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H808 – eLearning and professional development (CA 5.1)

November 11, 2010

This time we were asked to consider what makes an eprofessional, i.e. how we would define an eprofessinal or how other organisations or countries define eprofessionals. One of my fellow students mentioned that she thinks that PDP (personal development planning) and the use of reflection jumped her mind first. Below my reply.

I agree with you that reflection and PDP seems to make a great part of being an eprofessional, but though this is quite new to me as it is not required in German schools, do I think that practicing reflexivity, though like in my case not done in a written form so far, should be and is part of all professionals, especially if you are a teacher. You should always reflect back how the lesson you planned went, what you could improve and so on. I see that great emphasis on reflection more as part of a general social development to be more outgoing, more explicit. I think it was Siemens who talked about death of anonymity and learning in a fish bowl. I think this type of, let’s call it outing, to talk freely on a blog and tell the whole world how bad or good you did would have been unthinkable years before. Well, that’s at least my impression. But I think it’s a trend and eprofessionals simply jumped on it and thought if students talk so freely on Facebook and other SNS (social network sites) then why not use it for education. Sure, my thought as well, why not use that tools and teach them a more professional handling of these tools and services and help them to integrate them useful in their learning. Don’t get me wrong, it is not that I do not think that reflection is unnecessary, and I believe in the potential of eportfolios, but at least here in Germany we definitely don’t belong to the early adopters and from my reading and research so far and following the discussions on the forum or my chat with others, I have the impression that the uptake in the UK, not sure about the USA, is not so great as expected. In H800 one author (Mayes) argues that each technology seems to offer lots of promises, but in the end is fundamentally disappointing in terms of the impact it actually has on practice, thus a new ‘Groundhog day’ begins with the excitement around the next technology. Well, I experienced a Groundhog-day when Moodle was introduced in vocational schools, advertised as panacea and announced to revolutionise education. A year later just a few teachers adopted Moodle into their teaching and a mismatch between the potential of the CMS and their actual use is visible, insofar as it is used mainly as a repository for worksheets.

Well, like a said that is just my humble opinion, but I think I should read more of the material to get a deeper insight into the subject matter 😉

This link was provided from a peer and pretty much shows what I meant with Groundhog day, stating that it is a widely accepted phenomenon.

Another student started a list summarizing the main thoughts in the forum so far:

  • Reflection and development
  • The use of Web 2.0 technology (Blogs/Wiki’s etc)

Which I complemented several times, finally ending up with this version.

  • Reflection and PDP or CDP – taking ownership and responsibility of own learning, including informal and lifelong learning, self-determined.
  • the use of Web 2.0 technologies with its emphasis on user-generated content, sharing, collaboration and communication and publishing
  • Accessibility issues – making learning more inclusive allow access to all
  • Being a member of a couple of online networks or communities, like LinkedIn, The eLearning Guild, Cloudworks, Eifel, etc
  • Stay on to of recent developments, critical evaluate and reflect on them and consider implications for learning

Point four might belong actually to the second point, but I think eprofessionals need to participate in communities of practice, first to push their reputation and credibility, which comes from peer-to-peer review, second to  keep themselves up-to-date about new developments and to exchange ideas with others.

Taking H810 ‘Accessible online learning: supporting disabled students also greatly raised my awareness to take greater care of the needs of disabled students and I think that this is an important feature that an elearning professional, or whatever title he carries, should consider when designing, creating, developing online learning resources.

Here is the list of 5 kinds of e-Learning professionals that I found under on the website from Research Center for e-Leanring Professional Competency.

Another student quoted from a JISC 2001 study that identified 11 distinct roles and put them into three groups of eprofessionals.

  • new specialists included the roles of educational developer, educational researcher, technical researcher, developer, materials developer, project manager, and general learning technologist. They were described as the “true” learning professionals, multi-skilled individuals who are involved in the entire process of learning technology development.
  • Academic and established professionals included academic innovators and academic managers with an interest in learning technologies. They are working at a more strategic level.
  • Learning support professionals included technical support professionals and IT professionals

Pretty amazing who many different job descriptions exists, no wonder that coming to a joint definition about eprofessionals is so difficult.

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From → H808

One Comment
  1. LOL!!! You comment about teachers primarily using the VLE as a suppository for worksheets hit the mark!!!

    In my experience you can divide teachers into two clear categories:

    1 – Those who use… No, those who can create effective e-learning
    2 – Those who depend on those of us who can!

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