Participatory learning and social media

Participatory learning increases the students part of learning. The amount of freedom and responsible increases. The study path is flexible and the progress is free from place or time, learning is building a common knowledge and student is involved in learning assessment.

Critical media literacy should be taught from primary school to the end university studies. The amount of disinformation increases all the time and sometimes it is difficult to notice which information is reliable and which not. With this I mean especially social media. In Facebook I see disinformation daily. The same goes for chain messages in Whats App. Since Twitter is “more in professional use” it can be considered a bit more reliable.

Use of social media platforms is justifiable in teaching, but it may cause also problems. Social media can be used for bullying or inappropriate behavior. Some of the students may have personal reasons for not having any social media accounts and this should be option.

It is important to make sure that student know how to use ICT tools. They are taught to use them responsibly and in a safe way. Students are taught to use technology in information management and they can practice using them in interaction and networking.

Whats App groups are great for rapid communication, but when the group is big enough a constant flood of messages is just a burden and hindrance to concentration. Gladly notifications on your cell phone can be muted.

Cite Journal – Participatory Learning Through Social Media: How and Why Social Studies Educators Use Twitter
Civic Media – Henry Jenkins: Participatory Culture, Politics, and Learning
Osallistava pedagogiikka
Osallistava pedagogiikka jakaa vallan ja vastuun
Sosiaalisen median opetus ja käyttö opetuksessa (Mediakasvatuksen käsikirja, 2018)

Learning management and support systems

Learning management support systems (LMS) are soft-ware or web-based platforms that are used for administration, documentation and tracking of educational courses and learning. One of them is Moodle which is an open source, free online learning management system. In LMS you can gather all learning materials to one place. The assignments can be returned and assessed, exams can be held and teacher can easily follow the progress of each student.

Learning management systems are widely in use in educational institutes, but they are also suitable for corporation use. Using LMS has influence on the costs of education when there is no need to have a classroom or instructor. Yet it is important to remember that no matter where the students or learners are, they may need guidance. It is important to make sure that collaboration among students and with teachers is possible.

One of the main benefits of LMS is that all the learning materials are available no matter where you are. The student can return to the materials over and over again as many times as needed.
I have studied three different degree programs online during the last decade. My own experience has given me a chance to see different ways of using LMS. At its best it helps both students and teachers work, at its worst it increases frustration when something goes wrong and the system does not work as expected. Anyway LMS is one of the best things in the development of education. It makes life so much easier.

eLearning Industry – The 20 Best Learning Management Systems (2019 Update)
Types of Learning Management Systems
What is LMS ? 2020
What is Moodle?

Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS)

Electronic Performance Support system EPSS is a configuration of hardware and software. The content is accessible by employees or students. It is structured to provide information with minimal intervention by others. It helps reducing the costs of employee training and EPSS can be used to learn while working. Training videos provided can be bite-sized so they are easy to adopt and you can use them when you need them. The difference between training and performance support is that training includes a lot of context about how your going to benefit from it etc. Performance support concentrates on showing you how to it. It is giving you answers how to get something done.

According to Ant Pugh the Performance Support Infrastructure consists of “train” which can be eLearning, coaching or learning in classroom. In training you learn the context and the basics. After that you “transfer” and start practicing on your own. Then you “sustain” your new skills and improve them. For this can be used videos, social media etc.

The Journal of Technology Studies – Electronic Performance Support Systems and Technological Literacy
Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS): An Effective System for Improving the Performance of Libraries
Training VS Performance Support

Virtual reality learning environments

In the 1970s, when I started studying in elementary school, virtual reality was science fiction and the idea of ​​using virtual reality for learning purposes was very far away. By that time having a view master in classroom was an an exceptional event. Nowadays there are View-Master Virtual Reality Viewers. Back then you were able to watch 3D objects with view master. Now you are able to watch 3D videos, also for educational purposes.

Virtual Reality Learning Environment (VRLE) engages students and gives them a chance to be active part of learning. VRLE will provide new possibilities for learning environments in the near future.

In Metropolia University of Applied Sciences virtual learning environments have been developed since 2013 and nowadays there is a virtual clinic. Students of Radiography and Radiotherapy, Midwifery , Biomedical Laboratory Science and Oral Hygienist degrees are able to train in a multi-professional environment. There in 360-panoramapicture of laboratory. Students can move, rotate and stop on the screen and they can use learning environment on their smartphone, mobile device, or computer. Student can move in the environment and choose necessary contents. There are also study materials attached so students can read texts, watch video lectures or other video materials such as practical demo videos or work instructions.

VRLE gives a chance to rehearse again and again things student find complicated or things that might be dangerous in a real world. Students have been pleased with VRLE and it has increased flexibility and at the same time transferred responsibility for the progress of studies to the students.

Virtual Learning Environment in Carleton University
allows you to use Avatars, move around the campus, meet your fellow students and learn at the same time. VRLE will not replace lectures but it is an addition to them.

Virtanen, M. – Virtuaaliset oppimisympäristöt osana opetuksen digitaalisaatiota
Virtual Reality Society

Personalized learning environments

Being able to study anywhere and anytime has become familiar especially during the spring 2020. Covid-19 pandemic forced even first-graders to take a leap into digital learning environments.

Personalized learning environment (PLE) usually means a digital space where the learner has access to learning materials. He or she can also collect together different materials, create new ones and also share them with others. Materials may be files, lectures, videos, blogs, tasks etc.

Features of personalized learning environment:
1) Students are more engaged to learning
2) Increases students feeling of “owning” the knowledge
3) Gives students more autonomy
4) Gives connection to real life
5) Increases creativity
6) Increases deep learning, critical thinking and understanding things
7) Makes sharing ideas easier
8) Creates an atmosphere of mutual respect between student and teacher and increases the independence of students

Still some students feel that personalized learning environment gives an opportunity to avoid liability when there is no teacher present all the time. Could say that the good sides can be really good for students who are willing to take responsibility of their learning. On the other hand PLE may be challenging if students are not that motivated to learning.

In article “Zuckerberg is ploughing billions into ‘personalised learning’ – why?” written by Natalia Kucirkova and Elizabeth FitzGerald in 2015, is contemplated also the other side of personalized learning. In this article is described how Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg thinks that personalized learning is about working with students and customizing instructions to meet the interests and needs of the students. It would be extremely dangerous to give students chance to decide what they want to learn. The content needs to be at least partly planned by professionals to ensure that all students have a chance to gain general knowledge they need during their life. There are different type of learners and they need different types of teaching. This is guaranteed under the guidance of qualified teacher. To find relevant content for children, you can’t use algorithms, a teacher is once again needed.

PLE provides new possibilities among adults and in lifelong learning. It enables studying in when ever and where ever. When all materials can be reached by picking up your cellphone, even commuting can become a chance to increase your competence. Adults can take more responsibility of their own studies so little bit freedom is just welcome.

Reflections on personal learning environments: theory and practice
Education Elements – Personalized learning
FitzGerald, E. & Kucirkoca, N. Zuckerberg is ploughing billions into ‘personalised learning’ – why?
Abd halim, N.D., Bilal Ali, M. B & Yahaya, N. – Personalized Learning Environment: A New Trend in Online Learning

On-demand and just-in-time learning

Just-in-time (JIT) learning is learning exactly what you need at that moment. You don’t have to study a whole course or a degree. Just-in-time is used especially in corporate learning. JIT increases employees access to knowledge and improves their engagement. Instructions can be found when they are needed, just-in-time videos can help when reading manuals would be too time consuming. New workers have easy access to materials and can learn new things every day, even when there is no mentor briefing them.

On-demand learning provides learning materials when learner needs them. It is very useful in company training. The beneficial of on-demand learning is it is time saving and suits for a modern time learner. Material can be provided in intranet where it is gathered together for user. Organizing a course takes time. Attendants need to enroll for the course, it requires premises and it takes time of the trainer and the attendees to participate the course, maybe in a different location from your normal working place.

On-demand learning is flexible and it gives a chance to provide workers the material they need and whenever they need it. When the learning material is available online it can be reached at workplace, at home or on a work trip abroad. The motivation of the learner is the key at this point. If learner is eager to learn new things on-demand learning is a good solution. Still knowing that you have access to materials you may need may cause a situation were learner postpones learning.

I watched many videos and read several articles, for these blog posts . All the material had to be found in internet, since libraries have not been open for a while and when it comes to searching material, internet is far quicker than any printed book. It sometimes feels that a book about technology will be out of date when it comes from printing house.

Edge Education
eLearning Industry – What Is On Demand Training And Why You Should Use It In Your Organization
eLearning Industry – 5 Examples Of Just-In-Time Training In The Workplace
eLearning Inside – On-Demand Learning – in an On-Demand World
Gutenberg Technology – Microlearning vs. Just-in-Time Learning: What’s the Difference?
Talent lms – Using Just in Time Training for Active Learning in The Workplace
Jaiswal, A. – Answers to Your Questions on Just-in-Time Learning

Learner-centered and self-directed learning

Learner-centered learning means that student is in the center of learning process. Decisions are made by student, so there is freedom of learning but at the same time the responsibility of the progress and participation in lectures is student’s. Teacher’s role is more to be a coach than a lecturer. Learner-centered learning increases student’s motivation, but at the same time is easy to give yourself study free days when your motivation is gone.

Malcolm Shepherd Knowles (1913-1997), an American adult educator is said to be the father of adult education. He created the idea of andragogy, synonymous to adult education. Andragogy comes from Greek and it literally means “leading man” when pedagogy literally means “leading children”. Before his principles and methods, adult learners were mainly taught using the same methods that are used for children.

Key characteristics of adult learning are:
1) being a self-directed human being
2) experiences of earlier learning
3) adults are ready to learn
5) learning orientation is problem centered,instead of subject centered
6) motivation to learn is internal

Self-directed learning can be used for example in interpreter training. There are online speech banks which provide material for using in classroom or in self-directed practices. Self-directed practices are useful also when there is a new app you need to learn to use at work. There is no need to have a training session when everyone can learn by themselves.

The downside of learner-centered and self-directed learning is that lack of self-discipline may slow-up studies. Thought the motivation at the beginning of studies was high it may decrease when student encounters difficulties or adversities. At those points it is crucial that the connection to teacher is available.

eLearning Industry – The Adult Learning Theory – Andragogy – of Malcolm Knowles
European Comission
KyKy – Opiskelijakeskeinen oppimiskulttuuri

Simulations for learning

Simulation is imitation of reality. In Cambridge dictionary simulation is: “a model of a set of problems or events that can be used to teach someone how to do something, or the process of making such a model”.

Simulation training is a good way to practice hand skills and it also excellent way to learn team work and communication skills. In Metropolia University of Applied Sciences there are several different simulations. In the field of Health Care simulations are used diversely because it is safer to train in simulation-based learning environment before training with humans. In Finland simulations are used especially in the fields of Health Care, Civil Engineering, Logistics and Natural Resources and the Environment.

When you write about simulations, videos tell more than written text. In simulation for midwifes can be seen how different things can be simulated: monitoring the fetus and during childbirth. In simulation for Emergency Care is seen also the teachers work in the simulation learning environment (0:48). Teacher gives students a case to solve, monitors them during the simulation and after simulations give them feedback. TaitoPro is learning environtment where students are able to learn clinical skills with simulators and virtual programmes. There is also PharmaPro simulator for learning Pharmacotherapy in safe environment. A hospital day in simulation center gives a hint of how well the multiprofessional simulations may work.

The problem with simulations is that simulation centers are expensive to build and personnel needs to be trained to use the technology. There is always a risk that technology fails and simulation can’t be held.

Cambridge Dictionary
Ammattipeda – simulaatiot

Collaborative learning, Communities of practice & Learning communities

I would imagine that writing these blog posts concerning different kind of new technologies supporting learning, would be easy for someone who is already a teacher. Since I have never taught anyone it has been challenging to find proper material and to understand what all these are used for. Yet I have learned a lot, if that matters. I have found a whole new world of learning possibilities.

Co-operation skills are needed in the modern world. They are needed in the preschool, in upper secondary school and during the whole life. In almost every job interview interviewee asks about co-operation abilities or how you work as a part of a team. Collaborative learning and problem solving are new ways of working together.

Collaborative learning is not a new invention, it can be tracked back to ancient times. Collaborative learning teach to listen, to discuss, to question and to impress your opinion as well as to appreciate others opinions. It has been researched that students learn better when they are active partners in the learning process. Interaction skills require teaching and learning so collaborative learning will succeed. Working together in a group is not easy and it requires that all members of the group are willing to work towards a common goal. If there is lack of communication or motivation group work will be challenging.

Communities of practice

Communities of practice are groups of people who share common interest on something and they want to learn together more about it in regular interaction. The key of these communities is to learn from each other, to gain progress and share results. Learning communities have goals and they measure the progress. They can work bot face-to-face and virtually. Collective knowledge increases and learning is shared.

An example of communities of practice in class room “Introduction to communities of practice,” (Wenger-Trayner, 2015)

Learning communities

Learning community is a group of people who share a common interest on a certain subject. It can also be defined as a group of students who take courses together. The meaning of social and institution relationship is meaningful for learning. I can see this in my own work. When open UAS students participate only on one course, they have difficulties to fit in to the group which has studied together several courses. Open UAS path students who study in the same group for the whole year do not have the same problem. In adult education learning groups improve social cohesion.

Professional learning communities PLCs are groups of professionals, improving learning with collaboration. These communities also improve professionalism and teacher’s well-being.

Bright Hub Education – Brief History of Collaborative Learning: The Origins of Learning Groups
Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University
Kilpatrick, S., Barrett, M. & Jones t. – Defining Learning Communities
Yhteisöllinen oppiminen ja ongelmanratkaisu
Wenger-Taryner, B. & E., Introduction to communities of practice

Lifelong, informal and nontraditional learning

Malcolm Shepherd Knowles (1913-1997), an American adult educator is said to be the father of adult education. He created the idea of andragogy, synonymous to adult education. Andragogy comes from Greek and it literally means “leading man” when pedagogy literally means “leading children”. Before his principles and methods, adult learners were mainly taught using the same methods that are used for children.

Lifelong Learning is not a new topic. European Parliament and Council declared year 1996 “European Year of Lifelong Learning”. Aim was to create awareness and promote Lifelong Learning. The objectives were:
• the importance of a high-quality of general education;
• promotion of lifelong learning ;
• increasing the interest of personal development;
• creating better cooperation between education and training institutions and the enterprises;
• raising the awareness of the social partners and parents;
• development of the European dimension of continuing education and training and promotion of mobility in Europe.

“Learning: The Treasure Within” also known as Delort’s Report, was published by Unesco the same year. In Delort’s report is named the four pillars of education as follows:

  1. Learning to know
  2. Learning to do
  3. Learning to be
  4. Learning to live together

In a changing world, it is important to learn throughout life. New knowledge and skills are needed in personal and working lives. Learning to learn is the basis of this idea. Good quality information has to be also easily accessible. The pillar learning to live together is proposed in the report as the foundations of education. Understanding others traditions and history would ease co-operation and help us solving conflicts peacefully. Scientific progress is increasingly fast and the importance of knowing things grows all the time. Learning to know pillar gives the basis to lifelong learning and education. Learning to do does not mean only learning to do something, but widely it gives tools to handle different circumstances and to act in spontaneous situations. The fourth pillar learning to be was ruling theme of Edgar Faure’s report published by UNESCO already in 1972. In his report “Learning to Be: The World of Education Today and Tomorrow” Faure points out independency of an individual combined with common goals of the whole society. In Delor’s report, this is taken even further away by propounding that none of individuals talents should be left unused. At the same time the report points out that, human experience has to be taken into account when planning education.

Formal, Informal and Non-formal Learning

Learning can be divided into formal, informal and non-formal learning. European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training defines formal learning as learning that typically leads to certification and occurs in an organized environment.

Formal learning is intentional for learner. Informal learning is a result of leisure time or something learned at work. It is not as intentional as formal learning and learner may not even notice the learning process. However, the learning outcomes may be validated. Non-formal learning contains learning element but is not designated to learning. Non-formal learning out-comes may also be validated.

The versatility of different forms of learning have been recognized and accreditation of prior experiential learning has come alongside accreditation of prior certificated learning. This has been noticed also in the reform of continuous learning and recognition of prior learning and accreditation of prior learning will be developed (Ministry of Education and Culture, 2020).

Benefits of Lifelong Learning

In Delort’s Report is mentioned how education is in the centre of both personal and community development. Benefits of lifelong learning have been discovered on certain level, but there is still work before all adults internalize the importance of continuous learning.

Commission of the European Communities (CEC) named six key messages in their Memorandum of Lifelong Learning in 2000:
• New basic skills for all
• More investment in human resources
• Innovation in teaching and learning
• Valuing learning
• Rethinking guidance and counselling
• Bringing learning closer to home (CEC, 2000).

After twenty years, these themes are still actual. Changes in working life are ongoing and it is important to maintain and improve skills throughout life. Knowledge economy is changing fast and globalization increases. It is not ad-equate anymore to have one vocational degree. One must update skills and knowledge for work and everyday life. The fourth industrial revolution is already here. The former ones changed lives dramatically: 1st revolution – Mechanization, 2nd revolution – Mass production, 3rd revolution – Electronic systems and the 4th revolution – Cyber physical system. The 4th revolution combines networking, globalization, digitalization and AI.

Cedefop. 2014. Publications Office of the European Union
Cordis. European Commission. European Year of Lifelong Learning: Guidelines.
Delor, J. 1996. Learning: The Treasure Within. Report to UNESCO of the International Com-mission on Education for the Twenty-first Century.
Hietala, J. & Härkin, J. Digital Transformation of the Workforce. Creating Human Touch for AI revolution.
Laal, M. 2012. Benefits of lifelong learning.
von Schantz,C. 2018. Neljäs vallankumous näkyy arjessa jo nyt
Wikipedia – Andragogy