Thursday, 17 May 2012

Anderson finishing us off with Interaction

Week 36 on  #change11 and the end of a great journey. Will write about the MOOC separately but wanted to record my notes for Terry Anderson's excellent live session.
You can slice up how we look at learning and teaching in many ways. The concept of Interaction considers the process by viewing the interactions that exist between the three possible "players": the learner, the teacher and the content.
Moore described this in 1989 and this diagram shows the possible interactions:
(from the ALT Newsletter)
Other models of learning (for example, Friere and Glaserfeld) concentrate on the learner (and the teacher) but the Interaction model allows us to consider the actual tasks in the process of learning.
I did wonder about Content-content but I can give a very much up-to-date example of content acting on content to improve personal search in Google's Knowledge Graph.
The Student-teacher interaction is the obvious one but both Student-content and Student-student are viable and important interactions to produce "deep and meaningful learning".
Anderson added to this in 2003 by introducing the idea of Interaction Equivalence when discussing formal learning:
  1. Deep and meaningful formal learning is supported as long as one of the three forms of interaction (Student-teacher, Student-student, Student-content) is at a high level. The other two may be offered at minimum levels, or even eliminated, without degrading the educational experience.
  2. High levels of more than one of these three modes will likely provide a more satisfying educational experience, although these experiences may not be as cost- or time-effective as less interactive learning sequences.
 Bernard et al (2009) published research into this and showed the relative strengths of different interactions. In terms of achievement and combining categories, for example, Bernard et al found an increase in relationship between strength and effect size for Student-student combined with Student-content, and Student-teacher with Student-content. Could this suggest that both the social interaction AND the personal interaction (with content) is necessary for better learning?
In planning learning and teaching, it is likely that each of the three interactions need to be addressed. The pendulum of collaborative learning has probably swung too far and the needs of the more "introverted" learner needs to be taken into account too. I don't like the term but it has come to the fore with Susan Cain's book "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking". By having interaction with content and with teacher/student in each of the two examples above, both intro- and extrovert learners are catered for.
Anderson also talked about the idea of a "no frills" university - can students be better served by less than the full university experience? This is happening and perhaps even necessary to happen so as to make education accessible to more people.
He asked whether it was necessary for a university to be heavily research focused to be a good teaching university? There is little evidence to support this.
With decreases in costs of content we could see a different approach to what the university provides - with, perhaps, good teaching universities maintaining the small group tuturial aspect for higher fee payers but opening up their courses to many more.
Some free universities: P2PU, University of the People and the OER University.
Thank you Terry Anderson for finishing these excellent 36 weeks so well.

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