We had a great time on Wednesday having Professor Albert Sangrá’s (@albert_sangra) from the Open University of Catalonia come and talk to us about “Learning Ecologies for Lifelong Learning.” For the majority of the session, he talked about his current study which analyzes primary educators and their personal ecologies. However, it was his explanation of what personal ecologies are that was truly motivating. According to Dr. Sangrá “people need a lot of personalized training, a lot personalized education, in order to be ready for any kind of world challenge.” When creating a personal ecology, it is like you are creating an educational environment ripe with opportunities for life-long learning.
In the session, Dr. Sangrá stressed that elearning is not only about the software tools we use to teach, nor is it about whether the instruction is synchronous or asynchronous. It is about increasing the quality of the students’ learning experience. He also stated that elearning is not about technology, access, or delivery. When regarding personal ecologies, every individual may develop their own strategies for professional development. In other words, students need to be empowered to make their own decisions in the learning process.
Furthermore, Dr. Sangrá recommended that instructors design materials that provide opportunities for their students where lifelong learning can develop. He suggested that instructors move away from the transmission of information to a more collaborative mode of learning. And while he did acknowledge that developing life-long learning ecologies may take extra time out of their busy schedules, he insisted that instructors take the time to provide their students with the opportunities to make decisions about their own learning.
Overall, hearing Dr. Sangrá talk about shifting our focus away from the tools and modes of teaching online was a refreshing take on elearning. It was great having him speak at our conference and to expand our knowledge of learning ecologies. More information about Professor Sangrá can be found at his website http://edulab.uoc.edu. He can also be contacted at email@example.com.