Pervasive Learning

I found some great stuff on Pervasive Learning at the KnowledgeLab site. I would think there are strong parallels with Personal Learning and collaborative learning in that we talk about the sources of knowledge and the processes by which learning takes place. However, there is one additional key differentiator which is that pervasive or ubiquitous learning needs not only knowledge to be codified but also that the context in which learning is made possible also is codified. By that I mean that context is key.

It is not only important to set context of the learning to aspects such as the learner’s profile, intelligence type, location, gender and pre-existing knowledge, but it is also important to capture the current context of the learning event.

For example, when an adult learner, on the job, wants to learn how a particular task, never performed before by her, needs to be done, the system that helps her learn or the people she collaborates to learn with, need to understand her context – the specific actions she took, the data that is available to her, the application she is working on, the specific problem or new task that she does not understand – all that is context.

This context needs to set the basis for any collaboration or search for learning. Let me take another example. Suppose the learner is going through an online course. She goes to a screen of information which poses certain problems for her. She needs assistance, so she brings up the list of resources she can get help from – reference sites, FAQs (and non-human sources) and experts (human sources). For the exact match or the most effective collaboration, the context must be exposed to the sources exactly as she experiences it.

It is not enough to just say that learning should be collaborative or pervasive without providing a framework to judge exactly how effective collaboration or ubiquity should be, and, without providing tools to learners and guides to effectively and efficiently source knowledge and learn. We must find techniques just as fine grained as, say, writing learning objectives, is for an online course.

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