Wait! Just One More Thing

 

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This week we were tasked with Describing a project. Either personal or professional, that experienced issues related to scope creep.

What I have found as an instructional designer is that “Scope Creep” often happens. In fact, the current project that I am working on has suffered from the all too familiar “Scope Creep”. The course has had its own challenges along the way, it is a great course but from the beginning this particular course has taken on a life of its own. I might mention that this course was originally a larger course that included introductory information and more advanced information in one course. When we took on this project the idea was to take the preexisting course and make it better per the client. What the team soon found out was that this course actually needed to be two separate courses.

Once the decision to break the one course into two separate courses was made, the bigger task was and continues to be what information should be covered? How in depth do we need to go with the information? My team and I actually lovingly refer to this drift as the “ISD Drift”. This continues to be a challenge in my design world.

At present I am the leading Instructional Designer for my course. I am fortunate enough to work with an amazing team! Our Project Management team is great about scheduling weekly meetings with our team which once a month include our IT team and Graphics Team members. The Project Management team is also really great about scheduling and holding meetings with the Subject Matter Expert. This has been incredibly beneficial. As designers we have been able to ask questions of our SME. We have time to ask the SME if we are accurate with our concepts, what the student is expected to learn and why? Once the information is disseminated via the learning medium, what the learner is expected to do with what they have learned. Another great thing about this team is that we are able to use that “Scope Creep” AKA Instructional Design Drift to our advantage. We meet together generally via WebEx or communicate back and forth via e-mail. We serve as each other’s sounding boards.

This is so important when working in the area of instructional design. We also try to always keep several things at the forefront while working on any project. We want to make certain that we are meeting all deadlines, conscious of our budget and most importantly keeping our client in mind when designing. We often work mock-ups and present them to each other and to our SME. It is so important to make certain that you are heading in the right direction. That can be quite difficult at times.

I know that this blog was meant to point out the changes that I would make if I were managing the project. Honestly there isn’t anything that I would really change about this particular team or the scope creep issues. This team works really well together and keeps in constant communication with our project management team and the SME.

As a rule, anytime we feel that “Scope Creep” happening we are quick to speak with each other and our SME to once again keep all the goals of the project at the forefront.

Scope_Creep

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Estimating Project Management Costs

 

This week we were tasked with finding resources that can be used in allocating the resources and estimating the costs associated with an ID project.

 

BUB image for blog assignment week 5

 

In order to prepare for this assignment, we were asked to conduct a web search (listservs, message boards, blogs) and locate at least two resources that would be useful in estimating the costs, effort, and/or activity durations associated with ID projects.  While researching I came across these amazing sites while doing my research for this week’s assignment. I hope that you will find them as beneficial as I did.

The first site is a blog site. This site focuses on budgeting, training cost guidelines, estimation of developmental hours, eLearning, development times to create one-hour e-Learning, Instructional preparation time, seat time, interactive multimedia instruction and interactive courseware.

http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/costs.html

Graphic-Design phase week 7

This blog outlines for the reader the various aspects of building a budget and things that need to be considered when building a training budget. This Blogger has even listed a few resources for the reader to reference. Where to find stock photos, where to access information in order to record a professional recording etc. and a Case Study to reference about Verizon Communications e-learning.

 

The second resource I found was another incredible site https://www.mindtools.com/pages/main/newMN_HTE.htm

 

This particular site does not just offer information about estimating costs for instructional design projects. This site also offers information about Leadership skills, Team Management, Project Management, Time Management etc. I found that this site offered various topics of interest that would prove beneficial for anyone in the field of design or project management.

 

I really enjoyed researching these helpful resources and learning more about the many resources that are out there for us designers and project managers to reference. I hope that you find these resources just as useful as I did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Say What?!

communication

In this week’s Project Management blog post, we were asked to view “The Art of Effective Communication.” In this program, we observed a piece of communication in three different modalities: as written text, as audio, and as video. We were then asked to reflect upon what we interpreted the message to mean.

The characters of this media piece are Jane and Mark. Jane’s character utilized three different modalities to communicate the message to Mark’s character. The first modality was written communication in the form of an email message. In the message Jane seemed to do a lot of assuming on Mark’s part as she began by saying “I know you have been busy and possibly in that all day meeting today, but I really need an ETA on the missing report”. In my opinion Jane has not only made assumptions on Marks’s behalf but she seems to be putting the pressure of her deadline on his shoulders, by suggesting that “Because your report contains data I need to finish my report, I might miss my own deadline”.

The tone in this email message came across to me as being demanding and maybe even a bit rude. If I were Mark on the receiving end of this email, I am not certain how quick I would be to get the report over to Jane or at least have a few words with her prior to delivering it.

In the second example Jane leaves Mark a voicemail message. The message overall seemed a bit better than the misunderstood email message from earlier but it still lacked a certain personalization. The message was the same but this time Jane’s tone was abrupt, put off and perhaps even a little disrespectful. I am sure that was not the intention of Jane’s message but as someone on the receiving end of that phone message. I am not certain that I would be very quick in responding to Jane’s needs. I might even find myself once again having a conversation with Jane about her approach or at the very least ask for clarification face to face.

Which brings me to the final modality. Jane uses face-to face conversation with Mark’s character in the final scenario. A much preferred method in my opinion. In the face-to-face interaction with Mark, Jane appears much sincerer in her request, her body language is very open and approachable with no confrontational tone what so ever. Janes message is very clear and concise with no need for added interpretation of the overall message.

Jane’s character in this scenario presented as genuine and helpful. In fact, I kept waiting for her to offer assistance to Mark in completing the report etc. It is so important when speaking to other team members whether it be via email, phone, voice message, text or face to face that you be clear in the message and that you remain professional, and courteous with all interactions.

I currently work as instructional designer for a company that is based all over the world, the main office in Oklahoma City. This being said, as a remote professional it is imperative that all of my communications with other team members be professional, sincere and courteous but that my message also be clear and concise. Messages can be misinterpreted. It is important that I be conscious about my email etiquette (Never send a message with all capital letters in the message, never use red font color, don’t be too wordy in your message, don’t use too many exclamation marks in your message and always, always read the message prior to sending it out to ensure that the message is appropriate, professional and follows all rules.

The same etiquette needs to be used when you are also video conferencing with stakeholders and team members. You need to be conscious of your body language, make certain that once again your message is clear and concise. Make certain that there are no outside distractions whether that be noise from outside influences (Television, children, spouses, animals etc.) that you have muted your line when not being addressed and that you are courteous of others when they are speaking and presenting. The same could be said for leaving voice messages. Clear and concise messages, no rambling or outside distractors that may impede the overall voice message.

In closing the preferred method of communicating with team members is always going to be face-to-face but with many team members working all over the world, this may not always be the easiest method. Nonetheless it is imperative that we always make a conscious effort to be polite, concise and professional in all of our communication whether it be with team members, stakeholders or anyone else. Getting your message across the right way is imperative to the success of working as a team and the success of the overall project outcomes.

Resource:

Multimedia Program: “The Art of Effective Communication”

 

What My Wedding Taught Me About Project Mangaement

wedngchcklstdistance learning

 

This week in my Project Management course I was tasked with blogging about a project that I took on and the activities that resulted in both the success and failures of the overall outcomes of the project.

We were asked to look at Greer’s The Project Management Minimalist: Just enough PM to rock your project (2010). At the completion of each project “Post Mortem” Review Questions are distributed to the project team. In short these questions dissect the project looking at the things that went well and why? And explore those things that didn’t go as well and why?

This particular project or event was one of the most important undertakings and one of the largest projects that I had taken on to date. I am certain that some of you reading this blog post may be able to relate to this post and others of you may not personally relate, but I can certainly guarantee that everyone out there reading this has either read book on the subject, watched a movie or perhaps even written their own story.

The monumental project that I am referring to is my wedding. A multimillion dollar industry. People spend millions on this one-day event. The wedding planners, the caterers, the invitations, the guest list and let’s not forget about the dress; after eight years my head is still reeling from all of the meticulous planning.

So let me begin by first saying that despite the few mishaps that I will discuss later in this blog, my wedding day was “wonderful” that being said however, it was not the vision that I had in mind!

I set out the moment the ring was on my finger, thousands of dollars in wedding magazines (pre Pinterest) a wedding planner book and a million ideas. It was great I meticulously planned every detail.

Just like any project I set out with a plan, I chose my Drivers and my Supporters and of course there were a few Observers as well. This project was a one-year project from start to finish.  Let me also share that during this time my fiancée (Driver) who at times felt more like an Observer was deployed to the Middle East; but I digress.

To understand what truly went well in this project also requires that you the reader understand what is referred to as the “Nuts and Bolts” or as Greer (2010) likes to refer to them as the guidelines for Project Managers

  • Step 1: Define the project concept, then get support and approval.

This phase of the project went well. The concept was to have a wedding of our dreams check and to have plenty of support and approval check and check. In fact, one might agree that there was a bit more support than was actually needed.

  • Step 2: Get your team together and start the project.

This phase of the planning period also went quite well. Although at times some difficult decisions about who would be a Driver and who would be a supporter became a bit; shall we say “muted”? Some that weren’t as actively involved wanted to be and others that were didn’t and then there were those that took everything that I said, did and didn’t say so personally that I seriously considered eloping on several occasions, if for no better reason than to avoid my “team”.

 

  • Step 3: Figure out exactly what the finished work products will be.

This overall turned out well however, there were times that I can now reflect upon and have a definition for. I think in the Instructional Design world we would refer to this as the “Scope Creep” Stolovitch, (n.d.). For those who may be unfamiliar with what that is, simply stated it is when you have all sorts of ideas for a project and want to try and “cram” them into the current project. Your intentions are good and so are the ideas but sometimes the budget just isn’t there, the time and perhaps the ideas would be better suited for a separate project.

  • Step 4: Figure out what you need to do to complete the work products. (Identify tasks and phases.)

This phase of the project was ongoing. I had every detail planned every stakeholder in place and the budget set. More about this phase later.

  • Step 5: Estimate time, effort, and resources.

This step overall was one that I found to a bit tougher. I didn’t realize how much planning went into such a large project as this. The effort was there generally on my part but I did find that as time went on the momentum of my team and occasionally of myself was lacking. Honestly for such a large project the resources were never enough. I found that there were several hiccups along the way. Often there were time constraints, outside pressures and pesky things like life, other responsibilities etc. that always seemed to stand in the way of my overall project.  I could have tried to have planned a bit better, budgeted my time better and made certain that the resources were plentiful and that the “money tree” was always blooming, but let’s be realistic some of those things are truly just out of our control. This was a “bitter” pill to swallow for a control freak like myself.  Bottom line however, is that it all got accomplished and the end result was met. Albeit perhaps not exactly the way that I had envisioned it.

  • Step 6: Build a schedule.

I set out once again with an amazing plan. My stakeholders however, often had other plans. It seemed at times like the universe and time were plotting against me. My fiancée and I were literally a continent away from each other and what seemed to be important to me at that particular moment in time may not have been nearly as important to him at the same time. Thus he became the observer where somethings were concerned. My timeline was a personal one and often my urgency was not shared by the other stakeholders, the Drivers or the Supporters. In fact, a perfect example of this was when my dress arrived. It was a beautiful dress the kind of dress that I had dreamt about since I was a young girl dressed up in a veil on my head AKA: Pillow case.

I ordered the dress online, was assured that it would arrive on time and that it would “fit” like a glove. It arrived literally two weeks before my wedding day. It was breathtaking, perfect and mine. I was so excited that I rushed into the bedroom to try it on only to find that it wouldn’t zip all the way. My heart sank, I began to break out in a cold sweat, I was panicking. “The world was against me”. 

Hindsight being 20/20 I could have and should have planned better for once again another hiccup. You will all be happy to know however, that I found someone to the tailor the dress and it was stunning!

  • Step 7: Estimate the costs.

Wow! Anyone who has ever planned a similar project or been a part of the planning of such an undertaking should be able to relate to this. I had a budget set for my project and then I had another budget set for my project. The point being that I am ashamed to admit that this part of the project most certainly did not go as planned. Once again my fiancée and I put together our spreadsheet of absolutes and nice to haves and tailored those down to what we believed to be quite realistic, manageable and most importantly affordable. Unfortunately, that “Scope Creep” that I spoke about earlier often crept up and our budget became much more of a hypothetical than an actual. Although looking back it wasn’t too terrible but I am ashamed to say that for this particular project we did find ourselves thousands of dollars in the “red”.

  • Step 8: Keep the project moving.

The project most certainly kept on moving. There were times that I thought it would never end! How is it that something so wonderful and exciting can be so mentally and physically draining? No matter what the obstacle the project was always full speed ahead.

  • Step 9: Handle scope changes.

Changes in a project this size or any size for that matter are always going to be inevitable. I am one that has a very difficult time with change but if there is one thing that I learned in planning a project of this caliber is that I am capable of change. I may not like it and I may not be as optimistic as some may be but I am living proof that it can be dealt with and the end results of some changes may actually surprise you~

  • Step 10: Close out phases, close out the project.

The close out phase or final phase of the project was a bit bitter sweet. On one hand you are excited in this case to start your new life with your “soul mate” and best friend on the other you are left with photographs and memories, left over wedding cake, a dress that let’s face it will never wear again and no your daughter will likely never dawn it either. It reminds me of Christmas. We spend months and months planning, shopping, scheduling etc. for one day and when it’s over we are left with a since of nostalgia. Not that there is anything wrong with nostalgia but we spend so much of our time and effort on our projects that sometimes they become more than just a “project” they become a part of our life. The closing of this particular project most certainly became the beginning of a whole slew of other projects. Who would ever have imagined that my wedding would prepare me for a career in Project Management.

Reference:

Greer, M. (2010). The project management minimalist: Just enough PM to rock your projects! (Laureate custom ed.). Baltimore: Laureate Education, Inc

 

 

 

 

 

Final Reflection Distance Education

distance learning students

 

I see distance learning becoming more and more prevalent in the next 5-10-20 years.  As more people become comfortable with various ways to communicate and learn it is only a matter of time until distance education is seen as a norm.

The more comfortable we become with various ways to communicate, learn and do business with diverse populations around the world the more accepting society will be of this type of educational platform. I don’t think that it will ever take the place of your traditional brick and mortar institutions but I do see the opportunity for more versed and better course offerings in the future.

I see distance learning becoming quite similar to our traditional brick and mortar universities with the benefits of distance education being the same as always convenience, low cost etc. but I do believe that as technology improves so will the development of distance education platforms and course offerings.

I firmly believe that the more research and the more we learn about the benefits of distance education the more opportunity for certain courses currently offered within a brick and mortar being offered in a hybrid fashion.

The learner would be able to engage in a classroom type of setting for learning the basics I.E. a social worker learning about various therapies and techniques online but then being able to put all of those things learned to practical use either in a face to face classroom or in a practicum setting, which is mandatory in order to be able to set for the licensing exam.

 

blended learning

I believe that our responsibility as distance educators and graduates is no different than our responsibility anytime we improve our knowledge base. We are responsible for showing society, future employers, current employers and team members that we are more than capable of performing our job duties.

Due to societal biased about distance education graduates may have an even greater responsibility than those graduates from a traditional brick and mortar institution. That being said it is the responsibility all professionals  have no matter where they earned their educations; to make certain that we stay abreast of the latest and greatest in learning technologies and theories.

I know as a professional  I am constantly researching new learning theories and signing up for countless webinars and training’s. I “love” to learn which is one of the reasons that I chose Instructional Design as a profession. Besides signing up for innumerable training’s, I also look to my fellow team mates within and outside of the organization. I have been incredibly fortunate to work with some incredibly talented individuals with a wealth of knowledge.

instructional-design-image-for-blog.jpg

 

I will make certain as an instructional designer that I never stop learning! It is my responsibility to make certain that I am on the cutting edge of the latest and greatest in learning theories and technologies.

Not to sound cliche but I am always online looking for free courses and webinars that I can take online. I am constantly following highly accommodated professionals in their blog postings and training’s. One I follow often is Allen Interactions. I also belong to the Association of Training and Development. I am always researching and trying to gain new knowledge every day.

Things to consider when transitioning from F2F Learning to Distance Learning Creation

 

Pre-Planning Strategies before converting your face to face course to an eLearning course

  • The following is a brief guide about switching your face to face course to an eLearning course.
  • This course will provide the trainer with helpful strategies to consider before the conversion
  • Original training program content to be enhanced in a distance learning format
  • Your new role as a trainer, in a distance learning environment
  • Steps that the trainer should take to encourage learners’ participation online

There are several things that the trainer needs to take into consideration when designing their eLearning course.  Some may even call these “best practices for facilitators”.  All facilitators should be familiar with the technology in which they have chosen to work with. There are times that the facilitator may become a resource for the learners’ as they navigate through the technology Piskurich, G. (n.d.).

But before tackling the technology, the trainer wants to take time to consider what is going to be the best learning format. Consider the following.

  • Asynchronous- Interaction between the trainer and the learner occurs intermittently, generally this a self-paced format, via the internet, question and answer opportunities, mentoring, online discussions (individual and group discussion boards, emails). The learner interacts with the material via a technological system that allows for flexibility of schedule and location of the learning Abbott, S., (2014).
  • Synchronous/distance education- Real time learning mimicking that of a face to face learning environment. This learning is instructor lead, online learning event. The learner logs into a certain environment (CMS, LMS) at the same time as all other learners, communicates in real time with each other, virtual classroom, facilitator controls the discussion and has the ability to call on individual learners’. The learning technology generally utilized for facilitation is Whiteboard, audio- or video conferencing, internet telephony, or two way live broadcasts media, chat- social asking and answering questions in real time Abbott, S., (2014).
  • Hybrid/ Blended Learning- A mixture of both Asynchronous and Synchronous learning Dziuban, C., Hartman, J.L., Moskal, P.D., (2004).

blended learning

 

According to Dziuban, Hartman & Moskal’s research of Hybrid/Blended learning and learning success rates there is “potential to increase student learning outcomes while lowering attrition rates in comparison with equivalent fully online courses (Dziuban, c., Hartman, J.L., Moskal, P.D., (2004).

You also want to keep in mind however, what is going to be the best eLearning format for you and your course, if that still doesn’t help it is best to analyze the learning audience and their needs.

Keeping in line with best practices it is imperative that you also do your research. You want to make certain that you have researched all applicable instructional design models. The ADDIE model is one of great familiarity, but it may not be the best the model for your particular course that is why it is imperative that you do your research on specific design models for your eLearning course. Deciding on the instructional design model is crucial, without it you have a course with essentially no direction or guidance, unsafe learning environment, wasted time, risk and wasted energy. With a specific plan, you are able to provide learners with a safer learning environment, process, less time being spent frustrated and lost within the course and less risk of attrition and poor learning outcomes overall.

Moore (1989) believes that interaction is key to any successful online educational experience. There are three types of interaction consider as you build your course.

  1. Learner Content- Refers to the interaction between the learner content/subject matter. Moore believes that if there is interaction with regard to the content that there is greater learning and understanding of the information by the learner.

 

  1. Learner to instructor- Refers to the interaction of the learner with the instructor. This interaction can take the form of a tutor, mentor or content expert. The second form of this interaction can be print, email, electronic dialogue (discussion posts), computer conferencing.

 

  1. Learner to Learner (s)- Refers to learner interaction that can occur outside of a group or within a group setting with or without instructor presence. Another form of interaction occurs when the learners engage in discussion moderated by the instructor. Sometimes these learning groups may be given certain responsibilities within the group to act autonomously for conducting group projects or other forms of group lead activities.

 

 

It is also important when developing your course to keep in mind that distance education should never be an individual act but a “collaborative process” of numbers of experienced specialists in a design team and delivery networks Moore, M.G., (1997).

These experts may consist of the Subject Matter Expert, Instructional Designer, Facilitator etc.

 

How to enhance original training program for distance learning.

 

Moore (1989) believes that interaction is key to any successful online educational experience. There are three types of interaction consider as you build your course.

  1. Learner Content- Refers to the interaction between the learner content/subject matter. Moore believes that if there is interaction with regard to the content that there is greater learning and understanding of the information by the learner.

 

  1. Learner to instructor- Refers to the interaction of the learner with the instructor. This interaction can take the form of a tutor, mentor or content expert. The second form of this interaction can be print, email, electronic dialogue (discussion posts), computer conferencing.

 

  1. Learner to Learner (s)- Refers to learner interaction that can occur outside of a group or within a group setting with or without instructor presence. Another form of interaction occurs when the learners engage in discussion moderated by the instructor. Sometimes these learning groups may be given certain responsibilities within the group to act autonomously for conducting group projects or other forms of group lead activities.

It is also important when developing your course to keep in mind that distance education should never be an individual act but a “collaborative process” of numbers of experienced specialists in a design team and delivery networks Moore, M.G., (1997).

These experts may consist of the Subject Matter Expert, Instructional Designer, Facilitator etc.

As you develop your course you want to make certain that you are providing your learners with clear direction. This can be achieved by familiarizing yourself with the lesson plan, if you are the one who is creating the course but not facilitating the course, it may be a good idea to include the facilitator in the creation of the syllabus so that they are familiar with the material they will be presenting and to provide valuable input in the design and redesign if necessary. The bottom line is to make certain that your learners have the best understanding of the material, lending to an overall better learning experience Piskurich, G. (n.d.).

While designing any eLearning course, it is imperative to keep in mind that each learner will learn at their own pace; with this in mind it necessary to keep in constant contact with your learners’. It is imperative that the facilitator/ trainer participate and show that they care. Often in an eLearning course this can be achieved by keeping in contact with the learner through email, chat, discussion boards. Dr. Piskurich suggests implementing train the trainer sessions as just one of the ways to keep this dialog and learning going through an eLearning environment. That being said it is imperative to set-up a learning environment that is supportive, open and respectful, further information and techniques for providing this will be discussed further later in this guide.

With development of this course you will also want to keep in mind the technology necessary for you to facilitate your eLearning course, you want to make certain that you have familiarized yourself with the technology and keep in mind that you may take on a new role as your learners may need to use your technological knowledge as they become familiar with the new technologies Piskurich, G. (n.d.).

After converting your face to face course to an eLearning course you might think that your work is done and your course is ready to be put out there for the learner. You should always make revisions before offering your course to your learners. Your work has just begun. Once again if you are the one designing the course but not the one that is facilitating the course, you want to make certain that you involve the facilitator in not only the design process but the revision process as well Piskurich, G. (n.d.).

Steps to Revision Checklist

  • create a survey for each participant to evaluate the effectiveness of each of the modules in four separate areas.

 

  1. Course design
  2. Site design
  3. Ease of navigation
  4. Design aesthetics

The survey should consist of qualitative and quantitative questions. The questions should be about usability, interface, design, accessibility, audience analysis, content/course materials and instructional design standards.

  • Implementation of Alpha Testing- A panel of experts which should consist of the subject matter expert, instructional designer, eLearning developer etc. should review your course and give constructive feedback. Revisions are then made based off of this feedback and once again the revisions to your e-learning course begin Pappas, C., (2011).

 

  • Implementation of Beta Testing- After the suggested revisions have been made you will once again have the same experts review and re-test your eLearning course.

 

  • Analysis of data- Based once again on constructive feedback of assigned experts you should work on improving your eLearning course.

 

  • Revision Phase- Now is the time for final revisions and making your course available to the learners. With that in mind you should always be making revisions to your course based on learner’s feedback.

 Training Role

In an eLearning Course your instructional role changes significantly. As the trainer of your eLearning course you will wear many “hats”. The list below will help to explain further.

  • Pedagogical Role- As the trainer you are supporting the learning process of the individual learner or learning groups, direct instruction, facilitator. You will be responsible for asking direct questions of the learner, giving advice or suggestions, fostering the learner’s observations/self-awareness Toles, L., Ashton, S., Roberts, T., Tzoneva, I. (2003).
  • Managerial/Administration-You will be responsible for managing the course, managing the learner and managing the discussions Toles, L., Ahton, S., Roberts, T., Tzoneva, I. (2003).
  • Social/ Interpersonal- Your role in the eLearning course is to ensure that the virtual tools being used are providing for interpersonal, impersonal and hyper personal communication.
  • Interpersonal Communication- Process people exchanging interaction of information and feelings and meaning through verbal and non-verbal communication better known as your face to face interactions Skills You Need (2011).
  • Impersonal Communication- Based specifically on social roles like the communication between a sales person and a potential customer Business dictionary (2015).
  • Hyper personal Communication- Computer mediated communication Wikipedia

 

cropped-distance-learning1.jpg

 

Steps to Engage your learner’s participation

The following are suggested ways to keep your learner engaged and active in your eLearning course.

  • Know your learner Bergmann & Raleigh, 1998; Smaldino, Lowther, Mims, & Russell, 2015).
  • Collaborative learning experiences Dabbagh & Bannan-Ritland, (2005)
  • Etiquette knowing how to respond appropriately to the learner’s peers in an eLearning environment Smaldino, (2015).
  • Timeliness in responding to student’s questions Durrington, V., Berryhill, A., & Swafford, J. (2006)
  • Tone of instructor’s responses Durrington, V., Berryhill, A., & Swafford, J. (2006)
  • Define expectations clearly Durrington, V., Berryhill, A., & Swafford, J. (2006)
  • Problem Based Learning- Real world scenarios are presented to the learners and they are expected to provide solutions to the problem Durrington, V., Berryhill, A., & Swafford, J. (2006)

Resources

Blended Learning (2004). Dziuban, C., Hartman, J.L., Moskal, P.D. Educause Center for Applied Research, Research Bulletin. Retrieved from http://teaching.uncc.edu/sites/teaching.uncc.edu/files/media/files/file/attach2blog/Blended%20Learning%20%28ECAR%20Bulletin%29.pdf

Business Dictionary (2015)

Retrieved from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/impersonal-communication.html

Continuum in eLearning. ELearning process model.

Durrington, V., Berryhill, A., & Swafford, J. (2006). Strategies for enhancing student interactivity in an online environment. College Teaching, 54(1), 190–193. Retrieved from

http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/433631/strategies

Retrieved from http://elearningindustry.com

Hidden curriculum (2014). Abbott, S. (Ed.), The glossary of education reform. Retrieved from http://edglossary.org/hidden-curriculum

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Facilitating online learning [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.ed

Skills You Need (2011).

Retrieved from http://www.skillsyouneed.com/

Theory of Transactional Distance (1997). Moore, M.G.,

Retrieved from http://www.c3l.uni-oldenburg.de/cde/found/moore93.pdf

The Role of the Instructor in ELearning Collaborative Environments (2003). Lucio, T., Ashton, S., Roberts, T., Tzoneva, I.,

Retrieved from http://www.techknowlogia.org/TKL_active_pages2/CurrentArticles/t-right.asp?IssueNumber=19&FileType=HTML&ArticleID=279

Wikipedia

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Open Source Blog Post

distance learning

For this Blog Post I chose the Harvard Extension School http://www.extension.harvard.edu/open-learning-initiative

to analyze further. This week as with previous weeks I have learned the importance of making certain that my course is easy to access, navigate and understand. I have learned as both a distance learner as well as my most recent role as instructor for our course project that is important to be detailed with instructions and additional helpful information but that it is not necessary to drone on and on, as most learners do not have time to spend on reading a bunch of material and looking at several videos and presentations, no matter how entertaining. It is best to get straight to the point with specific details and directions along with the objectives of the course and what you expect the learner to gain from the instruction.

It is necessary in order to have a successful learning environment; one must also have a strong instructional design or system. The instructional environment should have a relationship among and also between all components of the system, instructor, the learners, the material, and technology.  Is the course going to be a weekly lesson course, chapter course or like the one that we are currently designing for this course a modular course; once that is decided it is imperative to figure out how instruction is going to be best presented to the learners; is it best to present the information as a Power Point presentation, YouTube Video, Web Conferencing, Blog, Discussion Boards or Virtual, again with regard to what is best for the learners to gain the most out of their learning experience but also with regard to not over doing any particular design system which can be accomplished by the evaluation process. “Evaluation leads to revision of instruction, and revision of instruction helps secure the final outcome of helping students learn” (Smaldino, Lowther, & Russell, 2012).

In the Harvard Extension School site there are several options for the learner to access the courses there are online only courses, Live Web Conferencing, On campus with online option, online only, online courses with required campus weekend. The thing I noticed right away was that this course site gives great detail on how to use the tools necessary to be successful in the courses in order to provide the learner with an efficient and effective quality learning experience (book). On this course site there were links to each of the sites including tutorials for getting started.

Another thing that I have learned about distance learning is that you need to be able to assist with the motivation of the learners, once again this has been accomplished on this site by offering several options to the learner, there are many options and categories of courses that are offered to the learner to also include the overall goal of the learner to include certification programs, undergraduate, graduate and certification programs and an option for learning for no credit. This once again allows for the learner to have complete autonomy in their learning goals another point that I learned in this week’s text book reading about each learner having different interests and attitudes that students bring to the learning experience and thus any instructor that wants to create quality learning experiences will take this into account (text book).  In many of the courses I found that there were certain prerequisites to being able to enroll in the course which is helpful for the instructor to learn about a particular learner’s characteristics which is important when trying to design an effective learning experience (Willis, 1994).

On this site the Campus Course Management System is being used for the virtual learning environment, the course management system provides the learner with helpful information about not only the course that they are enrolled in but additional helpful resources to aid in the learner’s success to include information on the writing center, advisement, thesis assistance if applicable, academic integrity, sexual harassment policies, weather information etc. The course management system allows the instructor to manage their classes, assignments, activities and quizzes and resources and also allows the learner’s to be able to access their course from anywhere at any time online (Ullman & Rabinowitz, 2004).

In conclusion I believe that the Harvard Extension School does a very good job at following the recommendations for online course activities, I do wish that the site was a little more exciting to look at but as learning sites are concerned this one was a pretty good as an example of how to construct an online learning site.

Resources

Harvard Open Courses: Open Learning Initiative
http://www.extension.harvard.edu/open-learning-initiative

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015).  Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (6th ed.) Chapter 5, “Instructional Design for Distance Education”

 

 

Learning at A Distance

 

For this week’s Application, we have been provided with three real-world examples, each of which describes a unique distance learning technology challenge. While reading through the examples, consider the needs and requirements of the learning context presented and which technologies could provide solutions in each situation.

Choose one example on which to focus and, in a blog post, identify one to two distance learning technologies you think provide the best solution for the given challenge. Support your decision with information and rationale from the Learning Resources. In addition, provide examples of the use of these technologies by searching the Internet for two external resources that showcase how these technologies have been successfully used in distance learning.

At this stage it is imperative to analyze the cognitive abilities of the class and allowing for the instructor to observe how students will relate to all of the content of the lesson. For this example, we are going to assume that the instructor is fully aware of the students’ knowledge and skill level. With this in mind we want to make certain that we are focusing on Gardner’s multiple intelligence (Gardner, 1993). The learners approach to the learning is just as important as how well they function in the classroom.
With these things in mind I will build an interesting and interactive blog post in order to show the importance of varying the presentation materials and learning styles, after all we want to ensure that we are guaranteeing the greatest potential for reaching all of our learners (Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015).

distance learning studentsclick-here-cursor-hand-24820932

I researched various options for this dilemma and found a few options the first was a website that allows the teacher and learners to have a virtual experience. Virtual museums to my surprise are not new, in fact they were first introduced by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) at the National Education Computer Conference (NECC) in 2005 (Keeler, C. 2005).  Educational Virtual Museums are Developed Using PowerPoint. I suggested that this website be a reference point in building the site, as it includes some very valuable information about resources and helpful reference points. With this site the educator and the learners can actually build their own virtual museums which in my opinion would be a fun and interactive way to for the learners to share the selected art work pieces and to discuss the importance of the pieces and their reasoning for choosing them. This would be a much more exciting way to interact with other learners and the facilitator in a creative way, which in my opinion is much more exciting than posting a bunch of comments on a post; which brings me to the next form of distance technology. I think that it would be best to set-up a blog specifically for this learning group. As the instructional designer of this project, I would begin by building an interactive website similar to the one I built and am still working on currently; this would allow for the learners to communicate with fellow learners and the facilitator. I set this site up on WordPress and utilized Dreamweaver to make it more responsive. I also found this amazing site Education World which prompted me to research actual virtual tours of the museums in New York which include both the American Museum of Natural History and the Whitney Museum. I was so impressed by both of these amazing sites that I included snippets of video and visuals of the museums on the front of my blog post. As the instructional designer, I would suggest that these websites linking directly to the museums would be quite beneficial for the learners. I have included the links directly to the websites below.

Thank you for stopping by my site. I hope that you enjoy the content just as much as I enjoyed researching and putting it together!!

Click On Interactive Images Below!

 

https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/project/art-project

 

http://www.amnh.org/plan-your-visit/interactive-floor-plan

http://christykeeler.com/EducationalVirtualMuseums.html

 

http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech/tech071.shtml

 

http://www.metmuseum.org/visit/itineraries

 

Videos: http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/3d-and-2d-films/Jean-Michel-Cousteau-s-Secret-Ocean

Secret Ocean

images NAM

VIRTUAL TOURclick-here-cursor-hand-24820932

 

Virtual Tour

Distance Learning Defined With A Little Help From My Friends

Interestingly enough distance learning has been around for over 160 years. The first method of this particular education took place in Sweden where in 1833 an advertisement was placed in the local newspaper offering opportunity to study “Composition through the medium of the post” Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). In the 1840’s England jumped on board when they allowed Isaac Pitman to offer shorthand courses via you guessed it correspondence. Three years later the idea evolved into the Phonographic Correspondence Society which was better known as Pitman’s Correspondence Colleges Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015).  So you see this very idea of distance education is not new it is merely the evolution of technology and learning mediums that have changed.

My personal definition of distance education prior to starting this course was that distance education had been around for a relatively short period of time, that it was a learning medium offered for convenience and through the computer only. What I have learned through my course resources this week is that there is a very rich history surrounding distance learning and that this particular concept was incepted long before the invention of computers and other technology. With technology in mind Europe was the first to expand their communications with electronics, Audio recordings were used in instruction for the blind and in language teachings Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). In the 1960’s Satellite technology was developed and in the 1980’s it was made more cost effective enabling a wide spread of what is now known as instructional television Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Fiber optics was introduced in the 1990’s and so began the beauty of “live, two-way, high-quality audio and video systems in education” Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015).

After learning more about the evolution of distance learning,  I still hold firm on my idea of convenience, this form of learning has proven to be a much more convenient mode than the traditional brick and mortar and for me it has been an idealistic way to earn my graduate degree, work, take care of my family, advance my career and learn from others that are more experienced, share common goals and interests and provide instant feedback, which in my opinion is crucial for any successful learning environment.

My belief is that distance education will be around for many, many more years and that the only thing that may change is the way that the courses will be presented. I use to think that distance learning would eventually take over all of the traditional brick and mortar institutions but I am beginning to waver on that theory a bit these days.

 I believe that every organization whether educational, corporate or non-profit is looking for ways to save money in order to stretch those dollars further and I believe that in some cases distance education has provided that; organizations use to spend millions of dollars sending their employees all over to garner sales, clients, learning experiences etc. but now with technology they are able to send their employees to their desks in front of a computer screen for a few hours and” Wala” learning accomplished and less money spent on man hours, flights and accommodations. There is only one little flaw in that idea, not everyone learns the same way and let’s face it not every learning course is designed in the most engaging manner, that is why I firmly believe that there will always be a need for traditional learning within a brick and mortar, that there will always be benefits in face to face interactions and that in the future there will be more of a balance of the two. My hope is that as time passes we will become more in tune with what each learner needs in order to be successful and that we will be able to accommodate those needs. Learning and education is not a privilege it is a right and one that everyone should experience despite possible limitations Ohio State Senator Peggy Lehner (2013).

Education has proven to be a key to many things in this world. My Mind Map below is representation of what I believe education and in this instance distance education means. Distance education has provided convenience for many as they pursue whatever educational goals they have whether that be through a university or through their occupations, it has allowed the learner freedom which means that they there are able to pursue their goals without having to make sacrifices in their employment, families etc. it has also allowed organizations to save millions of dollars. Distance education is ever changing and will continue to change as technology advances, it allows the learner to engage with other students, professors and professionals within their fields all from the comfort of their homes, offices, and hotel rooms etc. and learning has no mileage limitations. In short distance education has allowed for many to have the opportunity to advance their knowledge base and obtain their learning and life goals through the convenience of technology that has been around for over 160 years and for that I am internally grateful!

 

Resources:

Lehner, P. (2013, February 6). Education: A Right Not A Privilege. Retrieved November 1, 2015.

Course Text: Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education

Chapter 2, “Definitions, History, and Theories of Distance Education” (pp. 31-40 only)