What make social learning so effective? – Open Learning Forum
A core theme running through Open: How We’ll Work, Live & Learn in the Future is the need for formal educational settings to recognise and incorporate more of the factors that make social learning so engaging, impactful and effective.
In the provocation, Price asserted that it wasn’t just technology that made social learning so effective.
He described it was more to do with human nature that drives it:
The sense of community – helping each other out, and made particular reference to #RiotCleanUp, the hashtag that trended on Twitter & Facebook and more importantly initiated nationwide action in the aftermath of the UK riots in 2011.
Price also described the sense of playfulness that is derived in social learning, but suggested that such a term is often met with horror and recoil in a formal educational setting – with the exception of perhaps a Montessori or Steiner school setting.
Professor James Arvanitakis, the 2012 Prime Minister’s University Teacher of the Year, described how he engages his students at University of Western Sydney by ensuring those that want to learn socially are empowered to do so.
So the question put to us was:
How can we make learning more socially connected?
Four main ideas were generated by the forum.
Firstly the environment in which we learn or work has an immediate and significant impact on how we learn or work. The furniture, the layout, how many walls, windows, size of the room, plants, light etc. all determine to what extent we are inclined to work or learn socially or on our own.
The second theme that became apparent was the need to address how we learn or work. Do we incorporate aspects of play, self direction, collaboration into how we work and learn. Do we utilize technology in a way that would enhance these areas, or are they more often than not really expensive notepads and worksheets? For example could students blog more?
With whom we learn was an obvious theme that was discussed at length. Why, for example, do we only allow kids to work with the kid sitting next to them? Or a kid in the same class, year group, school, state, country….
In our context, technology allows us to connect with whomever we like to enhance our learning, regardless of age, gender or location. Why don’t we use that more?
And the final idea to make learning more social was to work