Conquering Topic Three

We discovered today that Theme Three in terms of productivity is a "Wednesday" in the PBL context.  We have reached the middle of the module and are exhausted from both the climb but also the general experience of life. There is a lot more to read and personally we all felt the strain of balancing life, work and online learning. Our emotional presence was thus affected by a number of factors.
These are my thoughts on Emotional Presence:
Two points that I would like to highlight under the heading “expectation” - expectation of self and expectation of others, others being the learning community with whom one is engaged and also the facilitator(s).
Expectations of self and Self-discovery:
Finding information/explanation for one’s current practice is reassuring. It reinforces what one already knows but did not perhaps have the vocabulary to express. “Learning as a social becoming” may be seen as a realisation of capacities for “greatness”, for being able to make a contribution to the "state of art", ability to leave evidence of or input towards the "artefact."
Discovering one’s own shortcomings within the group context, whether in practice or temperament, is often revealed when expectations (realistic or unrealistic) are not met by others. Personality-”fissures” that are revealed when one “meets oneself” or an aspect of oneself - relative to the community of learning. Discovering the limitations of one’s knowledge and a willingness for ask for assistance is also transformative. Being willing to discover through others - peer learning. The transformative nature of education (Brindly et al ) and online learning in particular not only transform the group as collaborators in knowledge creation but also transform the individual.
Expectation of others
Because online learning is both social and individual, (Brindly et al) frustrations and fissures that are emerge or revealed within the group when others are perceived as “not pulling their weight” (Capdeferro and Romero 2012) often reveals one’s own levels of tolerance and again requires investigation of one’s self - am I being realistic?  Who are I in this space? Who am I becoming? Was I unaware of these traits within me? “Learning as social becoming” could actually reinforce prejudices of others. What meanings are we attaching to the perceived dysfunctionality of the group?

Swan (2001) also looked at the factors that affect student satisfaction and states the quality of the online interaction not only depends on the participants but also the construction of the course. In other words, responsibility for a good or bad learning experience is shared with the course designers and facilitators. The types of engagements and types of assessments as designed or at least hoped for by the designers and facilitators determine not only if the module objectives can be met but also whether or not critical skills are developed.

Brindley, J., Blaschke, L. M. & Walti, C. (2009). Creating effective collaborative learning groups in an online environment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(3)

Swan, K. (2001). Virtual interaction: Design factors affecting students’ satisfaction and perceived learning in asynchronous online courses. Distance Education, 22(2), 306-331.

Capdeferro, N. & Romero, M. (2012). Are online learners frustrated with collaborative learning experiences?. The International review of research in open and distance learning, 13(2), 26-44



  1. I think what you are lifting in your post is of great importance. It might also be of importance to elaborate on how people perceive each other in relationships and how that perception evolves over time in interaction. I believe that personal expectations play a role, but even they change as we go. To sit back, reflect over my views and expectations are of course vital to understand my role in a group and what I communicate and expect from others, but does it also mean that I should take a blame for asking for "too" much, or is it enough to be open to the group and reason the dilemma?

  2. You are very spot on in your analysis Amanda. This topic allowed us to scrutinize our group work and we really took that opportunity. At least that is how I feel. Topic 3 hit us in the most unexpected way. It started off with a feeling och euphoria and a strong belonging and trust in our group but developed into something else, not necessarily in a bad way. I still feel a strong belonging to the group and the fact that we "pulled it together" at the webinar on Thursday is of significance. This got me thinking - what have happens during these two last week. My analysis is that we have engaged in group development taking our group to another level, testing us as individuals and as participants. We have at the same time as learning about it also experienced the topic irl and that of course raises questions along the way. Questions that we haven't dodged, questions that we have been forced to work with as a group but also as individuals. Like Lars writes in his comment above, communication and reflection has been a vital part of this topic and it a vital part of collaborative learning. It will be very interesting to move on to Topic 4 and I do look forward to doing it together with the whole group.


    1. Åsa Rosengren

      Right your are. There is till so much to learn about the topic. The journey has just began.... and it is nicer to experience the journey with peers in the group than alone - even when feelings of stress and frustration arise.... I think it is important to for each of us to discuss the expecations when the group work starts.

  3. "Learning as a social becoming" really encapsulated what our group recognised during this topic. We were learning so much from each other, but also about our selves. We needed to enhance our emotional presence to support each other and to help the group deal with the stress and frustration that were at times evident.


Post a Comment