Friday, 13 November 2015

Learner Experience: Critical Reading, Jones and Shao 2011

Read the article by Jones and Shao (2011) and write a blog post summarising the key points of the paper.
In contrast with the earlier material, this is (for me) an article that will not date badly, avoids simply restating conventional wisdom and can inform strategy and improvement.

The article takes a broad look at much of the writing about "digital natives" and summarises it, and compares it with a body of empirical research over a number of years.

  1. One of the key findings in the article is that though learners may respond positively to changes in pedagogy that are well thought through, and will make use of opportunities to use new technology as they arise, the idea that there is a strong and universal demand for a shift to things like team and group working is simply not true.
  2. The notion that there is a single generation of young people with common features and attitudes in the education system is untrue. Just as with every generations there are many subgroups with varied skills and attitudes.
  3. The use of things like Virtual Worlds is highlighted as something students will be happy to use when directed, but does not form some kind of "inevitable requirement."
  4. Provision of a core set of basic services is consistently seen as highly valued by students. It is interesting to link this to the work published by Salmon around the eLearning strategy at the University of Leicester.
What I take away from reading this article in terms of my own practice is that 
  • changes in pedagogy are things that we need to consider and plan for, not because there is an inbuilt generational expectation, but because they are things our planning and research (and student feedback) tell us are more effective, engaging, efficient or productive.
  • a well planned core set of services, universally available but flexible enough to allow people to access is how, when and where they need to is an area of focus that will be well-received by students.

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