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Deliberate design, andragogy, and social media applications

Both Tony Bates and Janet Clarey are thinking here about elearning but the discussion is applicable to blended learning and f2f learning as well.

When you begin to think about providing a structured opportunity for learning is it all about delivery? How am I going to present content? Or is it about interaction and collaboration? How are the participants going to work with this content and each other to learn to apply it?

To start, you may want to unpack “learner-centered social constructivist approach” a bit. (You’ll also see social constructivist referred to as sociocultural though there’s a bit of a difference I don’t nit-pick at this level.) To do this, I’d recommend reading what IMHO is a classic overview of the topic: Searching for Learner-Centered,Constructivist, and Sociocultural Components of Collaborative Educational Learning Tools (and not just because it’s by two people I know and have worked with).

Curt and Don note that “Theory certainly cannot operate within a vacuum. Views on questions such as the nature of mind are developed by considering not only philosophical questions like the form of underlying mental representation, but also the world within which learners function. . . . If learning is predominantly a sociocultural dialogue, then instruction should provide opportunities for embedding learning in authentic tasks leading to participation in a community of practice. . . . But [this] presumes the availability, in the world of experience, of tools and structures to support them.” (p. 26).

As an adult educator you’ll notice that a lot of this learner-centered social constructivist approach sounds like andragogy. While some of it is dated please read through to the second half for their take on theory, principles, and collaborative learning tools. Given the advances in technology since 1998, there are many more collaborative tools available for use in any mode of learning (f2f, distance, or blended). How can you design deliberately to support adults and how can you leverage social media and applications to connect them to a larger community of practice?

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