I am taking part in my first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) – Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning (ocTEL) hosted by the Association for Learning Technology (ALT).
As part of this I have been reflecting on my experience and ambitions for developing my teaching, in the process pondering about what I feel to be the most important question about Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL). In my teaching I have always tried to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for the learner. Placing the learner in a position of responsibility whilst showing them the relevance of the subject matter I feel goes a long way to improving not only student engagement but also attainment.
Dentistry offers great opportunity to provide an immersive learning experience for the learner and I feel TEL can provide the scaffolding on which to build these experiences, maybe not as the primary method of practical/clinical skill development but certainly as a means of introducing new concepts/procedures and offering opportunity to revisit previous concepts/procedures. There is opportunity to provide a media rich landscape for the student offering a selection of resource types to suit all learning styles. What we need to ensure is that the appropriate tools are used where they have proven successful, not using technology simply because we can but because it has proven to be successful. Therefore TEL should be adopted where a need has identified itself and the technology has been evaluated and proven appropriate for the purpose intended.
There are increasing opportunities for the adoption of TEL to assist with the delivery PG and CPD courses at a distance within dentistry. We need to carefully consider how best to instil a sense of belonging (identity) for participants and also ensure quality in respect to assessment and feedback.