Tag Archives: eLearning

What makes a good online course?

What makes a good online learning experience?

Is it possible to define the qualities of what makes a good online learning experience, or a good MOOC? Is there a check list we could have pinned to the wall which we could use as we design and build our courses?

Here’s a few items I think the list needs, feel free to add your own ideas in the comments field below:

Presentation: Is the student able to relate to the subject and the presenter / educator? This is not always easy as the platform (Blackboard, Moodle, FutureLearn, Udacity, etc.) often controls how the materials are ‘presented’. Even with these constraints you do have options on designing your materials and laying them out in ways which make them easy to navigate or interact with.  Continue reading

Private Pyle / Full Metal Jacket

The question I didn’t want Google to help me with

“The need to know the capital of Florida died when my phone learned the answer.” Chiveta

This is so true and, then again, so annoying. I find myself going online to find the answer for too much: imperial to metric conversion, place names, spellings, etc. It’s become too easy to rely on a search engine algorithm to get an answer that ordinarily I’d know, or at least be able to work out with a little time and brain power.

Which is why I am so proud of myself – this weekend I figured out something quite trivial without the help of Google. Yes, I finished the task off by using Google to find the name I didn’t know, but I used my slowly deteriorating grey-matter and did it myself.

Here’s why:  Continue reading

How do you measure MOOCs?

How do you measure the ‘success’ of a MOOC?

Here’s a question I’ve been battling for some time .. how do you measure the ‘success’ of a MOOC? The problem is that I haven’t been able to define what the ‘success’ is supposed to be, so to try and measure it seems, well, a pointless exercise.

So, here’s a few thoughts I’ve had based on my experiences as a learner on MOOCs (yes, plural), and as part of a team developing and delivering 4 FutureLearn MOOCs now (with a few more in the pipeline too!).

  • Do you look for the headline figures of number of registered learners, or the number of registered learners that became learners (visited the course)?
  • Do you look for the number at the number of learners who did something, that engaged on the course in some way .. as either a number (e.g. 4,000) or as a percentage of the learners who visited the course (e.g. 40%)?
  • If you plan your MOOC to link to a paid-for course (degree, training, etc.) do you measure the success by the number of MOOC learners who enquire, or sign-up, to the linked course?
  • Do you look to the quiz or test responses, to see who’s retained and regurgitated the information based on a ‘score’?
  • Is it the final number of learners who make it through the length of the course to the end?
  • Is the number of comments a worthy of a measurement of success? Do courses that have more comments (either in volume or as a percentage of active learners) indicate a greater success than those with fewer?
  • Can you measure the success based on interactions on social media, through a defined hashtag? In which case do you measure the number of mentions on the hashtag or dig deeper and quantify the different sorts of engagements, ranging from “I’m on #such-and-such course” to enquiries or the detailed thought process involved in critical thinking along the lines of the MOOC subject?
  • Is a successful course one that takes learners from the MOOC environment into a related course, be it a MOOC or other paid-for course? If so, are you capturing that data?

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Netflix

Learning the Netflix way

I’ve just read the post by Donald Clark called ‘What does ‘learning’ have to learn from Netflix?’ which has resonated with much of my own thinking from recent work and discussions I’ve been having on Twitter.

I signed up for one of the free 1 month trials of Netflix when it was first available in the UK. I enjoyed it, then cancelled it. I’d got what I wanted. Then I realised I wanted access to the binge-watching phenomenons like House of Cards, Breaking Bad, and the one that started them all, 24. But more than this, as Donald mentions in his post, I wanted access to the kind of programmes I like and at my convenience. I am not always available at 9PM every Thursday to watch the latest instalment of my favourite show(s), just like I don’t actually want to wait a full week for the next episode. I first watched 24 on DVD, not Sky, so I did binge-watch the show, usually 4 full episodes a night (or 1 DVD) and went to bed wired for the next marathon 24-fest.

So, if we’re changing our viewing habits, are we changing our learning habits (as pointed out by Donald)?

Yes. Consider Donald’s points:  Continue reading

Going home?

Going home?

As a parent of two lovely and very bright boys aged 4 and 5 (or, as they like to say, nearly 5 and very nearly 6) I feel the pain of all parents who don’t think the schooling is capable of adapting to all possible levels of children’s capabilities within the defined age/year structure that children are subjected to.

My 5 year old (year 1) has a reading age of a year 3 child, and is doing sums (numeracy) of year 2 and sometimes year 3. Yet his teacher has him doing number-bonds to 10 … something he could do 2 years ago. He’s been stuck here for a year already, not because he’s not developing, but because the school doesn’t think he can do it. He brings a new book home to read every other day from school and has read it within 20 minutes of getting home, he can answer quite difficult questions on the subject, characters, locations, emotions, etc. of the story. He writes lots too. Loves it.  Continue reading

MOOCs

MOOCs – 9 points on what I like, and what I don’t

Over two years ago I wrote about a few experiences I’d had with some online courses / MOOCs, and why I ‘failed’ (according to the general headline figures of engagement, attendance, etc. that are used in mainstream press).

I want to revisit this, in light of more experience in both designing MOOCs and being a student on them.

Disclaimer: This is based on courses I’ve taken on the FutureLearn, Coursera, Cloudworks, EdX, and WordPress (OcTEL) platforms. I also highlight whether is was a student on the course, or part of the development team.

1. Comments and Engagement: For the most part I’ve been a silent students. This is both deliberate and accidental. Where it’s been a deliberate choice to not engage in the comments and discussion it’s been because I knew I didn’t have the time or inclination to trawl through the hundreds of fairly uninteresting posts to add my two-pennies worth or find the one nugget of insight that is worth anything. It’s also because, for some courses, I didn’t have enough interest to take my engagement further.

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Skills & Attributes of today's learners

Skills & Attributes of today’s students

What a lovely way to demonstrate the skills and attributes of today’s learners (thx to @suebecks for sharing):

Skills & Attributes of today's learners

While some of us look to the skills, some to the technology, and maybe even some to the individual, it is clear that somewhere there needs to be a generic and ‘global’ view of the learner, the (learning) climate, Continue reading

Interview with Wayne Barry, #EdTechBook chapter author

Interview with Wayne Barry, #EdTechBook chapter author

The Really Useful #EdTechBook, edited by David HopkinsAs part of a new series of posts, I will be talking to authors of The Really Useful #EdTechBook about their work, experiences, and contribution to the book. In this second post I talk to Wayne Barry, Education and Social Technologist at Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent.

DH – Hi Wayne. How does the use of technology, in all its various forms, affect your day-to-day working life?

WB – Hi David. That’s an interesting question and one I hadn’t considered before as technology is so much a part of our lives that we don’t always stop to consider it’s role and impact.

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Interview with Sue Beckingham, #EdTechBook chapter author

Interview with Sue Beckingham, #EdTechBook chapter author

The Really Useful #EdTechBook, edited by David HopkinsAs part of a new series of posts, I will be talking to authors of The Really Useful #EdTechBook about their work, experiences, and contribution to the book. In this first post I talk to Sue Beckingham, Educational Developer at Sheffield Hallam University.

DH – Hi Sue. How does the use of technology, in all its various forms, affect your day-to-day working life?

SB – It’s an integral part of my daily routine. By this I mean that I make use of the affordances of my mobile phone to access a wide range of apps to help organise my day, provide me with news, information as part of my research and of course social networking places where I keep abreast of what’s happening out in the field via my personal learning network (PLN).  Continue reading

Old and New

What is an eBook?

Another innocuous tweet last night (below) led to another lengthy, and truly excellent, exchange on Twitter around the merits, format, value, and attitude of eBooks.

On the back of my tweet about my latest book project, The Really Useful #EdTechBook, I tweeted that I am disappointed at how little is written or published about, or by, technical or academic self-publishers:

It's disappointing how little is written about technical or academic #ebook self-publishing. Indicative of none happening? #EdTechBook

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