Week 2 TEL One Approaches to Learning

  • Have you seen any evidence of these different approaches in online contexts, e.g. in technology-enhanced courses you teach? How did these differences manifest themselves in terms of online learning behaviour?

I have seen all 3 approaches being used by subsets of students on the same course. Some will actively engage with the course in order to gain the most from the course i.e. the Strategic approach. A few will also take the Deep approach and will reflect on the ideas covered in the course.  There will inevitable be some students who will take the Surface approach. In terms of online learning behaviour, the behaviour is demonstrated through engagement with optional activities like webinars, engagement on discussion forums and on social media and in blogs etc. But, a student can quite easily move through the 3 different approaches over the course of the learning. This change in behaviour can be influenced either by external factors (things that may be happening in the student’s life at that point in time) or by the student’s attitude to the course changing (due to staff/delivery/content of course).

  • Are you leaning towards one approach in particular on ocTEL, and if so why might that be? Perhaps you are employing strategies from more than one approach?

I have adopted all 3 strategies thus far in the course although less of the Surface approach (hopefully). Time has been a big factor in determining which approach I take and when. I would ideally like to follow the Strategic/Deep approaches at all times. But this requires many things – self motivation, determination, organisational skills, the ability to learn and engage and above all TIME! Leading a very busy life and working a job where I am away for at least 1 night every week means that time is precious. I do reflect and relate to past experience/ideas especially after engaging activities like the webinar (Deep). On Sundays (which I have now set aside for ocTEL for these few weeks), I do try and do as much as I can in terms of activities and get badges etc. (a bit of the Deep/Strategic approaches). I try to avoid the Surface approach as much as I can but I did find myself making 3 posts (very quickly) recently just to get a badge. A bit of the Surface approach?

  • Are learners who tend to take a ‘surface’ approach likely to learn more or less effectively online versus face-to-face?

I think the Surface approach as described in the question (i.e. no reflection, memorising facts and difficulty making sense of new ideas) is counterproductive ANYWHERE! I personally don’t see how an online or a face to face approach could help produce a different outcome with the Surface approach. Learning in my opinion is about gaining new knowledge, challenging existing ideas, developing new concepts and adopting the knowledge into practice where possible. So, by simply memorising facts and having difficulty making sense of new ideas, how can learning be effective? Is that even real learning? This is just my opinion by the way.

  • How might we encourage ‘deep learning’ in online contexts?

In my opinion, deep learning can be facilitated to a great extent by having the right environment and giving learnings the right conditions. This means providing suitable technologies, providing ample opportunities to engage, discuss, challenge and reflect. Whilst a lot of the responsibility for the technology and for the providing the opportunities to learn, lies with the course organiser, designers and the staff, the learner also needs to take responsibility. The learner must ensure that they are actually committed to the course and are undertaking the learning for the right reasons. If the learning exercise doesnt appeal to the learner, there is no motivation to reflect and to undertake Deep learning in my opinion.

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