A set of pedagogical principles

I’m involved, to a small extent, in a really exciting project at the OU at the moment - currently called “Social:Learn”. Martin Weller gives a nice overview of it, Tony Hirst has also blogged about it.  Martin sums it up in his post as follows: 

It is born of the recognition that the OU (and higher education in general) needs to find ways of embracing the whole web 2.0, social networking world, and that the only way to understand this stuff is to do it                     

Martin wants me to wear the “pedagogy hat” (whatever that is!) in the project. So in January we held a two-day workshop with people involved in the project, as well as some of our external consultants (Stowe BoydStewart Sim, and Hardin Tibbs) and some of the key e-learner researchers at the OU. The aim was to tackle the P-question: “What pedagogy underpins Social:Learn?”. We had an incredibly stimulating two days and the outcomes were a set of “principles” which we believe encapsulates what Social:Learn is about. When Martin and I were refining these after the workshop, it occurred to me that it would be useful to map them against key aspects of pedagogy and then I remembered some earlier work which might be useful to link this to. Martin Dyke and I came up with a simple e-learning framework (Dyke et al., 2007) which encapsulates, we felt the key essence of good pedagogy. 

There have been attempts to provide a more holistic approach to identify key elements of learning, such as a model proposed by Dyke (2001) which includes elements of ‘learning with others’, ‘reflection’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘practice’. Conole et al. provide a map of learning theories against three axes: individual – social; reflection – non-reflection; information – experience (Conole et al., 2004). We argue here that e-learning developments could be improved if they were orientated around three core elements of learning: through thinking and reflection; from experience and activity; and through conversation and interaction.            

tetrahedronThese seemed pretty good with respect to Social:Learn too, but “Evidence and demonstration” is also important - so the diagram shows a revised version. Below is a table setting out the principles we derived in the workshop against these aspects of pedagogy. We plan to use this as a checklist against the apps we develop in Social:Learn. It will be really interesting to see how many of them we can embed in the system. Hopefully they will provide a useful checklist to guide our activities.    


           Dyke, M., Conole, G., Ravenscroft, A. and de Freitas, S. (2007), ‘Learning theories and their application to e-learning’, in G. Conole and M. Oliver (ed), Contemporary perspectives in e-learning research: themes, methods and impact on practice’, part of the Open and Distance Learning Series, F. Lockwood, (ed), RoutledgeFalmer.




3 Responses to “A set of pedagogical principles”

  1. distance learning » Blog Archive » A set of pedagogical principles Says:

    […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

  2. Tony Hirst Says:

    It might be interesting to mark up tools from jane’s elearning tools directory ( http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/Directory/ ) against the criteria in the pedagogical principles table, and then work out what needs to be added to particular tools/how they might be used in a slightly different way to the norm/typical use case, to improve their score against those pedagogical criteria

  3. Gráinne Says:

    Hi Tony yes good suggestion, have had a quick look at her list, will have a go!

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