Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Observing ILT

From my previous post on Online Observing, I said I would create a set of guidelines to observe learning taking place outside of the classroom.  My idea evolved during it's making and I thought to myself, well it's not just outside of the classroom, it's inside the classroom as well.  So I decided to approach the use of Information Learning Technologies (ILT) as a whole and not just one area that reflects face-to-face delivery.  I acquired the following from my employer and started to build a brief framework to develop it further.  As you can see this is not really ILT, is very loose wording and extremely unhelpful.

Current ILT question on the organisation's observation form:
Was ILT used to support learning?

Some responses retrieved from observation reports:
“Effective use of a video clip.”
“Yes by the use of PowerPoint.”
“Moodle used effectively with resources to support learning.”

Another reason why this is important is for your own role.  In your role you may be subject observations as part of organisational requirements by your employer and/or awarding body.  Your current observations may include how you embedded ILT within your practices.  As this is a broad task, specific developmental feedback may not be as strong as it could be.  The feedback you obtain would benefit from saying what is actually being done with learners using ILT.  The following descriptors will help the observer to achieve this and also act as a set of guidelines.  They will help the observer to identify and examine the use of ILT in the learning activity/ies that occur within and outside the classroom.  The feedback generated will help capture good practice as well as improvements to move forward the creative use of ILT.  This can also be used as a reflective tool to enhance own practices in the use of ILT.

Observe and examine the use of learning technology in the learning activity/ies that occur within and outside the classroom.

Recognise the difference between IT and ILT use to encourage active participation and enjoyment to enhance the learning experience. Below are questions to act as guidelines when observing ILT activities:

  • Identify the technology and/or eLearning approach used.
  • Explain the learning activity/ies that are being used with the technology.
  • Describe if and how all learners are engaged.
  • Identify how all learners are fully participating in the activity/ies.
  • Describe how learners are set challenging tasks that build on and extend their learning with the technology.
  • Describe differentiation approaches with the use of technology.
  • Describe how learners are given frequent feedback during the activity/ies within the technology.
  • Describe any supporting resources used with the technology.
  • Identify how learners were given the opportunity to evaluate their learning experience of the technology.

EDIT:  During the COVID-19 pandemic, in April 2020 I was asked the following by one of my FE educator friends which made me think of this blog post.

"Hey, can I pick your brains?  I’ve been asked to think about how we could do observations of distance/online learning...any ideas?

Thoughts so far are...

  • looking at planning and outcomes over delivery
  • looking at recorded webinars
  • quality of tutorials online through records made on ProMonitor

Any other ideas?"

My immediate thoughts were:

These are good ideas.

What about:

  • Evidence of tutors determining the right technologies to support the intended activity, i.e. synchronous (real time) over asynchronous (not real time) technologies
  • Adequate planning documentation and back up plans should synchronous online teaching fail.  What other staff support do they need, i.e. additional tutor support, technical help
  • Consistency of technology used?  Is everyone using something different?  That could affect the quality and experience for learners across different courses
  • Depending what is used, I.e. MS Teams you could join the online session and 'sit at the back'  Observe tutor practice and online facilitation skills, listen and see how learners participate during it
  • Examine online facilitating techniques too, not just technical abilities but how they include learners and monitor their learning throughout etc
  • How tutors share their practice and lessons learned from their experience with others
  • I've not re-read this, but a previous blog post 'Observing ILT' could be useful