-centred vocational and adult training.
The paper will demonstrate how learner-centred training elements such as a collaborative online training platform can be integrated into course systems and provide the functionality needed to offer targeted services to learners as well as trainers, supporting lifelong learning in Europe. The paper will also describe how tailored training modules are being developed to support the trainers from VET and adult training institutions to implement the use of social media tools in their courses.
This article is based on the first results emerging from the SVEA project following a regional analysis on the uptake of social media in VET and adult training systems in Europe. This analysis was carried out in five European regions: Baden-Württemberg (D), Vlaams-Brabant (BE), Extremadura (ES), Piemonte (I) and Wales (UK).
SVEA is funded by the European Commission through the Leonardo da Vinci Lifelong Learning Programme.
Blended-learning in Science and Technology. A Collaborative Project-Based Course in Experimental Physics
Overall, collaborative projects were positively rated by students, who appreciated experiencing a real-life “R&D” situation, and said that it enhances knowledge acquisition. Professors observed that this teaching method promotes stronger participation and a more proactive attitude. Furthermore, it was confirmed that well designed e-learning tools and activities are useful in supporting self-learning, a precondition for a creative approach to lab activities and projects. Synchronous online sessions for problem-solving were highly appreciated, because they allow software sharing and immersive remote communication. On the contrary, web-forums did not reach the expected results.
Our conclusion is that e-learning and experimental collaborative activities can be successfully combined to foster meaningful learning, although this is demanding in terms of effort and time. Collaborative projects and rich learning environments are two key features in constructivist instructional design and help students to develop a proactive attitude towards learning, as they have to deal with many kinds of resources instead of receiving a closed set of information, and this requires knowledge management skills. Furthermore, students need to put in place knowledge and skills to implement the project within a group. This implies the possibility to learn together with the others in a dynamic process, but also the need to explain, share and possibly defend particular ideas within the work-group.
In this article the intervention framework of the project is presented and two of the seven eLearning pilots with directly employment-related learning topics are described in more detail.
Four main results of the pilot project eHospital are highlighted:
The eLearning offers provided by eHospital were very much appreciated by the patients and hospital staff involved. This demonstrates the need for further initiatives which help to ease the transition between hospital and employment.
New technologies have a considerable potential for enabling patients to use the time in hospital for maintaining or restoring their employability: Hospital patients are restricted in their mobility and are forced to adhere to a rather rigid hospital routine. They can therefore profit from being independent on the time-space arrangements of conventional face-to-face learning. Also, social interaction and joint learning activities with peers become possible with the help of virtual tools.
Specific educational strategies need to be developed for patient learners. Only blended learning can be a successful eLearning strategy in a hospital context. The personal relationship between patient learner and tutor is crucial.
And, at last, the provision of eLearning for hospital patients poses considerable organisational challenges: New partnerships between education providers and healthcare institutions need to be formed. Different – public and private – mechanisms to fund learning in hospitals need to be developed in times of increasing financial pressures in the health sector and in education and training.
At the start of the inquiry, October 2006, existing technologies for VAL seemed very limited in what they could deliver and suggested a simple six-form model of potential sorts of VAL. In less than 2 years, there have been considerable advances both in technological developments and in the levels of usage. What was cumbersome is becoming more accessible, more user-friendly yet sophisticated and is increasingly offering viable alternatives to f2f collaboration.
However, despite these technological advances, with more examples of VAL practice going on than we thought, simple technologies such as email and audio-conferencing are proving successful.
VAL emerges as a variety of action learning in its own right with its own strengths and weaknesses. The practitioners of the various approaches to VAL frequently assert different potential benefits from this way of doing AL. Just as VAL should not necessarily be measured against f2f AL, so one must caution against making assumptions that any one form is necessarily better than any other, even where communication possibilities appear to be restricted. Opinion is divided on whether VAL is a substitute for f2f AL or whether it has advantages that may lead it to being preferred over f2f AL. These arguments await further research and exploration.
Perspectives on project based teaching and “blended learning” to develop ethical awareness in students
Using true projects as tools, students get a “real” world orientation and their work suddenly gets a value beyond just the demonstrated competence of the pupil. The project has given the students a unique opportunity to get involved emotionally and practically in the field of Social Informatics. The Computer Science students have provided both Save the Children and the National Criminal Investigation Service with reports on various topics such as secure chat, camera phones and possible abuse, etc. This exceptional cooperation between higher education and public and private organizations makes the project not only unique, but might also be a major factor to boost the willingness of students to learn Social Informatics and improve their skills in the various topics of the subject.
In an increasingly globalized world, we should also strive to make both Computer and Teacher education more global, with global ethical themes (Kirkwood, 2001) that are recognizable and relevant both nationally and internationally. To fight sexual abuse of children in digital media using project based teaching in relevant fields of education, is just such an example of a global ethical theme.
Nesna University College is the only Computer Science education in the world which has sexual abuse of children as the main topic on the Computer Science curriculum.
The courses investigated here develop a new kind of management learning through a combination of traditional face-to-face workshops and e-learning. Thus in favour of a blended learning concept, at the same time, the further analysis presented in this article identifies three potentials related to the e-learning dimension:
1) Integration of e-learning into the daily practice of employees,
2) Focus on communication and collaboration within organizations, and
3) Provision of external human resources to the organization.
These potentials take e-learning beyond the traditional just-in-time and just-in-place organizational e-learning. Learning is not seen as isolated events taking place parallel to an organization’s practice, but rather as an integrated part of the organizational structure.
Along the lines indicated by the recent development of Web 2.0 and social software, e-learning is moving beyond utilization of the internet for knowledge management, as a store of information, or for course management. Instead, the internet may be used for participation, communication, sharing and collaboration.
Within organizations aspiring to become development organisations, these new e-learning tools offer a series of opportunities for creating informal learning environments in which learning and development are integrated parts of a continuous organizational practice. An ubiquitous integration of e-learning in organizational development moves away from a blended learning concept and towards pure e-learning supported by online tools for communication and collaboration within the organization.
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Within this context, it was important to adopt a set of teaching methods, communication techniques and specific software that enabled this course to differ from the traditional methods of teaching: demonstrative lecturing and students adopting a more or less passive role in the process. After innovating in relation to the tools used in the process of teaching/learning, one should not forget to change the methodologies to encourage students to engage in discussion and adopt an active role in the process. In my point of view, this must be the main goal. This was achieved through several types of information and software utilities, not only from a distance perspective, but also in relation to the face-to-face interaction in classes, where a problem solving approach for each group as their communication projects evolved was used.
The results from this case study highlighted, among other things, that the learning process that emerges from the creative use of an e-learning platform strengthens the teachers’ capacity to work as a team. This means that this technology worked as a real catalyst for a new teacher/student interaction, making communication much easier and giving the students a more active role in the learning process.