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John Pallister :: Blog :: Finding space for learning in a busy environment

October 05, 2008

A quiet rainy day; no internet connectivity; no internet distractions - an opportunity for some reflection; an opportunity for some learning to take place. I sat back and waited for it to happen.

Well, I began to think about ‘busyness’ and how too many demands/activities /stimuli can affect learning.

In a classroom environment with a high degree of structure or regimentation, learning opportunities are scheduled and delivered/presented to the learners. The learners will have other learners around them.

These other learners will sometimes work with them and support their learning. On other, perhaps more frequent, occasions they will provide distractions and will interfere with the planned learning. The learner might learn something but the opportunities provided might not be strong enough to compete with the distractions.  The distractions, or ‘noise’ in information transmission terms, can present itself in many different forms ranging from excessive audible noise levels to the disruption caused by learners attempting to  seek the approval and recognition of others. Whatever form the distractions take they are likely to affect the learning that happens.

Learning in a busy environment presents challenges for everyone, digital natives, digital immigrant, digital visitors and digital residents alike. Perhaps we need some way of equipping learners with ‘blinkers’, something that will help them to focus on their learning, something that will hide distractions from them.

A solution; move the other learners out of the room and provide the learner with a computer with internet access. With nobody in the room to distract, the learner will be able to concentrate on whatever learning experiences/opportunities that are provided by the computer and whatever it is connected to. 

Can the 1:computer/internet relationship have the potential to function as blinkers?  Will the environment that we provide learners with allow them to focus on learning or will it be even ‘busier’ than the classroom environment that we are suggesting that learners need to move away from?

In our excitement and enthusiasm for the new tools and technology, might we be introducing more ‘busyness’ and distractions for our learners? Will we be able to create the space for our learner ever to be able to fully harness the new tools and technology to support their learning in the ways that we are proposing?


Overview for Keywords: elearning, learning environments

Blogs with Keywords: elearning, learning environments

Posted by John Pallister

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