Wrapping Up

2015-06-08_1917

Goal: Review of key concepts and topics related to eLearning Design and Development.

This class has focused on a variety of topics related to eLearning Design and Development. In this session you will have the chance to review some of what you have learned, and demonstrate your understanding of key concepts.  – Brian Newberry


1. Identify five key concepts or themes related to eLearning Design and Development and explain what you know about each.

Looking back on the lectures, readings, and blog posts I can hardly pick just five. Each week we examined important concepts, principles, and practices that I can use to create effective online learning programs for my students in the library and in my library skills classes. In this class I learned the importance of applying these concepts when designing and developing online programs. I’m grateful that we were required to blog each week, because my blog will surely serve as a reference as I move forward.

  • Interactions: In the eLearning environment, interactions are not visible and can be difficult to monitor, yet they are very important to the success of an online course. When designing an online course it’s important to make sure the three types of interactions are addressed: student-content, student-instructor, and student-student. While all three interactions should be addressed in a class, the course designer can balance the interactions based on the course level. Freshman might need more student-instructor interaction to understand the course requirements and more student-student interaction to stay motivated whereas graduate courses might be able focus on student-content interactions.
  • Content, Instructor, and Student Characteristics: These three characteristics should be analyzed up front when designing/developing an online course. The course designer must keep in mind that content, instructor, and students’ characteristics will impact the success of a course. The designer must make an effort to learn about all three. Is the content divergent or convergent? What is the instructor’s teaching style/preferences, technological savvy, risk tolerance, and comfort with interactions? And who are the students? Freshman? Graduate students? High risk? Technologically savvy? All these characteristics will help determine the design of the course.
  • Design Quickly Reliably: Horton’s 11 Step Process is just one of many systematic instructional design models that can be used to guide the development and testing of instructional materials. The ADDIE model is another. I found that following Horton’s process in particular helped me understand instructional design, break it down into manageable steps, and ultimately create a course design. Without that template I would have been at a loss. However, like most formulaic step-by-step processes, one size does not fit all. I rearranged and added steps to Horton’s model to create a process of my own.
  • Absorb, Do, Connect Activities: The Absorb-Do-Connect model of learning was outlined by Horton in our text and gave me a very good understanding of the mechanics of learning. Today most eLearning experts agree that for effective learning to take place, the important components of absorbing, doing, and connecting information should be included in the course. Ideally, for each topic in my course I will create three elements for the students: 1) have them Absorb the information (read or view a lecture); 2) have them Do something with their new knowledge (complete a guided activity); and 3) have them connect that knowledge to the real world (complete an assignment that has practical applications).
  • The Importance of Media Selection and Testing: There is an abundance of media and technologies that can be used in eLearning but it’s important to select media that will enhance the learning activity not detract from it. An instructional designer must take into consideration which media and applications will create the best learning objects and transmit the desired information most effectively. Media Richness and Social Presence theories should be taken into consideration when selecting media. When selecting media for my library activities it’s important for me to consider how the media supports the three types of interaction (Student-Content, Student-Instructor, Student-Student) as well as how well it allows me to create meaningful Absorb-Do-Connect activities for the learners. In addition, it’s important to test the media to ensure the fidelity, i.e. that there are no errors or technological issues, and ensure the instructional quality, i.e. that the content and materials result in the desired student outcomes.

2. Speculate on the future of eLearning and what your role in that future might be.

Like technology in general, eLearning will continue to evolve and grow. A web search reveals many predictions about the future of eLearning. The following seem likely to me:

  • Mobile learning
  • Gamification
  • Social media for learning
  • Personalized learning
  • Micro-learning or chunking
  • Big data
  • Essentialism
  • More major universities adopting online degree programs

As for me, I have long realized that students no longer come into the library to check out books or look up articles. What we librarians hope is that they are using the web from wherever they are to access library online databases that give them electronic versions of those resources. But in reality, most students today just use Google. I would like to use the eLearning theories, processes, and practices I learned in this class to create learner-centered online programs and meaningful learning activities that will make the library and its resources relevant to students. I’d like to create Absorb, Do, Connect activities for information literacy and research skills so Cerritos College students will be successful in Cerritos College and beyond. I firmly believe the trends listed above can be incorporated into the library’s eLearning program as well. I look forward to the challenge of seeing it to fruition.

3. Revise the eLearning development template/instructional design process you developed earlier for yourself. Be sure to:

  • List all of the roles of people who will be involved in the typical development.
    This is not the typical team approach to instructional design because I chose to design a course that I will teach. However, I’ll work closely with the Cerritos College Sakai LMS administrator, the Media Services staff, and the Center for Teaching Excellence staff for technical assistance and support.
  • Identify your role.
    Instructional designer and course instructor.
  • Explain the type of courses or other eLearning development the template is for (higher education course, corporate training etc.)
    The Analysis Plan is specifically for my community college Library 100 course. However, the blank template, which lists 14 steps, can be used as a systematic instructional design model for any course in any academic setting.
  • Provide a narrative explaining how the template would be used.
    The Analysis Plan template is like any systematic instructional design model and can be used to guide the process from analysis, to design, development, testing, implementation, and evaluation. The template will help the designer stay on track and break down the process into manageable steps. In essence it’s a checklist of what needs to be done.

 

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