Control and Constraint in E-Learning: Choosing When to Choose: Choosing When to Choose

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Dron, Jon
Idea Group Inc (IGI), Mar 31, 2007 - Education - 366 pages
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Every learner is on a trajectory, an individual path that involves choices about what to do next in order to learn, choices that are bounded by intrinsic and extrinsic constraints. In some cases the learner controls those choices, sometimes they are made by someone or something else, sometimes control is negotiated, or it emerges from complex interactions of many agents. Control and Constraint in E-Learning: Choosing When to Choose pulls apart that simple dynamic, examines it in detail, and explores its consequences to provide a new, theoretically grounded approach to the design of e-learning systems, to the benefit of teachers, programmers, researchers and instructional designers alike. In addition to shedding new light on traditional e-learning systems, it demonstrates that the social technologies underpinning Web 2.0 are fundamentally different in their dynamics of control and, consequently, when designed and used with care, offer benefits that significantly exceed the promise of their forebears.


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Control and Learning A Theoretical Background
Introducing Concepts
Learning Projects and Learning Trajectories
What is a Teacher?
SelfDirected Learning
Asynchronous Communication
Transactional Control in an Online Discussion Forum
An Example of a Discussion Forum in Detail
Lessons Learned From the Discussion Forum
Dialogue Choice and Constraint
General Recommendations for Transactional Control in Threaded Dialogue
Synchronous Discussion

ELearning Environments
On the Special Nature of Networked Computers
From Transactional Distance to Transactional Control
Transactional Distance
Garrison and Bayntons Model of Control
Candy and Control
Introducing Transactional Control
Making Choices The Need for Teachers
Why is Choice so Important?
The Significance of Choice
Is Choice Always Good?
How Choices May Be Made
Is it Possible for a Learner to make Appropriate Choices without Guidance?
Knowing when a Choice is Made
All About Constraints
The Limits of Choice and the Role of Constraint
Intrinsic Constraints
Extrinsic Constraints
A Model of Constraints
Choice and Scale
At What Scale?
Choosing the Scale
Hierarchies of Choice in Institutional Learning
Giving More Control
The Atomic Unit of Transactional Control
Instructivism Constructivism and Transactional Control
Transactional Control in Traditional Institutional Learning
Some Examples
Tentative Classifications
Transactional Control in Socratic Dialogue
Transactional Control in a Traditional Lecture
A Suggested Process of Analysis
Design Process
Section II
ELearning Control and Constraint
Electronic Publication
Publishing Content
Signposts not Fenceposts
Granularity Learning Objects and Choice
Finding Good Stuff
ResourceBased Learning
Criteria for Finding Good Stuff
Collaborative Filters and Recommender Systems
Shared Annotations
Adaptive Hypermedia and Intelligent Tutoring Systems
Synchronous Text Chat
Example of a Text Chat Session
Some Approaches to Managing Synchronous Chats
Other Synchronous Systems
Integrated Tools and Environments
Integrated Tools and Environments
The LMS as a Controller
Open Sources Open Architectures Open Frameworks
General Issues of Control with Learning Management Systems and StopGap Solutions
Summary of Section II
Designing Better ELearning Environments
Social Software and ELearning
The Current Generation
Deferred Systems
Social Software
A New Framework for Mediated Communication in Education
Approaches to Online Learning Environment Design
Design Principles for Social Software in ELearning
Design for Change
Use Stigmergy
Survival of the Fittest
Consider the Entire System
Build From the Bottom Up Design From the Top Down
Build for Trust
Design for Sociability
Social Software in ELearning Beyond Blogs and Wikis
Examples of SelfOrganising Learning Environments in the Context of the Eight Principles
Two Examples in Greater Detail
Problems with Social Software for ELearning
The Impoverished Dialogue of Stigmergy
Stigmergy and Creativity
The Written Word as Stigmergic Sign
Are Crowds Wise?
The Matthew Principle
Pedagogical Concerns
Potential Futures of ELearning
The Future of ELearning
The Future of ELearning Environments
Imagining a Scenario or Two
Ubiquity and Economics
Where Next? Closer Up
About the Author

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About the author (2007)

Jon Dron is a principal lecturer in the School of Computing, Mathematical & Information Sciences, at the University of Brighton, UK. As well as teaching a range of subjects, he is currently the head of learning environments for his school. His Ph.D. thesis was on self-organization in networked learning environments, and he holds a Postgraduate Certificate in teaching and learning in higher education, a Master's Degree in information systems and a BA in philosophy. He is a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK. He has published over 40 refereed articles on the subject of e-learning, and written several well-known e-learning applications. [Editor]

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