Monthly Archives: September 2014

Experimenting with Learning Layers tool

This autumn I have unique chance to be a teacher, not a researcher, who experiments with some technology in course settings. Usually when conducting such case studies, I’m researcher myself and part of the development team. But my colleagues from Learning Layers asked to agree with the experiment and sure, lets try.

The course is “Apprenticeship of educational technology”, where my students are at the practice place for eight weeks and try to get familiar with the role of the educational technologist in educational or other institution. They reflect weekly in their weblogs and perform some tasks that I give them.

This time we will experiment with the Attacher. Without being part of the development team and knowing exactly why this tool is developed, I could say that it supports learning in the community settings. Now besides the reflection-task, students are supposed to find theoretical materials from web related with practice tasks, tag them, share them, browse peers’ materials and reflect about the materials.

The first seminar went well, students agreed to be part of the experiment and lets hope the best for the research team.

Personal learning record – for me

Recently I learnt that Learning Locker, the learning record store that we use in two of our R&D projects, has a plan to develop personal learning record store or personal data locker  solution. They claim that personal learning record enables to give your learners control of their learning data; to store, sort and share their experience with the world. And their roadmap includes the concepts like publication of personal LRS, badges, highlights of user activities etc. Lot of learning involves nowadays in MOOCs (even as a drop-in with the aim not to finish the course) or by following social media channels, participating in networks, browsing blogs, following Twitter. I’m that type of learner. My formal PhD studies were highly combined with the informal studies in the Web. Combining the institutional (school/university/workplace) LRS with the personal data locker is also an option to harmonize the informal and formal learning, as stated here. In that sense, learner has an option to choose what kind of data is shared with whom. But what I miss is the sense-making of my informal learning – if and what learning networks do I have, how long time do I spend on different activities, what activity patterns and sequences emerge in my learning trajectories.

I was participating in EC-TEL last week and one of the workshops where I participated was Learning Analytics Data Sharing (LADS14). We had task in group work to think about one data sharing scenario with the possible challenges, risks, possibilities and so on. Our group worked with the case of informal learning when learning takes place in different settings with different tools, medias and mediums. And here the concept of personal LRS seemed appropriate. Due to my other workshop, I left the workshop earlier, so I don’t know what was the final solution and if the personal LRS was part of the solution or not, but it is not important anyway.

I like the idea that learner itself is the owner of data that has been generated in different learning context (school, university, workplace learning, vocational training and so on). Learner has an access to data about learning experiences in different platforms, which promotes the sense-making and reflection part of the stored data and learning in general. I believe it supports self knowledge through self-tracking and has an impact to my learning behaviour. Finally I consider the sharing of my learning experiences with others important, which should be supported my the personal data locker.

My professional activities have been around learning analytics a little now. By searching and reading different studies, approaches, applications I aim to improve my research and development activities. But in my personal and informal life.. I would like to play around with the personal data locker.