Digital Media in Education

research in new media learning environments

in Web 2.0 and Beyond: The changing needs of learners, new tool, and ways to learn

The author highlights three key changes in the way learning patterns are changing:

  • Look for  information online (articles, webcasts, book reviews courses)
  • Learning with the social network  (search for expert consultants in online social applications)
  • Assuming the role of the intructor (sharing content)

“… thanks to easier-to-use tools for sharing content online, people are not only assuming the role of learner, they’re increasingly assuming the role of instructor as well.”

The nature of learning is changing as in the “information age jobs have problem-solving nature”

“As other products and services become mass-customized to meet the needs of unique people and groups, there is an increasing demand that instruction be mass-customized to meet individual and group needs as well.”

The author speaks of the generational shift between the generation raised with digital technologies (net-gens) and the previous generations, focusing on their learning capabilities.

“Using social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook, video sharing websites like YouTube, instant messaging tools like AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo Messenger, young people use the Internet as a one-stop shop for information, sharing, communicating, networking, fun, and so on. They gather and attend to input from multiple sources, and are often comfortable shifting their attention rapidly and piecing together the seemingly disparate pieces of content from all of these different sources.”

“As a result of these experiences, some hypothesize that people raised using computers and the internet think in less linear manner, have better visual-spatial skills, learn better through discovery methods, and are more visually literate.”

“As might be expected, these learners thrive on connected and dynamic learning environments far different from the static learning environments that their teachers encountered and now provide. They increasingly expect much more open and collaborative learning environments.”

“Many of the tools described in the last section [Blogs, Wikis, collaborative writing tools, Voice Over IP, Podcasting, Instant Messaging and Mashups] are variations on existing, well – known tools.(…) What is different is the speed, efficiency, and scale of information dissemination and collaboration, which has critical implications for learning. Along with speed, efficiency, and increased scale, these tools can provide an abundance of potentially valuable information. (…) Many other tools are emerging for which the uses are not particularly clear and it’s hard to say what will happen with them over time. Dozens of Web 2.0 applications are emerging and, as a result of past experience, I expect a shake-out. But one early indication is clear: these tools are providing a foundation for new ways of sharing and managing individual and group knowledge.”

Patti Shank

In Carliner, S.; Shank, P.  (2008). The e-Learning Handbook, Pfeiffer, San Francisco

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