Stephen Brookfield inspires me

I have been reading the material of week 1 in fslt12 course, reflective practice is the theme. As I said yesterday, most names are known and i have their books in my shelf in this room. But I have a strange feeling now because I have known those men vi books and now I get digital material. I read Stephen Brookfield’s site today and he has went to the same direction as me. He has found online teaching and facilitating and developed discussion as a  way of teaching. I have wrote about same questions (only in Finnish). I feel as I had met an old friend 🙂

So I have found new content already, not bad. I’ll write more about Brookfield’s experiences compared to mine, later. Now I check other things in the course : we had the first session and got more guidance for studies. Never earlier I’ve got so good guidance, only went in and listened what will come. I know the facilitators George Roberts, Marion Waite, Sylvia Currie and Rhona Sharpe, I’ve heard them speaking and seen videos, too. It was nice to participate in the session even I could read guidelines alone as well.  Synchronous meetings have some influence to course climate, a feeling of being together.

Elisabeth Lovegrove made a Google map for this course and it is in the Community site so that everyone has the right to put one’s mark  on the map. I’m waiting there.. please come. Most people have Google accounts I suppose, it is needed. By the way, I tried to walk on Google map streetview in Oxford, and I did so, but your Oxford Brookes University is hidden or there are no streets for cars or .. I could not see your buildings. This is a funny way to orient myself to learning environments, but I have been only in London, not Oxford.

I want to put here some names which I have noticed in the participant list and Moodle discussions. I have not decided how to aggregate this course – I had some technical problems today, as always at the beginning of a course – it is good to have alternative ways.

Eleni Zazani, London blog

Fred Garnet, Forest Hill but where it is? blog

Allan Quartly, Australia blog indigenous learning sounds interesting

Jeffrey Keefer is active in Twitter, I remember him from Networking Learning Conference 2010 because he tweeted so lively. I have followed his blog via RSS. Jeffrey seems to be very quick in all his doings, he lives a different time than me, he is in NY.

I’ll continue this list later. I’ve read Moodle discussions but I had problems to get in today, so I have not written there yet. But some day I will do it. I am interested in both people and content in this new course 🙂



Understandings and misunderstandings in MOOCs

Sui Fai John Mak responded to one of my previous posts and called it wonderful. I interpreted his comment to be empty politeness, he comes from a always-friendly-and polite culture. John answered and I have to apologize, he had arguments for his saying, he had read my post and knew the content.

The following question was about staying or leaving online or networked learning and John wrote a new post about it. He received many comments. The first comment was Ken Anderson’s ‘always that same theme, it arouses again and again’ and then

“People are attracted to MOOCs for the novelty effect, then leave when the novelty wears off.”  And John:  “Love you hypothesis, and couldn’t agree more! Should I say goodbye when the novelty wears off? Sure!”

There are many comments dealing with technology, some psychological factors (my main purpose) and implementing MOOCs.

By reading this discussion thread I became conscious about another basis of misunderstandings. When I say that I want to handle psychological factors around learning (for example MOOCs), I mean special phenomena, not what ever. John told about his spontaneous quick writing that it is normal conversation to him. Consciousness-stream, is that concept understandable in English? It comes from literature but could suit here, perhaps. Carmen Tshofen referred to Downes’ vision in her post:

“The next three generations of web and learning technology will be based on the idea of flow… Flow is when we cease to think of things like contents and communications and even people and environments as things and start thinking of them as (for lack of a better word) media – like the water in a river, like the electricity in our pipes, like the air in the sky.”

Flow in this definition means some kind conscious-stream, I suppose. So I could say that John is much better in this flow thing. I am too serious and always need same scientific concepts to link the actions. Now I am speaking about the misunderstanding which can be explained from diversity in education. I have studies psychology, John engineering. Between us are all 🙂 possible differences: if we can understand each other, it is great. How understanding becomes true?

This is a point where I really appreciate John Mak. He is never defensive, he does not get hurt, he is strong enough to ask more details if he feels that something is unclear. This has happened many times and I enjoy it. This is also one of the main results of the article of Jenny and Carmen which I studied in my previous posts. Healthy participation of autonomous people expressing themselves openly and freely. It is the key of psychological factors (or one of the keys). The problem which is difficult to solve here is privacy demand – ethical questions while participants broke or spoil discussions (often unconsciously, not knowing their impact). I can appreciate John in public but I cannot claim anybody, only assess my own mistakes. Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.

Psychological knowledge cannot be placed in Wikipedia, it needs certain thinking habits and open mind in deeper sense than copy-paste flows. These undermining differences rise to surface in discussions and often leave without confrontation. Someone tweeted some minutes ago that Twitter is good because nobody follows a troll. That is a simple solution.

Another end of this dimension (ego-centrism) could be so called ‘teflon surface people’ – nothing touches them, they participate neatly saying nothing original ever. I have empy-small-talk feelings near those people, I want to shake them. When I shake John, he answers peacefully and the discussion continues 🙂

How to use psychological knowledge is very complex and so are many expert domains. This is a mess. I’ve to go out and walk.



Work smarter in your network

I have to write something positive after determining crowds to be stupid 🙂 I really had a nice experience when listening to On Line Educa Berlin again, the session Work Smarter in Networks. I knew the names of five speakers and now I could see how excellent their team working really is. Thanks to Paulo Simoes for tweeting the link.

They also write together a blog. You can see Harold Jarche and  Learn Trends Ning in the blogroll.

I learned that they have independent professions (as entrepreneurship) but their aim is to help organizations to become better, work smarter. They work in practice and write about the experiences. They are different people with same interests and they greatly appreciate each other. Five heads are better than one, easy to believe that. They trusted each other and enjoyed about working jointly. They were open, natural and not at all defensive. My time ran quickly when listening  the 1½ hour session.

I enjoyed the discussion, it was a great opportunity to reflect my experiences in web world. It takes time to sink in. Both books and web are important.The focus of development must be in working smarter than earlier. Dialog is the key, social sharing is necessary for developing.

Something I want to say differently: performance not learning is a wrong opposite, learning by doing is the answer. Experiential learning has same focus but gives the whole circle: reflect, conceptualize, action …

Pondering about virtual vs. personal is a well known topic but now many participants understood the benefits of virtual side. Introverts have advantage in virtual life, and there is more time for thinking. I enjoyed really.

What is the difference between crowds and teams/ networks? Why some networks work well or excellently? These five people did it, it is a combination of diversity, same direction of interests and appreciating each other. Sometimes it arouses in a second, sometimes never, part of it remains secret. But it is worth living, I know it through my experience.

My learning in PLENK?

This is the last day of PLENK2010 (actually nothing ends and often the best discussions happen after the course) – but anyway, I have a need to integrate or evaluate something. I found this in our program, what to do in just now:

Artifact of your Learning

Details: Your final presentation can be handled in a variety of formats: podcast, slidecast, Articulate presentation, video recording, Second Life presentation, or, if your feeling creative, an approach of your choosing. The presentation could answer any of the following: “What role can PLE/N’s play in my teaching? Or my personal learning? How has this course influenced your view of the role of networked technologies and learning networks? What types of questions are still outstanding?”

I am not creative, I am the same boring blogger as always. And I am waiting for a call from my husband, he perhaps can return home today after a month in a hospital 🙂 So I cannot completely focus on PLENK. But I have some ideas.

I am not a typical course student and I do not wait anything from the facilitators. It is enough that they offer the structure and the platform (Moodle). I am ready to study “alone” and find my way. All depends on the time I can and want to use for finding new friends, trying new tools, checking materials etc. I see no difference between students and facilitators, we have many 55+ students who have much to give to others ( I say this aloud after filling Sui Fai John’s questionnaire – he is so correct and polite. Asian culture versus Finnish independence, you know).

Why to blog and how to blog are my questions today – and the answer is connected to differences in expertise. From my point of few, I am tired to read writings about psychological phenomena without knowing basics. I am tired of listening advices to teachers given by people who never have taught anything. I don’t want to hear that all institutions are stupid and bad and only free individuals know how to live. And I understand that when I speak about technology, it sounds ridiculous in the ears of engineers – I always hesitate which concepts are suitable (tools devices technologies?)

So how to make sense in discussions? Jenny and Matthias pondered this question just when PLENK began: what is the eResonance and how it arouses in the very beginning. How can I find the people with whom I could collaborate and create? Have I learned anything about this? I have to smile (to myself) when I find an interesting blog after three years participation (Howard Johnson for instance, found but not read his blog, not yet). I will continue this project, I have many names and blogs to explore during next weeks. I want to follow Rita Kop, for instance, in the future.

I have enjoyed these open courses, about which I have blogged here, but I think I know the connectivism movement well enough. It has given a certain frame of the change happening in web world but – in my mind – it grasps only one side of these changes. So I am not enthusiastic anymore – I should change to heading of this blog or stop blogging.

This has been an interesting journey and it will continue everywhere I move. I promise to write comments to your blogs next week, leave them open please.

My phone is silent still, I am waiting for the call from hospital. I have time to publish this…

My PLENK2010 story

The last week of PLENK2010 is going and I come back after one month’s break. The break has nothing to do with the course but my personal life. My husband has been in a hospital and I have been very worried about the situation. Now he is better and I have some energy to use for my studies. I am interested in the researches about this course. First I have to gather my doings and writings, I don’t remember any more..

I participated first five weeks: I wrote my conception about PLE and PLN. Those were so common to me that I participate just for fun, I do not expect anything new. I summarized my first week. I liked the video of Patricio Bustamante,  and Sugata Mitra.

During personal vs institutional week I gave a case of Finland and got some feedback. I wrote a blog post “I am the platform” in order to follow co-learners blogs. I have to check, how many of them are still writing (not many I suppose). Extended web was fascinating and I remember the Elluminate session – I learned that all happenings are not positive. I found our place in the Second Life later, 10.10.

The next theme, learning theories is my favorite and I was active, wrote about teacher education, my personal history, recent discussions (European)  and technology (Nordic experts). These are perhaps my best writing in this course.

In my post Evaluation online activity – I used Clarence Fisher’s rubric and assessed myself. I also told about other given materials what I thought about them. And then I gave a possibility to test one’s blog in a second: 22 comments in it. So – if you give people something, they try it and give feedback.

I wrote a summary about assessment 17.10. before the break – and could not answer comments any more.

But now I am back and I am happy to be here and live this last week with you all. I have a feeling that slow learning is happening in me, I begin to recognize the patterns in these sandboxes for new literacies. I am more conscious about my choices and I enjoy autonomous learning. Something concrete:

The Google Map I made has got 14691 views until today and hundreds of links. So it was useful. My blog has been read in 68 countries in all continents (more than ever)  and I have got some new friends. And this has happened in spite of my absence. Now I  am ready to answer the NRC research questions …

About assessment – my point of view

Still waiting for wisdom and seeking for answers by writing here. I was close to finding something in July 7th, when the former course CritLit was ending. I wrote about ethics in open networking (hacker ethic was the original concept, but if it has turned too negative I don’t use it). People work with passion and commitment, collaborate and have wonderful results and findings. It is a long story and I have experienced it without being a nerd.

We want to evaluate in PLENK2010 participants’ learning but we do not know what learning is.

Open source movement had programming as their expertise and they knew it. They did not say that they connect what ever in the world. How about us? I have a hunch that connectivism can be a meaningful theory of learning for amateurs who use computers and have no human science or expertise behind. When an old and experienced person like me begins to study connectivism it means re-inventing everything I already know. This is my feeling.

I have worked so many decades with evaluation and assessment, in theory and practice, that I do not need links to simple www-pages, which define these concepts. This only shows me the nature of – how could I say – web science? The quality of knowledge is … disappearing and what-ever-activity in web is spreading. When you have your speech in TED talk your idea is worth spreading? Now I have gone too far from my topic, so back to basics.

What could be for me the good, appropriate participation in this situation? Some days ago I said: Commenting has become a normal habit to me and networking, I have global awareness (Fisher rubric) and I write professional blogs. I can define these external factors. But: Is this only sport with new tools, instrumental learning? Or is this really new quality of learning? (Roger Säljö)

What can be assessed and what matters? A nice coincidence is that Sternberg, who was given us an example about the borders of intelligence tests – the same man has defined love. I had a short video about his three qualities of love in my courses of development psychology (available only in Finnish). There are possibilities to describe the important changes in consciousness: I wrote many posts about it last summer. There are levels, models, research about expertise.

We can recognize elements that are necessary in collaborative network: Every human being needs to belong to some group within which can feel oneself approved. And we also want to be recognized for what we do. To put it another way, the human being needs the experience of being part of  We with some others the experience of being respected He or She within community and the experience of being a special I with someone else. By doing a good job a person may gain recognition. We are motivated by the force of peer recognition, are we?

I can recognize this support principle implementing in our Moodle Forum 2.week:  Sarah O’Grady Scaffolds and hints for the course. It is possible to help with concrete tools and apps etc and this makes sense. The ability to receive depends on personal history, it is obvious, but the purpose is fine.

What I want to say here that same principle is not impossible in other areas. Many of us have lived in that country, it is not an unknown continent anymore 🙂 I hope I can say this all more clearly during next week.

Assessment can support learning and development

I continue my studies on Evaluation in PLENK2010. I liked the JISC pages about assessment. Every educational institution should present their assessment principles in this way. I could recognize  many perceptions I did while working as an online teacher. Assessment can be used to support learning rather than just test and certify achievement – and testing & certifying can support learning, too.

Technology, every learning platform,  provide ways of enabling students to monitor their own work. The technology can be designed for this purpose. I always used simple questionnaires about basic knowledge and then gave openly the results so my students could reflect and evaluate them from their point of view. Voting systems, online discussion forums, wikis and blogs allow practitioners to monitor levels of understanding.

When students are independent lifelong learners, they can become better at judging their own work.

If you really want to improve learning, get students to give one another feedback. Giving feedback is cognitively more demanding than receiving feedback. That way, you can accelerate learning.

I agree with that and always used peer-assessment. Students did not like it but afterward were content – organizing feedback is one of facilitator’s job. I suppose that better ways to assess and give feedback to each other are factors that make online teaching better than f2f.

This analysis of many researches convinced me: Evaluation of Evidence Based Practices in Online Learning – A Meta Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies. I had seen that happen in my online courses. Soon I begin to miss those time 🙂 Last autumn I was working as a teacher educator and now totally free. Just now I am interested in assessing (my) open studies.

I haven’t yet listened to Wednesday recording (Helene Fournier) but I will do it. There are some discussion in our Moodle, should I read, I am not sure. JISC pages promised better dialogue and communication – is it there?

Learning theories: recent discussions

It seems I’ll have to take a long journey – this time I am going to refer to some discussions in the blogosphere I remember, probably meaning they have made an influence on me.

First I take Teemu Leinonen, who has lived globally much longer than me and knows about wikipedia and -media and many international projects. His blog is named Flosse Posse and he wrote about the learning theories recently. He needed  behaviorism, constructivism and social constructivism. (edited 11.10, read Teemu’s comment) I like the way he tells about these theories, he convinces me about his expertise. Then he tells about Sugata Mitra’s experiments Hole in the Wall, which we have been discussing about in PLENK2010: Learning by doing, socially, in small groups. To give affordances for poor children is the way forward.

Another source was in Pontydysqu web pages and it took a time to find. They have much knowledge there and I was not familiar with those pages, but I succeeded and here it is: Connectivism vs. constructivism by Jenny Hughes. She tells about some projects (Mitra + ..) and lists the learning theories needed for interpretation. I feel empathy when she becomes confused with theories. One new concept can be found: social connectivism (it was lacking, really 🙂 ). We have to know the theories of Dewey, Vygotsky, Piaget, Papert, Bruner, Engeström – perhaps it is best to speak about their work and their development instead of putting them to one category of learning theories. I liked the style in comments to Jenny Hughes’ blog post, but I feel I am tired of listing theories. It does not help.

My last link goes to Jenny Mackness, her blog post after our Elluminate session yesterday. Jenny writes about the relevance of learning theories to teaching practice and reflects her own experiences as an educator. Theories matter, but not directly, they are tools which must be assessed and developed to different purposes. Jenny proceeds to George’s presentation about connectivism as networked learning.

What have I learned while summarizing my personal history, my work in the teacher education and these three discussions? Actually, I am not any more interested in this level of listing and shortly referring to main sources. What does it help? My question is: where is thinking, pondering and real discussion. I see Jenny M. gives an example of combining theories to one’s practice and professional development. But we don’t have time and interest to do it throughout in PLENK, I suppose.  I cannot grasp this theme even I know everything. How can I find my way forward? What is the level of our working, discussion, collaboration? How should I participate in order to make sense in this chaos in my mind? 🙁  🙂

Learning theories: my personal history

I was admiring Barbara Fillip’s choices in her blog: we live in a global world and we try to catch it with our brain, our genes and all the connections we have formed during our life. This time I try to present the history of my learning theories: what I have learnt and why. Let’s try, is this possible at all. I name the decades in order to get some order 🙂 to my thinking.

1964- I began to study psychology and had my first courses about learning. We had a book written by Skinner, we could get the answer page by page, the book was reinforcing us. So I learned basic concepts about learning: conditioned and unconditioned reflexes, reinforcement, punishment, transfer. We made experiments about accidental learning, transfer, memory. This was a time of the positivistic paradigma of science: I learned to be accurate (or I should to ..) I learned the basics of working brain (Luria) and the concepts (neurons synopsis dendrites..) I understood the flexibility and complexity of the brains and the cortex.

1970- was the time of wonderful student movement in the world: I learned to participate and change the world better together and globally. I was empowerment in practice. In our university we criticized teaching and studied marxism, we wanted equal opportunities to everyone. It was the first time when children from working classes came to universities. Materialistic dialectics has been a part of my thinking since then: all is moving and changes happen through contradictions: thesis – antithesis – synthesis (Hegel). The richness of societal interactions was the key of development.

1980 Developmental psychology became my expertise and I understood human interaction as a source of all development. I also saw my two children to grow, what a excellent program in every individual .. I enjoyed. Constructivism arouse in learning psychology and criticism toward Finnish school life was large. We knew the results and lectured about them but did not see the possibility to change anything.

1988 was a revolution in my mind when I saw that theory and practice can meet each other. I worked in teacher education for adults coming from work, all kinds of vocations. The educators had courage to renew teacher education in an excellent way: newest scientific knowledge and best practice. Networked learning became true.

1990 I worked as a researcher and tried to catch the richness of reality but it was not easy. Concept maps came to the institution were I worked, Novak visited there some months.1994 back to teacher education and I was obliged to be the head of teacher education. Administrative work, I learned how slow is development in institutions and hard is to be a leader.

2000 I was happy to work as a teacher educator again. Perhaps I was more realistic than earlier, did not wait for miracles but was not cynical either. Online teaching interested me, we got a learning platform in 2002 and I began to use it. I could use our great pedagogical principles in online facilitating. In 2005 I participated in OnLine Educa Berlin. In 2006 was my first international course Inquiry oriented teaching online, I got feedback from facilitators about my own teaching, and began to use English language.

2007 I began blogging in Finnish as an online teacher. A community for social media was grounded in Finland and I participated in it. In 2008 I heard about the first CCK course – and here I am 🙂 I was wondering what connectivism is. I have found the importance of connections so many times but I had not been a part of global blogosphere. Am I now? Have to write another post about my learning in CCK  studies,  some day.

Expertise and guidance

I still have a need to understand expertise, mine and others’. This time I will use a Finnish Dr dissertation of Minna Lakkala: How to design educational settings to promote collaborative inquiry: Pedagogical infrastructures for technologyenhanced progressive inquiry. It is published in  the University of Helsinki.

The study begins: Educational practices should pay special attention to improving the skills necessary for collaboration and knowledge work, in order to address current societal changes. Strategies of scientific, question-driven inquiry are stated to be important cultural practices that should be educated and promoted. – Easy to agree with these thoughts.

The study did not clearly follow any learning-theoretical paradigm, but it can be characterized as falling between socio-cognitive and socio-cultural approaches to learning: Bereiter and Scardamalia in Toronto, Canada. The model of Progressive Inquiry is developed by Kai Hakkarainen and his colleagues, Lakkala is one of them.

Lakkala’s study focused on investigating multiple efforts to implement a research-based pedagogical model of Progressive Inquiry and related Web-based tools, to develop guidelines for educators in promoting students’ collaborative inquiry practices with technology. The Progressive Inquiry model explicates epistemic activities that are generally important in academic and scientific inquiry; i.e., in collaborative activity that aims at improved solving of ill-structured problems, utilization of knowledge sources, and explication and elaboration of ideas, explanations and theories.

The results indicated that appropriate teacher support for students’ collaborative inquiry efforts appears to include interplay between spontaneity and structure. Consideration should be given to content mastery, critical working strategies or essential knowledge practices that the inquiry approach is intended to promote. In particular, those elements in students’ activities should be structured and directed, which are central to the aim of Progressive Inquiry, but which the students do not recognize or demonstrate spontaneously without explicit modeling or promotion, and which are usually not taken into account in existing pedagogical methods or educational conventions. Such elements are, among others:

  • productive co-construction activities;
  • sustained engagement in improving produced ideas and explanations;
  • critical reflection of the adopted inquiry practices, and
  • sophisticated use of modern technology for knowledge work.

The developed Pedagogical Infrastructure Framework enabled recognizing and examining some central features and their interplay in the designs of examined inquiry units. The framework helped to recognize and critically evaluate the invisible learning-cultural conventions in various educational settings and could mediate discussions about how to overcome or change them.

The concept engagement was used to delineate the quality of students’ inquiry activity in order to evaluate the success of the pedagogical intervention: a central aim was that students demonstrate sustained engagement in an active and deepening process of improving ideas and explanations as well as in critical reflection of inquiry practices.

Most of the explicit process guidance in the tutors’ postings concentrated on rather practical issues, such as using information sources or organizing the threads in the discourse forums. The guidance did not draw the students’ attention to higher-order metacognitive inquiry strategies, the promotion of which is one principal idea in the Progressive Inquiry model and should be a central focus in the tutors’ scaffolding efforts.

The analysis of social aspects of the inquiry designs revealed that the threaded discourse areas in the web-based system were experienced as a valuable new possibility to promote collective working practices, and teachers reported how eagerly the students participated in the technology-mediated interaction by reading and commenting on each other’s ideas. The most difficult objective appears to have been to induce the students to enter into “serious” efforts for advancing collective understanding and elaborating common knowledge objects, instead of just discussing or sharing ideas.

Educational settings should include elements that explicitly advance students’ metalevel awareness and understanding of inquiry strategies, which may support their self-regulative action. The analyzed features of the course designs, categorized according to the components of the Pedagogical Infrastructure Framework, were the following:

  • Technical component: Access to technology and technical guidance, and Diversity of tools provided;
  • Social component: Structuring of collaboration, Sharing of the inquiry process, Individual or collective nature of the inquiry outcomes, and Integration of multiple social spaces;
  • Epistemological component: The emphasis on question-driven inquiry, Main source of acquired information, and Concrete knowledge object as an outcome
  • Cognitive component: Modeling of inquiry strategies, Human guidance provided, Scaffolding embedded in tools, and Promotion of meta-reflection.

The aim is to support epistemologically high-level and deepening inquiry activity in which students direct their efforts in elaborating questions, explanations and knowledge products, that the tasks and their achievement criteria are accordingly defined. A requirement for a concrete product (a report, a model or a presentation) as a goal and outcome of the inquiry process appeared to increase and focus students’ inquiry efforts. If there was an explicit assignment to produce a research report, the students were very engaged and productive in writing their contributions. It is important to set explicit high-level epistemological criteria for the quality of the outcome (systematic summing up of inquiry results with theory-based arguments), otherwise the external form of the end product easily starts to dominate as the object of the work, not the improvement of ideas or solving of knowledge problems.

Most students do not spontaneously take responsibility of the advancement of other students’ or the whole community’s inquiry. This is quite understandable because conventional learning culture in schools and universities is strongly shaped by individual accountability and grading. So they hardly ever contributed to the work of others or other teams, if it was not explicitly demanded or built into the task criteria. Thus in progressive inquiry, the common goals of the process across individual students and groups should be explicitly defined, and the practical ways of contributing to the common outcomes should be modeled and explicated; for instance, by directing students to together produce a common summary.

It still is an apparent difficulty to have students openly share the entire process-progression (including original ideas, drafts and intermediate knowledge products) for commenting and co-construction through a Web-based learning environment.

The Progressive Inquiry model aims at simulating expert-like and authentic cultural practices of collaborative inquiry and knowledge creation. One problem is, that students do not necessarily benefit from the guidance style where the teacher demonstrates too advanced expert behavior. In progressive inquiry, it apparently is not enough that the tutor models the high-level, expert-like inquiry practices by demonstrating them in his or her own on-line performance; there should be other ways to scaffold students themselves to recognize and perform intended high-level inquiry practices and cognitively demanding strategies. Teachers and tutors should not do the critical cognitive tasks on behalf of the student.

One finding of the studies is that a typical feature of progressive inquiry practices appears to be that the engagement in open-ended inquiry is experienced as challenging, particularly, at the beginning. Students complained that the level of guidance was insufficient. Teachers were surprised about the feedback because they thought that they had provided clear models and guidelines for the process. These results may relate to the parallel increase in the cognitive challenge of the inquiry task together with the increased authenticity that to give special attention to encouraging students to struggle at the beginning of the process; by helping them realize that the phases of confusion and chaos are elementary characteristics of open-ended inquiry; assuring that it is acceptable and, indeed, probable that inquiry efforts do not always succeed.

Teachers should pay more attention to designing the educational units so that the tasks and other arrangements, especially, stimulate students’ engagement in epistemologically highlevel, deepening inquiry and true collaboration around shared knowledge objects and products. Students’ own metalevel awareness of or intentional efforts for effective collaboration and appropriate inquiry strategies may be more deliberately and explicitly promoted through modeling and self-reflection activities. These conclusions led to define the cognitive or metacognitive support for students’ inquiry engagement as a separate pedagogical design component that requires special attention from the teacher, in addition to technical, social and epistemological components.

Lakkala’s study ended, Heli Nurmi begins to analyse her experiences. I can’t help thinking about our CritLit2010 course which had same ideology than progressive inquiry, and voluntary adult students, but same difficulties as well. Much talking and less serious problematizing, was it so? I remember some comments from Alan and Maria that helped me. I remember deep misunderstandings with Stephen and I am still wondering why. We are experts both but cannot follow each other’s thoughts. Sometimes it goes that way: inquiry efforts do not succeed.

Many discourses about open courses deal with same themas. Educause and many analyses about CCK08 learnings have been interesting to read.  A new course PLENK2010 with these principles will begin next week – we already know mistakes that will happen during next weeks 🙂 .