Open for Discussion: exchanging e-learning experiences at OEB 2012

Rapid developments and new technologies are constantly changing the landscape of education and e-learning. These changes inevitably inspire questions and set new challenges for e-learning professionals. Sometimes the best way to find solutions is to sit down, share experiences and talk things through. This year’s ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN  participants are invited to take part in open discussions of issues including crowd funding, rural cloud computing and learner diversity in one of our seven Knowledge Exchange Sessions.


By Alicia Mitchell


Working in small groups of ten people, each Knowledge Exchange Session will be guided by an expert facilitator through an introduction to the topic at hand and into an exchange of questions, ideas, personal experiences and, ultimately, solutions.


Seven sessions will take place simultaneously, with the trials and opportunities of cloud computing being explored in-depth at one table, whilst successful webinar stories are swapped and shared at the next.


Dirk Liesch, enterprise consultant, president of the aracube e.V. and moderator of the expert network, will be asking questions about the potential uses of crowd funding for open source e-learning projects. Bringing with him his own practical experience, strategy and recent research results, Liesch will be seeking input on a variety of questions, from the purely practical to more academic considerations.


Crowd Funding for e-Learning and Open Content Projects will pose in-depth questions and offer potential answers around the theme of this relatively new medium for seeking financial support for projects. How does crowd funding work, and how feasible is the practice outside of the commercial sector? What is the difference between projects seeking end-customer backing and those hoping to secure support from institutional sources? Who else in the group has personal experiences of using crowd funding?


By the end of the session, Liesch hopes participants will have a clear, up-to-date idea of what crowd funding is and how it can serve their purposes. With Liesch’s final question being “Who would like to stay in contact about this subject for his or her own future projects?” the stage is set for some interesting and profitable relationship-building.


At the same time, ten other contributors will be tackling the issues posed by cultural and linguistic diversity in e-learning settings. Flexible Coherence: Re-Thinking E-Learning Design Principles for Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students will be led by assistant professor of communication in the College of Languages and Communication at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, Bradley Wiggins Ph.D.


Wiggins has extensively researched the implications of e-learning design that fails to take into account diversity amongst learners, taking particular issue with Mayer’s Coherence Principle. Through this Knowledge Exchange Session, Wiggins hopes to provoke debate over rigidly held ideas and encourage the re-consideration of design techniques in pursuit of better learning.


Presenting both his own research outcomes and the work of his peers, Wiggins has plenty of data to back up his theory that cultural difference is a fundamental consideration in understanding how e-learning design impacts learning. What will the varied expertise of the group contribute to this debate? What experiences have others had implementing and working with Coherence Principle-orientated design? Will Wiggin’s study find support or dissent in the group?


The Knowledge Exchange Sessions are all about participation: the informal, round-table-style format enables every participant to learn from each other, including the facilitator themselves. The sessions will not only serve as enlightening learning experiences but also as a chance to network with like-minded professionals.


The sessions last 60 minutes and will take place concurrently on Thursday, 29th November, 16:30 – 17:30. Please note that places are limited. To secure a place in your chosen session, please sign up in advance during the conference.


To find details of all the themes covered in the Knowledge Exchange Sessions at ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN please click here.

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