Task 9 of the Multimedia and E-learning MSc is to reflect on the previous 8 blogging tasks using Salmons 5 stage model. Firstly, I will outline which stages of the model I believe each task covered. Secondly I will suggest any areas for improvement. And thirdly I will highlight any benefits of using this model can deliver in e-learning.
Task 1 – setting up your wordpress blog
This is aligned with the first step of access and motivation. Technical support was provided for the moderator in terms of guidance on how to do certain tasks, or where to find the information to enable activation.
Task 2 – posting a picture and or video to the blog
This is still stage 1, encouraging further utilisation and development of the blogging software.
Task 3 – Your skills
Task 3 builds on the previous tasks but allows for the learner to share information about themselves for other to read if they so wish. I believe this is still access and motivation due to the newness still of blogging but jumps into stage 3 of information exchange of Salmons 5 stage model but at the level of technical support . At this stage no sending or receiving of messages have taken place, however they could have done.
Task 4 – Your blogroll
This is where you add other people’s blogs on the course or other useful links to external blogs or websites to your blogging page. During this task online socialisation (stage 2) can take place as learners are encouraged by the moderator to look at other blogs (of learners on the same course) and add them to their blogroll. Learners start to read others blogs and can provide comments.
Task 5 – Reflecting on blogging.
Now the moderator has moved on in the development of online learning. Learners are not only exchanging information (if they so desire), but they are now encouraged to research and engage in discussion about a topic (blogging). Interactivity with blogging has increased and the learner is more engaged with subject material pertinent to the course and their own learning. Stage 4 – knowledge construction is taking place during this task.
Task 6 – Design project ideas.
The learner is building knowledge again being having to research and provide rationale for the design project at a low level (ideas only). Knowledge construction is taking place from doing research and ideas generation.
Task 7 – Design project ideas comments
The learner is actively encouraged to comment on at least 3 others design project ideas. This encourages cross fertilisation of ideas but allows for peer review and assessment and interactivity between learners is now heightened. Stage 5 – development has now been reached as learners can respond to each other and provide support. It is no longer just the moderators responsibility to do this.
Task 8 – Harvard referencing
This allows for links outside of the blogging environment and encourages further research and they presentation of information on the blogging. Stages 3, 4 and 5 are being utilised as learners can read other learners comments for ideas, but also post their own research using the correct Harvard referencing techniques.
What I have found from looking at other learners blogs is that some learners are not using them, which goes back to the idea of what you get out of something is directly correlated to what you put in. I have actually found that sticking as close as I can to the schedule of tasks has really helped to maintain the discipline of blogging on a regular basis and keeping up to date with the blog entries required for the MSc. How to engage learners that are not engaging with the blogging is a challenge and I am not sure if I have the answers for at this stage. I believe from my own experiences that if learners know that something is not being formally assessed or does not go towards their final assessment they can lack engagement with the demands of certain tasks.
I can see though that the stages of the model have been used initially in sequence and rightly so allowing learners to get to grips with the technicalities of the blogging software and shift in learning paradigm. From doing this process I can see that when doing something new and especially utilising new tools online, learners need an approach that scaffolds them to get past the technical issues and become comfortable with the online tool to then increase learning and interactivity between learning and learners.