Connecting dots of digital learning

#mLearning as a Catalyst to Transform Pedagogy towards Heutagogy

Documented in the paper: (PDF file : iArchitechture), the potential for using a community of practice model built by mobile social media for supporting pedagogical transformation in broader educational contexts is illustrated.

iArchi[tech]ture: Developing a mobile social media framework for pedagogical transformation
Thomas Cochrane, AUT University, New Zealand
David Rhodes, Te Puna Ako, Unitec, New Zealand

The goal of the research was to facilitate a move to a learning environment that is a student-directed, involving: team-building, collaboration, and flexible contexts beyond the physical studio environment that empowers students as content producers and learning context generators, guided by lecturers who effectively model the use of the technology. This bridges the formal learning environment of the Architecture Studio and the informal learning environments of situated authentic practice.

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P-A-H Continuum

The projects introduced mlearning as a catalyst for pedagogical change, moving from instructivist teacher-directed pedagogy to social constructivist pedagogy, bridging the pedagogy-andragogy-heutagogy (PAH) continuum (Luckin, et al., 2010), (see Table 1).

PAH continuum

To explain the difference between the three approaches, the paper refers to Luckin et al. (2010):

It can be argued that the value in a pedagogic approach is in developing the learner’s understanding of a subject. The value in an andragogic approach is in developing an understanding of how to negotiate a way through the learning process. The value in a heutagogic approach is in developing the understanding that one is empowered to look at the learning context afresh and take decisions in that context. Thus this developmental view implies that learners need to understand how subjects are constructed, what is canonical and, in the sense of learner-generated contexts, that learning is a social process of discussion, negotiation, and partnership, where learning enables you to go out into the world equipped not only to solve problems, but also how to identify new areas worthy of your attention. (p. 78)

Critical Success Factors informed

Informed by the analysis of the outcome of 30 projects researched (seven different course contexts) led to the identification of six mobile social media critical success factors (Cochrane, in press) and development of strategies to support these critical success factors (Cochrane & Bateman, 2011a). These included:

1. The pedagogical integration of the technology into the course and assessment.
2. Lecturer modelling of the pedagogical use of the tools.
3. Creating a supportive learning community.
4. Appropriate choice of mobile devices and web 2.0 social software.
5. Technological and pedagogical support.
6. Creating sustained interaction that facilitates the development of ontological shifts, both for the lecturers and the students.

Takeaways from this paper

  • Although the rate of change of mobile technology is very high (so are web 2.0 tools and software), the choice of a pedagogical framework and foundational pedagogical theory can guide the appropriate pedagogical developments.
  • The rise of mobile application ecosystems that bridge information, content and productivity with laptop or desktop computing via web 2.0 platforms, has created a mobile learning framework that can be easily appropriated by a wide range of educators without requiring specialist computing skills, creating the potential for mainstream adoption of mlearning in tertiary education.
  • WMDs can be utilized as content creation devices for students’ online e-portfolios, and for establishing a digital identity that can become a key element of their ongoing professional careers. WMDs can also be utilized as communication and collaboration tools leveraging an increasing range of mobile social networking tools.
  • mLearning projects need to focus upon the unique affordances of WMDs rather than replicating what can be done on a laptop computer on a smaller screen. For example, geotagging of images and video, augmented reality (e.g., Wikitude), microblogging (e.g. Twitter), and mobile codes (e.g. QR codes) allow learners to generate meaningful content or interact with content within supporting context,  these aren’t possible on laptop computers.
  • At the end, Table 3 illustrates the alignment between a move along the PAH continuum, the implementation of the researcher’s six critical success factors, and the ontological shifts required of the lecturer and student participants. These shifts were supported in thus framework by the establishment and nurturing of an intentional community of practice around each project.

Check out the Table 3 for details, and explore the potential of transferring the framework into a variety of educational contexts

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