The use of blended learning (i.e. learning that integrates face-to-face delivery and online components has shown significant growth in higher education. Higher education requires innovative transformation to confront challenges such as multicultural integration, dropout rates, and even implementing a flexible and relevant learning process.
Not only does blended learning respond to these challenges effectively but the method also addresses the gaps that were posed by traditional learning (i.e. traditional learning requires face-to-face contact, which can be limited to some students).
Some core benefits of social learning technology involve
- Increase student attitudes
- Formal and Informal Learning
A new type of social learning technology
If a new type of social learning technology were to be introduced into learning, it needs to fulfill a few conditions
- Support for new media like pictures and videos. The application must be able to effectively manage pictures and especially videos effectively. It could be compared to mainstream social media apps (eg. Tiktok, Instagram).
- Support to encourage group discussions. A core goal of social media is to solicit and encourage group discussions. Often between people who have common interests, or are related to each other. This needs to be instilled for social learning technology as well. This also supports the goal to learn 21st century skills.
- Top of the line User Experience (UX). The user experience will come across as new, due to it's focus on learning. However at the same time, because its designed like a social app - it will need to be familiar. In prior experiments, we had found that if the initial onboarding of students caused confusion about 'how it is used' - it will distract from the learning objectives.
Case Studies in Singapore
Formative assessments is a pedagogy that many educators have strived to do. Unfortunately, with prior technology, this is often very difficult for new media like pictures and videos. For example, if in a laboratory session you have 100 pictures, it is extremely inefficient for an educator to click on them one by one to go through. It is also quite time-consuming to prepare the learning data in a way that can be used for flipped classrooms.
Educators use Soqqle in their classroom to manage diagrams, and videos from students. In science this is in particularly valuable due to the ability for students to upload their learning journeys and experiences.
Capturing pictures & videos
New media can be used by educators to track and evaluate the learning progress of students. One example (Photo 1) is the use of 'what you have learnt from today's lesson'. Although one use of it is to evaluate learning outcomes, its a very unique way also for educators to gauge the interest of students (from the perspective of topics) - and potentially even the effectiveness of teaching.
Photos can be also used to capture diagrams. Today, in most cases, these might be done on paper - and eventually thrown away. Eventually, such learning objectives end up with a summative assessment. Now there is a better way to capture the learning process and give more personalised feedback.
Questions can also be asked on the application. Users / Students can then add comments as a way to respond to the questions.
- It is naive to expect students to automatically participate and be motivated around social learning technology. Often it requires some form of expectation settings and rubrics planning. Educators using Soqqle often use participation points to encourage their students to contribute.
- Instructions are also extremely important. In almost every case, if teachers leave it for students to post whatever they want, they post nothing. It is vital to share the length of the videos, the expected content in it. If possible, also share an example.
In conclusion, the usage of social learning technology can be done in different ways. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more!