Concrete projects have a way of highlighting the ways our conceptual frameworks work (and don’t work) when applied to real situations. A recent set of course capstone projects got me thinking more deeply about my learning environment design framework – and I’d love to get feedback on some of my (hopefully) improved thinking on the model.
What got me started
As a final project in my graduate course on e-collaboration, students submitted collaborative learning environment proposals – a draft of a portal connecting learners to internet resources and to each other for collaborative learning in relation to a specific need. The project had curation at its core – finding appropriate materials for the identified learning need – but students were also asked to design the site’s overall strategy for continued development, learner interaction, and collaboration. I love seeing how students thought through the assignment and what they produced as a result.
One of the things that struck me about the projects is their differences. Some students reveled in curating tons of resources – blogs, Twitter feeds, text-based and multimedia resources, etc. (And given that many of the projects were L&D related, I’ve gotten lost on the internet more than once as I explored their links.) I was intrigued by their varied visions for discussion forums and their approaches to learner-generated content. I noted that one student added a section of links to training and education resources which was not required but important to her learners. The diversity of proposals got me thinking about learning environment design – about whether there were different types of environments that suggest different approaches.
An emerging typology
If you follow this blog, you have likely seen my framework of components that constitute learning environments. (Click to enlarge.)
The “design” of learning environments requires the designer to make judgments about which components make the most sense for the given need. I got to thinking… are there “types” of learning environments that suggest different arrays of components? Mmm…
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far… I would appreciate any reactions you have. (Click to enlarge.)
In The New Culture of Learning, Doug Thomas and John Seely Brown describe learning environments that are more of the collaboratory type – and I think that is the ideal for rapidly evolving skills and cutting edge knowledge creation. But there is also plenty of room for (dare I say) transmitting knowledge that’s already explicit (the knowledge exchange type) and supporting the development of complex skills over time (the learning resource portal type). I think it might be helpful for designers to understand what they are trying to achieve, because that (of course) will drive the types of components that are most useful.
More to come… please discuss!