Using Online Learning Journals as a Developmental Tool in an International Professional Learning Project: Supporting the Development of New Russian Social Policy

Prof. Rob Hulme,
Ms Moira Hulme
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This paper explores the use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) to support reflective writing as part of an international professional learning project: Manchester Metropolitan University's European Union funded project to establish 'A Centre for Social Policy for Udmurt State University', Russia. The paper outlines research evaluating the relative effectiveness of using a virtual learning environment (VLE) to support reflective journal writing among participants who are geographically dispersed and working in different occupational fields. The paper outlines how CMC was used to facilitate asynchronous peer review of shared writing among academics, policy makers and practitioners participating in a cycle of mobilities between Russia, Finland and the United Kingdom (2003-2005). The purpose of the mobilities is to encourage cross-national professional learning and knowledge 'transfer' to support the establishment of a new Centre for the study of Social Policy in the central Russian state of Udmurt. Ten writers participated in the journaling project and were involved as co-researchers in collaborative action research. Text from the journals was exported and analysed using NVivo software. Contributions were examined in terms of frequency and content, with particular attention afforded to the mentoring role and the discursive quality of developing discussions i.e. professional dialogue generated.

This paper explores:

·Issues in e-mentoring — establishing and sustaining online communities.

·Research methodologies for evaluating the dialogic potential of e-learning.

·Facilitation strategies designed to support cross-sectoral and cross-national professional learning.

·Issues and problems in transferring models of professional learning from one context to another.

This research was supported by a small grant from the UK Education Learning and Teaching Support Network (LTSN), ESCalate (2004/05).

Keywords: Computer-mediated communication, Learning journals, Mentoring, Policy transfer, Professional education, Reflective practice, Virtual learning environment (VLE).
Stream: Technology in Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Using Online Learning Journals as a Developmental Tool in an International Professional Learning Project

Prof. Rob Hulme

Head of Social Studies, Department of Applied Community Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University

Ms Moira Hulme

Senior Lecturer in Post Compulsory Education, School of Education, University of Wolverhampton

Ref: T05P0101