Joined the ONLers Tribe! – Final Reflections

I have delved into online learning in the past. There is no shortage of literature, research and other artifacts on the subject. However, for me this has never stuck. ONL161 brought this elusive subject to life for me. We spent hours in Adobe Connect, posted in Google+, tweeted, blogged, created and shared electronically whatever we had discussed, debated and made decisions on. In this collaborative process we forgot we were learning and had lots of laughs.

ONL161 has been the most interesting and fun course that I have completed to date. Social learning and finding that learning can be embedded in the relationships between people is something new to me. I have always engaged in individual learning, rote and reproduction of learning. I was a product of a system. Engagement in ONL161 changed my perspective of how teaching and learning should be taking place. It is in step with this modern, complex and fast changing world.

I have struggled to understand why current students are so vastly different from my past students. I was asking them to meet me in my space and place. This was a narrow view and this ONLer experience has given me tools and techniques to change my teaching practice to embrace collaborative learning, flexible learning, learning design and concepts such as the flipped classroom. My blog post on Attention today touches on this and Collaboration – Reflections asks important questions that I will need to answer going forward.

Will using technology in my teaching increase my students’ participation, interest and motivation? My students use technology for entertainment and socializing. If I can show them how to use tech for learning, I can reduce my frustration and effort to get them to the end goal i.e. learning.  Teachers who are not using digital tools for teaching will be “uber-ised”. The change is occurring, as I mention in my blog-post on Flex-o-learn.

To my friends Maria, Mariya, Linda, Lisa and Lena (PBL Gr2) thank you for teaching me about Swedish köttbullar  and new perspectives on topics that I would never have thought about. I learned much from this social interaction. To Darek, Anna and Amir I encourage you to try again when circumstances are better.

eLearning when planned and constructed correctly moves the student from consumption to creatives and also moves the teacher from lecturer/ orator and off-loader to developing opportunities and activities for students to actively learn. I want my students to start a blog of their own. Based on my experience in the two live tweet chats that I participated, I am hooked and must bring it into the classroom. I have never experimented with peer assessment. I want to move from my default tools and default mode of teaching i.e. lecture. My students do share openly, but only in class. They are scared of online sharing. I broke that fear with this course and will use the techniques learned here to achieve the same.

Thanks to the ONL161 team for providing us an opportunity with connecting with like minded professionals across the world.


The Game Changer for Education and Learning!

Everybody is looking for this elusive one. Education is a game changer for any person wanting more, wanting better and making progress, however this key need (not want anymore) is inaccessible to many. The world therefore demands a game changer for Education and Learning. Could the answer be in re-inventing learning design?

Andrew Feenberg writes about his last university presidents’ speech: “If you went to a Johns Hopkins class circa 1900, and you went today, probably the only difference would be today we have PowerPoint. It would look exactly the same. If you went into an automobile plant in 1900 and today, you wouldn’t recognize that you were in the same place. Almost every other aspect of society has employed technology to reduce the labor content needed to produce a unit of service. The labor content of a car is dramatically lower today than it was 50 years ago or 100 years ago….At some point higher education is going to price itself out of the market….[unless] you figure out how to deliver the educational content in a different way…. One thing about education and information is it costs a lot to develop and deliver the first copy of it, but subsequent copies are less expensive. So you can distribute the same material to different audiences. You can develop a course in Shakespeare for undergraduates, which is delivered in a low student-to-faculty ratio with all the interaction you want. But you could then develop the same course to give to larger audiences for an evening course.” (Source: )

A Learning Design is defined as “the educational process, not just courseware but the whole teaching/learning experience. It’s a more or less formal description of a pedagogical scenario (also called educational script or storyboard) and that may or may not follow an instructional design model. (Source:

Could learning design open up the blockage that has held back open and online learning? Could it be a game changer for education? What do you think will be the game changer that everyone is looking for?



OER – To Share or Not to Share!


In many surveys and research on the topic, the results show conclusively that people like to and do share educational resources, in the main. So why is there no massive amounts of sharing online? The answer could be found in the field of perceptions and attitudes versus knowledge, skills and behavior. Many people have a good perception and positive attitudes towards sharing, because of the perceived benefits. However, we know that what people say is not what they do. Smoking is a good example. People do not show good behavior in sharing and many lack the knowledge and/ or skills in sharing digitally. This is the disconnect between the positive perception and attitude but a lack of sharing behavior or know-how.


Is flexible learning something new? If flexible learning refers to changing the time, space, place, medium and audience, my view is “we have been having this for decades”. I remember my school and college days, when my educators tried to make us learn via movies, field trips (excursions), OHP transparencies, team-work, etc. My history teacher used a reel projector and showed us black and white movies. However, these endeavors were hard-work, costly, time consuming and requiring much planning.

Flexible learning today normally refers to changing time, space, place and audience using digital and web means. This changes the dynamics of the work, costs, deployment, sharing, access and time utilized is drastically changed and reduced (work, time, costs) or increased (sharing, access, audience). Thus, online learning and digital tools has repackaged flexible learning into a user-friendly format. This plants the seeds for the “uberization” of education.

I invite you to share your views on Flex-o-learn.




An interesting topic 3 brought the real life world into the academic space. In the academic space we traditionally listened, read and wrote much. If we did not master these skills we were classified as failures. However, our insights into collaboration in the ONL made me think that learning also occurs when we share, critique and develop stuff together. This is how the real world works. These insights now enable me to understand how some people are very skilled but do not have formal educational qualifications. The topic also made me think about the following: Can a person learn by collaboration alone? Is collaboration on the total opposite to individual learning? Will collaborative learning be the answer to developing graduates with real work skills so that they can be productive quicker? Many of them are not work-ready when they leave university/ college. Is collaboration the same as team work? How does it affect and is affected by introverts, shy persons, language, cultural and other barriers? As I continue the readings, webinars, and video-clips I am sure the answers will emerge.

Attention Today

Howard Rheingold’s article “Attention, and other 21st Century Social Media Literacies” has useful pointers on reputation and diffuse reciprocity. People have to use this to build their personal learning networks. Important questions here that I can take to my students are: Which people are you going to allow into your attention sphere? Who is going to take up your mind space? Is the person trustworthy? Entertaining? Useful? An expert?

With the glut of content, the solution can be critical consumption.