Friday, 13 November 2015

Learner Experience: Critical Reading "In their own words: exploring the learners' perceptions of e-learning" (JISC)

Read the JISC briefing paper 'In their own words: exploring the learners' perceptions of e-learning', write a blog post summarising the key findings and comment on two other blog posts.
As with the videos cited earlier, I find it very difficult to get any enthusiasm for the contents of the paper as much of it has dated badly or is based on articles I wouldn't say had any real validity.


  • The LEX programme interviewed a good sized group of students and found things like "learners lead complex lives and require sophisticated time management skills" which, while true, simply state the obvious.
  • LXP went through a wider ranging and more detailed review to conclude things like "learners, like sophisticated consumers, choose from the range of options available to them, adeptly selecting the most appropriate for the task." Yes, and...?
  • The Learner Voice case studies share some interesting and quite engaging personal stories but don't give us any overview of how attitudes or expectations (or capabilities) have changed.
The collection reads to me more like a report to argue for funding or the justify funding already given, not an insight into changes in learner experience or attitudes.


One thing however I did find positive, and have adapted here is a table towards the end of the report that summarised three 'levels' of experience ranging from highly institution centred to highly personal. As this follows well from the earlier work on PLE's I have made some changes and present it here - in reality though I doubt any institution would ever be entirely in any one column and from area to area and issue to issue it will vary. Adapted further, this kind of table might be used in discussion with a management team, group of governors, or indeed a group of students to discuss where the institution's strategy is going (but before doing that I would reword all the boxes as positive statements, so it was about the people choosing the place on the continuum they actively select and support rather than guiding them with the language used).

Please click on the image to open the chart full size




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