Critical and analytical reflections about online learning

When asked to critically analyse and reflect about online learning my mind swam with all the thoughts and feelings this encompassed. My experience has been both challenging and rewarding; exciting and terrifying; confidence building and confidence shaking; fascinating and never boring; surprising and predictable; time consuming but worth it. Here is my analytical reflection..

“Learning is, thus, not seen as the acquisition of knowledge by individuals so much as a process of social participation” (Smith, 2009)

‘You need your 4th year qualification’…words which led me to Salmon’s (2011) first stage of online learning: access and motivation. Launching myself into this unknown learning space I embarked on an initially shaky pilgrimage through which I have gained new knowledge, skills and relationships. It is the latter I have found most surprising and rewarding.

Climbing Salmon’s (2011) steps I joined others in a ‘Community of Practice’ to “build relationships that enable them to learn from each other” (Smith, 2009). I understand now when Smith (2009) suggests “There is an intimate connection between knowledge and activity.” The information exchange and knowledge construction (Salmon stages 3 and 4) which occurs is vibrant and robust, indicative of the benefits of cooperative group learning. (Kagan, 2014).

I particularly enjoy moments when I access Salmon’s stage 5 offering support to fellow learners. I also draw on such support to help me through the challenges of the online learning space which involves learning about, with and through technology (Salmon, 2011, p. 31). Mastering the technology can still become overwhelming, at times I teeter on the brink of liminality (Land, Meyer & Baillie).

Success of this learning space has been made possible through careful facilitation by E-moderators (Adam and Kayri) and the enthusiasm of the CoP.  An excellent example of how to effectively enhance our own students learning.

My learning thus far gives me confidence to continue and encourage similar learning in those I teach.

 

References

Kagan, S. (2010). TVOparents Does’Group Work’ Work Best? Is It the Best Wat for Children to Learn? Retrieved from: https://youtube/Tdt-b4yMp-M

Land, R., Meyer,J. & Baillie, C. (2010) Threshold Concepts and Transformational Learning. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers

Salmon, G. (2011). E-moderating: The key to Teaching and Learning Online (3rd ed.) (pp. 31-59). London: Routledge.

Smith, M. (2003/2009). Jean Lave, Etienne Wenger and communities of practice. Retrieved from http://infed.org/mobi/jean-lave-etienne-wenger-and-communities-of-practice/

image retrieved from www.shutterstock.com/search/reflection

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