Define the format and structure of Edgeryders events follow-up learning objects: prototype for #futurespotters

We are building #futurespotters event here. Post the first iteration of the

How can we help ?

Jump in!

Hi @Hovhannes Aghajanyan - yes please jump in. We’ll be in tomorrows community call, and will run out first Hangout next Thursday at 7pm CET. Do you have a suggestion for a particular course or project that you, or your community would like to be involved in?

Follow-up learning objects for #futurespotters


The aim is to create a clear methodology for passing on learning within the EdgeRyders community, and to pilot this methodology in the context of #futurespotters. It is proposed that we meet this objective through the creation of short re-useable modules that can easily be taught in a peer-to-peer fashion in small groups - either online in a Google Hangout, or offline by downloading the material onto a tablet, laptop, or even a smart phone. We are calling these re-useable lessons or modules “learning objects”.

The best way to understand the practice of getting involved in a course, or structuring and writing your own course is to see it in action. We will be starting next week a regular series of Hangouts in which we can answer questions and discuss proposals for projects or new courses. Below is a more detailed introduction to the structure of a learning object.

What is a learning object?

A learning object is a structured set of media components that support group learning in the form of a short (one hour long) lesson. Each learning object is divided into 6 aspects:

  1. A short (no more than 10 minutes) video (with subtitles available in different languages) 
  2. An evolving set of links to online tools, references and further reading
  3. Dumb-assed questions - a collection of plain-language questions that a learner may have based on watching the video
  4. Practical exercises that a participant can practice during the hours session, or after in their own time.
  5. Requirements - things students need, and prior learning or knowledge they should know first
  6. Metadata - information about the learning object, tutors featured, difficulty, keywords etc

A group of learners should be able to meet in physical space or in an online Hangout, and take part in an hour long lesson supported by the material contained in the learning object. It is essential to the methodology that non-experts are able to lead a class of learners. It is equally important that these learning objects are as easy as possible to create. If a learning object does not exist for a given subject, then the first Hangout a group undertakes to tackle this subject will (with minimal editing) become a rough initial prototype learning object for the topic discussed and presented in the Hangout. Subsequent learners can take this material and improve it - wiki style.

An Example

To picture this in concrete terms - if a group decides that it needs to learn more about mobile applications for Open Street Map, or to take another example the funding opportunities for language students in the EU, then the appointed team lead on this topic (referred to from now on as a viral teacher or tutor), can convene a Hangout to cover that topic in a weeks time. In the meantime the tutor, possible supported by other members of the team, can research the topic, and collect good online links and learning resources. An easy practical way for a team to do this is to use a social bookmarking tools such as Diigo which allows software to read the RSS feed of these bookmarks into the learning object. The tutor then notes down a couple of basic questions, and a number of short exercises that people can do during the Hangout.

These notes are added to a structured post on the (currently Wordpress based) web site, and the Google Hangout is recorded as a Hangout on Air, so that the various sections can be cut into short pieces and attached as media object to the post. During the Hangout participants are encouraged to ask questions - the more naive the better, in order to answer any common misconceptions or misunderstandings - and these questions are also recorded.

We are working on a cross platform, desktop, mobile and tablet based app which is able to structure, automatically time, and record video presentations for these learning objects. The applications is designed to work even when offline, or out and about in a real-world situation. We are inviting people to take part in creating this mobile application as a Viral Academy course. In a similar way we can involve people in teaching them how to create a Wordpress sites for their own Viral Academy course, or in learning Drupal and in improving the EdgeRyders platform.

Multilingual Learning

An important aspect of learning objects, and the Viral Academy methodology, is the ability to use the material and to hold classes in your native language. The WordPress site has built in multilingual capabilities that work on a wiki-style principle. All uploaded text based material is automatically translated into a wide range of languages, and the translations can simply be corrected manually in place by clicking on an icon next to each sentence. In this way students wishing to learn English can take part in Viral Academy language courses, by joining a Hangout and discussing the topic as a group and live translating the content - English for Geeks is one of the first courses we would like to run.

Follow Up Courses for \#futurespotters

Due to the flexibility of this group learning methodology, it is ideally suited to running follow up courses on topics that have been selected during #futurespotter events, or other EdgeRyder events such as the forthcoming LOTE4. Breakout groups that have identified a particular topic of interest, and that wish to follow up on the discussions initiated, can structure a short series of Hangouts to further research the material, possibly leading to the building of software or other concrete deliverables.

As the usual methodology of such events is to appoint a spokesperson for the breakout group, and for this person to report back to the rest of the conference (and the EdgeRyders community at large), it is a natural step for this person to become a facilitator or viral teacher on a follow-up series of Hangouts. We are suggesting that any breakout group wishing to do this, would debate and propose 6 follow up events, either as physical meetups, or online Hangouts (or some combination of both), and schedule these on the EdgeRyder platform. Each of these meetups or Hangouts would result in the creation of a new learning object, with the material uploaded to the Viral Academy website, and summarised and posted to the EdgeRyders platform for wider discussion. Ideally these facilitators would also take a basic Viral Academy introductory course in the platforms and methodology used. This course would include a basic introduction to WordPress, Google Hangouts, agile project management, and on the Drupal based Wordpress site.

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Nice! Maybe test it on the existing proposals for sessions?

Maybe check out the sessions and see whether the people proposing them might be interested in developing learning objects based on the conversation in the session (maybe as a follow up session so the conversation can flow unhindered at first):

  1. Leadership, Sharing and Bureaucracy - can we work together?

  2. Market Activism

What do you think?