My Reflection of Distance Learning

As I reflect on distance learning and all that I have learned, I have realized that for me this has been the most valuable course so far. My goals to become an online instructor play a large role in this realization. I was eager and ready to learn all that I could from this course so that I could be better armed for what is to come as I dive deeper into the program.

What do you think the perceptions of distance learning will be in the future (in 5–10 years; 10–20 years)?

There are many perceptions of distance learning now that will be changed over the next 5-20 years. In the next 5-10 years students will see the value in learning online in a different setting that will allow for more freedom and flexibility. Many perceptions about various learning styles will be changed by the accommodations that are being made by colleges and programs. Many programs are being designed to attract those various learners who before would not have given online learning a second thought. For those who are not self-motivated or who have a tendency to procrastinate there is the blending learning option. Blended learning combines a face-to-face atmosphere with an online environment. This can be done many ways. This article provides some information on how a blended learning environment works and how it can be done. http://www.blackboard.com/resources/k12/Bb_K12_WP_BlendedLearning.pdf   This article is full of wonderful information and a study of a district where blended learning is used successfully.

The NY times felt that online learning so important that they looked at study by Stanford Research Institute, SRI International.  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/study-finds-that-online-education-beats-the-classroom They say that in the next 3-5 years the number of online learners could triple. This was in regard to continuing education programs. I think that this is where the biggest rise will be in the next 5-10 years. People will start seeing the value of distance education as their friends and family members start taking courses online. Seeing those people around them change and how they adapt to online learning will be the biggest change in regard to those negative perceptions.

In the next 10-20 years I think that distance learning will be the standard for many students, especially the students who are working full-time and want to pursue education. Distance learning offers students from all over the country and world to be united with the same goal, learning. Distance learning also will be used in schools, companies, and industries to further education and train employees.  

 How can you as an instructional designer be a proponent for improving societal perceptions of distance learning?

As an instructional designer and an online learner advocate it is my responsibility to inform those that I come in contact with about online learning and where we are headed in the future. I need to keep up to date on issues especially in my field. I need to be that instructional designer that can lead but not push those into the future. I will be able to change perceptions about the use of technology by showing people how we can use various tools to our advantage. Many perceptions in regard to technology involve the ease of use. People need to be aware that we have technology tools to makes things easier and not cause more work. Most people are just afraid of the unknown and that is where I can come in, demonstrate, and put their mind at ease.

 How will you be a positive force for continuous improvement in the field of distance education?

Being a positive force for distance education for me is to keep learning and keep educating those around me to the positive aspects of distance learning. As an elementary education teacher I have always known that I am never done learning. I have to keep updated on the new forms of technology, research, and opportunities for further growth.  I hope to be a positive force for distance education by becoming an online instructor in the future. I know that I already have had many people question why I am going back to school and why do I need more education. The answer to that is simple; I want to be as updated as I can, especially in the field of education. It is my passion and where I am called to be.  Now I just need those doors to open so that I can continue to reach out to others and help them purse, accomplish, and fulfill their goals.

Resources:

 Eduviews. (2009). Blended Learning Where Online and Face-to-Face Instruction Intersect for the 21st Century Teaching and Learning. Retrieved December 25, 2010 from, http://www.blackboard.com/resources/k12/Bb_K12_WP_BlendedLearning.pdf

Lohr, Steve. (2009). Study Finds that Online Education beats the Classroom. Retrieved December 25, 2010, from http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/study-finds-that-online-education-beats-the-classroom

3 comments December 26, 2010

Converting to a Distance Learning Environment

 A scenario was given in my online distance learning course about a training manager who wanted to convert some training sessions into a blended learning format. This involves face-to-face instruction and online learning. 

Below are some questions that he needs to think about.  I provided some strategies and ideas for each one. These are some best practice guidelines.

What are some of the pre-planning strategies the trainer needs to consider before converting his program?

When planning for an online course it is important to remember the needs of the learners that will be involved. Online learners are usually students who are working full or part time and have many other obligations. There are some key concepts identified by the textbook Teaching and Learning at a Distance, which discusses structuring the course (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2009).  There needs to be a clear organization and structure to the course. The training manager needs to be very clear with the use of format. The manager needs to prepare a syllabus. The syllabus would include the structure of the course, the course expectations, the assignments, and the assessments (Simonson, et al., 2009). Another key pre planning strategy is to look into all of the instruction materials the trainers and trainees would need. The manager also needs to be as familiar with these materials as they can to better assist their trainers and trainees.

When choosing an online communication tool there are a few options. This is a  retrieved from West Virginia University. It shows the commonly used technologies for communication, “synchronous (same time) or asynchronous (time delayed) and for one-to-many or one-to-one communications.” (West Virginia University, 2008)                   

What can be enhanced from the original program and how will his role change?

The best part of this scenario is that there are training modules already in place. The modules can be converted into a power point or even a Prezi presentation. For an example of a Prezi presentation visit, http://prezi.com/4pv_qzvggrxb/best-practices-guide/.  This presentation was created to show how ideas can be incorporated to create engaging learning. These types of presentations can be viewed as many times as needed and can be uploaded to various Course Management Systems (CMS). From what I can gather from the scenario the trainers also are already familiar with the modules and training. This would be  the perfect time to ask for some thoughts on what they would like to see done to update or add to the modules. The use of a CMS will allow for communication through discussions. These discussions are important for extending thinking, prior knowledge, and for individual research.

The role of the training manager will change as he changes the direction and instruction of the modules. He will not longer be just the training manager but also will be more of a subject Matter Expert (SME). This means that the trainers will be coming to him to ask questions and to help solve issues that might come up.

What steps should the trainer take to encourage the trainees to communicate online?

The manager needs to make sure that the trainers are all aware of how to use the CMS that is going to be implemented. He also needs to create a way of communicating with the trainers and allow for them to ask each other questions as well. The best way to do this is to create a group Wiki. A good place to start with this is http://www.wikispaces.com/. A wiki can be opened for the group of trainers and each would have access to what is going on. The manager also could put up some of the changes that he wants to make in the module so that the trainers are aware of what is going to be happening. Again, this would be a great way for the manager to ask the trainers what they feel is working and what isn’t working so effective changes can be made. This is also a good time to discuss with the trainers the use of blogs. The manager could create a company blog where trainees can go to get information, post comments, or ask questions.  A good resource for creating a blog is www.blogger.com or www.wordpress.com.

Along with providing wikispaces for trainers and blogs for the trainees to look at, there needs to be accessibility to the course. There will be some trainees that might not have computer access or limited access. The manager needs to make sure that there are computers available for the trainees to utilize. This also includes the software that is going to be used. If there is software needed for certain modules then that needs to be provided to the trainers and the trainees (Simonson et al., 2009).

Some ideas and tips to remember

As you begin this process of exploring online learning is important to remember to stay open to new ideas and technology. There are lots of tips for teaching online this website provides some great tips http://oit.wvu.edu/itrc/faculty/tips/. This website gives advantages and disadvantages of online learning, tips from online instructors, and effective online communication. With all of the many resources and tools that are right at your fingertips, the best tip I can give is to take one step at a time and remember that you will learn more as you progress. It is important to get feedback from your trainers and trainees. This will enable you to alter and improve the modules. Good luck and remember to have fun learning!

Here is a link my complete Best Practices Guide for this scenario

A7McClainA

Resources

Blog. Create a blog retrieve December 18, 2010 from www.blogger.com or

www.wordpress.com

McClain, A. Prezi Presentation: Best Practices Guide.

http://prezi.com/4pv_qzvggrxb/best-practices-guide/

Muneeza, E. Moving from Face-to-Face to Online Teaching. Retrieved December 19,

2010 from  http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3890/is_201007/ai_n56229368/pg_2/?tag=content;col1

Prezi Presentations retrieved December 18, 2010 from http://prezi.com/

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2009). Teaching and learning

at a distance: Foundations of distance education (4th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

West Virginia Univeristy. Best Practices and tips for teaching online. Retrieved

December 19, 2010 from

http://oit.wvu.edu/itrc/files/faculty/teachingonlinetips.pdf

Wiki. Wikispaces retrieved December 18, 2010 from http://www.wikispaces.com/

1 comment December 20, 2010

Taking an Open Course

I have been checking into Open Course websites that offer just that courses for free. I found a great course that is called, Women’s Novels: A Weekly Book Club. This is designed for an undergraduate audience and uses some great female novelists.  This course is a pass/fail course that lasts 14 weeks. Most of the novels will take two weeks to finish. The books and authors are what sparked my interest in this course. This course is carefully planned out and is designed for a distance learning environment. This course is a great start for any distance learner. It appeals to the beginning distance learner to the most experienced distance learner.  The most important part is discussing the novel.

The course originally was designed to be done in a relaxed setting where students sat around and discussed what they read. This type of instruction will work when adapted for distance learning. The learning is a characteristic of the Learner-centered model discussed in our class textbook Teaching and Learning at a Distance. This course allows for student discovery and uses a collaborative learning environment.

The activities in the course keep the student active in the novel and the discussion of how they felt and interpreted the novel.  The course incorporates trips to the museum and watching various films. These are things that can be done independently and then discussed as a group. In a distance learning environment this would bring different types of opinions and cultures. The varied learners would create unique museum trips that would encourage more discussion and collaboration. The course could offer the learner the ability to keep a blog or use a class wiki so that there can be more interaction since meeting in person will not occur. The course also could add a web chat session so that the learners can have some synchronous interaction with each other and the instructor.

Overall I would enjoy this course and would actually like to teach a course like this someday. Not only is interesting for learners, but it uses great writers and reminds us of how literature influences our lives more than we think.

Refernences:

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2009). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (4th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Women’s Novels: A Weekly Book Club. Retrieved December 1, 2010, from http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/special-programs/sp-260-women-s-novels-a-weekly-book-club-spring-2006/index.htm

Add a comment December 5, 2010

Using Distance Learning Technologies

This week I am continuing to explore the various distance learning technologies available and how to effectively use them in various atmospheres.  I am finding that I am building on what I have already used in a classroom setting. I think the experience I have had teaching for 8 years really has given me a good foundation to build upon. Distance Learning is growing and changing with every course taken and program added.

I will be finding various tools that will be beneficial to this Distance Learning Technology Challenge.

“A high school history teacher, located on the west coast of the United States, wants to showcase to her students new exhibits being held at two prominent New York City museums. The teacher wants her students to take a “tour” of the museums and be able to interact with the museum curators, as well as see the art work on display. Afterward, the teacher would like to choose two pieces of artwork from each exhibit and have the students participate in a group critique of the individual work of art. As a novice of distance learning and distance learning technologies, the teacher turned to the school district’s instructional designer for assistance. In the role of the instructional designer, what distance learning technologies would you suggest the teacher use to provide the best learning experience for her students? (Walden University, 2010)”

The first thing I thought of when I read this challenging situation was the need for accessibility to the art pieces. The students will be able to see the art up close and personal but they need a way to see those pieces again to make connections. There are many ways to do this. The teacher could provide the students with pictures of selected pieces. This can be done through a screen cast presentation where the teacher shows the art and provides a brief description. The teacher also could construct a Prezi presentation that will showcase the art and allow for more detail and recall from the students, http://prezi.com/explore/  The Prezi presentation is like a PowerPoint presentation but has much more to offer in regard to features by zooming in on important information, arranging the art pieces in various ways, and drawing attention where it needs to be.

In regard to the students critiquing the selected art pieces, that can be done either through a blog like this one. The teacher could also have a blog site come up after the Prezi presentation for students to click and go right to that link.  A blog is a type of website where an individual usually maintains the site. There are entries, descriptions of various events, and video or graphics. Blogs are a way to present any time of information where visitors can leave comments or a message to the blog host. A blog would be a good way for students to interact with each other and their views and comments on the various works of art. They could even comment on the experience as a whole for future students.

Another way for students to critique or evaluate the works of art could be through a wiki. A wiki is like a blog where information can be shared and stored. But a wiki is place where people can collaborate where a blog is individualized. More information can be added to a wiki and it is updated continuously. In a wiki discussions are in a forum setting instead of comments being approved by the individual in charge of a blog.  This also needs to be more closely monitored in regard to students since there is more freedom to post and discuss.

When looking at these technology resources I have found that they have been very successful in regard to distance learning. In an article from http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6920/6/41/?ref=nf, wikis, blogs, and even podcasts enhance learning experiences and even create deeper understanding for students. These types of web-based collaboration leads to new ideas and the ability to add new elements to learning. This article goes further into details regarding these technologies and the health/medical education side of distance learning. The ideas are still the same. These various forms of technology adds to the learning and hands on experience.

Facultyfocus.com has a wealth of information regarding technology, online learning, curriculum, and higher education. This site provides articles that provide both opinion and fact. Web tools are essential and important in any distance learning environment. This article and  full report, offers great tips and information that is necessary for using web tools.

http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/technology-trends-in-higher-education-how-web-20-tools-are-transforming-learning/

Resources:

http://prezi.com/explore/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog

http://wiki.wetpaint.com/page/Wiki+vs+Blog

Add a comment November 20, 2010

Defining Distance Learning

When I first thought about Distance Learning, I felt that I had a good grasp on what it was and how it related to me as a student. I knew that distance learning involved internet learning, but I learned that it is more than just the use of the internet for learning. It involves various types of mediums and media. As technology advances so will distance learning. It will progress and change as the needs of learning will change.  Distance learning for me involved learning outside of a classroom at my own pace. This week has broadened this view. 

I have been reassured that my choice to learn in a distance learning environment will  provide me with the skills necessary to keep up with the changes that are occurring in regard to learning and understanding of information. Distance learning allows for a broader range of students to learn and gain new career opportunities. Some students do not have the means or ability to attend a full-time college or program. Distance learning bridges this gap and allows anyone the opportunity to reach their learning goals.

Distance learning allows for a wide variety of students and backgrounds. There is such a wide variety of peers and cultures that we have the opportunity to experience and explore. I have met some wonderful people from various states all over the U.S. We still collaborate and work together outside of our classroom settings. We have established a working and personal relationship and have never been able to meet in person. As I pursued my first MA I went through a traditional classroom setting. I was able to interact with fellow students in a way that I don’t have in this program, but I also got the same opinions over and over. Most if not all were in education and had lived in that area their whole life. Distance education allows for diversity of opinions. I have had to “agree to disagree” more and it is refreshing at times.

Distance learning is changing and growing with each course taught. Instructors and learners are becoming familiar with programs and the know how to advance in any career goal they are pursuing.Distance learning is growing and will continue to evolve,  even to suit the youngest learner. I see distance learning reaching out to high school students and giving them the means to pursue different avenues in regard to career choices. As home schooling grows, distance learning allows for easier research and progression.

As I strive to be even more personally involved in Distance Education by my goal to teach online someday, I can only see the benefits from learning in this type of environment. Each course I take gives me both positive aspects and those that I would do differently. Each program and school looks at distance education a little differently so it is important to know what the school believes before you begin learning or teaching.

View my mindmap on distance learning.

Resources:

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2009). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (4th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Walden University’s “Distance Learning Timeline Continuum”.

Add a comment November 7, 2010

My Journey to Instructional Design

As I begin my third course through Walden University, I am starting to feel the pressure and workload that I thought I was done with when I completed my Masters in 2005. I didn’t want to go back to school and knew that I wanted to work with curriculum and with reading. That is why I went through the Curriculum and Instruction program with the intent to also get my Reading Specialist certification. I didn’t think that after I was done that I would need to go back to school to broaden my skills and my experience. I have found that even with a Master’s degree I can’t pursue the direction I want to go in. I would love to be a reading teacher and just work on reading with learners. With budget cuts and position cuts, that didn’t happen. Then my babies came I my desires changed. I longed to be home with them while they were little. So I looked into teaching online. I decided that finding a professor position in curriculum and instruction is as easy as telling my two-year old only one time to not climb on his toys. I was disillusioned and now pursuing more education. I hope that instructional design with a focus on online learning will lead me in the right direction. As I looked into instructional design positions again this week for an assignment I realized again something that I blocked out months ago. Most of the positions, I qualify for, or will once I complete this program. The kicker is… they require so many years in instructional design. How can I get an instructional design position that require experience if I can’t get the position to gain experience? Does that make sense??

So here I am…

1 comment May 14, 2010

Reflection

As I reflect on what I have learned in my course, Learning Theories and Instruction, I will provide answers to four key questions.

What did you find surprising or striking as you furthered your knowledge about how people learn?

     I was surprised to learn about how intertwined many of the theories actually are. I learned about learning theories and styles many years ago, but have not seen them side by side like I have in this course. The timeline media that was provided in our resources briefly gave the theory and background involved with the theory and theorist. This refreshed my memory on what I previously learned, and gave me a synopsis of what I was going to be developing in regard to learning theories and learning ideas.

     I learned more about constructivism and connectivism. I learned connectivism is defined as, “the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired and the ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital” (Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2008).  With this in mind, I thought about different ways to approach learning for adult learners. The theory involved with adult learning and the term “Andragogy”, by Knowles was new for me. It is essential to know about the learners and some of their background. Adult learners are in control of their learning, and as a future instructional designer I must be aware of how we learn.

How has this course deepened your understanding of your personal learning process?

     I was able to see learning described in detail rather than just an explanation of each theory or learning process. I learned many new things about my own personal network connections. I hadn’t thought in-depth about how my connections related and how they influenced my learning.

What have you learned regarding the connection between learning theories, learning styles, educational technology, and motivation?

     Learning theories, styles, technology and motivation are all related to each other. They go hand in hand and I need to make sure that I remember that when I am designing instruction. If I understand and know the individual learning theories I can incorporate each learning style to create the best instruction for my students. I also need to remember how I learn and what form works best for me to retain and express my knowledge.

     In regard to motivation, I was reminded of many key factors that influence motivation. I believe the best motivation for adult learners comes from within, intrinsically. Our book for the course described this perfectly, “Students are more likely to be intrinsically motivated when they feel confident they can succeed” (Ormrod, Schunk, & Gredler, 2009, p. 255). Feedback and other forms of extrinsic reinforcement will enhance a student’s intrinsic motivation. When a student feels that they are achieving and succeeding they will be open to new learning and broadening their knowledge. With this feeling of success students may be more open to exploring other learning styles to enhance their knowledge and understanding.

How will your learning in this course help you as you further your career in the field of instructional design?

     My learning in this course has added to my previous understanding and has given me new insight into different ways to approach learning for myself as well as my future students. I was able to broaden my ideas in regard to the different learning theories and how they apply to developing instruction.

     This course introduced me to how to use a blog in a learning environment/setting. I had always thought of using blogs as a personal means to communicate and now I see how they can be used for continuing education and growth as a learner. I am eager to explore other forms of technology to enhance my skills and future instructional design.

 References

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism

Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.

Add a comment April 25, 2010

Fitting the Pieces Together

As I have looked into learning theories and learning styles I expanded my knowledge and understanding. I had a basic foundation about both learning theories and styles from previous classes and studies, but I was able to dig deeper into the differences and characteristics.

I have learned that my learning style has changed over the years and that I need to push myself as an adult learner to try different styles to see what works best for what I need to learn at the time. This places into Knowles’ research and term, “andragogy”. I have a hand in my own learning and education. I know what motivates me and I have the need to collaborate, share, and learn from others.

I know the learning theory of B.F Skinner, behaviorism, is not how I learn, but is a way many teachers predominantly use. This theory in my opinion is best when incorporated with other theories. I agree with the theories that incorporate the social aspect of learning. These include both connectivism and constructivism.

Connectivism involves the integration of cognition and emotions in meaning-making.  There needs to be a nurturing and maintaining of connections to facilitate learning. The making of connection has a greater return and outcome then just simply seeking to understand a single concept. Learning occurs in many different ways through many different means.

Constructivism brings in the idea that we learn by reflecting on our own experiences. Learning is done because the learner constructs their own meaning. I like that it is expressed that the learner doesn’t just memorize the right answers or believe what others just tell them. It is important to make connections between facts and new understanding.

These theories have many useful aspects and in combination with the other theories can help educators and designers foster learning.

Technology plays a big role in my learning. As an adult, wife, mother, and learner I am busy and tend to be spread very thin. The use of technology makes even simple tasks easier and less stressful.  I can get on my computer and search the web for anything that I need. I can get on my class discussion board and gain new knowledge and understanding as well as ideas to reflect on.

I can use simple programs like word to write my ideas down, and then can post them where I need them. This could be to a discussion, my blog site, or even a spread sheet to organize my time and tasks. I now know about different mapping sites, which can help me organize my thoughts and activities.

Resources:

http://www.connectivism.ca/about.html

http://www.funderstanding.com/content/constructivism

Add a comment April 18, 2010

My Multiple Intelligences

We have been discussing learning styles this week and I am a supporter of various learning styles. I have seen many children with various learning styles in my 8 years of teaching. It is a challenge and my goal to create lessons that will provide each student with the most effective learning experience.  Here is a link to my results to a multiple intelligence test.  Here is the code for my results: yhd29m64622 (more…)

Add a comment April 12, 2010

Connectivism

Here is the link to my mind map. This mind map shows my various network connections.

My network connections are primarily visual and interactive.  I know that I am a visual, hands-on learner, so most of my network connections show this. I have three main networks that facilitate mylearning; graduate school at Walden University, my personal interactions, and my professional interactions.

Right now, I obtain most of my learning through my graduate studies and my personal interactions. I am not currently teaching, so I do not get the opportunity to learn new ideas for the classroom setting. I do still interact with teaching professionals and keep updated on new technology and ideas.

The best digital tools that help facilitate my learning involve my computer. If I am able to use the internet then I am able to learn. I can look up new information or clarify learning just by clicking a button. My computer also allows me to network with others, which is essential for me right now. Online learning has become my main form of networking with others. Taking online classes has broadened my abilities and my thinking. I can express my thinking, ideas, and questions so others can help facilitate my learning.

In an article by Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008), connectivism is defined. Connectivism is, “the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired and the ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital.”

All of my network connections show connectivism. My understanding is formed on the foundations that I already possess. The new information I receive and comprehend comes from one of my network connections. Then I am able to acquire the needed connections and determine what information needs to be understood and stored and what doesn’t. I use my experiences with all of my network connections to obtain new knowledge and to build on my previous knowledge. My personal interactions allow me the most leeway for obtaining knowledge. I can have interaction and not necessarily learn anything.

References:

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2008). Connectivism. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Connectivism

Add a comment March 31, 2010

Pages

Categories

Links

Meta

Calendar

June 2017
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Most Recent Posts