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|Scan of literature on youth learning and instructional design for e-learning|
A scan of principles of the youth learning and of how e-learning can engage young learners indicates that there is little research specifically around the uptake and use of e-learning tools with NESB youth. Much of the research available refers specifically to the characteristics of generation Y and how they like to learn.
Recent research by Choy & Delahaye (A case for youth learners, 2004) has identified some of the principles of youth learning (as opposed to adult learning) and points out the need for teaching and learning designed specifically for youth. In summary:
And, what is common to all generations and all groups is that they want to be able to choose the how, when and where of their learning (LeCornu, 2004).
Youth and e-Learning
The Australian Flexible Learning Framework, through its Inclusive E-learning project is gathering a growing body of evidence and some very practical exemplars of how teachers are engaging youth in e-learning. Many of the lessons learned are very applicable and relevant to teaching youth with low language and literacy skills.
Some of the emergent principles of youth learning and support to engage younger learners – particularly, but not only, those from non-English speaking backgrounds indicate that:1
Research conducted by Williams and Nicholas finds that:
“computer-mediated learning is also useful for younger learners because they are motivated by the technology rather than daunted by it. Younger learners usually enjoy working with computers and are willing to explore the possibilities of the technology, see it as important, and are not afraid of making mistakes as they explore possibilities. This applies to exploration of the Internet, as well as the use of computers (sometimes including mobile phones), to assist them in completing tasks. The use of other aspects of digital technology, such as digital photography and music, are motivating and interesting to younger learners”.
Learning tasks that make use of interactive e-learning activities have shown remarkable results within the youth sector 2.
“Young people who were previously thought to have learning and attention disabilities flourished when provided with the right resources (Kharif, 2004: 80). In England and the United States, chronic truancy has been treated not with punishment, but with a separate learning program rich in content embedded within interactive media and edutainment (McGavin, 1997: 2). Anecdotal evidence from this and other youth projects confirms this. Teachers who were part of the digital storytelling project reported improved attendance rates and fewer request for breaks from the young people involved”.
Trials conducted for the 2007 Framework Inclusive E-learning project demonstrate that self determined learning, or heutagogy, which develops individual capacity through learner directed rather than teacher directed training, facilitated by the use of technology, is showing significant outcomes in terms of engaging this learner cohort. Students were able to learn what they wanted, when they wanted, and in the way they wanted to learn it.
The models and strategies developed as part of this project and informed by the research provide examples of how e-learning in the classroom can and do develop confidence and skills
2 Creative Industries Faculty; QUT. 2006. E-learning – youth culture.
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