Many visualizations lead to self-determination: Facilitation of Reflection and Feedback with the help of Open Learner Models

Well, again it has been awfully quiet around here (for a year again, wow, time is flowing fast). Why can’t I get this running.


Today, I came back from a very interesting conference for young academics in Germany. To be more precise: for young German academics who are using digital media to facilitate learning processes.

This means, there was a bunch of computer scientist, pedagogues and others who are interested in this field.

It was my first “real” conference and I am totally thrilled. It was amazing. I had the opportunity to present my research (which is still a bit fuzzy) and received very valuable feedback on it.

I came to the opinion that it is time to frame the title a bit more because I – once again – had the impression that the title “Self-determined learning in the 21st century classroom” might be a bit misleading. Although, of course, this is the long term goal: Facilitate self-determined learning in schools with digital media and therefore provide students with the ability to become life long learners.

But due to the fact that I will focus on the facilitation of reflection and feedback strategies and competencies, I see that I should frame it in this direction.

My aim is to develop a concept for professional teacher development which helps teachers to facilitate reflection competencies and feedback processes in both teachers and students and test this concept. Ah, and of course, there are digital media involved.

To be more precise: Open Learner Models (OLM) which we develop within the Next-TELL project.

Okay, it was not my aim today to precisely describe what my current status is in here (I am not sure about that myself, so it is kind of hard to say). But I would like to reflect a bit myself so that I might have the chance the re-live my thoughts once again when I need to.

I already described my conclusion 1: Find another title!

Therefore, I thought a bit today and came to the conclusion that I might use the working title my colleague and I used at the EduCamp in Hamburg in April this year.

This would be: “Many visualizations lead to self-determination” (I really like this as a catchy phrase) but of course that is still not very precise and kind of confusing. So, I decided to add a subtitle: “Facilitation of Reflection and Feedback with the help of Open Learner Models”. Yeah, I think that is a better fit as a working title. Still confusing but not that misleading any more.

I still have the self-determination aspect (which is at this stage kind of important to me) and I already set the focus a bit more.

My second conclusion today was that it is hard to describe the potential benefit of the OLM to an audience that has never heard of it before (especially if you just have round about 10 minutes for that in which you have to put all the other stuff as well). And I understand that very well because to them it seems that this is just another tool that looks nice and has a lot of functions. But new tools always mean more work to figure it out. And as we all know: Time is something that no one really has any more these days. And as another add-on: What about sustainability? We develop the tool with all the other great guys in the project until next year… and then… will it still be there? For me it is clear that it will remain for at least another two years. But how can I proof that to the audience respectively to teachers who I would like to working with it?

And there was also a third conclusion which was not really my conclusion but more the conclusion of the audience: Your dissertation project is huge. And yes, I know that. But I am not fully convinced (yet?) that it is too big. Hope to soon figure that out.

So, what am I doing with that now? I am of course still thinking about the things I heard today. Not alone about the feedback I received but also about the work the other academics presented.

In general, I had great talks there and lots and lots of input. Maybe I need to sleep about that to become more clear about the next steps.


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