I’ve been reflecting on the new learning model I proposed earlier, and want to share some elaborations with you. In this case, I want to elaborate on the notion of activities, and some associated properties.
First, I think it’s important to recognize that gradually, learners will take more and more ownership of choosing activities. If you’re an adult past college, you choose (with, perhaps, some guidance and support) what professional development you do: you choose books to read, conferences to attend, even perhaps choosing mentors whether agreed upon or stealth (people you follow via their blogs or tweets). We shouldn’t assume learners will have that ability, and our curricula should make explicit what good activity criteria are, and helps learners develop those skills, gradually handing off the responsibility for choosing them, with gradually released scaffolding.
Another important property of these activities is that they embed, possibly at multiple levels. So, for instance, a project to develop a prototype might have component activities to capture and represent the results of the initial analysis, and then an initial concept, and then an initial storyboard, all before the prototype is developed. Each of those would be activities with deliverables or products, and evaluation or reflection. And the prototype might be an activity that is part of an activity to develop a full application. There are lots of ways in which activities could be related.
Finally, activities can be individual or social. They can be assigned to one person, or to teams or workgroups to accomplish. The products of activities from individuals might feed into a group project, or vice-versa as well. The products of a group activity would be a group product, though the reflections could be individual or group, and there could be subsequent individual products as well.
The point is to have as widely varying description of an activity as possible, to support flexibility in designing learning experiences.
As implied in the initial post, these activities should generate products, and reflections as well, which are important for being able to provide feedback, helping shape learners’ understanding. I suppose I should dig into that more, too?
David Glow says
Clark- you are hitting on the area of high interest to me: providing feedback to shape learning. We often get in stages where we get stuck. I think if the ecosystem has a large set of assets in the activity portfolio that is shown to work for some people in developing a skill, we might be able to correlate which activities may help. I see these rich activity streams (content acquisition, performance, assessment) all “talking” with one another at one point, and adaptive engines and predictive analytics to be able to get folks “unstuck”.
Unfortunately, I could use it now because my sticking points is learning enough about semantic web to get the wrapping so the components can be identified, and the analytics/big data components to help get the right components to help users with the key question “okay, that didn’t work, but what do I do next to move forward?” If only I had some sort of ecosystem that tracked what I’ve tried, could evaluate my performance and recommend what resources might help me reach for the next rung of the ladder.
I suspect this is what I will be spending the rest of my career on. I live in an amazing time in this industry.
David, I do think that underpinning this is both a new version of a support system (avoiding the LMS label), that can do big data analytics (we built such a system in 2000, but reckon it was ahead of it’s time ;). However, at this stage I’m more focused on capturing a way of framing curricula and pedagogy (even, perhaps, linking them at the wrists and ankles) rather than focusing on the implementation.
But I think you’re spot on in regard to the opportunities; I’ve spent considerable time developing the theme you’re talking about (all too seriously), over the past decade. I think that there are real opportunities to couple Project Tin Can, portfolios, and analytics to start creating very personal coaches. I think it’s an exciting time, er, if we can find sufficient leverage to take those opportunistic steps.