When I commenced this course a wave of fear spread over me, not only because of my limited use of ICT's but also because there was no textbook. It quickly became clear to me that by engaging with the course I was provided with the information I needed, and so began my journey into the world of E-Learning. This synopsis provides an outline of my experiences, both the highs and the lows, which tools I would use (see links) and how these relate to the conceptual frameworks outlined in this course. I have also included links to some of my colleague's blogs where I have posted comments.
Contemporary learners think and process information differently from previous generations (Prensky, 2001) and in order to effectively engage them in authentic and meaningful tasks Learning Managers need to be able to speak their language. With such a rapid increase in new technologies one of the biggest problems facing Learning Managers today is keeping their skills current (Smith, Lynch & Knight, 2007). Personally, I feel like I am just catching up.
There is nothing like getting thrown in at the deep end and the establishment of my blog was the first task. This tool allowed me to collaborate with my peers and reflect on my learning journey through active engagement with the use of technology. The Learning Engagement Theory (Kearsley & Schniederman, 1999) aligns with this tool and has been used to a high level throughout my posts, as I feel it reflects the true nature of learning in the digital age. Social networking and collaborative learning tools such as blogs and wikis would make a valuable contribution to any classroom and allow a 'community of learners' (Kearsley & Schneiderman, 1999) to be formed. As a result students are more likely to experience success and achieve the desired outcomes (Kearsley & Schneiderman, 1999).
Siemen's (2004) theory of Connectivism states that 'learning is no longer an internal, individualistic activity' (Siemen's, 2004), and I have reflected on this concept many times throughout my journey. Online discussions with my peers have provided me with a deeper understanding, presented different viewpoints and even offered encouragement in times of despair. Through collaboration with my colleagues we have reviewed and discussed the importance of E-Learning applications within an educational setting and their application to learning. Some of these conversations included the effectiveness of quizzes in the early years (Leonie), the benefits of RSS feeds and aggregators (Kellie), the virtues of VoiceThread (Kerri) and the wonders of WebQuests (Glenn).
Within the classroom there is great diversity between the way learners process and retain information due to their different characteristic strengths and weaknesses. These are known as learning styles and relate to the way 'learners perceive, interact with and respond to their learning environment' (Felder & Brent, 2005). As a future Learning Manager I believe that it is important to understand our learners in order to employ a range of teaching strategies and modes that benefit all of our students. Multimodal delivery methods are more effective than traditional unimodal methods (Stansbury, 2008) and when used appropriately programs such as PowerPoint, Flickr and Picnik, YouTube and TeacherTube, Incompetech, Voki Avatars, Podcasts and Vodcasts are an effective way to facilitate this.
Oliver's learning design framework (1999) is instrumental when designing learning experiences with the use of ICT's as it allows the Learning Manager to use the key elements of 'learning tasks, learning resources and learning supports' (Oliver, 1999, as cited in AusInfo, 2003). This framework delivers flexible learning opportunities and encourages learners to seek understanding rather than memorisation, leading to the development of lifelong learning skills. During this course it became apparent how successfully this framework can be used as I moved through a sequence of tasks to arrive at the desired outcome.
As I progressed through the course I was faced with many problems, to which initially I did not know the answer. In finding a solution I was encouraged to take responsibility for my own learning and through active engagement I developed new skills along with the relevant content (CQU, 2002). Problem based learning (PBL) approaches, such as those adopted in this course, promote higher order thinking and I have discovered that WebQuests are an effective tool that can facilitate this within the classroom. My biggest challenge on this journey so far was adding a narration audio file to my PowerPoint presentation in SlideShare, and unfortunately I am yet to achieve this task.
I have come to the conclusion that one of the greatest challenges faced by educators in this century, in particular Digital Immigrants (Prensky, 2001), rests with one's own attitudes and perceptions towards integrating these new technologies into instructional design. Although this experience has been challenging and incredibly time consuming there is no doubt that the rewards have been plentiful. I look forward to exploring these tools in more detail in the coming weeks. While the internet provides a powerful resource for learning and research, there are also many risks and student safety is of the utmost importance.
In the 21st century Learning Managers need to keep up with the digital world of teaching and learning in order to effectively engage students in authentic and meaningful tasks. They need to possess futures oriented capabilities and develop a passion for lifelong learning. Managing E-Learning has renewed my confidence and opened my eyes to the many opportunities available for teachers and students through the use of digital technology and ICT's. I would like to point out however that successful instructional design with the use of these tools relies primarily on effective pedagogy, not just the technology.
AusInfo. (2003). Learning design. Retrieved August 16, 2009, from http://www.learningdesigns.uow.edu.au/project/learn_design.htm
Central Queensland University (CQU). (2002). Problem based learning: Why PBL? Retrieved August 20, 2009, from http://pbl.cqu.edu.au/content/students/why_am_i_doing_pbl.htm
Felder, R., & Brent, R. (2005). Understanding student differences. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://www4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/f/felder/public/Papers/Understanding_Differences.pdf
Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved August 20, 2009, from
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from
Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. Retreived August 20, 2009, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm
Smith, R., Lynch, D., & Knight, B. (2007). Learning management: Transitioning teachers for national and international change. Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia: Pearson.
Stansbury, M. (2008). Analysis: How multimedia can improve learning. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/?i=53243