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Three propositions on conceptualising adaptive learning processes

July 26th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

As regular readers will know I have been thinking a lot about learning contexts lately. And having some interesting onversatio0ns in different media with Fred Garnett. When I was looking for something else this afternoon I found an email from him sent in April which I had somehow overlooked. I am not quite sure what the email says. For some reason the text is not wrapping. However he does say “you should get it together on your blog.” So I will and here is a section of the short (apparently unpublished) paper attached to the email which I find very interesting.

“Cumulatively we can draw these “Learner-Generated Contexts” points together to conceptualise a new, adaptive model of the relationships between informal, non-formal and formal learning

1. In an era of social networks where users have both the tools and the experience to self-organise, and with learning being a social process, the informal dimension of learning is better defined as that domain within the learning process where people organise themselves, either to meet self-determined goals or to meet the pre-determined goals of an institution; people are how we scaffold the organisation of learning

2. In an era where an ever greater amount of learning content is on offer and new ways of providing learning resources, as objects, tools and templates, are made available then the non-formal dimension of learning could be defined as those resources used for learning; resources are how we scaffold the process of learning

3. In an era where traditional learning is being subverted by new forms of collaboration and knowledge construction, crowd-sourcing wikipedia, participatory science, then formal learning could be defined as providing reliable sources of accreditation; institutions are how we scaffold the accreditation of learning.”

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    A National Survey fin Wales in 2017-18 showed that 15% of adults (aged 16 and over) in Wales do not regularly use the internet. However, this figure is much higher (26%) amongst people with a limiting long-standing illness, disability or infirmity.

    A new Welsh Government programme has been launched which will work with organisations across Wales, in order to help people increase their confidence using digital technology, with the aim of helping them improve and manage their health and well-being.

    Digital Communities Wales: Digital Confidence, Health and Well-being, follows on from the initial Digital Communities Wales (DCW) programme which enabled 62,500 people to reap the benefits of going online in the last two years.

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    Zero Hours Contracts

    Figures from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in total almost 11,500 people – both academics and support staff – working in universities on a standard basis were on a zero-hours contract in 2017-18, out of a total staff head count of about 430,000, reports the Times Higher Education.  Zero-hours contract means the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours

    Separate figures that only look at the number of people who are employed on “atypical” academic contracts (such as people working on projects) show that 23 per cent of them, or just over 16,000, had a zero-hours contract.

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    Interesting research on student centered learning and student buy in, as picked up by an article in Inside Higher Ed. A new study published in PLOS ONE, called “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Assessments of Both Student Perception and Performance Are Necessary to Successfully Evaluate Curricular Transformation finds that student resistance to curriculum innovation decreases over time as it becomes the institutional norm, and that students increasingly link active learning to their learning gains over time

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    Research published this year by Vitae and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and reported by the Guardian highlights the pressure on post graduate students.

    “They might suffer anxiety about whether they deserve their place at university,” says Sally Wilson, who led IES’s contribution to the research. “Postgraduates can feel as though they are in a vacuum. They don’t know how to structure their time. Many felt they didn’t get support from their supervisor.”

    Taught students tend to fare better than researchers – they enjoy more structure and contact, says Sian Duffin, student support manager at Arden University. But she believes anxiety is on the rise. “The pressure to gain distinction grades is immense,” she says. “Fear of failure can lead to perfectionism, anxiety and depression.”

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