Grand Challenge LfL: Anne Adams, Clive Holtham, Tom Boyle, Skip Basiel, Rachel Pilkington

March 18, 2008

Anne Adams

Described herself as a computer scientist that had always worked on the softer side.  The labels for her works are Awareness, Acceptability, and Access. She spoke in terms of milestones:

  1. Acceptability she looked at the way web2.0 tools open up risks and questions of ownership. Her example was prison learning and the pipeline project addressing how to give elearning in prisons.
  2. Inclusion/Exclusion: actually very complex and needing work to understand this as community and individual basis. One example was the mix of physical and virtual field trips.
  3. Contexts and learning for life: work on where eLearning applies – social context, employer contexts, other stakeholders.

She ended up with a who, where, how

  • Who LfL is for
  • Where situated
  • How to make learning for life acceptable

This led into a debate about how much we need to define learning (I guess the missing what in the list!) before we move forward, or not. It seemed that there was a risk of getting bogged down in work on definitions – but a broad statement of learning could bring out a unifying views.  There are good reasons for knowing what we want from learning: we might end up with a resource focus if we don’t build up a requirement for learning. Wothwhile to put in a bit of effort to put in work at epistemological level to understand meanings of knowledge. Alan Bundy – joined in to comment that we should be able to have a public face that did not worry about the details even though we might do so behind the scenes. Josie pointed out that we do need to allow mapping in to our work. The mapping might come later. Practice drives the theory. Josie – the aim is to get people involved and give mechanisms for better communication.


Clive HolthamClive Holtham

Former director of learning lab at City University – now working on eLearning to help voluntary sector in a

non-profit spin off. Referring back to 1971 start of computing and his own involvement in sagazone! He added 2 extra domains – subject matter & audience. (beyond technical, design, learning sciences, communications). He suggested that we make the challenge more specific: e.g. his own target on voluntary business.

Clive beat me to mentioning Illich and his Deschooling Society book. He had also generated 15 milestones towards this. NPLeN He split the impact into formal, semi-formal and informal. He suggested the concept of “airmiles” could perhaps transfer into “learning miles”.

Alan Bundy – commented on the opportunities of the less developed world and  how we could align with initiatives such as OLPC. Colin added into this that we should be concerned with technology rather than computing technology.

Tom Boyle

Went without slides – on developing the foundations for a design based discipline. The need for better integration of computer science with learning science. Jerome Bruner – the course of cognitive growth: technology allows us to exceed biological capabilities: e.g. cars, telescopes, etc. Bruner suggested that we have amplifiers: such as mathematics. Can technology be an amplifier for learning?

Computer science is good at formalisms. If we can find entities that we can work with: learning objects and learning design. E.g. Erik Duval – purpose of Learning Objects is to improve learning. Result of looking at this in technology terms – metadata, content packaging, SCORM. The UKLOM e.g. of educational category – claimed to be essential but actually usage and vocabulary still to be designed. Illustrates the chasm between form and substance. Metadata2.0 workshop showed advances in most areas but not the educational area.

Work on learning design could be even more fundamental – but some signs of people not talking to each other. Need to bring together different modes. Challenges:

  • Metadata2.0 – need learning sciences involved before its target date 2015!
  • Find out how to communicate it to educators
  • Relationship between Learning Design and classes
  • Different layers to Learning Design: Computer science can help organise this
  • JISC has produced a crude representation of these layers: layers of design to layers of content.

RLO-CETL work on generative learning objects.


Skip Basiel

Tried to get the technology to work – I think he planned to use Adobe Breeze to video-conference but the wireless gave up (I had not got the wireless to work either). So he switched to powerpoint to talk about Continuing Professional Development, work-based learning and APEL – Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning. The project approach he described is to draw on research – I guess a sort of action research approach. The Leitch report was taken as the basis for linking informal and formal learning – but it does not talk about the ICT infrastructure. He laid out some clear milestones:

2015: ICT in all aspects of student experience

Though he then commented that the takeup problems were not with the students but with the staff

2014: e-testing, e-marking, e-portfolio …

2020 95% of adults achieve basic skills

2010 voluntary and statutory entitlement to workplace learning

He ended with a vision that APEL became fully acknowledged.


Rachel PilkingtonSet out a range of themes saying she would highlight the design-based aspects of Technology Enhanced Learning. Approaches to learning that she suggests should be encouraged would be collaborative – and better support with the example of WebQuests. In this paradigm learners can be architects of the material. Hard to put the tools of construction into the hands of learners – the example was of WebCT that has now removed the group space features and offers a hierarchical view of its users. However there remains a need for something that is less than public: a walled garden. She described her experience with Flexwiki – successful in enabling production but with limits in idiosyncratic tools and transferable results. It is also not necessarily simple to transfer models from open to closed: e.g. was of providing a closed wikipedia which did not take off. In the end Rachel’s solution was to trust her learners – by giving them author access into the VLE to build what they want.


3 Responses to “Grand Challenge LfL: Anne Adams, Clive Holtham, Tom Boyle, Skip Basiel, Rachel Pilkington”

  1. Gill Says:

    Anne Adams’ first points caught my eye, as I have just been to the BECTA seminar on Web 2.0. During the discussions, we explored potential, risks, challenges of Web 2.0 as well as implications for policy makers. Issues of ownership, inclusion/exclusion and learning contexts emerged from the group workshops and discussions. Interesting that the same themes were explored here.

  2. Patrick Says:

    I suppose it is not to surprising that the same sort of issues come up as Web 2.0 is about taking risks in a variety of ways. The payoff could come in then providing novel ways to bring people in – but the opposite could also happen and new groups are excluded. Anne’s talk was very good at highlighting this and suggesting how it should impact on the challenge.

  3. simonfj Says:


    “Practice drives the theory. …. the aim is to get people involved and give mechanisms for better communication”. Nice start. I thought the mechanisms were there at OpenLearn? It’s only that the people inside are so busy writing reports of what’s happening inside that they don’t have time to use them:)


    “subject matter & audience” Good. If he’s in the volunteer business he ought to roam around some of the wiki traps, where wikipedians use it as a training ground for paid employment.

    ““learning miles”, huh. Might be time to revisit the Scottish Individual Learning accounts. They’re always a bit ahead of the English.

    Poor Skip,

    Some of the best minds and the conference organisers can’t get the absolutely most basic part of computer technology – the network – to um, work. “Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning”. I think we should also have ANPEL = Accreditation of No Prior Experiential Learning = for academics.

    “The Leitch report was taken as the basis for linking informal and formal learning – but it does not talk about the ICT infrastructure”. Well it wouldn’t could it? Purely academic old boy. ANPEL.

    “The payoff could come in then providing novel ways to bring people in” Sounds good….. “but the opposite could also happen and new groups are excluded”. Yeah that’s what i read on a lot of blogs. But your new group is excluded from them of course.

    “Find out how to communicate it to educators”. No, find out how to get educators TO communicate. I’ll be glad when the computing fashion in academia changes to using something useful rather than this broadcast and (short) reply method. Reminds me of kindy.

    A Walled Garden production.

    Say, You wouldn’t want to host a radio programme/podcast ala would you?
    Perhaps something like OER weekly?

    If yes why don’t you pop in to wikback?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: