Social Learning Environments and Educational Outcomes

UniSA Idea Generation Summer School (#summerschool)

Background

There are many different learning styles found within one classroom. Quite often students know what type of learner they are because someone has told them, or they figured it out for themselves and they engage best in these class types.

The social learning environment is a place where individuals can work and learn together collaboratively (both formally and informally) with others – in course groups, study groups or in project and team spaces. The virtual learning environment is designed to enhance a student’s learning experience by including computers and the Internet in the learning process.

The creative thinking framework or Idea Generation process (that Ron Corso lectures UniSA students in) unearths the imaginative capacities that all humans possess and have used since the beginnings of time, to change our world and our lives for the better, in ways that give us an understanding and a framework for the creation and sharing of new ideas.

Currently, virtual learning is popular through online colleges like those found on Online University or through university extension programs. These programs have found successful ways to implement technology to further educational gains and promote communication in the online environment. UniSA Idea Generation and other educational pioneers are working to integrate these successes with other teaching methods.

Combining traditional lecture methods with a social and virtual learning environment enhanced the UniSA Idea Generation Summer School in many ways and a report is currently being written to explain the principals and methods used and the results obtained. In this instance Ron lectured with Charlie’s support, and Charlie managed and facilitated an online collaboration and exploration of ideas past the realms of the traditional classroom scenario.

Here’s a introduction to that report:

Principles

The UniSA Idea Generation program has been taught for many years now. Its course aims are to take on board many disciplines such as design, architecture, marketing, business, and event management, to teach a creative way of thinking that will help students:

  1. Decrease their inhibitions,
  2. Encourage creative thinking behaviour
  3. Gain knowledge of the creative thinking process, and to
  4. Generate practical ideas.

The UniSA Idea Generation Summer school classroom took on board the new collaborative methods of combining both the social and virtual learning environments to enhance learning.

Methods

Facebook Pages help educators join the conversation, share their stories, and build a meaningful dialogue with their audience.” ~Facebook

By using the Unearthing Ideas Facebook Page, we tapped into an existing network or community of people, on a platform where we assumed over 80% of students would have access and an understanding of how to use. The Facebook Page itself had grown to over 400 members since its inception, coming from the university community, the broader Adelaidian community, as well as many professionals and creatives who are based worldwide.

Facebook Pages really come to life when people engage and have conversations. Messages can reach a broader group of people who like, share, or comment on posts. This then creates an instant online social and virtual learning environment that reaches a broader community for engagement, essentially taking the classroom to the world for mentoring and further knowledge and contribution.

Our methods encompassed using Notes – for more formal discussions, wall postings, images and photo albums for more general conversations. All students and members of the Unearthing Ideas Facebook Page were encouraged to post and comment.

~end (as we continue to complete he report)

… in the meantime, Charlie has been accepted into Jane Hart‘s Social Learning Environment Network for further learning and knowledge sharing.

The (online) Unearthing Ideas initiative brings together the fields of creativity and social media to engage the creative capacities inherent in all of us. What we are interested in as much as final outcomes, is developing an understanding of the creative process which we hope the conversation will reveal. In so doing the site will build people’s ability to engage and create new ideas through having the confidence that they have a contribution to make. As such we want to take creativity and the ability to be creative out of the realm of the ‘specialist’ and into the hands of everyone. ~Ron Corso and Charlie-Helen Robinson.

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Social Learning Environments and Educational Outcomes

  1. Pingback: Work/Project | Social Learning Environments and Educational Outcomes : Unearthing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s