The 8th annual e-learning conference at University of Greenwich was a very interesting event. I am here on the train back to Nottingham and what I do here is just provide some very short reflection on how I saw things.

Professor Gráinne Conole started it off the conference with a great tone. I should add that this was one keynote that I did nod through since an interactive and open approach was maintained. Certainly, that approach proved successful in getting the message across to me. The keynote maintained a high level of intellectual stimulation and had me constantly thinking that I am not alone in this digital learning ecology. My excitement probably peaked when I saw my tweet in the presentation – all the more reason for me to fully engage with the keynote. Although I did not attend EDMEDIA I got a glimpse into the challenge of predicting the future in education from the reference to Hermann Maurer, 2010 Keynote. However, despite not being able to be educational seers I think Gráinne presented a good idea of what education might look like particularly with regards to the challenges of designing for learning. And so her thread through the terrain of what technology driven education would look like in the future proved rather prophetic. I think her focus on the processes on bridging the gap between the fantasy and the reality makes for a sensible way forward in learning design. More importantly the skills learners and designers would need to make sense of it all. So we can’t predict the future but we can sure prepare for what is coming. And this is what I think is the challenge of design – to come up with approaches that take advantage of the digital learning ecology. I speak of digital learning ecology in a rather lose sense and I chose to deconstruct it in way that in give me a sense of verbal candour. Put simply, I see digital learning ecology as the digital landscape as hinted in work of Dron & Anderson (2007) in relating the notion of collective, network and the group. As such the usage of the phrase incorporate aspects of situated learning (Lave & Wenger 1991), distributed cognition (Salomon 1997). Going back to the key note, I found it rather insightful that Gráinne adopted a pragmatic approach in which she presented a typology of theories in a recursive framework underpinned by Constructivist, Associative, Situative, and Connectivist ideology. As such, learning is complex set of processes that build on previous approaches of learning to include drill and practice, role play, problem-based learning, reflective and dialogic learning, resource learning (Mayes & de Freitas 2004). The work of some notable examples of these were featured including that of Joyes et al. (2009) which focused on the work of e-portfolios. The marsh-up framework provides a good way to rethink the way designers approach the design process. The keynote ended on a high note in that what I would suggest as the human & tool dance to include approaches of taking existing models frameworks and helping teachers make informed decision about their practice (learning design). Interestingly though I thought the work of Wells (1999) which focuses on ‘Dialogic Inquiry’ as a good fit in the scheme of things.

Reflection on individual presentations

In the first session Andy Coverdale and I presented our work on Social Media in Academic Practice with graduate and early career researchers at the University of Nottingham. We attempted to make the session interactive enough to maintain the same sort off style that we used in the social media sessions at university. Interestingly enough Andy did not use those time cards when I was speaking. Nonetheless, we maintained our time! Great job Andy.

Jennefer Hart of Open University did a great job in presenting some work that was carried out as part of a JISC funded project entitled Atelier-D project. The project aims is to create a VLE that supports the basic aspects of the traditional ‘design studio’ The presentation, the Virtual Design Atelier puts an interested twist of what it means to create a VLE for designers.

In Two Communities One Conversation, presenters Professors Shawne Johnson and Paul Wright gave a good overview of the context for a project in its initial stage. The project aims to bring together students from US and UK using social media tools to share texts and explore social and historical contexts through firsthand experience. The use of conversation to moderate the events in communities. It will be interesting to follow the project and see how the moderating process unfolds. The whole notion of moderating in groups is something that wholes value in my research and this is featured in the work of Salmon (2004) for example.


Dron, J. & Anderson, T., 2007. Collectives, networks and groups in social software for e-Learning. In Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education Quebec. Retrieved Feb. p. 2008.

Joyes, G., Gray, L. & Hartnell-Young, E., 2009. Effective practice with e-portfolios: How can the UK experience inform practice? In Same places, different spaces. Ascilite Auckland 2009. New Zealand: University of Auckland, pp. 486-495. Available at:

Lave, J. & Wenger, E., 1991. Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation 1st ed., Cambridge University Press.

Mayes, T. & de Freitas, S., 2004. Review of e-learning theories, frameworks and models. JISC e-Learning Models Desk Study. Available at:

Salmon, G., 2004. E-Moderating: The Key to Teaching and Learning Online 2nd ed., London: RoutledgeFalmer.

Salomon, G., 1997. Distributed cognitions, Cambridge University Press.

Wells, C.G., 1999. Dialogic inquiry, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

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