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What is an effective e-learning pedagogy?

The following was originally posted in 2011. More updated resources are available at http://elearning.tki.org.nz/


New Zealand educators are proactively talking about, transforming the way we teach and new ways of learning through technologies. I'm wondering if we have some common understandings about this? For example, what is an effective e-learning pedagogy?

Enabling the 21st Century Learner  e-Learning Action Plan for Schools 2006-2010 has been an excellent guiding document. Built on a strong belief in learner-centred theory, statements from Steve Maharey (ex Minister of Education) that read, “e-Learning has the potential to transform the way we learn. It’s about exploiting technologies and using ICT effectively across the curriculum to connect schools and communities and to support evidence-based decision making and practices in schools.” have got me excited - especially the future potential of ultra-fast broadband in schools.

If we agree that, e-Learning can provide accessible, relevant, and high quality learning opportunities so that every student is better able to achieve their full potential” (p6) then what does e-learning transforming the way we teach and learn look like? If we were sitting round the staff room on a cold winter’s day with a warm coffee, what would the conversations about effective e-learning pedagogy sound like?

It might be...

Mr B:

I’m quite proud of the learning in room 10. Our vision strongly links to the learner at the centre of our day. When you walk into our room, it looks very much like the goals outlined in page 5 of the e-Learning Action Plan for Schools where you'll see:

Students using ICTs/e-tools to:

•            relate to others  (witness the depositions and hear the learning talk)

•            increase feedback and self-assessment (see our e-portfolios feel free to leave a comment about our learning)

•            work interactively with local and global learning communities (acknowledge the potential influence we have as interact through online interventions)

•            pursue knowledge (celebrate with us as we build on our current knowledge and share our learning with others)

•            represent, negotiate, and communicate ideas in a creative and critical way (become involved in our learning groups as we work together to build knowledge and solve problems)

Mrs K the deputy principal shares:

The combination of effective teaching practices as well as proactive participation from family and whānau are clearly identified as enablers for our student’s learning. We often share the impact of our actions and interventions between home and school – through face-to-face and online opportunities. We regularly reflect on this and evaluate the value-added through a process of professional inquiry.

 Miss T contributes:

I like the fact that the effective teaching practices I display, are often, but not always effected by technologies and when they are effected by technology, it reminds me of a statement in the The Pedagogy Strategy (Learning in an Online World) from MCEETYA, Australia, New Zealand) that reads, Pedagogies that integrate information and communication technologies can engage students in ways not previously possible, enhance achievement, create new learning possibilities and extend interaction with local and global communities. http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/ICT_LearningOnlineWorld-PedagogyStrategy.pdf (p2)

So in my classroom, it means the students and I are working in ways that might not have been possible before - without the access to technologies such as desktop and mobile technologies, software, Internet, digital content, games, websites, apps. Technologies in themselves don’t change the way I teach or the student learning outcomes, so an effective pedagogy is needed – so that the technologies can be fully utilised to help reach each student’s potential.

Mr J agrees:

Yes an effective pedagogy is absolutely needed and I have found Dr Kenn Fisher's ideas on Linking pedagogy with learning spaces has helped me think about the way I teach - where I stand in the classroom, delivery methods, distribution of power, locus of control, how to facilitate learning opportunities, so that the students are independent, co-constructors, researchers.

In our classroom, the equipment, and access to digital resources is flexible and indicative of the needs for learning such as instructional use, organising information, delivery, receiving, sharing, exchange of ideas, formal and informal, active, passive learning experiences as well as principals for universal design of learning for equitable access to learning.

Mrs K adds:

It’s the same in our classroom and the effective pedagogy includes decisions about the appropriate use of ICTs/e-tools, so that students can:

• explore and experiment - either through independent exploratory learning or teacher guided experiences

• think and working creatively –either independently or in a group situation to investigate and build knowledge, solve problems, share new learning for an identified purpose

• reflect and plan – critically reflect and manage their own learning and own learning pathways

• using feedback and self-assessment pedagogies - to enable students to plan future steps in learning

• creating new knowledge - as contributors in a knowledge building society

• communicating with others - as social learners and leaders

• working interactively with local and global learning communities – in a global context

Mrs D, principal:

I agree with the statement that, Teachers play a crucial professional role in ensuring that the integration of ICT into pedagogies is educationally sound. They evaluate the appropriateness and effectiveness of available technologies, deciding when and how to use them with their students http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/ICT_LearningOnlineWorld-PedagogyStrategy.pdf) (p4) and I’m confident that the learning culture in our school is indicative of:

•                  creating new learning environments based on a blended learning approach, which allows students/teachers to explore and experiment, think critically and work creatively, reflect and plan, use feedback and self-assessment, and create new knowledge;

•                  making teaching and learning more effective and efficient by using customised tools that aid preparation, programming, assessment, and reporting;

•                  customising learning experiences to recognise individual, cultural, and developmental differences - responsive, fluid for both teachers and students

•                  enhancing communication and collaboration within/between/beyond the classroom/school to build partnerships, expanding the community of learners and enhancing the quality of learning;

•                  creating new education communities by increasing the modes of teaching and learning and the range of people who can be involved (MCEETYA, 2005).

Enabling the 21st Century learner, an e-learning action plan for schools 2006-2010 (p 10)

Mr P, e-learning leader summarises:

As part of the professional e-learning team in the schools, I think we’re fortunate because we regularly ensure our teachers e-learning needs are met in a timely and authentic way - to enable effective pedagogies to become a seamless part of everyday teaching and learning. This also means ensuring there is equitable access to resources and the on-going support (responsive, reflective) to make this happen. Our school’s strategic plan for e-learning is an important part of this success and closely resembles teachers:

•                  promoting e-learning to extend and enrich educational experiences across the curriculum;

•                  supporting students to become proficient with digital literacy skills;

•                  supporting students in developing the sense of identity, the self-confidence, and key competencies that are prerequisites for independent, collaborative, and lifelong learning;

•                  supporting students who identify as Màori to use ICT to access high-quality learning, both of te reo Màori and, through the medium of te reo Màori, to participate as citizens of the world and to experience success in schooling;

• supporting Pasifika students to use ICTs/e-tools to embrace their unique Pasifika identities (language, culture and identity) and to experience success in schooling, both academically and socially. Enabling the 21st Century learner, an e-learning action plan for schools 2006-2010 (p 10) and Indigenous cultures and e-learning

• Supporting all learner needs by creating a an inclusive culture of learning. http://inclusive.tki.org.nz/guides/developing-an-inclusive-classroom-culture/