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E-pedagogy revisited

Posted on: November 6, 2019

I did not think that I needed to revisit this topic, but I was wrong.

What are e-pedagogies? Do they even exist? Those were my questions when I first visited this topic six years ago.

Back then I was responding to an ex-colleague who asked the first question. I had concluded there were three possible categories that could stem from existing pedagogies and principles of instructional design/redesign.

Steve Wheeler skimmed this topic even earlier in 2010 and concluded that “the literature suggests that there are no significant differences between traditional and online forms of learning.”

So I did a quick search for more current thoughts on “e-pedagogies”. My first source, Principles for e-pedagogy, preceded my own thoughts by a year.  It suggested seven principles:

  1. Ensure and guarantee frequent and regular contact between the teacher and students as well as among students.
  2. Develop reciprocity and cooperation among students
  3. Provide students more with feedback than evaluation
  4. Create positive and supportive learning environment
  5. Respect the diverse talents and learning styles in creating the learning activities and materials
  6. Provide students with clear expectations from the beginning of the course
  7. Provide students and teachers with appropriate training for e-elearning

I cannot ethically or logically endorse these. The mere mention of debunked learning styles indicates how dated the literature review was. There is also nothing uniquely “e” about the strategies.

My second source, e-Pedagogy: the pedagogies of e-learning, was published online in 2016. This empirical study claimed “seven clusters of pedagogies correlated with students’ grades”:

  1. Summarising and note taking
  2. Reinforcing effort and providing recognition
  3. Homework and practice
  4. Non-linguistic presentation
  5. Cooperative learning
  6. Setting goals and providing feedback
  7. Generating and testing hypotheses

Again, how many of these are pedagogies at face value? The researcher seems to have conflated practices or procedures for pedagogies. Skills like summarising and note-taking are learner activities, not pedagogies.

My third quick source, The Changing Face of E-Pedagogy?, was from the University of Warwick and was last revised in July 2012.  It suggested a generic step model that did not offer anything unique pedagogically.

But it did offer an important disclaimer:

We do not yet have an explicit pedagogical framework for e-learning developments at Warwick. This is understandable as the University is not homogeneous. A single, generic model is unlikely to fit the variety of teaching and learning approaches and disciplinary differences across the 30 or more departments.

When I harp on the uniqueness of “e-pedagogy”, I am asking us to be critical about blindly relabelling what already exists. I am also highlighting the need for contextual principles, not a catch-all model or framework.
 

 
So what are we left with? Nothing new I suppose. But to provoke some critique, I offer some practice-oriented elements that need more attention.

  • Empathy for learners: Starting and ending with the learners by customising content and experiences based on their needs. This will require quantum leaps in current analytics and AI.
  • Educational UX: UX is user experience. This means designing e-platforms for teaching and learning first, not for administration and analytics. This also means being device and platform agnostic, which calls for open standards and licensing.
  • Embracing experiences: Embracing the fact that learners bring their own contexts, issues, and talents to a shared space. This means not just relying on fixed teaching resources but also welcoming plethora of resources and perspectives offered by learners.
  • Empowered evaluation: As an alternative to fixed or narrow assessment. This could mean being open to alternative outcomes and measures of learning. The latter could look more like meaningful projects and authentic performance, and less like quizzes and essays.

I do not claim that these are pedagogies or even e-pedagogies. They are practices or guiding principles that can push teaching and learning in any space.

1 Response to "E-pedagogy revisited"

E Tan: E-pedagogy revisited ashleytan.wordpress.com/2019/11/06/e-p… via twitter.com

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