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University of Liverpool - eLearning-Methodik

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Der Direktor des eLearning-Programms der University of Liverpool, Prof. Paul Leng, in einem Artikel über die Methodik der Online-Studiengänge:

IT Week, 04 May 2006 (http://www.computing.co.uk/itweek/comment/2155298/learning-future-discuss)

Paul Leng

E-learning is the future: discuss

Professor Paul Leng of the University of Liverpool argues that discussion is the bedrock of learning, and that discourse often works better online than in a physical classroom

First let me clear up some misconceptions. E-learning is not essentially about the use of technology. Of course IT is part of it, but we use computers in teaching in all sorts of ways anyway. And it’s not just using the web to deliver learning materials. That’s what we might call electronic distance learning. The key characteristic of e-learning is the use of the internet as a means of mediating communication between students and teachers, and among students.

Discussion in an online classroom can be more productive than in a traditional classroom. In some ways, in an online classroom, we can often have a better discussion.

Online discussion offers some distinct advantages. The first is that by having a discussion we can be quite sure that the students are engaged and involved in the work.

The online aspect can invoke some fears about e-learning: that it will be a very lonely, isolating experience. However, it isn’t lonely, because in this mode of learning, there’s a great deal of collaboration, a great deal of communication, a great deal of discussion, and all of that helps people feel engaged in all sorts of ways.

Along with these plus points, there are managerial advantages. When we have a discussion that’s recorded permanently, we can examine everything that goes on in the virtual classroom. We can check, for example, that all of the tutors involved are doing their job. And we can make sure the students are participating actively rather than getting all their material from a book.

The main underlying educational principle here is what we call constructivism: a view of learning in which we invite students to construct their own understanding of the subject, as opposed to an instructivist view, where an instructor is giving out facts.

Discussion is the central aspect of the constructivist approach.

We find that students like this. Discussions are the part of the programme that many students find the most interesting and rewarding.

Let me round off with a few questions. If we accept, as I do, that discussion is the key component of e-learning, what kind of discussion should we have? Is it best to have the debate asynchronously, or in real time? How do we ensure that students participate in the discussion?

There are also questions about how much structure should be applied in the discussion. Should it be a wholly directed discussion? How much freedom of action should we allow students in this?

And finally, should we evaluate the discussion? We do at the University of Liverpool. We treat involvement in the discussion as a part of the requirements of the course, which is assessed formally. And that raises other questions of course about how we can do this consistently and fairly.

Die Aussagen dieses Artikels kann ich aus eigener Erfahrung nur voll bestätigen.



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