From Steve’s Head
The E Team – Installment 3a
Well, I find myself up to my eyebrows in e-learning these days. I’ve decided to join the ranks of over-achievers and take a summer session course. That’s right – 16 weeks worth of education compressed into 3. It’s been a good experience so far, though I suspect that is only possible for me to say because I took vacation time to actually help survive the workload…and it is quite heavy so far. I can happily say that it is providing me with tons of leads for future articles…that’s right, loads of interesting studies and papers on technology in education…are we excited?
I’m enjoying this process, but I’ve found that I’ve been reading and writing so much over the past 7 days, I’m going to cut short my normally lengthy reflections and get on with the articles. I had so many articles in the stack relating to e-learners that I thought I’d extend last week’s theme through to this week. Even though these are regarding learners, there are so many issues and themes that extend to the realm of instructors and administrators, I think there is something for everyone…what a deal!
Quote: “A great deal of conversation in the e-learning community has been about the development of e-learning content or e-learning systems and technology. The assumption has been that if we create the right content and deliver it with the right systems, that learners will respond. But, we may need to also develop our learners’ ability to be e-learners.
Comment: E-learning guru Elliott Masie comments on the need to teach learners to be e-learners…exactly what I was saying last week. Just as instructors are familiar with the traditional classroom and its activities, so to are learners. E-learning is new for all parties involved. Any assistance that helps people get their bearings is beneficial. Masie provides a number of suggestions.
Quote: “My theory of learner centered learning, in short form, amounts to this: learning ought to be created by the learner. Now let me emphasize that I do not mean ‘created’ in some sort of constructivist way. What I mean is more like this: where in traditional learning (and traditional online learning) the selection and sequencing of the learning materials is a task performed by the instructor, in learning centered learning the selection and sequencing of the learning materials is a task performed by the student.”
Comment: I had a chance to listen to Stephen Downes speak at the AMTEC conference I attended in May. The ideas he expressed were laden with idealism…I suspect the same is true here. I have certainly taught students whose learning skills were sophisticated enough to achieve what Downes speaks of, but these were the exception, not the rule. Never-the-less, his commentary makes for interesting reading.
Quote: “A human-centered perspective is crucial in understanding why particular technologies fail or succeed in various situations. Many books and articles have documented how the success or failure of promising technologies are closely related to various aspects of human use, both individual and social. While it may appear obvious that technology integration is primarily about human use, it is often the case that technology integration issues are left to technical specialists to resolve without much interaction or involvement with others. According to advocates of user-centered approaches, especially the participatory design community, this is a formula for failure.”
Comment: This is a very academic examination of technology and its integration into both learning and work. Extensively researched and referenced, it is not exactly an exciting read, but you may find the efforts invested worthwhile.”
Quote: “Our efforts have been guided by the belief that sources of motivation are not significantly different in an online course than they are in traditional classrooms. However, we still needed to know how motivation is effected by the nature of online courses…In addition, we hoped to identify instructional strategies that were most effective in promoting learning among individual personalities. What has motivated students previously in “traditional” classrooms may not be appropriate or possible in the online instructional element.”
Comment: Wow, an intersting, easy-to-ready, basic paper on motivation in the online classroom. When I was searching around for the url for this article, I came across information that one of the authors has also won awards for her courses designed in Web CT. If you are planning to construct your first online course, this is a good resource. One of the more interesting aspects focusses on students’ Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory results. Surprising finding (for me) – the fact that online students found communciation with the course instructor as the most motivating interaction – I’ve heard so much about how instructors should be “low key”. Most non-surprising finding – students find text readings as the least motivating aspect of interaction…guess there are some real overlaps with traditional classrooms after all!