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001 1-7 Iterations

Page history last edited by Wilma Clark 12 years, 5 months ago

SELF-MANAGED LEARNING IN OUT-OF-SCHOOL CONTEXTS


[Study Home]  [Study Phase One]  [Study Phase Two]  [Study Phase Three]


[1.1] [1.2] [1.3] [1.4] [1.5] [1.6] [1.7]


 

1.7 Iterations

 

The aim of this step is to ensure that the focus of attention or design problem is sufficiently narrowly focused to enable identification of specific resources and filters that are relevant to a learner's specified learning need (previously adduced in the focus of attention). Unless and until the learner's learning need is adequately framed, phases two and three cannot be effectively applied to design a problem solution. For example, the relationships identified in phase two should relate to a specific set of resources framed by both the ZAA identified in the preceding steps and the Focus of Attention identified in Step 2. The elaboration of these relationships in phase two then feeds into ways of identifying the learner's ZPA and appropriate levels of scaffolding and adjustment in phase three.

 

Iterations may involve moving between a few steps or all 7 steps. The degree to which successive iterations are needed depends on the clarity of the design problem at the outset. In the present study, there was little preconception of what a particular design problem (linked to learners' learning needs) might be, other than the very general notion of ascertaining how digital technologies might support a learner's learning needs. Little was known, however, about the learners, their learning context, or the kinds of digital technologies available to them. This meant that Phase 1 in this case passed through several iterations, with each iteration producing a finer granularity on the learner's learning situation in a drilling down of contexts, activities and resources. By way of example, some of these iterations are described below.

 


 

Iteration 1: Location - Learning Centre. Aim - to help learners and their mentors to make appropriate selections amongst available technologies. This involved identifying available resources and ways in which these were currently used by learners. This iteration did not proceed to Step 3 of Phase 1 because levels of availability of resources were too broadly stated. Through a more structured discussion with learners, trips were identified as an area where use of digital technologies might be useful but which was currently problematic. This provides a general focus of attention for context and Iteration 2.

 

Iteration 2: Location - Learning Centre. Aim - to help learners and their mentors to make appropriate selections amongst available technologies suitable for use on trips. This involved identifying available resources and ways in which these had been/could be used to support learners' learning needs on trips. This enabled some types of available technologies to be excluded as they were not relevant/appropriate for trips and generated some potential filters relating to mobile contexts. Once again, this iteration did not proceed to Step 3 of Phase 1 because levels of availability of resources were still too broadly stated. Through further discussion with learners, a specific trip was identified where use of digital technologies might be desired - a trip to the London Planetarium. This provided a more specific focus of attention and led to Iteration 3.

 

Iteration 3: Location - Learning Centre. Aim - to help learners and their mentors to make appropriate selections amongst available technologies suitable for use on a trip to the London Planetarium. This iteration was able to proceed to Step 3 of Phase 1 as, whilst a multiplicity of options remained, these were now at a sufficient level of granularity to be manageable.

 


Through these examples we can see, then, that where no specific 'Focus of Attention' is invoked as a starting point for application of the EoR Model and Framework, it is necessary to cycle between Steps 1 and 2 of Phase 1 until such time as an appropriate and manageable focus is achieved. This iterative activity involves both participants and researchers (or design team).

 

It is important to emphasise that the brainstorming function is applied in every iteration. This means that in any refinement of the ZAA (i.e. a narrowing down of available resources), others which may be potentially available or useful applied to a subsequent learning need in the same situation are not lost. Subsequent/alternative learning needs would, of course, require further iterations of the EoR cycle.

 

In the three iterations illustrated above, both a ZAA and a Focus of Attention were successfully identified and this made it possible to move onto Step 3 - the categorisation of the elements in the ZAA pertinent to the specified Focus of Attention. This preliminary categorisation was an important step in linking the learner to their context. A key benefit of Step 3 in this respect is the production of a visual model which depicts the learner at the centre of her Ecology of Resources, categorised as Knowledge, Environment and People/Tools. In this way, the EoR Model begins to show relations between the learner and her context.

 

 

Researcher Notes on Iterative Process

 

 

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