Scaffolding the development of learner skills for mobile open social language learning

Read, Tim; Traxler, John; Barcena, Elena and Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (2018). Scaffolding the development of learner skills for mobile open social language learning. In: OER18: Open to All, 18-19 Apr 2018, Bristol.



The SWITCHED-ON project (FFI2011-29829) focusses on the boundaries between mobile, open and social learning as a framework for acquiring languages (Read et al., 2017). Of all the areas of knowledge that could be developed using these approaches, it is argued that language learning is particularly appropriate because the target language in question is both the object of study and the communicative vehicle used for the learning process. For open social language learning to be effective, it is argued by the authors that it should mobilise the student population in such a way that they not only modify and generate content relevant to their own learning activities but also contribute to the refinement of that developed by their peers and harness such work as part of their overall communicative process in the target language.
While this “pedagogic generosity” may appear to be a natural part of the learning process for those who have tried it, the authors’ experience is that it is not naturally the case. Students are no more likely to openly share content and ideas than people in general. The tacit view that what “I have generated it and it is mine” can limit wiliness to share in an open and participative fashion. Students need to see the added value of working in this way as being a key part of their own learning process. This does not happen on its own and requires relevant activities to be identified and supported. Yeager et al. (2013) identify four types of activities present in open social learning (specifically in Community MOOCs), that can be harnessed to potentiate open content. For these types of activities to work, students need to be supported in order to develop the relevant values and skills needed to frame sharing as a valuable means to potentiate their learning and that of other students at the same time. The authors go on to argue that this problem is common in the preparation and extension of OERs. If it can be identified and directly addressed in the context of student learning then the approach may be generalised to the field of open education.

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