Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I have revised a Google doc on eTEN to include some ideas on learning.

While checking the links I found a new vision statement from Kaleidescope.

There is reference to quality but it seems to me that there is no recognition that quality relates to the output of organisations.

(TEL means Technology Enhanced Learning. see previous posts on why I think using just the word "learning" is more useful)

"The role of TEL is to achieve the improvement in the quality and reach of education implied by our highest aims for education. Improving quality means using TEL to change the way learners encounter and engage with knowledge: it can rehearse them in the high-level cognitive skills of negotiating ideas, exploring systems, collaborating on projects, constructing their own representations of knowledge. Improving reach means exploiting the internet to bring wider access to knowledge and communities of practice: technology can bring far greater flexibility to the ways in which learning and education are conducted."

However there is some reference to the idea that organisations can learn.

"In a changing world it is organisations’ and individuals’ capability to learn, rather than simply their access to information, that determines socio-economic development."

My impression is that the work around the "learning organisation" is no longer a priority for academics. One consequence of informatioin technology could be changes in the organisation of universities. An explanation of the apparent lack of disruption so far could be the effective resistance from individual academics. Opposition to any quality theory is still well established in the UK as far as I can tell.

The statement recognises practitioner knowledge so there may be scope for exchange with people working on quality in other organisations. However it is described or whatever theory people start from, it seems to me that any effective quality system involves some form of learning and that non-learning explains much else.

"We see ‘knowledge’ in two different ways. It may be seen as something fairly stable – the expert view, the common knowledge, received wisdom – which is to be passed on, enabling us to learn from others. It may also be seen as something quite unstable - the product of our experience, practitioner knowledge, local wisdom. There is a continuous interplay between the two - we rely on stable representations and treat knowledge as independent of context, and at the same time have to engage in 'work' to make sense of them in a particular setting - then creating new stable representations and so forth. The two types of knowledge are complementary."

Previously I have thought about this as "Research Assessment Friendly" knowledge - usually abstract and confined to one discipline- and "Search Engine Constructed" knowledge, usually coming out of a problem situation. There is some connection with mode1 and mode2 but it seems there is no current claim for e-learning as potentially mode1. One problem is that many articles are still only available in journals that are not public. Google Scholar finds an increasing amount of stuff from conferences and university archives. For making connections between learning and quality, what can be found through Google is probably "good enough" and what cannot be found may be mainly intended for academics anyway.

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