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Graham Attwell
16 November 2009

Microlearning – Examples, Challenges, and Conceptual Considerations - Theo Hug, University of Innsbruck

Even if we think of microlearning as a fruitful and useful concept, and even if we agree on potentials of the examples and scenarios for future developments, however, critical issues and questions should be addressed such as the following:

  • If we take learning processes as processes of transformation which are based on processes of meaning-making of individuals in specific contexts, and if we are focussing on micro dimensions, aren't we then underestimating systemic dimensions, power relations, efforts of "education towards truth" (cf. Hug 2008), and organized practices through which subjects are governed (cf. Weber & Maurer 2006)?
  • Looking at the relation and relevance of institutional and personal aspects of learning environments, how can meaningful learning be promoted?
  • Isn't it all about bits and pieces loosely joined (D. Weinberger)? Isn't microlearning the problem considered itself to be the solution?
  • Isn't microlearning mainly about computer literacy or digital fluency? Which literacy modes have to be considered if we want to avoid technology fallacies?
  • Along with that: If we think of microlearning other than in the sense of formal or informal modes of "flickering minds" (Oppenheimer 2003), how can we conceptualize educational claims and their relation to microlearning, literacy modes, as well to formal, non-formal and informal learning?

Is ‘learning activity’ the answer to the content/context question? - Joergen Bang

In his famous article Encoding/decoding from 1980 Stuart Hall formulates a paradox: “In the moment when a historical event passes under the sign of discourse, it is subject to all the complex formal ‘rules’ by which language signifies. To put it paradoxically, the event must become a ‘story’ before it can become a communicative event.” (Hall 1980: 129).v Although Hall is primarily thinking about mass communication the paradox is essential for all communication including learning. Without the reflection incorporated into the storytelling process no learning takes place.

The mobile phone with all its different devices is a unique personalized communication tool available at all times and in all places. Taking into consideration that storytelling “ …like myth, do not “tell it like it is”, but “tell it like it means”” (Bird & Dardenne,1988), we are facing new possibilities for enhancing the learning process both in formal and informal surroundings.

The challenging question is: How do we do it?

Mixed Reality Learning: Exploring the Implications of Augmented Reality Learning Content- Mark Kramer.

Questions for Discussion:

• Which technological, societal and cultural transformations would be expected from augmented reality and mixed-reality learning?

• How would augmented reality learning content fundamentally change the way mobile learning scenarios are implemented and delivered?

• What will be the impact of augmented reality and mixed reality learning scenarios on education?

• Is mixed-reality learning compatible with existing formal learning structures? • How will mixed-reality learning content influence informal and non-formal learning?


Extra content

Theo Hug, Mark Kramer and myself (Joergen Bang) proposed the following structure                                     for our 'content' session:

Structure of the 2 hour session at the workshop on content issues –
Joergen Bang, Theo Hug & Mark Kramer

3 min     Hug     Introduction & Welcome
7 min    Bang    ‘Learning activities’ – towards an answer to the content/context question (conceptual                                 considerations, examples, and questions)
7 min    Hug      Microcontent und Microlearning – Critical Issues and Questions

7 min    Kramer Mixed Reality Learning: Exploring the Implications of Augmented Reality
                            Learning Content

30 min    all     three focus groups questioning a b c:

15 min    short presentations    results of the focus group discussion


36 min    all     plenary discussion – further questions, arguments, and illustrations

15 min    all    Summary perspectives & wrap up

Joergen Bang
15:34 on 24 November 2009

Embedded Content


Joergen Bang
3:23pm 24 November 2009

For the discussion in the 'content' session I have reformulated my questions:

The mobile phone may be used as a vehicle for documentation and narration (storytelling) in the learning situation.
Does a focus on this dimension in the learning tasks assigned to students/pupils encourage reflection?
Does the introduction of media in students/pupils response processes (mediation) create a room for reflection in the learning process?
Does the obligation to communicate via media create a distance to the personal experiences (a ‘verfremdung’ in Brecht’s terms) that facilitates reflection?

best wishes

Joergen Bang

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