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H807 – Elearning concepts and themes

February 14, 2011

Ok, back to H807 before I miss the boat, so to say or my favourite metaphor used doing H808 and H810 running behind the train.

Week 2 is about elearning concepts and themes. Let’s find out more.

One thing is already apparent, regarding e.g. file formats the OU is not an early adopter. We are still asked to safe our documents using the Office compatible mode 1997-2003. Reading the instructions for inserting text boxes it is also obvious that the instructions are for this format and not for Word 2007 or higher. Thereby we write already 2011, not really innovative 😦

Another thing is for sure that I don’t know half of the concepts we are asked to place in the grid provided.

The concpets and themes are:

  • Blended learning
  • Mobile learning
  • Virtual communities
  • Flexible learning
  • Work-based learning
  • Personalisation
  • Just-in-time learning
  • Peer assessment
  • Collaborative learning
  • Learning objects
  • e-assessment

Work-based learning does not say anything to me, and I guess that my definition about flexible or just-in-time learning is not in accordance with ‘official’ definitions and I have to do some research Learning objects. However I will look a look at the other themes and concepts as well to find out if I have the right defintion. Numbers behind the concept or theme indicated the resource used to find the definition.

Blended Learning (1) Learning events that combine aspects of online and face-to-face instructions.

Blended Learning (2) refers to a mixing of different learning environments. The phrase has many specific meanings based upon the context in which it is used. Blended learning gives learners and teachers a potential environment to learn and teach more effectively.

Collaborative learning (2) is a situation in which two or more people learn or attempt to learn something together. More specifically, collaborative learning is based on the model that knowledge can be created within a population where members actively interact by sharing experiences and take on asymmetry roles. Put differently, collaborative learning refers to methodologies and environments in which learners engage in a common task where each individual depends on and is accountable to each other. Collaborative learning is heavily rooted in Vygotsky’s views that there exists an inherent social nature of learning which is shown through his theory of zone of proximal development.

Collaborative technology (1) – Software, platforms, or services that enable people at different locations to communicate and work with each other in a secure, self-contained environment. May include capabilities for document management, application sharing, presentation development and delivery, whiteboarding, chat, and more.

In its broadest sense, e-assessment (2) is the use of information technology for any assessment-related activity. This definition embraces a wide range of student activity ranging from the use of a word processor to on-screen testing. Due to its obvious similarity to e-learning, the term e-assessment is becoming widely used as a generic term to describe the use of computers within the assessment process. Specific types of e-assessment include computerized adaptive testing and computerized classification testing.

Flexible Learning (2) is a set of educational philosophies and systems, concerned with providing learners with increased choice, convenience, and personalisation to suit the learner. In particular, flexible learning provides learners with choices about where, when, and how learning occurs. Sometimes also referred to as personalized learning. Flexible learning is a term often used in New Zealand and Australia.

Just-in-time learning / Augmented learning (2) is an on-demand learning technique where the environment adapts to the learner. Instead of focusing on memorization, supplemental information is presented to the learner based on the current context. The augmented content can be dynamically tailored to the learner’s natural environment by displaying text, images, video or even playing audio (music or speech). This additional information is commonly shown in a pop-up window for computer-based environments.

Augmentation tools can help learners understand issues, acquire relevant information and solve complex issues by presenting supplementary information at the time of need or “on demand.” This contrasts with traditional methods of associative learning, including rote learning, classical conditioning and observational learning, where the learning is performed in advance of the learner’s need to recall or apply what has been learned.

Just-in-time (1): Characteristic of e-learning in which learners are able to access the information they need exactly when they need it.

A learning object (2) is “a collection of content items, practice items, and assessment items that are combined based on a single learning objective. Learning objects go by many names, including content objects, chunks, educational objects, information objects, intelligent objects, knowledge bits, knowledge objects, learning components, media objects, reusable curriculum components, nuggets, reusable information objects, reusable learning objects, testable reusable units of cognition, training components, and units of learning. Learning objects offer a new conceptualization of the learning process: rather than the traditional “several hour chunk”, they provide smaller, self-contained, re-usable units of learning.

Learning object (1): A reusable, media-independent collection of information used as a modular building block for e-learning content. Learning objects are most effective when organized by a meta data classification system and stored in a data repository such as an LCMS.

The term M-Learning (2), or “mobile learning“, has different meanings for different communities. Although related to e-learning and distance education, it is distinct in its focus on learning across contexts and learning with mobile devices.

Self or Peer Assessment (2) is the process of students or their peers grading assignments or tests based on a teacher’s benchmarks. The reasons that teachers employ Self- and Peer-Assessment are that it will save them time, students may gain a better understanding of the material, and student’s metacognitive skills may increase. Rubrics are often used in conjunction with Self- and Peer-Assessment.[2]

Peer-to-peer network (P2P) (1): A communications network that enables users to connect their computers and share files directly with other users, without having to go through a centralized server. Groove is an example of an application that runs on a peer-to-peer network.

Personalization (1): Tailoring Web content to an individual user. Can be accomplished by a user entering preferences or by a computer guessing about the user’s preferences.

Personalization (2) involves using technology to accommodate the differences between individuals. Once confined mainly to the Web, it is increasingly becoming a factor in education, health care (i.e. personalized medicine), television, and in both “business to business” and “business to consumer” settings.

Virtual / Online community (1): A meeting place on the Internet for people who share common interests and needs. Online communities can be open to all or be by membership only and may or may not be moderated.

A virtual community (2) is a social network of individuals who interact through specific media, potentially crossing geographical and political boundaries in order to pursue mutual interests or goals. One of the most pervasive types of virtual community include social networking services, which consist of various online communities.


  1. Learning circuits (undated) Glossary Avialable online: (accessed 14.02.2011).
  2. Wikipedia (undated)

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