Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Truth About Learning Technology?

After making the following post on the ALT mailing list, which seemed to have caused a positive stir (and one of many).  I've finally got around to reading through your comments you have shared and summarised my thoughts from them.

This question will have  been asked many times I’m sure, but this is what us Learning Technologists do.  I’m really interested in this and maybe I could be directed.

Putting the theory and suggestions to one side (although the truth may be here).  I would like to know where eLearning (of all kinds) has made a real difference to a learner.

For example, let’s say from the usual Word processed assignment to a collaborative peer effort.  How has that furthered individuals more than a conventional method?

The learner may need to experience the conventional first to understand which is better between the both then review that to get a true understanding.

What I’m trying to get is the true value of eLearning to get teachers to understand what impact it will actually have on individuals.  The SAMR model helps us to make the change, but I need to see the truth that technology does further individuals.

This may be more scientific.  But maybe visuals such as ‘big data’ or actual videos of it happening may be the evidence?

Or am I just talking complete nonsense here?  Just emptying thoughts.

Many of the discussions are held on learning and teaching strategies, methods, motivation, access and resolving pedagogical problems.

As Dawn Alderson reminded me kindly, "a good place to start is with self".

I strongly agree with Marius Jugariu's contribution of John Naughton's statement; "we invariably overestimate the short-term impact of new technologies while underestimating their longer-term effects", which he classes as The First Law of Technology.  I also agree with Marius on making learning memorable.

I believe that only individually and intrinsically do we know that if technology had a benefit on our personal growth and development.  But we don't always know this until deep reflection has occurred.  It's about what it does for you as a person.  However, flexibility and personalisation does motivate personal needs and ambitions.

It's like my experience with the Open University.  I wouldn't be where I am now if I didn't build my confidence in my ability to learn on my own.  Which is what this experience gave me, choice, flexibility and distance.  Technology was only a small part but helped dramatically.  It gave me the confidence to know that I could learn anything if I challenged myself to put me in that situation.  Time really does tell if reflection on long-term learning has worked.  I would say that one truth about learning technology is what I once said before, eLearning is really independent learning in disguise.

To conclude, technology, people (teachers and learners), methods and strategies will change over time.  But impact won't change over time.  Impact is impact.  So it doesn't matter what is used and how, as long as there is a clear impact on that individual and proves over a long-term period.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Learning design in action

Back in August 2014 we employed our first set of apprentices to work in Elephant Learning Designs and to learn on the newly created Level 3 Diploma in Digital Learning Design qualification.

It’s been an exciting two months for me and others in helping get the workplace and resources ready for the learners arrival.  Everything about this has been new.  In addition to my role as a Learning Support Technologist I now manage and develop the learners and the programme, assess and lead on internal verifying.

All learners are now settled in and are progressing really well in their employment and are learning and developing learning materials for teaching staff.  Learners have just commenced the first unit of their course work which has been well received.  All learners are demonstrating unique skills and knowledge.  This is proving to be a successful and diverse team where everyone has different skill sets in different areas that contribute to the development of others.

How is the programme run?
We have decided to run this programme as an apprenticeship which offers real workplace skills and knowledge of creating highly engaging and purposeful interactive learning materials.  The apprenticeship is a year but learners can do another year and progress onto the Level 4 Diploma in Digital Learning Design.  Discussions of potential ideas will take place in the New Year of who and what is being done for the Level 4 programme.

What are the learners doing?
All learners are starting and/or midway through some projects for teachers while others are finishing off internal department projects.  These projects entail creating interactive learning materials on a range of subjects and topics, Moodle graphic/user interface designs and informative poster designs.  But there are plans to extend this work into larger projects and deeper engagement once Elephant Learning Designs is fully promoted internally.  Plus, there is a view to open Elephant Learning Designs to external businesses too.

What happens next?
Currently we are aiming to create eLearning experiences that are visually dynamic but have the impact that should be expected.  Thus, providing the underpinning understanding of what eLearning actually is and not just a ‘fun factor’.  This is research that myself (through my masters) and a colleague are currently investigating, then we will guide our learners to this outcome.  It builds on from my previous views on Flipped Instruction? and A little deeper with eLearning.

Learners will soon be planning and developing their own pathway into what they want to do with their newly gained skills and knowledge.  So I will be providing support they need to ensure they reach their goals.

It’s been a whirlwind of positive experiences for me and I’m sure it has for our learners.  But one of the most unique elements about this is that everything is new.  So by absorbing and reflecting through this newness, we are creating our own standards and expectations and these will flow into the qualification specification and possibly beyond into future curriculum development.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Screencast Feedback

This is an actual example of a screencast feedback I gave to a learner during the pilot of the L4TLD I offered. This one is raw (and now dated (May 2013) - minus my beard) as I wanted it to be done there and then. But I did provide formal written feedback, which you can see on there too. The audio is poor, so make sure your volume is high.

Creative Commons Licence
CC-BY Daniel Scott. Unless otherwise stated this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.