Tag Archives: Distance Learning

SIgnpost

Know when to keep it simple

When it comes to developing materials and learning resources for your course, I think it’s important to know when to keep it simple.

We have all seen examples, or know of some, where every possible bell-and-whistle has been applied, in good intention, but the final result has made the course complicated and heavy.

Here are a few tips on how, and why, to keep it simple, which apply as much to online distance learning courses as well as campus courses:

  • Signpost: provide little ‘signposts’ to learning resources, assignment details, marking criteria, timetables, etc. to help the student. The larger the course or course materials then the more complicated the course structure could be, and the more lost a students will find themselves in your course.  Continue reading

The Really Useful eLearning Instruction Manual: Your toolkit for putting elearning into practice

Book Review: “The Really Useful eLearning Instruction Manual”

The Really Useful eLearning Instruction Manual: Your toolkit for putting elearning into practiceLate last year (2013) I started reading the latest offering from Rob Hubbard, “The Really Useful eLearning Instruction Manual”. A collection of chapters from leading and respected authors and educators this book offers the reader a “broad base of knowledge and the tools you need to navigate the eLearning terrain.”

The book is structured with well-defined chapters written by respected educators who lead their field, covering aspects of eLearning for synchronous and asynchronous delivery, internal- and externally-provided learning opportunities, and the differing platform and approaches to online / eLearning, including:

  • Jane Hart – informal and social learning
  • Charles Jennings – learning management
  • Ben Betts – games-based learning
  • Clive Shepherd – what is eLearning?
  • Julie Wedgewood – blended learning
  • Colin Steed – facilitating live online learning
  • Jane Bozarth – in-house, off-the-shelf, or outsourced eLearning?
  • Clark Quinn – mobile learning  Continue reading

Learning Fundamentals: How to focus in the age of distraction

How to focus in the age of distraction

So many of us are connected and/or using our connected devices regularly. Some might say we / you are addicted to them and suffer withdrawal symptoms when we forget them or leave home home without them.

So then, how do we stay focused in this “age of distraction”? Jane Genovese writes on the Learning Fundamentals website on ‘how to focus in the age of distraction‘ and produced this excellent mind-map of Leo Babauta’s eBook Focus: A simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction”.

Genovese highlights her analysis of the book and the changes she’s making to sharpen her focus, including:  Continue reading

Learning Technologist collaboration research project: Loughborough College and the University of Leicester

Learning Technologist collaboration research project #LTFE #LTHE

Learning Technologist collaboration research project: Loughborough College and the University of Leicester

I am pleased to be involved in a project with Geraldine Murphy and Rachel Challen from Loughborough College which looks to explore the identity of a Learning Technologist through the “analysis of language”.

Project outline
According to the Association of Learning Technology the definition of Learning Technology is defined as this; “Learning technology is the broad range of communication, information and related technologies that can be used to support learning, teaching, and assessment.” Learning Technologists are then “the people who are actively involved in managing, researching, supporting or enabling learning with the use of learning technology.”(ALT 2010)

However, to those working in eLearning, on a daily or ad hoc basis, the explanation doesn’t seem to be as clear cut and there has to be a continual explanation of the job role and the skills, experience and knowledge the role of a Learning Technologist demands. Continue reading

Flexible pedagogies: part-time learners and learning in higher education

Part-time Learning; HEA Report

Flexible pedagogies: part-time learners and learning in higher educationMany of us have talked and written about the benefits of part-time learning, either online and at a distance or in the classroom. Now we have something to reference that can give our own views credibility, or something to argue against (whichever your standpoint).

“This report has been developed as part of Flexible pedagogies research project. Part-time learners and learning is one of five main focus strands embedded within the theme of flexible learning.”

Authored by Michael McLinden the report focuses on the types of flexibility that can enhance part-time study, including:

  • identifying drivers for an increase in part-time learning,
  • literature review to highlight the challenges and opportunities created by part-time learning,
  • current activities, relating to pedagogical theory and practice, are surveyed, collated and evaluated with the focus on part-time learners,
  • relevant pedagogies and approaches identified and analysed within the context of flexible learning and delivery for part-time learning,
  • a selection of case studies presented which illustrate and support part-time learning pedagogies, and
  • recommendations made about why, and how, institutions “might work towards the implementation of these pedagogies and approaches within the context of flexible delivery.”

Read the full report here: Flexible pedagogies: part-time learners and learning in higher education

 

E-Learning and the Future of Distance Education

Reading: eLearning and the Future of Distance Education

E-Learning and the Future of Distance EducationWhile searching for articles and papers on the return on investment on eLearning in Higher Education I came across the work or Ormond Simpson. Simpson has made many of his papers and book chapters available on his website, and this one - E-Learning and the Future of Distance Education - was especially interesting to me.

“The paper explores the economic concepts of ‘return on investment’, ‘willing to pay’, ‘resale value of an education’ and ‘investment risk’ as they apply to distance education. In particular it will suggest that distance education, both as it stands today and in terms of current trends towards e-learning, may be either too inaccessible or too risky an investment for most potential students, and that distance education will fail to reach its potential unless it can increase its availability in the market and its rate of student success.”

Have a read for yourself and think, as I did, as to whether we are, or should be, addressing the learners pedagogic or financial needs? In Higher Education and especially when considering Masters-level distance learning, the students are more likely to be mature and have a better understanding of the financial implication to one or two years of further full- or part-time study (and be able to fund it). Continue reading

Badges - New Currency for Professional Credentials

Another MOOC – this time #OpenBadges and Professional Credentials

Badges - New Currency for Professional CredentialsAs if my MOOC failure rate isn’t bad enough, I’ve signed up for another MOOC in the vain hope that I’ll complete it (only 1 completion out of 6 so far). This one is run through the Blackboard CourseSites environment and is run available for self-enrollment now for a September 2013 start.

The MOOC aims to expand flexible learning opportunities and authentic evidence-based assessment with the use of the Mozilla Open Badge system for “accreditation and employer recognition”. The participating organisations plan to use the MOOC to

“… convene and moderate an international discussion on the role of badges as a new currency of exchange for high value, post-secondary credentials for the new workforce … [and] will explore the ecosystem for a new credential economy based on badges and surface aspects of what would be required to adopt such an approach.”

YouTube: Badges for Lifelong Learning: An Open Conversation

Starting on September 9th this will run for 6 weeks, so hopefully I’ve done what I need to before I start on my Masters degree with Grainne Conole at the University of Leicester. I do however see one very large downside to this MOOC – there are regular synchronous online sessions planned each week and, being on the other side of the Atlantic, means they will running at an awkward time for those in the UK or Europe.

“Pedagogy, policy and support: taking lecture capture to the next level”

Lecture Capture: Pedagogy, policy and support #lborolc13

“Pedagogy, policy and support: taking lecture capture to the next level”

Date: July 3rd, 2013
Location: Loughborough University
Details: “Pedagogy, policy and support: taking lecture capture to the next level”
Twitter hashtag: #lborolc13

With discussions taking place around the College and University about the merits and technicalities of providing students with recorded materials, the timing couldn’t have been better for this workshop.

Hosted by Loughborough University with keynotes and sessions from leading users and supporters of lecture capture technology, the event was a good introduction to what experienced users are doing with he established technology, and how these enhancements are being vowed and used by students.

What do I want to get from today? I’ve used and been a supporter of lecture capture for many years now, and am enthusiastic for its introduction at Leicester. I want to build on my existing knowledge and understanding, how this has changed in the year or so since I moved to Leicester, and how established users of lecture capture technology are taking things forward and developing the techniques and pedagogy surrounding the technology.

We also need to be careful we do not ignore the ‘other’ questions that need asking: it’s not only about the students and pedagogic use of the technology, it’s also about how it’s implemented. We need to be sure to address the resources and resourcing, the implementation, the strategy surrounding its installation and use, the pedagogy, the support, etc. It is not about how we use it, it’s about how well we use it.

Read the full report on the College’s TEL blog: staffblogs.le.ac.uk/telsocsci/report/report-pedagogy-policy-and-support-taking-lecture-capture-to-the-next-level/

Classroom Sign: The Mess

10 claims about Technology and Learning #edtech

Classroom Sign: The Mess

I will not copy the whole post from Joshua Kim but strongly recommend you read his original article for the whole picture, not just my interpretation – ‘10 dubious claims about Technology and Learning‘.

Here are Joshua’s claims he wants to refute:

  1. The quality of courses has remained more or less constant over the past decade. Untrue.
  2. Campus investments on technology have been focused on equipment or software rather than teaching and learning. Misleading.
  3. People who work in academic technology are primarily technologists. Untrue.
  4. Tenured faculty are not innovative in integrating technology into their teaching. Untrue.
  5. Non-tenure track, part-time, adjunct and visiting faculty are less innovative in integrating technology into their teaching. Untrue.
  6. The demand for new methods of teaching, such as flipped classrooms and blended learning, is coming from the students. Untrue. Continue reading

Advances in Technology Enhanced Learning

Free eBook/iBook: “Advances in Technology Enhanced Learning” #edtech

Advances in Technology Enhanced LearningThis is a great free eBook / iBook, for the iPad, from The Open University: “Advances in Technology Enhanced Learning”.

The eBook aims to present a “range of research projects which aim to explore how to make engagement in learning (and teaching) more passionate” and to introduce “methodological and technological breakthroughs” to learners, instructors, and decision-makers in schools, universities, and workplaces.

“The Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute and the EU TELMap project have brought together the luminaries from the European research area to showcase their vision of the future of learning with technology via their recent research project work. The projects discussed range widely over the Technology Enhanced Learning area from: environments for responsive open learning, work-based reflection, work-based social creativity, serious games and many more.”

Available, for free, from iTunes, it’s worth a look: “Advances in Technology Enhanced Learning”

Advances in Technology Enhanced Learning