Open or closed learning environments? The topography of HE practitioners learning spaces. Towards a topology of learning spaces

Caroline Kuhn

Bath Spa university

Although the word ‘open’ seems to suggest an invitation for participating in the experience, my findings show that this is not always the case. Many students don’t know how to navigate the wild open web, moreover, they are afraid of getting lost when navigating such an open space. As a response, they rather keep safe in a closed space where all is familiar, feeling able to learn and succeed although in a more precarious and closed way.
Notwithstanding these difficulties students have a personal learning space, with tools and platforms to mediate their learning experience.
This action lab aims at using the same approach I used in my study, namely the Visitor and Resident approach (White and LeCornu, 2011) to explore participants’ digital practice, their Personal Learning Environments (PLE). The experience is an opportunity to raise awareness about the level of openness of their digital practice as well as what are the barriers and enhancers.
A topography of practitioner’s’ learning spaces will be the output of the first half.
The conceptual idea of mapping is inspired by Deleuze & Guattari’s construe about rhizomes and mapping (Deleuze & Guattari 1987). It is based on an ontology of becoming instead of being, portraying reality as a dynamic process of change. The experience of mapping discloses potential instead of reinforcing fixed and deterministic identities; a powerful tool to uncover the myth of the digital natives.
After having a clearer vision of how their learning spaces are, the audience will be presented with my conceptualisation of an open learning environment, the features that define it and the consequences it can have for an approach to learning that is open and participative.
Participants are invited to challenge the concept and suggest different ideas. Together we will construct a new topology of open learning spaces.

Presentation

Open or closed learning environments? The topography of HE practitioners learning spaces. Towards a topology of learning spaces from Open Education Consortium