Inverse Blended Learning – Why we need this and how we try it

Martin Ebner and I prepare a MOOC about Free Learning with the Web in German language at the platform. It will be of course an OER course (CC BY), but what is even more challenging: The target group are people with some or even less Internet know-how without any e-learning background.
Thinking about the consequences on how we may adress them (not only before, but even while the course) and not being limited on the pure online aspect, we are developing a „inverse blended learning“ scenario. We will bring the open online course more into the „concrete“, „practical“ and „real“ surrounding and context of the learners. (And we are sure that this is not only interesting for our „very special target group“).


Our first ideas are:

  • Delivering a .pdf for own print, but also printed versions (for free) in local organisations (in German speaking countries). Following the idea that people need some additional learning material we will provide a small textbook for the course.
  • Asking supporter for local meetings of learners, eventually parallel presence courses to the online course. Due to the fact that learning is a highly social process we would like to give learners the chance to be part of an online as well as offline community.
  • Inviting to a central final closing event.

… and we are happy to get your feedback on this!

Erschienen: Seamless Learning: Eine Feldstudie über den Einsatz von problembasierten Lernvideos in einem offenen Mathematikunterricht (ITuG Band 5)

Thomas Fößl ist der Autor des fünften Bands der frei zugänglichen Buchreihe „Internettechnologien und Gesellschaft“. Er beschreibt und berichtet von einem smarten Einsatz von IT im Unterricht, der offenes Lernen im Matheunterricht unterstützt. Seine Vorbereitung war zwar sehr aufwändig, die beeindruckende Umsetzung zeigt aber, dass dabei viele gute Ideen entstanden sind – und: die auch fruchtbar sind. Und das beste: Die zahlreichen Materialien werden ebenso bald aufbereitet im Web zu finden sein – bei Das Buch gibt es natürlich nicht nur kostenfrei im Web, sondern auch gedruckt (ISBN: 978-3-7357-3864-6) (mit dem Kauf unterstützten Sie die Tätigkeit des BIMS e.V., und wenn Sie boosten, sogar mehrfach).

Ziel der Feldstudie war es, den Einsatz einer offenen und technologiegestützten Lernform im Mathematikunterricht einer fünften Schulstufe eines Gymnasiums zu evaluieren. Hierfür wurden insgesamt 21 problembasierte Lernvideos und ein spezieller Feedbackmodus („Sterne“) entwickelt. Die Lernform war „offen“ hinsichtlich der Lernsteuerung, Lernorganisation und der Auswahl der Lernressourcen. Damit wurde es den Probanden ermöglicht selbstgesteuert zu lernen. Um auch das Konzept des „Seamless Learning“ integrieren zu können, wurden für die Probanden sämtliche Ressourcen (Videos, Arbeitsblätter, etc.) online zugänglich gemacht. Eine zweiwöchige Feldstudie in zwei fünften Schulstufen eines Gymnasiums in Graz – wobei eine Klasse als Versuchsgruppe und die andere als Kontrollgruppe fungierte – führte zu einem signifikant höheren Lernzuwachs in der Versuchsgruppe mit dem experimentellen Lernsetting. Die Analyse der Videoaufrufzahlen und der Schülerinterviews zeigte eine kontinuierliche Nutzung der Lernvideos innerhalb und außerhalb der Unterrichtszeiten auf.
Die eingesetzten Begleitmaterialien sind ab Herbt 2014 online als MOOC unter frei zugänglich.

  • ITuG-Reihe Band 5: Thomas Fößl (Juni 2014). Seamless Learning: Eine Feldstudie über den Einsatz von problembasierten Lernvideos in einem offenen Mathematikunterricht, herausgegeben von Martin Ebner und Sandra Schön, Norderstedt: Book on demand, Softcover, 978-3-7357-3864-6, 26,90 € [Verlag] bzw. frei zugänglich unter

Now Published: New Forms of and Tools for Cooperative Learning with Social Software in Higher Education

Martin Ebner and I wrote a summary of different tools and forms of cooperative learning with Social Software in higher education. It was just published in the book „Computer-Assisted Teaching: New Developments“ (ed. by Brayden A. Morris and George M. Ferguson).

Our abstract:

Since the new generation of Internet technology, called Web 2.0, has been introduced, a change of how users are dealing with the World Wide Web has been get into going. If access to the Web is available, today nearly anyone can actively participate and communicate online. Of course this recent evolution of the Web influences also the field of education. Former e-learning was mainly characterized by the use of content offered within learning management systems. Nowadays so called “Social Software” enables new possibilities and didactical approaches. In this chapter we give a short overview of how Social Software can support cooperative learning and how new technologies can enhance higher education in a meaningful new way. After a short introduction to the basics of cooperative learning different Social Software applications are classified and described. Practical examples are presented to show the general usage. In the end we conclude that these technologies have great impact on teaching and learning, as it will help to enhance education at universities.

Within the paper, we distinguished different forms of Social Software:

Social Software can be distinguished concerning their main purposes

  • Social presence and communication including discussion forums, Web chats, (micro-) blogging, (micro-) podcasting, and live streaming;
  • Collaborative development including tools that allow a collaborative work and development as the Wiki technology; or
  • Collaborative enrichment of content such as social bookmarking, social tagging, and rating.

Then we went on with a short description of different teaching settings (formally organised learning), where cooperative learning can be used:

1. Distance learning setting

The learners are distributed and do not meet in reality before and while learning and working together. The online communication is not always, but often asynchronous;

2. Blended learning setting

The learners meet in reality and additionally online but normally not parallel. The online communication usually is asynchronous;

3. Classroom group work setting – with 10 to 25 learners

Every learner additionally and parallel to “real” communication participates through networked computers or mobile phones on the group interaction

4. Lecture hall learning setting

The learners use networked computers or mobile phones to facilitate interaction and feedback loops in big groups of more than 40 people parallel to a (interactive) lecture.

In the paper we list tools and their usage and how it already worked (or not) within cooperative learning settings. We came to the conclusion (amongst other aspects!!):

The use of technology in education strongly depends on the questions how we can improve the quality of education and how we can benefit from it. For example, digital collaboration with the help of Wiki systems leads to new possibilities that had not been imaginable within a paper-based learning scenario. Furthermore tagging enhances learner’s content in a new meaningful way and makes the content shareable und reusable. Micro-blogging as described in previous chapters must be seen as a complete new form of communication – talking to a cloud, without knowing if anyone will read or even react to it.

As cooperative learning is very often a part of open educational practices, where learners have the possibilities to organize their own learning within their groups as active partners, changes of learning and teaching behavior is not only a matter of such new tools. Also the existing learning culture within the institution or the teaching abilities and attitudes of lectures are (amongst others) crucial aspects of teaching in higher education that has to be taken into account for a successful implementation or usage of such new tools for cooperative learning (cf. Schaffert, 2009).

Additionally, we have to bear in mind that such tools are not built especially for learning settings. It is up to the researchers and every single user to find out whether learners can benefit from it or not. (…)

Preliminary version is online:

New Forms of and Tools for Cooperative Learning with Social Software in Higher Education

More here:

  • Schaffert, Sandra & Ebner, Martin (2010). New Forms of and Tools for Cooperative Learning with Social Software in Higher Education. In: Brayden A. Morris & George M. Ferguson (Ed.), Computer-Assisted Teaching: New Developments. Nova Science Pub, p. 151-165.

Summary & Video of MASHL2009

„Mashups for Learning“ was the title of a special track, which I co-organised with Martin Ebner at the ICL conference in Villach. Here are the slides with the overview of the session and an imbedded youtube video with an interview with Hendrik Drachsler, the winner of our best paper award (sponsored by the ROLE project). Thanks to all! – to the presenters, reviewers, sponsor Ralf Klamma (ROLE), Martin Ebner & Michael Auer (ICL).

Didactical Challenges of E-Portfolio Work (E-Portfolio Conference in Vienna)

… I am back from a short trip to Vienna, where we attended at the Forum Neue Medien Austria Conference (30.6.-1.7.09) and hold two workshops at the international E-Portfolio Conference (2.7.09).

Here are the slides of the workshop organised by Wolf and me, where we concentrated on (appropriate) reflection of learning and assessment within e-portfolio work.

… within our workshop we also presented the following interview with Peter Scott (Open University UK), who was interviewed by a curious monster, Roddy Rube.

Call for Papers: Mashups for Learning (MASHL2009)

logo_mashl2009_300ptMartin Ebner and I kindly ask for contributions to a special track within the ICL conference in Villach, AT (23-25 September 2009): The MASHL2009 deals with „Mashups for Learning“.

The special track “Mashups for Learning” (MASHL2009) takes place within the “International Conference on Interactive Computer Aided Learning” in Villach, Austria. For the interdisciplinary MASHL2009 we ask for contributions on “Mashups for Learning” to foster the exchange of innovative approaches and research results:

Wikis, Weblogs, media portals (such as FlickR or YouTube) as well as social networking sites (such as MySpace or LinkedIn) offer various (learning) opportunities. These are not always easy to handle and organise. Web-based mashups merge data and/or functionalities from different Web sources. An example for mashups for learners are Personal Learning Environments (PLEs). Various prototypes and tools try to support communities of practice and learners by effectively combining resources. Additionally, smart applications are developed to add filtering and recommender systems, reputation systems, engagement indicators, personalisation opportunities or quality assurance concepts to support learning within the Web 2.0.

In this special track we want to bring together new and innovative approaches, applications and experiences with mashups for learners, utilising Web 2.0 applications. Contributions can focus on, but are not limited to, one of the following topics:

  • Personal Learning Environments as well as support of communities of learners
  • New concepts and tools of mashups for learning
  • Technical solutions and working examples for mashups
  • Studies on experiences and evaluation of mashups for learning
  • Conceptual design and studies on specific aspects, such as recommendation or reputation systems for mashups
  • Current and future developments concerning technology and pedagogy

Submission deadline (8 pages): 4 June 2009
Notification of acceptance: 16 July 2009
Camera-ready paper submission: 30 August 2009
ICL 2009 conference: 23-25 September 2009

The complete call for papers is available in the e-Learning Blog.

The list of our reviewers will be extended within the next weeks!

Please feel free to share this call in your community – the logo can be found at flickR, also the following  logo-mashup-mashl2009.


Additionally, the cfp on slideshare …

EduMedia 2008 – Presentation about "Underlying concepts and theories of learning with the semantic web"

The EduMedia Conference was a big event for our group at Salzburg Research – and a big success as it is to be read in several Weblogs (see technorati), or via the twitter tweme #edumedia08, and is to be seen in several photos (see flickr).

Besides, Wolf Hilzensauer presented our paper on underlying concepts of learning with the Semantic Web in the special track of TENCompetence, organised by Marco Kalz and moderated by Christian Glahn (as announced). (I was nearly without voice …, thanks Wolf!!)

  • Schaffert, Sandra & Hilzensauer, Wolf (2008). Underlying Concepts and Theories of Learning with the Semantic Web. TSSOL 2008, Technology Support for Self-Organized Learners, EduMedia Conference 2008, Salzburg, Austria, May 26. [slides]

This presentation builds on:

  • Schaffert, Sandra; Bürger, Tobias; Hilzensauer, Wolf & Schaffert, Sebastian (2008). Underlying Concepts and Theories of Learning with the Semantic Web. In: Marco Kalz, Rob Koper, Veronika Hornung-Prähauser & Michaela Luckmann (Ed.): TSSOL 2008, Technology Support for Self-Organized Learners, Proceedings, EduMedia Conference 2008, Salzburg, Austria, May 26, p. 67-83. [to the text]

The papers follows the impression that…

Developers of new learning scenarios – either from technological or educational background – act upon their (implicit) theories and concepts of learning and technology. Especially in the field of learning with the Semantic Web, there is – up to now – no awareness about the differing (and conflicting) underlying concepts.

So we decided to …

In this contribution, we try to identify and discuss fundamental aspects of
implemented or discussed learning scenarios.

These are:

• Aspect 1: The Content:
a) is the content a fixed “canned content”, claiming to be objective
or b) is it dynamic, permanently “under development” and only
shallowly categorised (miscellaneous)?
• Aspect 2: The Learner:
a) is the learner a consumer, being taught by a teacher/trainer or b)
is he/she an active, self-organised creator of his/her own
• Aspect 3: The Social Involvement:
a) is the learner “isolated”, on his/her own or b) does he/she
communicate with humans, e.g. in terms of being involved in a
learning community?

But we would not only discuss it „theoretically“ with some examples/citations … so we decided to analyse existing projects …

For that, we screened selected (current) projects concerning learning with the Semantic Web according to their underlying or explicitly pointed out concepts and

Our result of the project screening and our summary …:

… more in the article. Comments welcome!

EDMedia 2008 (Vienna, 30.6.-4.7.)

The ED-MEDIA 2008 (”World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications”) is to be held in Vienna, Austria, June 30-July 4, 2008.

Together with my colleagues Wolf and Stefan I submitted a brief paper (New Development) and it was accepted as it is …

Wolf Hilzensauer, Stefan Karlhuber, Sandra Schaffert: Innovation in the Traditional Commerce. A didactical concept for online learning materials for entrepreneurs.

In that paper we describe our ideas for the EU-project Innovcom.

Additionally, two other submissions of our group were accepted. Nevertheless I am not sure if we will all be able to participate – it is an expensive enjoyment, even though it is just a stone’s throw away.

My PHD thesis is online …

Great, the Dr.phil.-thing is now done 🙂

I finished my PHD in April 2007, I had my rigorosum (called disputatio) at the 9th of July (some of the dates of my life, I probably will not forget…) and now all is published – with open access but in German.

Schaffert, Sandra (2007). Beruflich relevantes Lernen von Frauen in der Familienphase: Empirische Analysen zu den Lernaktivitätenvon Müttern während der familienbedingten Berufsunterbrechung
Dissertation, LMU München: Fakultät für Psychologie und Pädagogik. URL: 4 MB).

At least I have an abstract in English.

In Germany, most women interrupt their profession after the birth of their first child. For most of them the family-phase lasts numerous years. Generally, it is considered important that these women keep up-to-date in their professions for a successful re-entry in the future. This thesis tries to answer the question how and in what extent women learn with relevance to their professions during their family-phase. detailed overview about research and theoretical approaches is given and data of three studies is re-analysed (secondary evaluation): representative time budget survey 2001/2002 of the Federal Statistic Office Germany, the representative data concerning the study of „Social and Regional Differentiation of Interest in Further Education
and Further Education Behavior“ from Heiner Barz and Rudolf Tippelt (2004a) and the data concerning the study about the hidden reserve in the region Lower Rhine from Beate Ludwig (2003, project leader Rolf Dobischat). For the first time since Eva Bujo’s research in 1988, learning with relevance to the profession of women in the family-phase is now compared with data concerning the total population. A supplementary comparison has been done with earning fathers and mothers, and earning men and women without children living in their households.

The analysed data from about 1.500 women shows that women in the family-phase are highly interested in further vocational training although their participation quotes are far below average. Their time spent on learning with relevance to their profession and also informal learning, is surprisingly high in comparision with the other groups. The tree analysis method determines how the participation in further education is influenced.
Particular attention is given to the specialities of learning with relevance to the profession of post-graduate women. The analysis shows noticeable differences; for instance, postgraduates use a manifold of time for learning and obviously have an outstanding
repertoire of non-formal unspecified learning strategies („other learning“).
The summary describes not only multifaceted and substantial results about learning with relevance to their professions of women during their family-phase; but it also uncovers a method bias for the analysed group. Finally, an outlook on possible consequences for educational practice and open research questions is given.