Reflections on “Emerging Trends and Roles of the Adult Educator” in PIDP 3100

New Insights

I find that Liberating Structures posits a fascinating new approach for instructor roles in facilitating learning. I feel like I have just barely scratched the surface on this potential. Normally I am used to the familiar shift in thinking from a TTT (Teacher Talking Time) focused lesson to a more student-centred lesson, or a teacher as facilitator rather than “sage on the stage”.  But what I am not used to is really thinking through the structuring of how students will communicate with each other, discuss ideas, brainstorm problems, re-organize or self-organize, etc. I see the power in an approach such as Liberating Structures that gives some shape or intentionality to how instructors should organize students in discussion and other social learning contexts.

As a next step what I would like to do is investigate further, from an instructional design standpoint, how something like LS can be integrated into an online educational context and what that would involve on the part of the instructor/instructional designer in terms of organizing students or facilitating student behaviour/interactivity.


Mobile learning (mLearning) is definitely a huge trend, as I’ve explained in my latest blog post and also in these 21 Inspiring Quotes & Thoughts on mLearning. As a Learning Eco-systems Support and Solutions Architect at Sauder Learning Services, my challenges is to take all the innovation, discussion, hype, novelty, effectiveness and productivity-enhancing qualities of mLearning and conceptualize how to channel that into integrating with an LMS such as Blackboard Learn in a large institutional context such as UBC. In order to do one would need to engage with stakeholders in implementing a mobile solution to the various learning eco-systems present in the institution, and come up with feasible solutions for how to practically and effectively put learning in the mobile device hungry hands of 40K plus students.


In completing the webconferencing portion of this project, I interacted with Jodi who is a Sessional Instructor in the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria. Her blog for the course is at My takeaway from our discussions on mLearning is how relevant and also prevalent the use of mobile devices is in diverse fields, including hers being social work. We discussed how instructors in higher educational context can be faced with students bringing mobile devices to class and how that would effect learning. We also discussed the role of the instructor in terms of how to set boundaries or discuss effective use of mobile devices in the classroom.
Reflect on the Web-Conference experience. How was it? What was
one thing that you learned?

Reflections on Mobile Learning Trends and Opportunities from mLearnCon 2013 pre-conference Google Hangout


mLearnCon 2013 put on a pre-conference Google Hangout On-Air “Mobile Learning Trends and Opportunities” hosted by David Kelly from the eLearning Guild. Here are some summaries of what the participants talked about.

Brian Doegen, Senior Manager, Global Learning Technology at PwC talked about how mobile learning in the corporate context is now about Informal Experience and Performance Support. Issues and trends he mentioned were expectations of new joiners and expectations of millenials in terms of how mobile-ready the corporate learning context will be, or how corporations will deal with BYOD policies. New hires, especially millenials, want to use their own devices to learn just-in-time and on-the-job. Brian Doegen went on to ask, “Are we future proofing our capabilities”?

Clark Quinn, Executive Director at Quinnovation, who has written on Mobile Learning: Landscape and Trends, notes that mobile is a real opportunity, a platform that can support a bunch of things. It can augment formal courses but it’s not about delivering courses but rather it’s about performance support, it’s about being social. He notes that we’re still at the “shiny object stage” but there’s real opportunity to move forward.

Paul Clothier, Chief Learning Guru at TapLearn, talked about how mobile learning is an evolution of e-Learning, the next step, and how in many ways mLearning is a whole new world. Whereas eLearning is targeted at one domain, mLearning is much more ubiquitous, about performance support rather than courses on phones. From an Instructional Design point of view, we have to totally rethink how we support learning and display information. In terms of new trends, companies adopting BYODs must support them – that is opening up mLearning to a much wider audience, which brings along challenges. As well, mobile devices are an integral part of our lives – we walk around with them all the time. That brings with it a whole bunch of opportunities.

Sarah Gilbert, President of meLearning Solutions, talked about how ubiquitous smartphones help trainers be there whenever a person has a question. Now we have an opportunity to design things that answer a person’s question when they need it. That performance support can help them when they need it. Oftentimes we just need a simple text answer to our question. We shouldn’t be developing long eLearning courses, but make things available on their mobile devices. We should get rid of paper manuals, do more things with video instead of screenshots.

 Other resources on Mobile Learning from MLearnCon:

Check out the mLearnCon Hashcast

Also David Kelly’s Curated Resources

Affordances of iPads for Improvement of Learning Outcomes and Engagement in an ESL Classroom

Affordances of iPads for Improvement of Learning Outcomes and Engagement in an ESL Classroom


Dissertation on the Affordances of iPads for Student Engagement and Learning Outcomes in the ESL Classroom. 

Completed as part of the requirements for an MA in Educational Technology with TEESOL

University of Manchester, England.

April, 2011