Progressive Inquiry LOs in practice

As a researcher it is a great pleasure when someone somewhere is “implementing” your idea the right way. Now it is happening in Estonia.

Five years ago we were presenting the idea of Progressive Inquiry Learning Object templates (PILOT). We claimed:

… learning objects should be designed and presented in a special way in order to promote truly social constructivist learning. The project is based on the concept of progressive inquiry learning object templates (PILOT’s). These learning objects support progressive inquiry knowledge building process in computer and database supported Knowledge Building environments, found for instance in Fle3 and IVA virtual learning environments.

To LeMill we implemented a PILOT editor – a web-based editor to create Flash “movies” designed to be used as an introduction / teaser in a progressive inquiry learning. This was done to proof the concept.

The we wrote and got published an article about it in the International Journal on ELearning.

For some time I already thought that the PILOTs was not good, as the LeMill PILOT editor didn’t get a lot of attention among the LeMill community. I was wrong – maybe – I think, today. Why?

Now, this autumn, teachers in Estonia have start to create and use PILOT a lot. and they look absolutely fantastic.

They are also using the PILOTs exactly the way we designed them to be used (Hans has made a great job in teachers training). The new Estonian PILOTs are really short intros to some topic with pictures, key words, voice narration and research questions in the end. The issue of having the research questions in the end was widely discussed when we were designing the PILOTs because the idea of progressive inquiry is that the pupils are defining the problems, not the teacher. This way the problems in the PILOT’s should be considered as examples of them.

I made a search to LeMill to find all the PILOTs. There are 27 of them. My favorite PILOTs are:

With the whole PILOT idea there are two things I am really proud of. These are the (1) “universal pedagogical design” and the (2) “web-based editor”.

If you think LOs there are very few implementations that are pedagogically sound. The PILOTs are, and even better as the framework offers a “template” one can replicate the pedagogical idea to whatever topic of learning (of course you must understand the idea of progressive inquiry to do this).

The web editor of PILOTs is important because it is (at least in theory) lowering the threshold for teachers to create multimedia learning objects. Our editor is not perfect and with some web 2.0 / ajax magic it could be much better. Still the approach we have is the right.

There is one thing we should implement as soon as possible. We should offer embed -code from all the PILOTs for easy integration to other web content. This is even more urgent now when we have the knowledge building blugin for WordPress. With the embed one could start knowledge building with the PILOT in a blog post and then continue the process with the people in the comments.

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