Among other common themes, they identify the importance of anytime, anyplace access to resources and conversations. They describe using video extensively to support their understanding. They give us a glimpse into their habits of note-making, writing, collaboration and revision. Libraries, campuses and VLEs remain central to their experiences, but informal digital spaces and practices have an emerging role to play. These learners are highly attuned to the digital skills they will need for work, and already have impressive professional networks and identities online.
ALT-C participants will hear about the importance that learners attach to staff digital capabilities and confidence, and to having a say over their digital experience. Other topics of interest to ALT participants include: the role of digital media in supporting motivation, curiosity and fun, tutors as digital mentors; students as digital champions; digital inclusion; and issues of digital safety (Key Themes, 2017).
These stories support many of the findings from learner-centred research (Exploring Student Expectations, 2016) over the past decade, but hearing from learners themselves is powerful in a different way. Several of the stories demonstrate how learners themselves are becoming partners in advocating and working for digital technology in learning. There will be opportunities to discuss how learner-led research can be part of this process. The researcher who identified and interviewed the learners will explain the process, giving participants a secure starting point for building their own collection of compelling learner videos and accounts.
An overview of the existing body of learner voice research and outline of findings. Background to the learner stories and highlights of some important themes for staff and institutions. (10 minutes)
2 short videos (learner created) and using the written stories, give participants time after each video to reflect on what the stories mean to them and how they can be used. Gather participants’ views on how they can see the stories used within an institution to promote staff development, institutional change, student partnerships, etc. (25 minutes)
Conclude by looking at the range of issues the learners raised during the interviews and matching them to what the existing research has found (Final report: what makes a successful online learner?, 2016) (Digital Student Blog).
Beetham, H, (2017), Key Themes: Digital Students/Learner Stories project http://bit.ly/2nF3YSg
Digital Student Blog: http://bit.ly/2nnJPO8
Exploring students expectations and experiences of using technology in HE, FE and Skills (July 2016): http://bit.ly/1IrqdP8
McGill, L, Gray, T and Beetham,H, (2016), Final report: what makes a successful online learner? Findings of the Jisc Digital Student Online learners’ expectations and experiences of the digital environment: http://bit.ly/2jdEXrz