Developing the Agora in the 21st Century - an analysis of a virtual learning environment (VLE) as a platform for engaging with adult literacies practitoners in Scotland

Gary Roberts, Ann Swinney, Kathleen Marjoribanks

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper explores the efficacy of using a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) as a platform for engaging with adult literacies practitioners working in diverse communities across Scotland and the challenges this implies when quality of relationships are recognised as having a central influence on the learning process. Research methods included an analysis of interaction on Web 2.0 based learning forums and a qualitative/quantitative evaluation of practice in the field. Early findings suggest the virtual learning environment can provide a social space for learning - ‘Agora’ – a discursive space where students become participants in the creation and dissemination of knowledge rather than passive consumers. The evidence gathered to date also shows that a ‘blended’ approach to delivery of the TQAL programme is necessary to increase student use of the VLE. However, challenges remain in overcoming technical barriers and encouraging experimentation in developing new learning strategies. practitioners working in diverse communities across Scotland and the challenges this implies when quality of relationships are recognised as having a central influence on the learning process. Research methods included an analysis of interaction on Web 2.0 based learning forums and a qualitative/quantitative evaluation of practice in the field. Early findings suggest the virtual learning environment can provide a social space for learning - ‘Agora’ – a discursive space where students become participants in the creation and dissemination of knowledge rather than passive consumers. The evidence gathered to date also shows that a ‘blended’ approach to delivery of the TQAL programme is necessary to increase student use of the VLE. However, challenges remain in overcoming technical barriers and encouraging experimentation in developing new learning strategies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1096-1101
    Number of pages6
    JournalProcedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
    Volume2
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Keywords

    • Adult literacies
    • Communities of practice
    • Blended learning

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