Self-Directing – Collaborating – Social Networking


iCamp’s pedagogical model focuses on self-directed and self-organised learning, social networking, and collaboration in a mediated and networked environment across national borders. Our aim is to provide activity patterns for educational design that support competence advancement in these three areas of challenge under particular contextual constraints.

One of these constraints is given by the fact that the project is embedded in a formal higher-educational setting where actors are distributed over geographical locations, language and culture communities, institutions and educational systems as well as disciplines. We are thus dealing with a quite heterogeneous set of participants. Another important constraint defining the iCamp setting is the fact that communication and interaction are technologically mediated by an increasingly diverse set of tools and services. Hence, we are also faced with a heterogeneous set of technical solutions.

In iCamp we assume that domain-specific teaching may be structured in a way that allows for competence advancement in three main areas of challenge (self-directing, collaborating and social networking) in parallel to domain specific teaching. The educational design and intervention possibilities are clearly restricted by these constraints. When shifting e.g. instructional functions towards participant control (or self-direction) empirical studies have shown that this will rarely result in measurable improvements in subject matter acquisition but rather in more personal competence gains, changes in attitudes and values (Candy, 1991). Fostering self-direction and self-organisation of learning projects thus implies for our educational design to trigger individual dispositions for action and problem solving. Based on a rather generic analytical schema iCamp will construct particular activity patterns for educational design and intervention.

The facilitators play a crucial role in this scaffolding process towards self-directing learning projects as their relationship with the participants is constantly challenged. In our research approach we are aware of the fact that this changing role needs active support and guidance. The exchange of experiences and ideas with the performing facilitators is considered vital for the projects success.

Barbara Kieslinger, Sebastian Fiedler