About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My e-learning book shelf

Michael Hanley had an interesting post in which he listed his top e-learning books. As I commented on his blog, I was surprised that he would have an elearning "booklist" as I found that most written about elearning is out of date by the time it is published.

Michael's comment back was:

I take your point about information remaining current, but if you have a look at the list, you’ll see that the texts reflect aspects of learning and development that don’t change - at least not *that* quickly. Luckily I am at this stage in my career where I have the skills to critically analyze any piece of information (analog or digital) and evaluate its relevance and currency, so I’m not too bothered about that...

...As I mentioned in my blog post, this library is my knowledge well: magazines and journals are equally a valued learning resource for me: I also subscribe to a range of electronic and print media, as well as reading blogs and wikis etc.

In another way, this shelf is a tangible representation of my personal growth and history as an e-learning pro. Some of those text has been with me for quite a while and they’re not going anywhere, anytime soon.

So what do you keep on YOUR shelf, whether it be physical or virtual?

This gave me a different perspective on what he was asking. So I compliled a list of books I have near me at all times when I am designing, researching, or teaching elearning.

Elearning design:

  • Garrison, D. & Anderson, T. (2003). E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Framework for Research and Practice. New York: RoutledgeFalmer. I like the way the framework looks at the instructor, student, and technology as equal partners in learning. This also has the best section on elearning research of any text (elearning or research) I've read to date.
  • Snyder, I (Editor) (2002). Silicon Literacies. Routledge. A nice collection of studies on different forms of elearning for multiple levels of learners.
  • Jonassen, D. & Land, S. (2000). Theoretical foundations of learning environment. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. This is a good overview of multiple learning theories that create the learning environment that can be used in elearning. What I like about this is that it is not a "one size fits all" but gives various learning theories that might work better in one environment (level of education, discipline, technology) over another.
  • Anything by Dewey. Everytime I read one of his books, written from the turn of the century to the 1930's, I am surprised how relevant it is to elearning. He bridged the formal learning with the learning environment and the informal learning.
  • Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as a the source of learning and development. Englewood-Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. It is important to read ALL of this book, not just taking out bits and pieces. I find that the experiential learning model he presents in the book is ideally suited for elearning. This is the basis for all of my instructional designs.

Culture: As I feel culture (organizational, society, discipline) plays a big role in how elearning should be set up, I have four books that give a foundation that all instructional designers should keep in mind when developing elearning and a fifth that helps put the global communication skills and challenges in mind:

  • Hall, E. (1983). The Dance of Life: the other dimension of time.
  • Hall, E. (1966). The Hidden Dimension.
  • Hall, E. (1959). The Silent Language.
  • Hall, E. (1976). Beyond Culture.
  • Schmidt, W., Conaway, R., Easton, S., and Wardrope, W. (2007). LA, CA: Sage.

Writing: We are becoming more and more of a text based society and the concept of "writing" has become important in elearning. However, we have to look at the new ways of writing and the impact it will have on learning and how we design elearning. These are the books I always go back to as I look at written interaction between students in elearning enviroments and the impact that elearning has on writing and reading.

  • Selber, Stuart, (2004) Multiliteracies for a Digital Age, Southern Illinois University Press. This has a good discussion of the impact of the digital age on writing and reading. It includes how students might react to an electronic format for learning and assumptions we can make about what the students comes in with into the elearning environment.
  • Berkenkotter, C. & Huckin, T. (1995). Genre knowledge in diciplinary communication: Cognition/culture/power. This is especially important for instructional designers that may be designing elearning outside of their own training, expertise, or discipline. Basically, this book looks at the impact that disciplinary culture has on what is acceptable writing style (for that subject), the nature of written communication within a community of practice, and the understanding of what knowledge is.
  • Dias, P., Freedman, A., Medway, P., & Pare, A. (1999). Worlds Apart: Acting and Writing in Academic and Workplace Contexts. This is especially good for those that work in both academic and workplace environments. The authers looked at the different purposes, styles, and expections within academic and workplace writing environments. Although it is primarily a "writing" text, it gives good insight into the differences in learning within both environments.


Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia

Books going out of date? Hmmm. There's absolutely nothing new in that. There's nothing new in a blog post going out of date either.

I'm a great fan of books.

My feeling is that it's an attitude that fosters getting rid of everything when a part of it becomes out of date. Well, I have some news for those who believe this. There's always going to be stuff going out of date, no matter what medium is used to convey it.

A life-long learner (that's the buzz-word) acquires the experience that it pays to check when a book or web-page or blog-post was published before accepting all that's in it as being up to date.

Even with so-called 'up-to-date' information there is always the possibility that the writer wasn't up-to-date when he or she wrote it. In which case the out-of-dateness of the information is in-built from the start.

'Twas ever thus.

Catchya later

V Yonkers said...

I also like to pick and choose from books which some of my professors have told me is wrong. Their point is that a book was written with all of the parts of it in context (I think that's debatable). In fact, I don't use texts in my courses.