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e-Learning in Norway

November 22nd, 2006 by Graham Attwell

I’ve just arrived in Tallin for the first meeting of the EU funded b-Learning project. Don’t know quite what to expect – I haven’t worked with these partners before and in fact haven’t even met them. according to the workplan I am responsible for the development and maintenance of a web based platform for the delivery of e-learning to five or six vocational schools. Of course I would like to go down the Personal Learning Environment route but I have the feeling that might be a step too far. More important than the platform is the pedagogic approach – I hope we can develop the use of e-Portfolios through the project. If they agree, then I will suggest we use a ELGG together with Moodle, if the project partners also require a VLE.

The last couple of days I have been in Oslo, where I co-facilaitated at a workshop on Social Software in education and, together with Misja Hoebe from Curverider, ran a hands-on session on the use of ELGG.

Interesting stuff. Had a good talk with Tore Hoel on the development fo e-learning in Norway. Summarising our discussion and probably getting a lot of it wrong – it seems that most institutions in Norway have well established uses of technology with tow Norwegian developed Learning management Systems dominating the market. The big issue as Tore explained is moving beyond the VLE, particularly in developing a more learner centred approach and implementing e-Portfolios. Here there is some debate over wether this can and should be done through extending the LMS functionality or adopting a more services based approach through integration of systems like ELGG.

The workshop itself was lively – despite me having a bad technology day – everything I touched seemed to break. What was impressive was the questions form participants – they seemed to home in n every issue including some I had not thought of.

As ever the issue of what responsibilities education institutions had for safety and security of students and data ware raised. I am firmly of the opinion that institutions do have a duty of care and that duty includes helping learners to manage their own data and understand how to use the internet in a safe and responsible way.

There was a very interesting exchange on what the teacher training institutions should be teaching trainee teachers. Whilst participants could see the pedagogic value of PLE type approaches using ELGG they were also of the opinion that whilst the majority of schools and institutions used VLEs or MLE type systems then they should also be using these systems in their programmes for training teachers. That’s quite a hard issue.

Anyway = all in all I was encouraged. there is growing pressure for change and a growing debate over not just what technology should be deployed in the future but how education should be organised to take into account the changing uses of technology in (informal) learning and society.

I’m mirroring this post on http://cafe.teria.no/ – a Norwegian install of ELGG which we used during the presentation – if I have missed anything important (or got something wrong) please do add a comment.

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