Practice based e-learning

I’ve mentioned before that the nature of many of the online courses we develop have elements of tangible engagement with the physical (or real, if you wish) world. I’ve struggled with how best to describe this type of e-learning. It is a methodology that has proven to be effective and is an animating element for our courses.

Communities of practice are being mentioned frequently of late, and on occasion I question the validity of this designation for some of what I see but the concept of practice describes the tangible engagement we integrate into our online courses. I just googled the term practice based e-learning and found The Practice-based Professional Learning Centre (PBPL) from the Open University, which rather describes what I’m saying quite succinctly, albeit in a professional setting. Nonetheless, I think there’s room to designate what we do as Practice based e-learning (PBE-L), focused on skill and/or craft in informal learning situations.

Practice based e-learning map

Now with mindmap!

e-learning and citizen science….points of contact

My interest in citizen science is multifold, but for the purpose of this discussion it will focus on online citizen science projects and the points of contact/overlap or collaboration that can exist with e-learning.

Citizen science “is a participatory process for including all sectors of society in the development and conduct of public-interest research … ” (definition from Coastal CRC citizen science page). Using internet based technologies connects participants in the citizen science process and can ease data gathering, access and knowledge creation. This process would seem to create a “learning space” which could lead to greater understanding of the processes and data for citizens involved in the projects.

As of now I am unaware of any online citizen science projects which integrate a strong social e-learning element or module into the process. I find it hard to believe they don’t exist already and would like to find examples of such integration.

In the active e-learning courses we conduct there is a solid and integral element of physical engagement with the world. This movement out into the world to act and then coming online to interact with others can be easily seen as expanding or re-focusing to include elements of data collection and research.

More to come……

Active e-learning … defining

Hands on learning engages the learner immediately and effectively.
Active e-learning is a hybrid learning environment which integrates hands on activities which engage the learner in physical interaction with the real world with a structured social learning environment to facilitate knowledge discovery and exchange among all participants.
A specific example of such a hybrid e-learning course would be Ken Mudge’s “How, When and Why of Grafting” – sample lesson or the course home page