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Developing a Learning Campus


Report from the TrainingZone online workshop held on 15 February 2000 on the subject of Developing a Learning Campus:-

Tim Pickles: Hello Tony, welcome, I'm going to wait for a few others who I hope will be joining before long

Tony Carr: Hello Tim,how are you?

Tony Carr: Fine, I like to wait in workspace before "proceedings" start anyway

Tim Pickles: Morning David - just waiting for people to join us

David Exeter: OK

Tim Pickles: Whilst we

Tim Pickles: Sorry, whilst we're waiting, what do you do? what you're interest in e-learning?

Tim Pickles: Hi Valerie, we're just collecting people ... what's your role/interest?

Tim Pickles: Hi Russell

russ holt: Hi Tim, Hi all

Tony Carr: I'm a Business and Economics Educator and facilitator who started a career in online education in Sept 98 in the UK and I've taken that to SA. My main interest is how we can promote reflective learning and reflective practice using online environments

Tim Pickles: OK, let's kick off. We wanted to use this session to say something of what the Learning Campus might do, and also to hear from people what sort of things you would welcome from an online learning environment.

Valerie Russell Emmo: Hello Tim and everyone. My interest is in how learners in a variety of settings migrate into e-learning.

Andrea McHugh: Hello everyone. I'm interested from a training design point of view - I want to design and deliver courses on line.

David Exeter: Tim, I'm particlualray interested in how highly mobile workers can use e-learning to sustain learning.

Tim Pickles: You've probably read some bits about the Learning Campus: we plan a range of 'courses' from different providers, online coaching, more workshops, plus an authoring environment - an easy way for people who deliver training via traditional means to offer the same content online and reach more diverse audiences.

sue curd: Hi I'm Sue, I've been interested/involved in on-line training for about 3 years now - initially within a company where we were setting up a Virtual Training Centre and now as an on-line tutor with the OU - new course this year.

Tim Pickles: Welcome to the new people - sorry that you can't see the previous text - but just join in as you see the conversation develop

Valerie Russell Emmo: For business-based learners, is the Learning Campus seen as coming to them via existing intranets?

russ holt: Primarily internet based

russ holt: But we will work with corporates for intranet delivery if they want it

Tim Pickles: Valerie - we want to make the online experience totally open - hence the use of the Internet; intranets can pose some problems depending on the level of firewall protection created by the company

Tim Pickles: A key feature needs to be that anyone, anywhere can 'login' to the Campus without restriction

Tony Carr: Will there be a need for registration?

russ holt: The campus will be geared up for individuals managing their own learning as well as trainers wishing to manage learning programmes

sue curd: Presumably some students will want to do some self-assessment so that they select the right course or enter at the correct part of the course.

Tim Pickles: Registration will be necessary to (a) purchase a course, (b) monitor the progress, etc - however, several aspects e.g. workshops like this will always be available without registration

Andrea McHugh: How will you manage the quality of the courses?

Janet Curran: What's its aims, what type of learners do you see using it, what type of courses will it provide?

Valerie Russell Emmo: What categories of learning will be present at the launch? I am aware of the majority of online and CBT material being IT-based.

Janet Curran: Good point about quality

Tony Carr: I think a simple registration process is key to the development of any online learning community - people say who they are and are more likely to take responsibility for their interactions

Tim Pickles: Sue, I agree that self-assessment is important. We ought to be encouraging people to think 'Where am I now? What do I need?' - technology for doing this is still fairly crude.

russ holt: Re quality. we will be working with existing training providers. For new material we envisage a quality control step in the process

Tim Pickles: Good points about content: it seems to me that 95%+ of online content at present is technology related - we need to source far more 'soft-skills' content, but without just pasting up text pages

russ holt: Re IT material. What Learning Campus does is provide an environment to facilitate what Tim has said.

sue curd: On offering self-assessment as a starting point, I believe this gives the learner much more control over his/her own learning - get's them on board immediately. Another characteristic has to be that the course is a bit interactive so that on-the-fly tailoring for particular cohorts can be done.

Tim Pickles: Do you think a quality control panel is a good idea - to vet new content, particularly content created by other users?

Valerie Russell Emmo: I've seen some wonderful softer skills/mentor-based learning material via Coach U.

Janet Curran: What is Coach U?

Andrea McHugh: Perhaps for some of the 'soft skills' a mixed approach would be useful - on-line materials plus on-line coaching.

Tony Carr: quality has to be vetted almost like alpha and beta testing,

Denis Cody: Hi I'm a vendor of financial online training. How do you see vendors integrating their content into the campus?

David Exeter: Could organisations use the Campus as a vehicle for holding development events/programmes for widely dispersed staff - getting them to log-on at specific times, just like this?

sue curd: Quality control is important but in balance, don't kill of good starts with too much regulation and control - the criteria for on-line quality control isn't thought through yet. I believe the yardstick should be that the learners are learning at the time and the pace and to the quality they expect.

Tim Pickles: For me, its important that we make it genuinely interactive; publishing online pages of text is harder to use than reading the book. Online text needs support from online group discussion/workshop plus online coaching, and perhaps some real (telephone) contact. What do you think?

Valerie Russell Emmo: Coach University hosts many courses and is a meeting point for online coaching practitioners. I think Sue's point about getting the learned on-board is a good one, so much skepticism out there.

Tim Pickles: Good point David - we've already said that users can 'book' this workshop space themselves to run events for dispersed staff.

rachel bennett: You mention the variety of content available on line - a company called iLearn.To are developing a variety of soft skills interactive training programmes - such as Time Management/Negotiating Skills - their email address is info@iLearn.To/website www.iLearn.To

Tim Pickles: Thanks Rachel - I'll take a look

Tim Pickles: Is anyone transfering their present training content online? If so, how, with whom, how easily?

sue curd: What about on-line tutors/facilitators - should there be courses teaching them on-line behaviour, how to get maximum participation from lurking students especially when we can go far enough to produce good scenario type exercise for team working say on MBA level courses.

russ holt: True online learning is a way off I think., certainly for users. But using the web for what it's best for will take off rapidly.

Tony Carr: Tim, I think huge amounts of text and graphics are best distributed as paper/CD-Rom - The ultimate benefit of online spaces is human interaction

russ holt: Sue is right about needing to understand how people learn online. I've seen v little on that. Anyone know of research?

sue curd: I have tried transferring existing material to on-line. It's to constricting though and doesn't harness the interactivity that on-line allows for. Also many of the exercises are not appropriate. The framework is almost in the intial stage more important than the content to begin with - ie learning logs, bookmarking, on-line mentoring.

David Exeter: I would be interested to see any research on supporting on-line learners

Janet Curran: The ultimate benefit of online space is indeed human interaction but is there still a role for face-to-face. I don't think we should consider online just on its own - surely a mixed media approach is the best which utilises the strengths of the different media on offer.

Denis Cody: Yes, we have transferred all of our content to an online campus, previously on CD-ROM. Works in most environments but need for tracking by corporates means its difficult to transfer to other environments.

russ holt: Exactly. Most of our initial plans still involve real people talking to other real people.

sue curd: I agree with Janet on multi faceted approach.

Valerie Russell Emmo: Agree with Janet and Tim about the two modes reinforcing each other. If online excels at facilitating human interaction, then communities may need time to build expecially if their goal is common learning.

russ holt: Denis - have you used any learning management systems?

Tim Pickles: One problem can be that the more tracking, recording, etc procedures that are introduced, the more likely you are to deter users. Given most people's lack of familiarity with the medium, the challenge is to make it easy, friendly and safe - just like a real training workshop!

Tony Carr: David, the best shortish text on supporting online learners I've seen is "Building Learning Communities in Cyberspace" by Rena Palloff and Keith Pratt - Jossey Bass 1999

Valerie Russell Emmo: In that case, make it visually like a training workshop using avatars for trainer and learners?

Denis Cody: Russ, we use our own.

David Exeter: Good point Janet, but for highly mobile people the convenience of not carrying around books, CD-ROMs etc is a potential benefit. If their 'desk' is available just as they left it, they may find that very useful. IT is surely smart enough now to give the variety of resources that most students need.

Janet Curran: Rather than tracking and recording should the aim be more on asking learners how they are going to take what they have learnt back to the workplace, what they are going to do differently, asking them to draw up action plans and key learning points to take away?

sue curd: I think that's the key to replicate on-line the best of off-line behaviour where you can. The scope of delight might be greater on-line particularly for early adopters.

Tim Pickles: Denis, can we follow up with you afterwards to see what you're presently doing in more detail?

russ holt: There's plenty of talk of the 'skill snack' as training providers, is this a satisfactory way of keeping people learning?

Tony Carr: Only if you don't expect them to be satisfied for more than the short term

Denis Cody: Tim, of course.

Tim Pickles: On open question to everyone: which elearning sites that you've seen do you like and which do you hate - and any particular reasons?

Valerie Russell Emmo: The NHS was talking of 15 minute modules for GPs to keep up their continuing training.

rachel bennett: How does the skill snack work?

russ holt: Rachel - it's just the idea of the short module to be bought and undertaken on the spot...

sue curd: I have to say that the OU T171 on-line course e-learning site is great, the OU having the infrastructure to support all the various conferencing needs of students as well as delivering the course itself on-line seems to be working superbly, together with the fact tht students get their own tutor assigned to their particular group, they're also working with a group of about 20 other students for 9 months. Don't want to brag or anything but it's pretty good, though still on a learning curve of course.

russ holt: Do the students interract much without tutor prompting??

rachel bennett: Russ Does the idea include self assessment at the end of the short learning module?

sue curd: Valerie, I'm actually most interested in my main job in on-line learning to meet CPD requirements - especially of interest to contracted staff in the anytime/anywhere approach taken.

Tony Carr: Virtual University at has some good courses but sometimes too much text in one whack. They integrate the use of chat, buleetins and e-mail and offer a wide range of engaging courses at low cost. Unfortunately their chats tend to be at US friendly times....

russ holt: Rachel - Should do if it's good. Simple Q&A really. Not a replacement for a 'full' training programme though.

sue curd: It's early days - but there seems to be an equal number who are prolific to those who are shy to start. I think tutor prompting must always be an element - it is after all in the real world.

Valerie Russell Emmo: Su, thanks for that. Seems like the impromptu learner needs more virtual hand-holding yet even the committed OU students require a dedicated tutor to make it all consistent, right?

Tony Carr: even if face to face training many need encouragement....

Tim Pickles: Sue - I recognise the CPD issue as being important; we'd like to design a system that tracks what you've done (in all online formats) and records your participation automatically, then stores that in one place for you to access when called upon to demonstrate your CPD.

sue curd: I don't see it as hand-holding more on-the-fly tailoring to interpret the activities in a more or less demanding way or to suit the interests of the group.

russ holt: CPD, certainly for professional bodies is changing to the "anytime, anywhere as long as its relevant" basis. I think this suits OLL. Any views.

sue curd: I'm hoping to get the go ahead for a similar scheme tailored to IT practitioners/professionals.

Tony Carr: could be a bit disrauptive to developing core learning communities with shared learning experiences if we take a compeletely individualised 24/7 approach

Denis Cody: When is the TrainingZone online campus likely to be launched?

russ holt: Sometime in the next month or so, though some of the features are already there (ie this)

rachel bennett: Tim - we are currently working on a "record of achievement" web -based application. It build upon a Leonado programme we were involved in called the "EuroRecord" / The Project Leader was Christopher Padfield (Univ of Cambridge). In essence the project aimed to develop a product that was a European Professional Record of Achievement for the enginnering industry, which would help an individual to draw up and document competence development plans and identify the requirements for learning & for personal & professional development, plus record student learning achievements & professional development wherever & however it occurs. Currently it is a static application.

Tim Pickles: Denis - it's likely to roll out in bits; we've migrated workshops and online coaches already; course content partners are under discussion; more detailed aspects to follow on

russ holt: rachel - Can it be applied to other industries? Presumably.

Tim Pickles: Rachel - that sounds interesting - I've been involved in quite a lot of UK RoA / Progress File developments so will follow up with you afterwards for more info on your application

Valerie Russell Emmo: Rachel, Knowledge Associates created a similar lifetime learning record for the members of the IEEE.

David Exeter: Can anyone shed any light on David Blunkett's thinking ref the virtual university he announced today? How are students going to be inducted into e-learning?

russ holt: No idea. Is this a revamp or an enhancement of UFI? or something totally separate?

Tim Pickles: David, - there's a story about the new e-university on TrainingZone this morning; it will still be on the front page and then on the News pages. Within the story, there's a hyperlink to the DfEE press release with more info.

Tim Pickles: At this stage, he's still soliciting bids from possible consortium partners.

sue curd: David this is totally separate - its Leeds, Sheffield, Southampton and York Universities in partnership with 4 American institutions sharing research and teaching facilities and use new tech to allow students to take part in cross Atlantic learning - sounds good!!!!!!!!

Tim Pickles: We timed this workshop to run up to 13:45 - just time for some final points, requests, etc

Valerie Russell Emmo: Tim - wishing you very well with the launch!

russ holt: I would just like to re-iterate that the Campus is evolving and so all comments on 'must haves' would be welcomed by either Tim or myself.

Tony Carr: Yes, I'll be back for more

Tim Pickles: It's gone quiet! From my point of view, that's been very useful - gathering more ideas and experiences. We plan to keep you uptodate with Campus developments, and to repeat this sort of session before long. If you want more direct involvement or have further ideas, please do contact me direct - my address is all over the site!

Tony Carr: Must haves - at a technical level the chat software should allow a backchannel for instant messaging

David Exeter: Tim, thanks for a thought provoking session. I'll be in touch.

Tim Pickles: Point noted Tony

sue curd: Tim, enjoyed that - thanks Sue

Tim Pickles: Thanks everyone - to leave just close your browser window, or go to a different page. I'll post the transcript tothe Workshops page this afternoon.

Tim Pickles: Bye

russ holt: Bye all

Tony Carr: bye and thanks for herding us cats


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