Some recent thoughts about interactive learning

Here is a selection of recent editorials I have written for Interactive Learning Environments – all available online in recent issues (Volume 26 to date).

Methodological choices for research into interactive learning in Issue 2

Stop daydreaming, pay attention in Issue 3

Reframing innovative teaching in Issue 4

Research limitations: the need for honesty and common sense in Issue 5

and in Issue 6 Student disengagement: is technology the problem or the solution?

If the links don’t work, go to the journal page for Interactive Learning Environments.

These are all editorials, my own thoughts and arguments based on my reading of a huge number of submitted papers and linked to the papers in each issue. This is one of the most focussed e-learning journals where papers must be related to interactive learning and must have a technology contribution. If you have something to say in this field, aim for a rigorous literature review and/or a longitudinal study or one which takes account of a broad range of learning situations or learners. We regularly reject single case studies of tutor’s successful personal innovations if they applied in just one case and do not add to the readers’ sense of what contributes to debate in this field.

Oh, and….try reading the author guidelines for the journal – I would love it if everyone did before submitting!!


Mostly online business learning?

We need some better words to describe the diversity of blended learning.

This brand new course BSc Professional Development in Business – which is the degree underpinning University of Brighton’s Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship (CMDA) – will be “mostly” online with just six days of face to face workshops. Intended for employed staff who wish to study for a business degree alongside their paid work, the course materials are primarily licensed from the Open University and are thus of excellent quality. The assessment is done by UoB academic staff and meets the needs of employers as well as students by offering a work-based element to most assessment.

Unlike our full time undergraduates, these students will have short breaks at Easter, Summer and Christmas, following a more work-oriented schedule.

But to compare this method of study with the typical blended uni course would be comparing apples and buckets – most “blended” uni courses favour face to face sessions with some online backup and further activities or reading, ie just an extensive use of a virtual learning environment.

MOOCs are spawning new acronyms all the time so what about MOBs and SOBs (mostly online blends and slightly online blends)??


ICERI conference November 2015

Unable to attend this conference in Seville later this month, I have registered as a virtual delegate, and look forward to visiting the conference online.

Meanwhile, my paper is submitted to the conference plus a presentation, but that didn’t seem helpful, so I have recorded a video to explain the paper and my findings and placed it in YouTube here

The paper is about the experience of developing an undergraduate business degree with a Problem Based Learning ethos. That experience is in its final stages, as the final graduates should leave next summer and the course is closed to new entrants. Was it a failure? Not for the students, who are some of the best motivated final year students I have worked with, tackling challenges and supporting each others’ learning readily. Perhaps for the staff team, who put so much energy and developmental effort into understanding PBL and creating great authentic experiences for students with local businesses. But there is always something to be learned, and the paper, and video discuss some of the learning outcomes from this experience.

Note added after the conference 27th Nov 2015:

Not only did I have full access online to all the presentations at this conference during the event, able to review keynotes and search for all papers, virtual and present, but I have now also received my virtual delegate pack containing the normal conference goodies (pen/pencil/notebook/postits/certificate of participation/certificate of presentation) but also a data key with pdfs of all presentations on pdf from the proceedings.

This was my first experience of being a virtual delegate and I would strongly recommend it – this conference was well organised throughout and I will be looking to consider a virtual presentation again next year.