Blog Post #1
I have been enrolled in higher education for more than six years now and I have learned so much in this time. Now that I have completed my Master’s degree in Education I have enrolled in a graduate certificate degree program in Instructional Design. I am only in week four of my first class but I have already learned so much. Two concepts that I think really stood out to me thus far are The 10 Principles of eLearning and Human Performance Improvement and I believe this is because they both relate to my current career and learning situation.
Human Performance improvement focuses on identifying certain opportunities and taking proactive steps towards continuous improvement. In short, it is a means to an end of achieving improved results (Rothwell, Hohne, & King, 2009). Training, much like the Customer Service Training module I will be creating for Financial Aid Advisors at Post University, are one way of achieving improved performance. Although training has been considered to be time consuming and expensive to produce, I will be designing a much cheaper, easier platform. Below is a great, but short, video that helps to explain the importance of using the Human Performance Improvement model and why it should be used in assessing the desired needs of a specific group.
Human Performance Improvement Model
As I think back to my own learning experiences there was always one or two subjects that stood out as difficult. But, then there were some that were taught by great teachers who were able to take this complicated subject matter and simplify it using tools like diagrams or demonstrations. They helped me learn by reducing the cognitive load, and, as an instructional designer I will be responsible for creating courses that reduce this cognitive load, so that learners can focus mental energy on learning. A good design will help to make this possible, and there are 10 design principles that should be used when creating an e-Learning module like mine.
- Principle 1
- Match the curriculum
- The pedagogy should be matched with and aligned to the appropriate curriculum through clear objective; the relevance of content covered; the appropriateness of student activities; and the nature of he assessment
- Principle 2
- The pedagogy should support inclusive practice seen in terms of different types and range of achievement; physical disabilities that can be particularly supported by e-earning; different social and ethnic groups; and gender.
- Principle 3
- Learner Engagement
- The pedagogy should engage and motivate learners. This engagement should be evident in an ethos of being both educational and motivating
- Principle 4
- Innovative Approaches
- It should be evident why learning technologies are being used, rather than a non-technological approach which achieves the same end as effectively. E-learning should be fit for purpose.
- Principle 5
- Effective Learning
- This principle can be demonstrated in a variety of ways; for example, by using a range of different approaches in the learning platform that will allow the student to choose one that suites her, or that can be personalized to her, or by satisfying a number of the characteristics of good learning (learner agency; learner autonomy; enabling or encouraging collaboration).
- Principle 6
- Formative Assessment
- The pedagogy should provide formative assessments.
- Principle 7
- Summative Assessment
- The summative assessments must be valid and reliable; comprehensible by teachers, learners and parents; able to deal with a range of achievment levels; and free from adverse emotional impact on the learner.
- Principle 8
- Coherence, Consistency & Transparency
- The pedagogy must be internally coherent and consistent in the way the objectives, content, student activity and assessment match to each other. It must be open and accessible in its design.
- Principle 9
- Ease of Use
- E-learning should be transparent in its ease of use.
- Principle 10
- Technology solutions need to be justifiable and affordable and the costs sustainable.
(10 Principles of Successful e-Learning, 2016)
This next unit has been focusing on the actual design of the e-Learning module and I have learned that there is diversity in all groups even if it is subtle. Therefore it is important to know and understand your audience, but also to know and understand the content, design and expected outcome of your e-Learning module. It is not enough to simply throw some words down on a PowerPoint slide and expect everyone to understand and be able to apply the knowledge you are presenting. You, as the presenter of this knowledge, must research and learn as much as you can about those you expect to learn from you.
My questions to you are:
What can learners do to ensure that their needs are met when approaching an e-Learning module?
Which of the 10 principles for successful e-Learning do you feel are the most important and why?
10 Principles of Successful e-Learning. (2016). Retrieved from OEB News: http://www.online-educa.com/OEB_Newsportal/10-principles-of-successful-e-learning/
Rothwell, W. J., Hohne, C. K., & King, S. B. (2009). Human Performance Improvement. Boston: Elsevier Inc.
Simmons, K. (2015, July 25). Crager.Cruz.Simmons.Wildcard_HPI.July.25.2015. Retrieved from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxUPlvcX-e4
Blog Post #2
When I first registered for EDU624 (eLearn Des Div Envir) I really had no idea what to expect. I had taken many online classes and training modules as a student, but never have I ever been expected to create one. Honestly, the idea terrified me.
Week 1 into the class I read over the course description and reviewed the course outcomes (something I had also not really given much thought to in past). The outcomes read:
- Learners will select and implement motivational strategies appropriate for a specific target audience, task and learning environment based on analysis of current, data-driven practice and research.
- Learners will develop instructional plans, strategies, and materials in contextualized instructional settings (e.g., field experiences, training) that are appropriate for a variety of learner characteristics, including global environments and accommodations for learners with special needs.
- Learners will implement design principles and models that support brain based learning by incorporating contemporary instructional technology processes in the development of interactive lessons.
- Learners will demonstrate personal skill development by creating an effective, interactive multimedia lesson suitable for their eLearning environment.
It wasn’t until week 2, when I had to create my own learning objectives as they would come to relate to my eLearning project, that I realized how important these actually are and how truly important they would become. One cannot merely create learning outcomes all willy-nilly like and expect them to be relatable. There is real insight, reflection and thought that must go into the creation of learning outcomes so that they take into consideration all of the aspects of accessible eLearning (Carfora & Blessinger, 2014).
Accessible eLearning is so important to address before any instructional design project because it relates directly to the core of the project, the targeted learners and the expected outcome. Any learning module that is not accessible to the intended learners is not a learning module at all. Accessibility considerations, like physical and mental handicaps, must be considered in the universal design so that all learners have the ability and capability to participate without obstacles.
In week 3 I finally came up with an idea for my training module project, and I was really excited when I found out that it may actually be able to be used! I was going to design an eLearning, self-paced, instructor free Customer Service training module for my fellow Financial Aid Advisors. The idea was easy because we were currently struggling with the subject in our department specifically and it fell into line with the university’s desire to move towards a “Tribal Leadership” environment.
Tribal Leadership is…..
Throughout the last 4 weeks of the module I spent a lot of time thinking about my colleagues; who they are, what they like, how to keep them motivated (Buckley & Caple, 2009). What I realized is that, even though I thought I knew them, I had not really thought about the diversity within the group. I needed to create a training module that would do so much more than just spew information and request feedback. I would need to reach them on an individual basis; Christina, Joel, Tom, Matt, Stacey, rather than just as Post University Financial Aid Advisors. Though we all have shared qualities that make us good FAAs, we are still individuals with our own strengths, weaknesses and learning abilities and preferences. One type of design will not work for a multi-faceted group of learners. Therefore, I had to design a module that would motivate and encourage learning from a vast array of personalities.
In conclusion, upon completion of this project I realized there is so much more that goes into designing eLearning courses than I first thought. Concepts like Accessible Learning, learning objects, rich media, and interactive navigational design helped me to create an eLearning training module that was accessible to many diverse learners. I was fortunate enough to have had the chance to actually distribute my training module to my designated group of learners, all of which returned positive results. Therefore, I believe that I have been able to meet the expected outcomes for this course, and for that, I am extremely thankful!
Questions for discussion:
Have you ever had an opportunity to create an eLearning module?
In your experiences, what surprised you the most? Was there anything that you didn’t realize would occur?
Do you feel there is ever a time when eLearning modules are not appropriate?
Should eLearning modules be more mainstream in higher education or traditional college programs?
Buckley, R., & Caple, J. (2009). The theory and practice of training. London: Kogan
Carfora, J. M., & Blessinger, P. (2014). Inquiry-based learning for the arts, humanities and social sciences : A conceptual and practical resource for educators. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing.