Key Areas of Learning from EDUC 4150

I have learned a lot regarding how to develop an effective online course. The most important for me has been the importance of having and adhering to quality guidelines because it can save myself and the company that I work for, according to Omer (2016), time, money, and reputation. Another important consideration is that what currently works for me as a face-to-face instructor will not necessarily translate successfully into an online environment, as mentioned by Boettcher & Conrad (2016). In addition, Bell & Federman (2016) found that when done right, an online course is just as, if not more, effective than a face to face course. This is encouraging to me because I previously had the notion that online courses couldn’t be equally or more effective, rather they were an alternative to when face-to-face classes weren’t a viable option.

Moreover, I have learned from this course how an instructor’s social, cognitive, and teaching presence varies, depending on the stage of the course, according to Boettcher & Conrad (2016). This course has also made me recognize and consider how to address different learning styles in a course. Furthermore, I was introduced to a new and emerging learning theory that Siemens (2005) named connectivism.

UNSWeLearning (2009) demonstrated how wonderfully and diversely useful a wiki page can be and how it’s a great tool for facilitating and encouraging collaboration and engagement between students. I’d heard of wiki pages prior to this course but have never used them in my workplaces.

The biggest change to my thinking around online courses is that it is equally if not more effective than face-to-face. It’s hard to me to believe because I grew up with mostly, if not only, face-to-face instruction and online instruction wasn’t considered formal education. Now, I see it as another way to deliver formal education as well as a viable option to deliver training in our globalized economies.

In my future work, I anticipate a combination of face-to-face and online training so I look forward to how both online and face-to-face content will complement and work together for a comprehensive training. I’ll certainly follow the best practices as mentioned by Boettcher & Conrad (2016) to ensure my learners stay engaged.

Bibliography

Bell, B. S., & Federman, J. E. (2013). E-Learning in Postsecondary Education. DigitalCommons@ILR, 23(1).

Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R.-M. (2016). The Online Teaching Survival Guide. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Omer, A. H. (2016, November 30). 2 eLearning Production QA Standards. Retrieved from eLearning Industry: https://elearningindustry.com/2-elearning-production-quality-standards

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved from International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance: https://jotamac.typepad.com/jotamacs_weblog/files/Connectivism.pdf

[UNSWElearning]. (2009, February 15). Wikis in University Teaching and Learning – Richard Buckland UNSW [Video File], Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1-8OOrBi0o

 

 

 

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ePortfolios in My Future: Work and Personal

ePortfolios are such a great tool and I can see it being so incredibly useful for those in the field of teaching and research. It’s one place, well one website to be specific, where an individual can gather all their documents, projects, and other artifacts that truly showcases who they are professionally. Whether it’s a teacher proudly displaying their teaching philosophy and showcasing their teaching skills in a classroom through video or a researcher aggregating all their research and professional development as they progress through their career.

Personally, I see great value in creating, developing, and maintaining an ePortfolio. I’m switching careers and an ePortfolio would be a great way to showcase what I am capable of. It’s hard to demonstrate everything in a resume and on LinkedIn because I’m worried that recruiters may glance over my work experience and see that I have no relevant work experience in a corporate environment. The bulk of my work experience that is transferable to training and development come from my teaching job. Depending on the recruiter, they may not see it as transferable and neither do words on a screen fully represent my capacity as an instructor.

On my ePortfolio, I would have a collection of multimedia artifacts. For me, in the field of training and development, there are two parts to it: the delivery/presentation and the created materials. To demonstrate the delivery aspect, I’d include videos of me giving a presentation to demonstrate my public speaking skills. I’d also include videos of me instructing a group and facilitating discussions. To demonstrate my competency in creating and developing materials, I’d show samples of online courses I’ve created, documents given in presentations, and other related print materials.

In addition to showing my career chops, I’d also use my ePortfolio to showcase my personal projects and instruction philosophy. I’d want to make it feel person so that future employers could get a good feel of my personality and style. In addition, probably as a private page just for myself, I’d maintain a list of resources, learnings, as well as strategies I’d like to try.

As for the employees or customers I would be training and developing, I wouldn’t see much use for them to create and maintain an ePortfolio. Definitely not for customers but there may be some cases where employees could benefit from having an ePortfolio.

It would wholly depend on the company I work for and the culture of that company. If there’s a strong professional development and learning culture, then it would be appropriate to encourage employees to maintain an ePortfolio. It’s also important to note that it wouldn’t be as much as the training I provided that would go on their ePortfolio, but more a personal tool for them to monitor and track their work. This is especially true for companies that focus on research and development. It would be a great place for those employees to collect their findings and present them as well, whether it’s with their peers, management, or future employers. It would also be great to encourage other employees, whose work is project based, to maintain a portfolio so that they can track and display their successes. This could possibly be used for future employment or for appraisals and performance reviews as a way to provide evidence of the employees work and progress.

 

Practical Applications of Learning Theories to eLearning

How will you apply what you have discovered about learning theories and online learning to the creation of online resources and activities?

To give some context, in the future, I hope to be in training and development, not academics, so that’s where my applications will be focused.

First off, all the learning theories are valid and should be used together (Anderson, 2008).  Each one has its strengths and weaknesses and each one offers a different perspective into learning.

For the corporate environment, training and development would include new employee onboarding, training current employees on new processes/technology, or offering professional development workshop. In these situations the instruction would mostly be about processes, so approaching training with cognitive learning theories would be beneficial (Anderson, 2008). The practical applications would be as follows:

  • Make the content engaging and make it visually engaging as well. One way is to organize the information into meaningful chunks that are easier for the employee to receive, digest, reflect upon, and hopefully remember.
  • Connect what the employees may already know about the topic, perhaps it’s related to their job, and connect it with the current training and why it’s beneficial.

Another learning theory I would consider applying is constructivist theory (Andersen, 2008). In my classrooms, I see that active learning has had a higher success rate than passive learning. The practical applications would be as follows:

  • Make the learning collaborative and co-operative when possible since this is a reflection of how a company operates, in teams. If I’m onboarding a new employee, I would enlist an experienced employee, in the same role, to be their work buddy and let the new employee shadow the experienced employee.
  • When it’s a workshop, I’d give time for employees to discuss what they just heard and how it would be applicable for them day-to-day. I’d ask them to be as specific as possible.

Lastly, it’s 2020 and it would be a shame not to leverage connectivism (Siemen, 2005) as well. Technology is developing at such a rapid rate that it’s inevitable some unlearning may be required of employees. It would also be important to show employees where the database or learning management system is so that they could access the information when needed. If it’s a global company, teams may benefit from connecting and collaborating with their counterparts in other parts of the world too.

 

Bibliography

Anderson, T. (2008). The Theory and Practice of Online Learning. Edmonton: AU Press, Athabasca University.

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 1-9.