Method: A schema for mapping tools and activities to dimensions of learning

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Gráinne Conole
25 November 2008

Conole et al. (2004) have developed a pedagogical framework that abstracts out three main dimensions of learning. The 3 dimensions are:

  • Individual – social: i.e. any learning activity can be located somewhere along a spectrum from being an individual, isolated experience to being essentially social in nature
  • Active – passive: i.e. some learning activities involve active engagement, whereas other aspects of learning may occur through some degree of passive immersion
  • Information – experience: learning activities vary in the degree to which they are information or experience based.

This framework can be used as a basis for mapping out the use of different tools. The dimensional basis of the framework means that you can consider the three dimensions as spectral and hence look at tool use along each of these spectral – i.e. not as a binary decision – so use of a tool to support an activity does not have to be labeled as simple an individual or a social activity it can lie somewhere along the spectrum of individual-social.

Try to indicate the location of the following ‘tools in use ‘on the three dimensions (or continua) of the framework:

  • A blog as a reflective diary
  • A blog as a collective resource for collating references within a student group
  • A web search: i.e. students search the web and collate resources against a given set of criteria
  • A drill and practice exercise: i.e. students work through a set of resource and then complete a formative self-assessment
  • A structured online debate: i.e. students choose a side for or against an issue, post their views and read other postings
  • Use of an e-portfolio: i.e. students gather evidence against learning outcomes in a portfolio.

A diagram of the framework can be found in Conole (2008), ariadne article, link below.

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