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001 3-4 Inter-Element

Page history last edited by Wilma Clark 13 years, 9 months ago



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3.4 Inter-Element


In this and the remaining steps of the self-managed learning study, I turn from a focus on learner, resources and MAPs to the ways in which these elements relate to one another as intra- and interdependent entities. Intradependence is a quality of "sets" of things (e.g. the card game) whilst interdependence is a quality of individual but inter-connected things within the Learner's ZAA (zone of available assistance). In this step, I focus on the relationships between resources across the different category elements of the learner's ZAA, i.e. the kinds of resources identified in Phase 1, step 3 and categorised as Knowledge, People and Tools, and Environment.


In the card game example, for instance - the Knowledge element relates to kinds of technology, their functionality and usability across a range of purposes and contexts. The Knowledge element may also, of course, include the existing knowledge, skills and understanding of the learner, her peers and others (e.g. learning mentors) already identified as part of her ZAA. These human actors are also part of the People category, whilst the cards and other components of the card game (activity pad, question wheel, etc.) are Tools and the locale of play is part of the Environment. At the same time, future potential locations may also constitute part of the learning environment encapsulated in the card game. For example, in this study, learner engagement with the card game was part of their planning for a trip to the London Planetarium. 


A particular example of ways in which Inter-Element scaffolding and adjustment were incorporated into game play was the addition of cards which introduced problem-resolution to encourage learners to reflect more widely on the suitability of particular technologies in different situations - so that they would consider not only what a technology might do but whether this was the most effective way to achieve an outcome.



HELP and ISSUES cards designed to scaffold learner's reflections within the technology card game


These initial 'tell-type' scaffolds were subsequently reframed through participatory dialogue with learners in order to generate more fluid/flexible and individually challenging scaffolds.



ISSUES cards - revised design following participatory dialogue with learners


The more suggestive nature of the secondary design encouraged greater discussion amongst learners and stimulated them to identify the nature of issues (e.g. quality, storage, planning, preparation, etc.) in a more contextual and adaptive way, in effect, encouraging learners to 'scaffold' their own learning with or without additional MAP support. What this suggests is that wide-ranging consideration should be given to ways in which different elements, e.g. knowledge, people, tools and environment relate to each other and the ways in which these promote and facilitate learner interaction with her context. Optimising the learner experience may require additional or revised scaffolds or adjustments to be made. In this example, for instance, the HELP cards were rejected (as here were too many different opportunities within the card game and learners felt swamped trying to remember them all) and this element was incorporated into the notion of issues. Further, learners didn't want to read 'too much' - so advice/examples were provided with minimal phrasing.

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