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Innovating Pedagogy 2013: Seamless learning

blendedlearning's picture

The Innovating Pedagogy report is an annual overview of edutech from the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University. The 2013 report, the second in the series, selects 10 emerging innovations from the long list of existing technologies which the institute believes have the potential to make a significant impact on education. These are not technologies which are in development or even new, but rather technologies and ideas which are already being effected but have room to expand. The report ranks each innovation in terms of potential impact and timescale for implementation, describes its current application, and then explains the pedagogy behind the innovation and how it could be re-envisioned for maximum impact. The fourth innovation which the report discusses is the growing phenomenon of seamless learning.

Potential impact: medium/high
Timescale: medium (2-5 years)

Like MOOCs and badges, seamless learning is not a new addition to the Innovating Pedagogy report. The concept was also included in the 2012 report. In this year's edition, Open University concludes that seamless learning "is no longer regarded as a topic for discussion - children and adults continue to extend their personal technologies for learning across times and locations." Essentially, seamless learning has become incidental, a reality of technology's pervasiveness in everyday life. As this observation suggests, seamless learning is simply the integration of learning across locations, times, technologies, and social settings. This kind of continuous learning allows learners to develop a better flow of ideas, share thoughts in a more intuitive fashion, and take advantages of opportunities to learn from their environments.

Besides the benefits of continuous learning in and of itself, the report notes that improving and integrating seamless learning allows students to fully harness the power of everyday social interaction and other environmental information. As seamless learning becomes a reality, a more encompassing definition is emerging wherein outcomes are shaped by experiences.

The challenge which seamless learning faces, then, is sorting out the useful and the educational from the barrage of inputted information. Blending learning with everyday life is a powerful thing, but it's important to integrate these strategies into formal systems of education in a way that takes advantage of them without simply reproducing older ways of thinking.

For more information or to read the full report, visit Open University's blog.