Posted by: lindapemik | November 13, 2010

From traditional learner to elearner

I have been reflecting on my learning in this course EC&I 831 and trying to fit it into a theoretical framework.   I love to learn, always have and always will–a real NERD, according to my kids.  My research for my Masters degree was on how managers in Nunavut learn and I am still trying to understand “adult learning”.  There are a lot of theories and frameworks that describe the construct of learning:  we can position ourselves on  a scale of understanding that runs from behaviourism to constructivism to connectivism;  or adhere to the theories of pedagogy, andragogy or heutagogy, to name a few.  In my struggle to understand how people learn I think I have been guilty of “either/or” kind of thinking; of trying to find a one size fits all theory that tidily answers my favourite question, “How do people learn?” Dr. John Bransford et al suggest in their paper, Learning Theories and Education: Toward a Decade of Synergy, that each of these theories or frameworks depend on the focus of the research and the setting in which learning takes place.  They propose that to understand learning we need to integrate the insights that emerge from all the theories to develop a synergistic framework for understanding how people learn, not to develop a “grand theory” of learning but to use each theoretical perspective to inform the others.  Now that makes sense to me and helps me move forward in my reflection on learning in eci831.

I am going to start this week with asking, “What are some of the key elements in this course that have made it a positive learning experience for me?”   If you have been reading my blog posts you’ll know that I have struggled to learn how to learn in the Web 2.0 world, and that this has not been a comfortable or easy process for me, however last week I posted that   “EC&I 831 has demonstrated for me the effectiveness of an open, student-centred classroom.  I have never learned so much so fast and been so engaged in the process. The fact that our classroom is a virtual one and that we have been connecting with classmates and our professor on-line has enriched the learning process not diminished it. I have been challenged to process and gather information in a different way, encouraged to make meaning from my on-line research and connections.  As a result I have become a more capable learner”.

Because I love theoretical frameworks I am going to go a little deeper into my observations of last week and place my analysis into a framework suggested by Terry Anderson in Towards a Theory of Online Learning.  Building on the work of Bransford et al, he suggests that effective online learning environments can be placed in a framework of 4 contexts:  community-centred, knowledge-centred, learner-centred and assessment-centred contexts.  So does eci831 fit into these contexts?

Community-centred: asynchronous and synchronous collaboration through use of Elluminate classes and student blogs; open to people outside of for-credit students, network of mentors, connected to online community of educators with a passion for open learning and use of technology to support learning.

Learner-centred: support for individual learning; encouraged to focus on what interests you and apply your learning to your own contexts; content changes and emerges to respond to individual and group interests and needs;  teacher shares decision making power and encourages students to lead.

Knowledge-centred: direct access to vast volumes of information on web in a variety of formats and from a variety of disciplinary perspectives; learner and teacher referrals for selecting, personalizing and reusing content; use of social media to augment and bookmark information through connection to a large community of experts; the learning network shares, filters and qualifies information, hence Alec’s promotion of Twitter and bookmarking sites.

Assessment-centred: clear description of assessment process describe for-credit students; multiple opportunities for formative and summative assessment by self, peers, mentors and teacher;  “just-in-time”  feedback provided.

So what?  How is my new found knowedge, skills and attitudes going to impact on my life and work?  That has the making of another post, doesn’t it?  See you next week.



  1. Great post, Linda. The best part of the course for me – I get to learn from all of you! This is really helpful for me in better understanding and tweaking this form of online learning. Thanks for positioning this with a theoretical framework.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alec Couros, Lyn Hilt. Lyn Hilt said: Great thoughts: From traditional learner to elearner from @lindapemik #eci831 […]

  3. Wow nice post Linda, I always enjoy reading your blogs. I think you make some great connections between your professional objectives and this class. Being able to dovetail your theoretical framework and this class is great and I think you did a fantastic job.



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