In this workshop, we discussed reasons for passive/silent participation in courses and seminars (both online and on-site) and illuminated how we have sought to generate methods for encouraging more active participation. We presented the background and initial findings of our current project, Is Lurking working? (Nordplus 2015). We hoped that the findings of this workshop would provide valuable input for participants to take to their own situatins in their dealings with adult learners, giving them ideas which can help them organize learning events which suit people who like to learn in different ways. We also hoped to gather some responces which could be usefulto the project’s continuing work. We believe that there are similarities between those who are silent learners on campus and online and that although the online environment may make it easier to remain silent the phenomenon is more about learner’s feeling of security and sense of belonging than a specific online issue.
I’d like to return to one of my favourite topics of late – online participation or the lack of it. Just as it is quite normal to appreciate music without dancing or singing along, we need to accept the fact that many people can learn a lot without actively taking part in discussions and group work. In fact one important phase in learning is a period where you silently observe and listen to those with more experience and tune into the field you are studying. Continue reading
This post was first published on project member Alastair Creelman’s blog (10 Apr 2015)
The same applies sometimes to learning. Of course learning is largely a social process where we test ideas, discuss, reformulate, copy, adapt and create but there are times when we simply want to be alone. A colleague of mine, who is a major MOOC enthusiast, confessed to being tired of contrived group activities and enjoyed being able to work through the material at her own pace and on her own terms. The effort of joining a group and dealing with often wildly diverse expectations and skills is sometimes greater than the payback and when you have many other commitments you need to be able to focus on course activities exactly when it suits you best. For people with good study skills and the ability to focus, participation can simply get in the way of learning. Continue reading