The other day I was asked by a client to send a bullet point list of the main features of the online learning platform that we are developing for them. Condensing a lot of thinking around the development of a very complex platform for them proved to be pretty challenging but the list ended up like this:

  • Bottom up approach (Constructivist rather than Instructivist) where the learner is driving the learning process and, partly, the instructional process as well
  • Development of a platform for learning rather than a system: that is,  the platform uses a range of tools to enhance and promote self-learning and community interaction rather than a system which is closed and frames the participant’s actions within the system’s prescribed limits.
  • Focus on the learning rather than instructing with the individual at the centre of a social process
  • Many features of Personal Learning Environments included in the platform so that a real, active and energised community of learners, mentors and instructors is created
  • Learning is individual, peer-to-peer (through video and text chat, shared resources and experiences, blogging, social tools etc), and organisation-to-individual (through the provision of the core materials and resources and the guidance provided by instructors and mentors)
  • Participants take more responsibility for their learning. The tools allow the participant to record and reflect upon their learning and share these with other participants
  • The learner is an active participant in the learning experience rather than a passive vessel to be filled with information. The platform forces learners to be adventurers seeking out information, making connections and building knowledge.
  • Dialogue, collaboration, community, conversation are crucial and fit within the larger scope of objectives for the client in terms of developing young people’s personal potential and social and community skills.
  • The instructor serves in the role of ‘guide’, monitor, coach or facilitator.
  • Participant plays a central role in mediating and controlling their own learning experience
  • Problem solving, and deep understanding are emphasized
  • Exploration rather than reproduction is encouraged so that participants seek knowledge independently and manage the development of that knowledge
  • Collaborative and cooperative learning are favoured to expose participants to many viewpoints and approaches to the Award content
  • The platform creates a ‘community of practice’ characterized by a shared domain of interest  where members interact and learn together and develop a shared repertoire of resources

Worth posting here as these points underpin any praxMatrix online learning development. They are consistent with our approach to learning as a social and community driven experience.

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