One of the biggest challenge in concluding the literature review process is to able to come up with a conceptual framework that clearly shows the direction of the research. It took me many months and many iteration to come up with this PLE conceptual framework to encourage learner autonomy.
*Those highlighted in grey are the focus of my research
Regardless of the learning environments, their main purpose is to facilitate the teaching and learning process. Typically, in the physical, virtual, or blended learning environments, the role of educator or facilitator is to provide task scaffolding to assist learners in the learning process. Educator decides on the learning tools to use and determine the learning goals to be achieved. Learner’s role in these environments is a consumer of knowledge with low level of learner autonomy.
On the other hand, higher level of learner autonomy is required in personal learning environment where the learner decides on what to do in the learning process, the learning tools to use, and the learning goals to achieve. Learner’s role becomes both producer and consumer of knowledge. Scaffolding is still essential to assist the learning process, although it may come from peers and experts in the community of practice instead of only from the educator. Being autonomous empowered the learners to set their own learning goals and be accountable to achieve them. Better learning experience is achieved when learners are personally motivated in the learning process where they can choose what and how they prefer to learn.
Learners generally perform these activities in the learning process: browse, collect, network, create, share, and communicate, regardless of learning environments. The difference is in the decision making process, either by the learners in the personal learning environment or by the educators in other learning environments. Similarly, the learning tools are generally categorized as non-computer mediated tools such as whiteboard, papers, etc., usually used in physical learning environments, computer-mediated tools such as word processor, projector, etc., in virtual or blended learning environment, and Web 2.0 applications such as blog, RSS, etc., in the personal learning environment. The choice of tools is either on the learners in personal learning environments or on the educators in other learning environments. However, Web 2.0 applications can easily be extended into other environments if advocated by the educators. With careful planning and support from the educators (especially if learners require scaffolding help), educators can allow the learners to make the decision in choosing the tools or the learning process in any learning environments.
I don’t expect this conceptual framework to be perfect or even the end of my research but I hope this is the stepping stone to grow my research further (if possible). Feedback is welcomed.