A comment on PLEs, ZDPs, heavy-switching and translearning

Easton Phidd commented on my “pre-paper” called Personal Learning Environments and the revolution of Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development — “pre-paper” as it later became a full published paper Heavy switchers in translearning: From formal teaching to ubiquitous learning. As the questions he is putting are very interesting, and my answers were getting longer and longer, I thought I’d better share them on a new post.

Is there any empirical research on substitution patterns?

My own experience / applied research — which depicts (in Spanish) these processes in my own teaching in a graduate programme on e-Government — can be accessed here:

Peña-López, I. & Cerrillo i Martínez, A. (2012). “Microblogging en el aula. De la información a la participación”. In Cerrillo i Martínez, A. & Delgado García, A.M. (Coords.), La innovación en la docencia del Derecho a través del uso de las TIC, 143-157. Actas de la III Jornada sobre Docencia del Derecho y Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación, 8 de junio de 2012. Barcelona: Huygens.
Peña-López, I. & Cerrillo i Martínez, A. (2011). “Herramientas 2.0 para el desarrollo de competencias profesionalizadoras”. In Cerrillo i Martínez, A. & Delgado García, A.M. (Coords.), Las TIC al servicio de la docencia del Derecho en el marco del EEES, 89-102. Actas de la II Jornada sobre Docencia del Derecho y Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación, 6 de junio de 2011. Barcelona: Huygens.

On the other hand, an (almost) complete list of works around the area (most of them with a theoretical approach) can be found at The Personal Research Portal: related works, a collection of works related with personal research portals and e-research (as enhanced research).

Another option is to navigate this collection of works related to Personal Learning Environments penned by yours truly.

In a more informal way, I’d say there are lots of examples out there:

  • There are many examples were usual textbooks are being substituted by open educational resources. I’d dig in OER repositories for experience of reuse.
  • There are also examples of university-enterprise partnerships that can be understood as shifting some formal teaching towards informal training/learning.
  • And, last, but not least, cMOOCs are definitely a transition towards total hybridization.

Definitions of heavy-switching and substitution pattern

Heavy switching

Heavy switching is a way of denying multitasking in pedagogical terms — it already has in psychological terms by evidence. And of proposing tearing down the walls of compartmented learning.

I would define heavy switching as the constant interaction between learning actors — resources, environments and institutions — that takes place once planned and unplanned learning, and structured and non-structured teaching take place simultaneously and seamlessly, thus blurring the boundaries of time, space and formality that usually artificially compartmentalize learning.

Substitution pattern

A substitution pattern is the path that one goes through to replace a methodology, tool or technology in actual use by a new one. A substitution pattern will very likely have four stages:

  1. The appropriation of the new methodology/tool/technology.
  2. The adaptation of the novelty to the traditional use.
  3. A phase of improvement of the tasks performed.
  4. A transformation in the very essence of the tasks being performed.

How does the heavy-switching/translearning model can impact second language (L2) learners?

I, in fact, made a proposal/reflection on the topic of Personal Learning Environments for second language learning during the “II Conference on language learning: environments, tools and learning resources” in 2011. My keynote was Native Latin teacher wanted. Linking personal teaching and learning strategies on the Net.

My reflections were published at that time, but I may reproduce some of them here for the sake of easiness:

  • The teacher is a researcher, a student, and should thus make their learning strategies explicit so that students can copy them or be inspired by them.
  • Read a lot. If you’re a knowledge worker, you have to read.
  • Read thoroughly: analysis, synthesis, abstraction are a requisite for juicing a reading.
  • The best way to learn is to teach something. A Personal Learning Environment is also about teaching, or about learning by teaching, not only “just learning”.
  • In a digital world, everything is connected.
  • Thus, inside/outside is a false dichotomy, artificially created to raise walls were there were none. Ask yourself why someone would try and build such walls.

Related downloads

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Peña-López, I. (2013). Heavy switchers in translearning: From formal teaching to ubiquitous learning. In On the Horizon, 21 (2). Lincoln: NCB University Press. [FULL TEXT]
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Peña-López, I. & Cerrillo-Martínez, A. (2011). Tools 2.0 for the development of professional skills. II Jornada sobre docencia del Derecho y Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación. 6 June 2011. Barcelona. [SLIDES]
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Peña-López, I. & Cerrillo-Martínez, A. (2011). Herramientas 2.0 para el desarrollo de competencias profesionalizadoras. II Conference on Law teaching and Information and Communication Technologies. 6 de junio de 2011. Barcelona. [FULL TEXT & SLIDES]
logo of PDF file
Peña-López, I. & Cerrillo-Martínez, A. (2012). Microblogging en el aula. De la información a la participación. III Jornada sobre docencia del Derecho y Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación . 8 de Junio de 2012. Barcelona. [SLIDES]
logo of PDF file
Peña-López, I. & Cerrillo-Martínez, A. (2012). Microblogging en el aula. De la información a la participación. III Jornada sobre docencia del Derecho y Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación . 8 de Junio de 2012. Barcelona. [FULL TEXT]
logo of PDF file
Peña-López, I. & Cerrillo-Martínez, A. (2012). Microblogging in the classroom. From information to participation. III Conference on Law teaching and Information and Communication Technologies. 8 June 2012. Barcelona. [SLIDES]
logo of PDF file
Peña-López, I. (2011). Es busca professor nadiu de llatí. Enllaçant estratègies personals d’aprenentatge i docència a la xarxa. II Jornades d’Aprenentatge de Llengües: Entorns, Eines i Recursos Didàctics, Generalitat de Catalunya, 24-25 de febrer de 2011. Cerdanyola del Vallès: UAB. [SLIDES]
logo of PDF file
Peña-López, I. (2011). Native Latin teacher wanted. Linking personal teaching and learning strategies on the Net. II Conference on language learning: environments, tools and learning resources, Generalitat de Catalunya, 24-25 de febrer de 2011. Cerdanyola del Vallès: UAB. [SLIDES]