PERSONAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS FOR SELF-DETERMINED, ACTIVE AND SOCIAL LEARNING
Technische Universität München (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Currently, we are developing the universal personal learning environment "MyLearnSpace". For the requirement analysis, we had to outline the future learning scenario, representing the application context of our system. As a second step, we conducted interviews about possible use cases with future users. These two steps resulted in a first design outline that will be described in this paper.
In our opinion, the typical learning scenario in European schools will change dramatically during the next decade. This change will be enforced by the prescribed inclusion of disabled students and by the increase of immigration rates, of highly qualified personnel, and of the knowledge of mankind. In combination, this will lead to all-day schools with very diverse students that have to be motivated properly and taught very efficiently in order to meet the increasing requirements.
The change will be supported by the modern understanding of human learning as situated, socially embedded, active construction of knowledge. Additionally, recent motivation theories postulate autonomy, awareness of competence and social relatedness as preconditions of motivation. According to these approaches, it seems obvious that efficient learning scenarios aren’t restricted by closed classrooms and by fixed time-tables any more. Instead, the learning process is steered, supported and controlled by larger learning tasks. These tasks are assigned to the students by the teachers in consideration of their individual abilities and prerequisite knowledge. The students work on these tasks in small groups for 1-2 weeks and decide themselves at which time they would work on which task. They try to solve small problems on their own by asking peers or searching information. Only in crucial problems the teacher will be asked. The teachers coach the students during these tasks and certify their individual learning outcomes.
Such scenarios have to be supported by modern technologies. Regarding the information input, more and more material of high quality is available on the internet, e.g. within the recently booming MOOCs. Learning collaborations could be supported by social networks, which are connecting millions of people all over the world. Every student owns a powerful, ubiquitously available computing and information device in form of a smartphone. Finally, cloud computing makes it easy to share information over different hardware platforms.
MyLearnSpace is intended to be able to manage all materials and information related to the learning process, in particular input information, learning tasks, individual progress of students and the social relations to peer learners. The system should be adaptive to the specific needs of teachers or learners as far as any possible, in particular considering the accessibility by disabled learners and also to the most prevalent hardware platforms.
Regarding the development process of our system, we picked a spiral strategy, starting by building a first prototype, which will be used to define the requirements in close collaboration with the first users. We have conducted interviews with the members of our local media advisory board that is supervising about 70 schools. Each expert was asked to describe a typical use case of the system as detailed as possible. Additionally, an extensive group discussion was conducted.
According to the first results, one of the most crucial challenges will be to identify the dimensions of adaptability.
Keywords: Personal learning environment, learning scenario.