Assembling the heterogeneous elements for digital learning

PLEs ("social media") and measuring/ensuring success

Murray Jennex, an information systems academic from San Diego State University, made some points about the adoption of “social media” type tools by experts by drawing on findings from the knowledge management literature (he’s the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Knowledge Management). The points are discussed further in a forthcoming paper by him in the Journal of Organisational and End-User Computing (Jan-Mar, 2008: 50-63).

The points he makes are very relevant to CQU’s Personal Learning Environments project and we will need to engage with them. The purpose for writing this post is to try and make sure we remember to do this.

The points made include

  • Use of these systems is not a good measure of adoption or success. Quality of use and intention to use the tools when needed are suggested as alternatives.
    System use is always an attractive measure, because it’s easy to measure. Quality of use is a little more interesting. But obviously something we need to consider.
  • It’s not that the desire to use the tools is missing, it’s the need to use them that is missing.
    This is a point that interests me in terms of PLEs. Why would existing CQU staff and students need to use a PLE? Adoption of e-learning in the form of an LMS has been slow and gradual and, at least on the surface, that type of approach has more in common with traditional learning and teaching practice. The PLE is potentially radically different.
  • The tools do not fit within our work process.
    Based on a fundamental discovery from knowledge management. When “knowledge contribution” is an extra function, people will not do it. The task needs to be part of every day practice.

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