Technology enabled learning: who owns the learning?

The opening keynote presentation was very useful in provoking thoughts and debate regarding who owns learning.  This question is important particularly in higher education, where students are encouraged to manage their own learning.  Online technologies have enabled learner participation to progress from passive to immersive.  Technologies have allowed students to collaborate, interact and communicate with other students that is not determined through location or the time that they interact.  The tutor’s role alters from a distributor  of knowledge to a facilitator of knowledge development; the student’s role alters from a consumer of knowledge to a constructor of knowledge.


A key to a successful transition of tutor owned learning to student owned learning is not just the development of the technology to enable this transition, but the understanding that the student and tutor has of the technology options and of how these options can be implemented in a classroom environment.  Technology is not just creating a change to how learning takes place, but also to the delivery of learning: from a closed, well managed cohort of learners to an open, networked, distributed delivery of learning to potentially thousands of learners, but yet the learning can be very personal to the learner.  This means that even though thousands of students might be able to have similar learning goals, the technologies that students use to access and use this material, as well as to collaborate and communicate with others, could differ from learner to learner. 


To take an example: this conference website offers a personalised methodology of delivering content to the users; in other words, a personalised learning environment.  The user can choose to enter conferences as they are happening, and take part in the interactive chat, or can join at a later time through pre recorded sessions.  The users could choose to learn the material on their own, or interact with fellow educationalists through the discussion forum, through the blog postings, or through status updates on their social networking profile.  Plus there is a chat room, and a Twitter feed.  There are, therefore, many ways in which a user can personalise their use of the site through using the tools that are most comfortable to them in terms of collecting and sharing information, and discussing and debating information with other users.  Perhaps this could lead to new projects and new ideas being developed.


Perhaps a question that could be asked is not if technologies are enabling such learning environments to take place, but to ask if whether or not tutors are comfortable with encouraging their learners to self regulate their learning.  Perhaps another question would be if whether or not students would feel comfortable with self regulating their own learning. 


What are your views? How do you implement technology into your classroom, and if you do implement them do you still feel that you are in control of the learning or do you feel that the control of learning is being taken off you?  Do you think that it’s a good idea for students to self regulate their learning, or should the tutor still remain in control of the learning that occurs?

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