eLearning Package

In choosing my topic for the eLearning Package, I decided to consider a work-based approach to the assessment. I am currently leading the building of staff capability in the use of the ‘Flipped Learning’ blended delivery approach to course design, development and implementation.  Over the period of the last 10 months I have gathered a number of resources that define, explain and encourage the uptake of the ‘Flipped Learning’ model.

The ‘Flipped Learning’ model is designed to purposely blend online asynchronous with face-to-face synchronous learning. Online aids in the learning of the theory, content and information whereas the face-to-face aids in the collaborative applictation of the theory, content or information. I have developed a concept map, professional development schedule and a series of activities to be placed in the online environment, which would be supported and applied  during the face-to-face sessions,. The intended aim is to roll out the target professional development schedule in 2013 within selected course teams.

Flipped Learning: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI7081.pdf

As the University is in a current state of limbo regarding it’s new Learning Management System I am reluctant to place the online content on WebCT. I however believe that a Learning Management System has greater benefits than a content management system as it aids in collaboration, interactivity and provides various resources and activities that can be tailored to various student’s learning styles. A learning management system is more dynamic and can aid in both synchronous and asynchronous learning.

mLearning

This week I am going to explore mLearning (Mobile Learning) and its current usages in education.  Mobile learning is defined as ‘Any sort of learning that happens when the learner is not at a fixed, predetermined location, or learning that happens when the learner takes advantage of the learning opportunities offered by mobile technologies’ (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MLearning).

The introduction of smart phones and tablets over the past few years have progressed mobile learning into a new era. The additional innovation of podcasting and applications like iTunesU has also made mobile learning more accessible. I decided to search for ‘Flipped Learning’ resources in iTunesU and found a fantastic series of podcasts and an online resource: http://edreach.us/tag/flipped-classroom/. I then explored the possibility of taking one of the MOOC courses (Massive Open Online Courses) in eLearning and found the following course https://www.coursera.org/course/edc, which took me less then five minutes to enroll into.

MOOCs provide an accessible learning experience and are prefaced on learning anytime, anywhere. They are designed to create an open network of learners with emergent and shared content and interactions and are based on connectivist learning approaches. There definitely benefits to MOOCs including:

  • Learning occurs in an informal setting/manner rather than in a classroom setting where a strict curriculum may be present.
  • A MOOC’s course flexibility allows for the student to “attend” when he/she has the time availability.
  • MOOC’s allow for the connection across all professional disciplines as well as across corporation/institution boundaries as well.
  • Direct immersion and engagement within the topic at hand.

There are also limitations:

  • The possibility for the course to take on its own course direction due to the organic and free flowing nature of MOOCs.
  • The lack of in person, real world socializing, presenting and practical experience.
  • The increased likelihood of academic dishonesty, particularly with online examinations, due to a lack of regulation and supervision.
  • Technical difficulties associated with the complete reliance on computers and internet connectivity.

Instructional Design Models

 

Kelly Moss describes Instructional Design as ‘the practice of creating instructional tools and content to help facilitate learning most effectively. The process consists broadly of determining the current state and needs of the learner, defining the end goal of instruction, and creating some “intervention” to assist in the transition’.  As educators instructional design is an innate process that occurs during the development of courses and classes. Teachers are programmed throughout their training to analyse the students abilities, design the programs to best meet the needs of the students, develop interactive and engaging learning activities that build of the students capabilities, implement the program and then evaluate its effectiveness, otherwise known as the ADDIE instructional design model.

However the ADDIE model of instructional design is prefaced on the need to complete one process before proceeding to the next stage in the process. The Dick and Carey model provides a more detailed insight into the instructional design phases by providing sub skills, more suited to the beginner instructional designer. I feel that the Kemp model is more holistic and provides the designer with the opportunity to interlink each of the nine components, allowing a greater flexibility in the learning.

When I work with teachers I ask them to plan their units of study in a more holistic approach to the design and implementation. I believe that the most important aspect of evaluating whether  a learningmodule is achieving the desired outcomes is by constant and consistent evaluation of both the learner, the meeting of the learning objectives, the resources and the teaching approaches. Thus I believe the model that best suits this approach to instructional design is infact the Kemp Model as it allows for interlocking of steps and provides fluidity between steps.

Blended Learning – Why it works!

Graham (2004) defines ‘blended learning’ as a combination of two instruction types – traditional face-to-face learning systems and distributed learning systems with the central role of computer-based technologies. The current reasons why students choose ‘blended delivery’ models include the following: pedagogical richness, social interaction, personal agency, cost effectiveness and ease of revision.

Graham (2004) also explores the issues and challenges arising from a ‘blended delivery’ model, including the role of live interaction, learning choice and self regulation and one of the large issues around dealing with the digital divide. In my experience in leading and managing a project (Flipped Learning – Learning Spaces of the Future Project) using a blended delivery learning and teaching approach the digital divide between the teacher and the students capabilities causes the most challenges. The assumption that the students will not or could not learn in an online environment is just not true, teachers have to accept that the younger generations are going to ‘digital natives’ and have higher computer literacy skills. This then affirms the need for the teachers to work more diligently in developing interactive resources for the online learning environment that maintains the students engagement.

I enjoy learning through ‘blended delivery’. The online learning environment allows me to interact online in my own time without the constraints of family and full time work commitments. I believe that the face-to-face component of the learning needs to be equally flexible with knowledge transfer and learning to occur as an extension of the online content. (http://teaching-in-the-middle.com/wordpress/index.php/2012/06/04/the-flipped-classroom-infographic/)

Learning Style

When I completed the VARK questionnaire it was clearly evident that I have a multimodal learning style preference, I am highly dominant in both visual and kinesthetic learning styles.  I am going to be honest and say that I already knew this.

Kinesthetic learning (also known as tactile learning) is a learning style in which learning takes place by the student carrying out a physical activity, rather than listening to a lecture or watching a demonstration. People with a kinesthetic learning style are also commonly known as “do-ers” (Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinesthetic_learning). Visual learning is a teaching and learning style in which ideas; concepts, data and other information are associated with images and techniques (Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_learning).

I have found throughout my teaching career and in particularly in vocational education that students are predominantly kinesthetic / visual learners. They adapt well and have greater learning outcomes when presented with visual aids, diagrams and interactive content and can demonstrate understanding of concepts and not so well to dense written information.

I personally learn best in an asynchronous environment where course content is portrayed visually (charts, maps, videos, diagrams etc.) where I can synthesise the information in my own time. eLearning fosters asynchronous and synchronous learning, however I find that I enjoy asynchronous learning because I do not have the constraints of time or space. Synchronous learning however can be useful during various parts of course delivery to promote human collaboration using andragogical and huetagogical principles, where the content is applied to real life scenarios, activities and problems.

Hyperlink:

http://download.intel.com/education/Common/in/Resources/DEP/skills/Styles.pdf

Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants

Prensky (2001) highlights the distinctions between Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives. Digital Immigrants learn – like all others to adapt to their environment, however they continue to retain some degree of their learning in the past. Whereas the Digital Natives have spent their entire life surrounded by and using technology and therefore have become ‘native speakers’ of the digital language.

I am a ‘Digital Native’. I classify myself as one because my first instinct is to utlise technology in work and life. I research, develop and implement technology through the management of my staff and teachers I work with. I rarely print documentation and I use resources found on the World Wide Web to supplement my discussions and meetings. However the key feature that I feel distinguishes me as a ‘Digital Native’ is that I learn best through problem-based applied learning which actively test my ideas and allows me to create and share knowledge with my colleagues.

Relevant Journal Article

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2007.00793.x/full

The key constraint that I have as a ‘Digital Native’ is that majority of the teaching staff that I supervise and mentor are in fact ‘Digital Immigrants’. This causes a number of key issues when working with staff to delivery facilitated ‘blended delivery’ rather than traditional teacher directed courses. I try to overcome these issues of tradition and innate practices by phasing and building confidence and capability in teachers to embrace and engage with technology. The other aspect of this is to allow the teachers the time, space and support to learn and adapt.

Using Wiki’s

In an educational context a wiki is a collaborative web site in which content can be edited and created collaboratively. In my current work tasks I am involved in the building of staff capability in the area of blended delivery methods and it’s applications across various courses. Majority of the students within our Faculty are mature age students having chosen to study in their workplace or industry. A key feature of the learning approaches within the Faculty is based on ‘Constructivism’. The application of ‘Constructivism’ in learning is the assumption that students utilise their experience (life, work and education) to construct views, opinions and reflections that that enhance their learning whislt building on their knowledge. This means that all students will be progressing through the learning process at various levels depending on their previous experience. This also means that teachers must facilitate and enable the students to learn through progressive, collaborative and interactive methods.

I have not in the past utilised a Wiki to faciliate this form of learning, however I believe that the ability to design and develop essays and respond to questions and reflect would be easilty facilitated in a Wiki. I am in the process of developing a four week professional development program for the teachers based on ‘Flipped Learning’ blended delivery methods. I would like to utilise a Wiki in this program to have the teachers evaluate each others work and reflect on the outcomes of the program.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkZjVqWIWIY

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