Network based Training (NBTs)

I have written earlier about what I am proposing as the evolution from the CBT and WBT – the NBT or Network based training, for some time now. NBTs provide a framework for organizations who want to adopt Web 2.0 and networked learning (the connectivism way) in their systems. The main components of the NBT would be both learning process and tool based.

The NBT consists of the following components:

  • a learning process that emphasizes learner participation prior to the course in setting up goals and sequences
  • definition of agreed upon sequence of focus areas and learning events based on a temporal sequence
  • agreed upon rules/structures of participation with weakly or strongly defined compliance
  • defined initial roles for participant and educator (and others) that is consonant with a networked learning strategy
  • initially defined ecology of 2.0 tools (blog, wiki, discussion forum, live conference events, other collaboration techniques etc) to be enmeshed in the course
  • choosing appropriate collaboration techniques e.g. Delphi, shared maps,
  • if required, avenues for structured peer review (could have multiple levels) and group work; if so required an expert review
  • resource repository that captures suggested content for review and discussion; could include documents or web collaboration resources
  • collaboration using techniques specifically suited for the context of the course; e.g. grouped concept maps if a goal is to create a resource base
  • policy for sharing; e.g. if sharing with a wider audience is agreed upon, some way of sharing blog posts, discussions with personal blogs or social network could be explored
  • statistics for the facilitator role to judge quantitatively and tools for analysis based on qualitative criteria
  • setting up of a default network for the participants of the course (as more people join, a historian role is defined that brings them up to speed using a special mechanism for navigating the content, maybe through learner contributed summaries or commentaries)
  • post assessment of learning experiences to evolve the learning ecology
  • some way of integrating and reporting on the experience in both directions – organizational and personal learning environments
  • norming of the participants on how to use; overcoming barriers to use

These would define an ecology within which much learning could happen. One possible view is that each NBT could become a “slice” of learning that could be linked to the PLE. Several such slices could be linked and could potentially inter-mesh to allow cross-disciplinary or cross-network linkages to promote diversity.

Obviously, from a technology point of view, one could go in two directions. One, allow loosely coupled 2.0 service integration. Two, create generic tools to store localized data and build bridges so that this information can be ported to available 2.0 services. The first allows for easy extensibility when a new 2.0 service or app comes along. The second encourages careful selection of appropriate learning tools (not just mash up anything with anything irrespective of the impact on learning – if something is indeed effective, one would rather build it in to the system in a generic fashion, giving far more control).

From a learning process orientation, specifically a connectivist orientation, it will be necessary to position the NBT somewhere along the range between individuals and groups, connectives and collectives, in an attempt to engender the greatest possibilities for leveraging the power of networked learning, collaboration and innovation. The prime challenges and constraints will lie in shaping policy, between open-ness and protection of IP for instance.

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