Categories
Teaching and Learning

Learning from learning influencers

As we adjust to the new normal of online delivery many academics are developing their practice to provide timely support for their learners. In this guest post, Jim Turner, senior learning technology developer at LJMU, shares his reflections on how universities could learn a lot from a more informal and creative approach to using video to support learners.

As we adjust to the new normal of online delivery many academics are developing their practice to provide timely support for their learners.  Following on from our post Tooling up to teach online and our online briefings we asked people from the community to share experiences and good practice.  

Jim Turner, senior learning technology developer at LJMU, shares his reflections on how universities could learn a lot from a more informal and creative approach to using video to support learners.

 ****************************************************************************

Youtube is full of different types of influencers, of which there is a small but interesting group which I’m going to label as ‘learning influencers’. These talk about how they are learning, what types of techniques they have tried and want to share, and occasionally the science behind learning and motivation.

Within a few days of the lockdown in the UK a number of these had produced useful videos trying to respond to their viewers with how they are coping with the move online.

Person watching YouTube on a tablet

(Image available on Pixabay under a CC0 licence).

Students have rapidly had to adapt to a distance type learning.

The habits and practices of a distance learner are different from those that learn in face-to-face environments. These behaviours need to be developed, supported and learnt in order to become effective, organised and independent learners.

In the absence of our own student videos demonstrating how they were adapting I looked to these learning influencers to see what resources they had created that might support students.

Quality, commitment and immediacy

What struck me was the quality, commitment and immediacy of these short videos.

They perfectly encapsulated and communicated both the emotional response and the dogged determination to continue studying. We have much to learn from this approach – the open and relaxed talking style, and the ease of the unscripted talk.

Any university could have tried to recreate this but would have struggled to organise the response so quickly and in such a fresh and engaging way.

Reflections

Yes, there is a danger here about what they are saying or promoting that may influence your students in the wrong way, but at this particular time I learnt a lot from their buoyancy, optimism and encouragement.

I created a small online task for students on a number of courses that asked them to watch one of these videos and think about what tips and ideas they could learn from them. I don’t know how well this has supported students but would encourage others to look towards learning influencers as a way to help their students adapt.

My personal favourite is by ‘unjaded jade’ who is actually studying an online course, so she was sharing her approaches with students who might be new to this.

 ****************************************************************************

Are you doing something differently to support your learners?

We intend to run a series of member-focused posts on this blog in the coming weeks sharing practical stories of what is being done to help students at this difficult time.

Please get in touch if you’d like to be included.

By Zac Gribble

Subject Specialist - Digital Practice (platforms). I've worked in HE for over 10 years as a developer and leader in eLearning before joining Jisc. From working with students through to senior management, my passion for digital tools and user/student experience has played a huge role in this adventure. I'm a big user of technology in music as well as learning, design and developing. I'm just as happy to chat about sounds, microphones and hearing through spine conductivity for drummers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.