Hearing the Learner Voice

For most people, talking and listening to learners is the ideal way to gather feedback from learners as part of the learner voice in FE.

However there are many technologies and services out there that could be used in addition to talking and listening face to face.

I have mentioned on the blog before about using the VLE to gather the learner voice.

There are various tools that can be used for this, there could be an open discussion forum that allows learners to discuss the college and the provision. Though care must be taken in order for this open forum not to be abused and if moderation does take place that it is open and fair.

A closed discussion forum can also be useful in allowing evidence of discussion and feedback in one place. Within this kind of forum the only people who can see the discussion would be the learner and the college.

A further method of using the VLE would be to use something like the Feedback block on Moodle that allows users of the VLE to provide either a poll of some kind or more detailed feedback on the provision in the college.

Most (if not all) learners have a mobile phone and I would expect most (if not all) of these have a camera capable of taking video. You could encourage learners to make short videos using their mobile phones about their experiences at college, what they would like to see different at college as part of learner voice. There needs to be some mechanism for collecting and collating the videos, providing a central e-mail address or MMS text number could be used for remote collection. Another way would be to upload the videos to a college network resource or even the VLE.

SMS is another key way for gathering learner voice and is a technology that many learners will be familiar with. SMS textwalls are one way of collating SMS messages from learners.

Our iMacs in our libraries have built-in webcams and even if you use PCs, using a webcam to capture short video clips from learners can be a simple way of collecting the learner voice.

Online service such as Wallwisher can be used to collect and collate comments from learners as part of learner voice.

By providing a Posterous e-mail address and creating a private Posterous account, learners could just e-mail their “voice” and using Posterous would allow learners not to just send text, but also audio and video too.

So face to face discussions with learners are a valuable way of gathering the learner voice, there are also many different technologies, tools and services that would allow the learner voice to be collected in different ways.

How do you listen to the learner voice?

3 thoughts on “Hearing the Learner Voice”

  1. During my students I captured my student voice through making Xtranormal videos on the experiences and frustrations of adult learners and situated them on the UK Open Uni educational network site Cloudworks http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloud/view/4103. I found this a very effective technique to assimilate new knowledge and share experiences.

  2. One way we’ve enabled listening to the learner voice is by the use of voiceboards. We use Wimba voice boards which are like a threaded discussion board but one can record and post spoken messages in addition to written. It’s all done in the browser and no additional software is needed. We’ve used this with postgrad distance learners and it has been fantastic — threaded asynchronous discussion around assigned tasks, tutor replies to student and students reply to each other; sometimes discussion around assigned reading material, that sort of thing. Students have claimed this helps their presentation skills, especially when we put a 5-minute limit on their messages — they had to think about what to say, make sure to mention references, and have their argument honed a bit first.

    Great ideas about Wallwisher and Posterous – thanks!

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