Learning to Learn part 1 of 5 : online technology

 

In a research paper for the Edge Hill teaching and learning conference I have been looking at how meta-learning or learning to learn can be enhanced. 

Online social technology was important for learning to learn in the BA Learning Technology Research programme because it allowed access to learning by a group of learners who otherwise wouldn’t have access to HE but specifically to enhance metalearning it :


* binds people from eclectic backgrounds to discuss learning and research rather than their specific topics thus making the common ground for dialogue ‘learning’ rather than subject topics.

* facilitates deeper reflection through asynchronous exchanges, meaning ‘greater levels of reflection’ may be reached. 

* provides a place within which individuals can discuss their learning and knowledge and change their views and thoughts in the light of new understandings (a place to consciously re-learn). 

*provides a place for peer review which heightens self understanding (in the learning process), it puts individuals further in touch with both their strengths, weaknesses and necessary action points for improved learning.

*builds individual confidence in their ability to learn and seek new challenges and understandings, it supports a culture of learning where it matters to know about the nature of learning as well as being a learner.  

A surprise finding was that the technology which enables the online communication can often be daunting and challenging, however overcoming the ‘alien environment’ forces learners to learn outside of comfort zones thus creating confidence to go on learning and to face new challenges. An unforeseen benefit then. 

Trust in the online community where individuals can be honest, critical and gain confidence needs to be built to facilitate all of the above. 


There was a emerging sense that learners who are expert learners are also supportive of others. The online community contributed to the formation of a brand of meta-learning which not only seeks for individuals to learn how to learn but for individuals to facilitate and support others in their learning, altruistic metalearning or community metalearning. This is achieved through a developed understanding of and deep participation in the learning process and learning community.
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