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Lesley's learning journey, 23rd January 2013 (2)

Putting a toe in the water and hoping there are no e-piranhas under the surface

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Lesley Shield
24 January 2013

I had to put the marking heap aside for a while to clear my mind, so I've turned to Week 2 of the MOOC. Finally! So, first things first... I've watched the introductory video and reinforced my view that I'm not a visual or aural learner. I switch off about 30 seconds into any video, particularly if the production values are poor, as with this one. I wanted a transcript. I couldn't find one. I'm sure there is one, but where? I can read so much faster than someone can present this sort of information and I don't get distracted by the person's appearance or voice.

Irritated, I moved on to the next part of the week - looked at the week's plan, tried to edit it and failed. Annoying. And the colours were inaccessible for me! All that marking has made me really grumpy, I fear because not only was I spitting feathers by this stage, but I'd also noticed some misplaced apostrophes (not just one, which would have been bad enough, but more than one!) on the Week 2 web page. The abuse of the apostrophe is something that sends me up into the air - I go into shops to tell the storekeeper about the error of their ways, I correct blackboards outside greengrocers' stores.. I point my students to websites such as The Dreaded Apostrophe... But I digress.

Learning point #1: The world will not end because the apostrophe has been abused.

Learning point #2: You're not a visual / aural learner and are easily distracted by home-made videos, presenters (yes, sometimes you look for OU recordings from the 1970s so you can scream with laughter at the clothes) and voices. Get over it. As your old mother used to say, and probably still would if she were able to read this now, 'It's just as well we're not all the same. It would be a very boring world if we were.'

In fact, i's been a good experience because it's reminded me of the need to remember that different learners need different types of support and that learning designs need to take this into consideration.

So, to the learnng outcomes for the week (step away from the apostrophe, breathe deeply, look at the learning outcomes as a whole...) - there's nothing in there that I would disagree with (avert your eyes from that apostrophe). I need to:

  • Review & revise your understanding of learner context / relevance to learning design.
  • Increase my awareness of approaches to context for learning design.
  • Evaluate the relevance of contextual approaches to my own learning design practice. I enjoy a bit of evaluation (can you tell?) but must practise being more positive even if I disagree.
  • Plan further learning about contextual approaches. Research perhaps. Desk research is fun. I can imagine nothing better (and I'm not even being ironic).

How will I evaluate my own progress? That really is the same as asking, 'How long is a piece of string?' in this case, it seems to me. However, let's be pracical. If, by the end of Week 2 I've been able to identfiy and evaluate at least one approach/technique to the extent that I can decide whether it's something I would find useful in my own practice, that, for me, would be evidence of progress. I have a project outline to apply different instruments to, and I can spend a little time doing that without incurring risk (other than having my attempts mercilessly critiqued by others). So:

Learning outcome #1: test my understanding of various approaches by applying them to my project outline. This should give me the luxury of trying things out without the pressure of needing to produce something immediately robust.

Learning outcome #2: attempt to practice what I preach and take a collaborative approach to this (ironically, I encourage learners to work collaboratively but I really dislike collaborative working. It slows progress so much!)

Enough for one week, I think. Those are fairly big learning outcomes.

And now I must call the Society for the Protection of Apostrophes. With luck, they'll be here soon and will be able to administer tea and sympathy to the poor, wounded creatures.

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