Re: elearning and chat

From: Kevin Rocap (
Date: Thu Aug 12 2004 - 11:05:11 PDT

Dear George, Mike, et al,

Let me throw in a quick two cents here and then am also happy to
respond, as possible, off-list to inquiries. If I am reading you
correctly George you are looking to AT to provide a possible theoretical
and design basis for your curricula or curricula artifact, right? What
comes to mind for me is the design of online-mediated learning that is
based on constructivist and/or constructionist pedagogical approaches.
I'll be a bit bold and suggest that AT is not a pedagogical approach.
;-) AT is, in part, an analytic approach and framework that can be
applied to any kind of human activity - including curriculum development
and implementation...and including any curricula that is traditional for
that matter, so an AT-curricula artifact is not a requirement (and I'm
not sure what one would be).

So, for example, you could talk about the multiple objects, motives and
divisions of labor within a curriculum design project, just as you could
examine these things within any learning activity that is mediated, in
part, by online resources and interactions (we played at this a bit
during our CHAT online course, on many levels ;-)). But, and I am open
to being corrected, I don't think you can really talk about designing a
curricular artifact based on AT principles, per se (but see my caveat
below). First, of all, as we all grapple with on this list, there are
varieties and nuances of things that are or pass for AT. But since
Vygotsky in particular has been mentioned; it could be that you are
interested in sociocultural learning theories and constructivist
learning theories as design principles? In which case you might
consider this book:

CSCL: Theory and Practice of an Emerging Paradigm, Timothy Koschman, 1996

All of that said (now for the caveat), of course, Mike himself and
others from UCSD developed their 5th Dimension Projects based, I would
say, on a strong awareness of the implications of CHAT. Soooo, maybe I
was hasty in saying that AT does not present design principles. I'll
leave that a contestable comment. And, so you might like to review the
literature on 5th Dimension projects. One site for exploring 5th
Dimension projects and their relation to CHAT is here:

Mike might have other references. Anyway, I think these things may
point you in the direction you're interested in, with regard to trying
to extract some design principles from AT approaches/theories. In the
vein of sociocultural, constructivist approaches to learning I have been
using and learning about an Open Source online course-facilitation
software that claims to be designed around constructivist learning
approaches. It is called Interact and is available at SourceForge:

I like it and it does have some nice affordances for creative social
interactions and conversations tied to documents, URLs, other learning
objects, etc. So you may like to check it out for ideas, George. In
fact, I was thinking of Interact as a possible contender for an online
environment the next time we might like to mount an international CHAT
course. ;-)

I hope that helps. And, as I mentioned, if I might be of some
additional assistance off-list I'd do what I can. I know there are
article discussions that want to emerge. ;-)

In Peace,

von Brevern Hansjoerg wrote:

>Dear Mike,
>thank you so much for your message and the time you have taken to respond! I am so thankful for any kind of guideline.
>The core of what I would like to model is a curricula design for electronic delivery which is valid under a Vygotskian and AT framework. This curricula is meant to be an artefact which could be a self-standing artefact or be part of a larger computer system.
>Based on this curricula or curricula artefact, I need to include and identify its subcomponents i.e., a learning module and a pedagogical (or teacher) module.
>Hence, the issues I have to look at apart from the course construct are:
>- its environment, context
>- hybridization in the sense of the roles and responsibilities of
> the system/human instructor/learner
>- the interactions (based on hybridization)
>- the norms including pedagogical nature
>- related systems
>- (degree of) intelligence
>- psychological validity
>By all means, it is my aim to be SCT and AT' valid! Are there any papers (within SCT and AT) which I could take as the underlying basis of the types of learning? to identify users (adult, higher education, individual learning through distance learning where the artefact needs to socially interact with the student, etc.), age groups, situations, and variables of affluence to these situations?
>I would like to analyse requirements based on AT. However, I understand from AT, that there are different levels but since I am just new to AT, I would deeply appreciate if I could possibly be referred to some references and book. Also, can I model the final course in a structured way using AT? What would that be? Does AT also have state transitions modelling? and how about evalutation?
>I am sorry for any inconvenience,
>best regards,
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Mike Cole []
>Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2004 1:08 AM
>Subject: elearning and chat
>George-- Your message which had such difficulty making it onto xmca seems
>also to have had difficulty getting any answers!
>I have read it a couple of times, now, and hesitate to provide anything
>like a real answer because you raise so many issues at one time.
>In particular, the term, e-learning, means a lot of different things to me
>and I am sure a lot of different things to others on xmca. You describe
>one arrangements-- reading pdf files, have a tutor to correspond with. You
>ask about tools in this context and whether they can substitute for human
>teachers (if I understand you correctly).
>Some of us have participated in quite different kinds of e-learning, some
>of it more or less "all at a distance" some of it mixing face to face and
>web-based activity. I think that so much depends upon the mixture of factors
>that enter into organization of the *community of learners/teachers* that
>I would start from there and then begin my inquiry into the questions you
>raise. I do not think there is one right answer, but lots of answers. Many
>on this list, Kevin Rocap for one, have a ton of experience in this area.
>This fall there are plans afoot to put together an other, or more than one
>other, course around themes of interest to the MCA community. There is
>almost a new facility on XMCA which will be a book discussion group
>threaded discussion that could be part of a distributed course. We have
>made a little headway in the does and donts of such efforts.
>Perhaps addressing your questions in the context of a real live, ongoing,
>collaborative effort would be a good way to ground the discussion.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Nov 09 2004 - 11:43:01 PST