Sunday, May 04, 2014

Using the ocTEL MOOC to support learning

I have been following some of the discussions that have been happening this week, and really enjoying the quality of much of it and the level of engagement that so many of you are showing (and I hope that I am demonstrating too).  One of the things that I have been thinking about is how this relates to undertaking a CMALT (Certified Membership of the Association for Learning Technology) application, and I think that it demonstrates the types of thing that we are looking for in your application. 
When assessing applications we are looking for three things relating to each of the headings.  These are description of what you have done, evidence that you did it and reflection on what you learnt from doing it.  I want to focus on reflection here for two reasons.  Firstly, applicants often have the greatest difficulty with reflection (that is we often have to ask applicants to do more reflection before we can accept the applications) and secondly the topic this week has been so general that it is harder to relate to most of the specific sections of the application.
I have seen considerable levels of reflection in some of the postings where people have commented not just on what they have done (description), but also why it worked (or didn’t) what might have made it work better and what they learnt from doing it.  This is exactly what we are looking for in applications, and is really helpful for other participants in ocTEL.  While CP Scott may have said “"comment is free, but facts are sacred” it is often the comment that is more useful for other people. This, for instance, is why case studies are such a popular way of understanding the possibilities of learning technology (or anything else for that matter).  While it may be true that facts are sacred and comment is free (though most facts are contested anyway, and much comment wouldn’t be worth paying for) it is when they are combined in a thoughtful way that the greatest understanding is developed both by the writer, and the reader.  When you are writing posts, or reading posts (whether blogs or in the forum or anywhere else) think about what is description, what is the evidence supporting it and what reflection there is.  Try to include some reflection in all your postings, it will really help to further your own understanding, and yes, I know I have not included reflection in all my postings, so I will try harder for the rest of ocTEL to include some reflection in my postings.
One of the other areas that we are looking for in CMALT applications is communications both as something to write about specifically in section 3 and because it relates to two of the principles behind CMALT:
·       An empathy with and willingness to learn from colleagues from different backgrounds and specialisms.
·       A commitment to communicate and disseminate effective practice.
Even vicarious learning supports the first of these two, whilst so many of you have been willing to comment on postings by others shows a commitment to communicate and disseminate effective practice.  Indeed, particiaption in the MOOC could be used as evidence in the communications section.
The other two principles are:
·       A commitment to exploring and understanding the interplay between technology and learning.
·       A commitment to keep up to date with new technologies
And here again there has been the start of discussions in these areas, which I am sure you will be pursuing as the ocTEL continues through the other weeks on topics relating to learning and technology.
What is very clear to me is that many of you already have the knowledge and experience to gain CMALT recognition, and that you can use ocTEL both to increase your understanding of learning technology and learning  and to reflect on what you already know and do.  That makes an ideal preparation for completing your CMALT application, so I hope to see a flood of applications at the end of June or start of July.

Good luck and enjoy ocTEL.

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