Monday, October 31, 2011

Creating IT Roadmaps, Pedagogical Trends

If you have stumbled upon my series of posts on technology roadmaps and you have been looking at the associated graphs you may be wondering where I have come up with all the data and labels for the trend graphs. Described here is how I have derived all this information for the Pedagogical Trends Graph. Every line on the graph shows saturation within the overall trends being analyzed. In this pedagogical graph, behaviorism is losing its saturation and almost disappearing, constructivism is losing influence and connectivism is on the increase. The lines are there to identify trends and to identify events. And yes, there are many other event that could go on all of these lines... feel free to email other important events.

Behaviorism could be described as teaching that is meant to alter behavior. I see teaching and learning to tests is behaviorism. Studying and the memorization required for the LSAT or SAT could be considered behaviorist approaches to learning. It is believed that behaviorism has been in decline since the early 1990s.

Constructivism is the idea that personal knowledge and meaning is built on a persons interaction between their experiences and their ideas. Constructivism has been the predominant approach to adult learning and only since the introduction of the internet has it been "replaced" with other emerging approaches. Its hard to say the emerging pedagogical approaches brought on since the introduction of the internet have (and will) replace constructivism. Its better to say, constructivist approaches will continue as the foundation to adult learning, though it will be blended with the learning approaches well suited to the internet and personal technology. There are a number of events along the constructivism trend that have influenced its saturation.
  • Increase in self-directed - people are learning on their own and building knowledge upon their current knowledge. This self-direction supports constructivism and also open the learner to new and different approaches.
  • Connected learning - the recognition that learning happens within groups of online connected people has gained acceptance. Connected learning has brought new learning theories to the fore, taking away from constructivism (or maybe better said as building upon constructivism).
  • FOSS - Free and Open Source Software has steadily influenced learning systems development. Moodle is an Open Source Learning Management System (LMS) built upon contructivist learning approaches. It has influenced the integration of open source technology and pedagogical approaches. This is important when considering a technology roadmap for open source technologies are increasingly being used in the educational / learning space.
  • Polling (Clickers) - The idea of audience response is becoming more proven as a pedagogical tool and is finding its way into not only the traditional classroom, but also in many online learning events.
  • Drupal - another open source software system that is increasingly being used to build learning environments for adult education. The strength of Drupal is how it has been built from the ground up as a content management system with great social and collaborative features.
Self-directed learning combined with technology and access has shifted people from learning in institutions and with traditional approaches to seeking alternative ways of learning. What I find as interesting (and from a roadmapping perspective) is self-directed isn't so much a pedagogical approach, but the personal motivation to strive and learn new things. Whatever the motivation. There are a number of events along the self-directed trajectory that have influenced its saturation.
  • Connectivism - is a learning theory for the digital age. Currently, I see this theory/approach being used by and influencing the self-directed learner. As connectivism hasn't gained traction in the traditional institutions, the majority of learners are still influenced by and studying within traditional approaches. For the time being connectivism is for the self-directed.
  • Creative Commons - this content licensing approach has brought the issue of copyright into the mainstream and contributed attention to how fair-dealing / fair-use can be utilized by the independent learner.
  • Progressive Inquiry - inquiry based approaches are gaining in popularity as they encourage the learner to become more involved with what they are learning. Inquiry based approaches deepen learning and provide approaches for the learner to attain mastery.
  • Personal Learning Environment - is a mix of technologies that support the self-directed learner. Essentially the internet is the platform and the learner chooses the technologies and services available on the internet to create their own learning environment used to capture and progress their learning.
  • Khan Academy - is an excellent example of the internet resources available to the learner at no cost using a content licensing approach that encourages the user to use and reuse the content themselves.
  • Accreditation - accreditation models will grow for the self-directed learner. Badges are an example of this self-accreditation.
  • Assessment - mass collaboration or a more public form of assessment without institutional involvement will emerge. In a way, assessment and accreditation is a form of reputation management.
Connectivism is a learning theory that was created by George Siemens. The theory is based on the premise that the digital connected world requires new learning theories. These new theories and approaches need to be grounded in  supporting the learner to interact with peers, mentors and learning resources differently as so much of this activity now occurs online. Even though George Siemens first published the theory of connectivism in 2005, a number of events occurred previous to 2005 that could be considered influential in the theories creation.
  • Blogging - on a regular basis has great benefit to the learner. It provides a platform for self-reflection. And due to its public nature, self-publishing to a blog increases the quality of writing and deepens learning.
  • Wiki - by its nature encourages collaboration, online discussion and contribution around specific areas of knowledge. Working with others in creating and editing wiki pages is connected learning.
  • Tagging - also known as social bookmarking, creates a taxonomy for individuals and, if well stewarded, learning communities.
  • Social Media - the origins of facebook was in creating a platform for students to study and prepare for coursework and tests. It has grown much farther than that, much of social and collaborative media facilitates discussion and knowledge building around learning resources.
  • Massive open online course (MOOC) - the MOOC is a very innovative and an amazing idea when it comes to connectivism and teaching a large network of collaborative online learners. I do believe the MOOC is still in development as a learning tool, they seem to be gaining acceptance and utility is teaching a very large network on learners.
  • iPads / Tablets - being able to engage with learning resources anytime from almost anywhere will open opportunities for learning. Particularly when all your information devices (television, computer, small device) are aware of the learning occurring on each device.
  • Smart phone - cell phones, smart phones, etc. offer a reach for learner engagement and collaboration that can extend the learning opportunities beyond the small devices. Bringing the smart phone into the connectivist mix is worthy of a blog post in itself. Stay tuned...
  • eBooks (collaboration) - eBooks are coming of age, particularly those with social media and collaborative reading.
  • Reputation Management - All that you do online becomes a part of your online reputation. Your online reputation is the persona you hold within your connectivist learning. Tools and approaches to reputation management will grow and support everyone as a learner and potential mentor.
  • Badges - learning badges are the front edge of learning recognition. A good idea worth exploring... but to early of an entry to really get a deep sense of where they will end up.
Blended is blended! Utilize as many learning resources available to you from as many different sources as you can find, bring them together in one place if you can, this is blended learning. Participating in an online discussion, attending a lecture, reading an academic paper, collaborating over a wiki page, a hallway discussion and time with a friend discussing ideas from a magazine article all add up to blended learning. It has become accepted that informal learning makes up the majority of a persons learning and the online resources that support blended learning are increasing. These are some of the items that are increasing and encouraging blended learning;
  • Internet - the internet is the platform for learning and it provides many possibilities to blend learning resources and to build personal learning networks with others of similar interests. The internet (and related technologies) can also blend well with traditional approaches to learning.
  • Open Educational Resources (OERs) - it is the creator of the OER that learns the most. Over the last 10 years there has been considerable activity within Higher Education toward the creation and use of OER. In the long-term OER will have increasing acceptance and availability, and those who collaborate, create and reuse (rather than only consume) the OER will learn the most.
  • Online conferencing - bringing together like-minded people to discuss and exchange ideas is becoming increasingly well supported through web-conferencing. The online-conference is another source for blended learning.
  • DIY U - Do It Yourself University is as much a political movement as an idea that puts the responsibility and cost of an education back into the learners control. From a blended approach it is encouraging the learner to seek alternate avenues to gaining an education.
  • Education as a Service (EaaS) - with the growing success of cloud computing combined with growing internationalization in higher education the discussion around Education as a Service is increasing. EaaS is a future and once available it will increase options available to blended learning. One of the key features of EaaS will be the tools available to manage the progression of a persons learning and to encourage deep learning, assessment and accreditation.
  • Learning Analytics - is at the early stages of becoming an approach used within learning and education. This could potentially have a big impact on assessment and accreditation within blended (and all) learning approaches. Stay aware of learning Analytics.
The idea of an intership is to find like minded people or an individual to assist you on your learning journey. The learning internship builds upon the apprenticeship model of learning with the addition of other learning before and during the internship. It is the authors belief that the internship trend is currently decreasing and will again begin to increase once greater acceptance of the internet as a learning platform occurs within traditional learning and accreditation institutions. The two themes that influence internship are;
  • Community of Practice (CoP) - the community of practice is well supported by online tools and techniques. Joining an online CoP and collaborating with others is one of the current methods of online internship.
  • Super-mentor - the idea of the super-mentor comes from Curtis Bonk. I agree with his thesis on the future of learning, I see the super-mentor playing a big role in many peoples internships.
What does all this mean?
The main gestalts I get from all this reading, research and reflection are as follows;
  1. Behaviorism is in decline and will remain so. As an educational practice it will flatten out and remain present as long as standardized testing remains. Sigh...
  2. Constructivism may decline in how much it "saturates" pedagogical approaches to learning, though it will remain the foundation to all emerging learning approaches.
  3. Self-directed learning will continue to grow as more people adapt, learn and take advantage of the approaches that are increasingly available on the internet.
  4. Connectivism will become an accepted theory supporting learning in the digital world. An increasing number of tools and approaches will come available on the internet to support connectivism.
  5. Blended learning will become the standard approach to learning. It will take the best from all  approaches and allow the learner to adapt them to suit their needs.
  6. Internship will become increasingly available as the acceptance, approaches and people become more familiar with its importance. This will come from both the learner and mentor side of the learning relationship.