Are you viewing the “whole” learner?

In today’s ever-changing landscape of learning technologies and teaching methodologies across the course of their education experiences, our learners can undertake learning in a variety of ways, using a wide variety of hardware and software. Too often this means that as educators we capture pockets of the students learning –  a result from an assignment submitted via an LMS, or a quiz result from the cool mobile quiz app – never quite seeing the learner experience as a “whole”. Without this information, how can we truly support our learners and create truly innovative, learner-centred learning experiences?

All learning completed in a single location

One option for centralising your view of a learner’s progress, results, etc. is to have them undertake all their learning activities via a single platform (eg. LMS or data-enabled intranet). By having all learning activities in the one location can look see a “whole” picture of our learners and intervene accordingly.

This approach is beginning to date though and will limit your freedom to create your learning activities to best suit the needs of your particular learners, leveraging a range of learning technologies. You will be able to gain a better understanding of your learners, but will be restricted by the boundaries of your learning system in relation to the pedagogical design of learning activities.

Drawing all your learning data together

Another option for capturing that whole-of-learner view is to use modern technologies (eg. Learning Record Store (LRS)) and digital learning standards (eg. xAPI) to data enable our learning materials regardless of platform, location or physical hardware.

Using this approach, learning materials can be:

  • created using a variety of learning technologies (eg. captivate/storyline/H5P, directly in an LMS or even using development platforms such as unity)
  • located on any number of systems (LMS, intranet, external learning system, etc.)
  • with learner data drawn from any number of technology types (eg. computer, mobile and even something as standalone as a VR headset).

When this approach is implemented appropriately, all learning materials are created and delivered with an education-first approach in mind, ensuring learning outcomes and learner experience are front of mind. At the same time, data points and technologies are enabled in the background to allow these learning materials to draw data back to a single centralised location, so that we can understand each of our learner’s activities, outcomes and needs, without restricting ourselves or our learners to a single technology.

Catherine Duncan
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Catherine Duncan

Catherine is a learning technologies and digital education practitioner with over twelve years experience across a variety of industries. She enjoys using her technical, educational and creative knowledge to assist organisations in determining their technical and/or training requirements and assisting them in finding the optimum solution.

One thought on “Are you viewing the “whole” learner?

  • 20th February 2020 at 9:03 am
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    Great post Catherine.
    You’ve hit on such an important point, and I think the adoption of sophisticated learning management systems has been partly driven by the desire to have “all learning in one location” – for the benefits you mention.
    I wonder where the cut-off point is here – small training providers are unlikely to use LRS’s as it adds an additional layer of complexity, although a University or large corporate may have the knowledge and resources to do this.
    And I wonder if the Analytics in Moodle for example, will ultimately give us a better “whole learner” overview?

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