Connected Learning is a modern pedagogical approach holding that knowledge and learning is distributed across a social, conceptual network. It holds that when people forge, negotiate and nurture connections for themselves (between people, information, knowledge, ideas and concepts), learning is more powerful and sustainable.
Ideally, such learning could happen anywhere. People would create Personal Learning Networkswithin a Community of Inquiry. They would use whatever tools they consider relevant to this process, and connect with whoever they consider relevant to their network… However, this open connectivism is difficult to achieve in our current educational paradigms. How can we help people to teach “in the wild”? Learning Management Systems maintain a dominant position in the education sector, which means that technical support is generally provided only for those teachers who choose safety over openness.
It doesn’t matter that our students tend to wander off into the wild.. a LMS might provide discussion fora, wikis, file sharing services, but our students are often not even there. They tend to favour tools that they are using already, things like Google drive, Facebook, Dropbox, StackExchange and others. This affects what Learning Analytics (LA) we can carry out, we only see a tiny portion of their behaviour, and they almost never get to see any data about their own learning behaviour. LA is a capability usually provided by LMS vendors, and this makes it difficult to provision LA capabilities beyond the LMS.
The CLA toolkit is one solution that we are creating in an attempt to fill this gap. It helps students and teachers to harvest data about their activities in standard social media environments, and then provide immediate feedback and reports.