Asynchronous Training senario

In an effort to improve its poor safety record, a bio-diesel manufacturing plant needs a series of safety training modules. These stand-alone modules must illustrate best practices on how to safely operate the many pieces of heavy machinery on the plant floor. The modules should involve step-by-step processes and the method of delivery needs to be available to all shifts at the plant. As well, the shift supervisors want to be sure the employees are engaged and can demonstrate their learning from the modules.

An asynchronous learning environment is ideal for this scenario, since the employees are in different locations and are unable to meet at the same time and place. Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvack indicated that “online activities for students should have specific pedagogical or course management purposes” (p. 248). The training should focus on specific tasks and provide authentic learning experiences within the course. Simonson, Smaldino, Albright & Zvack. further stated that, “learning experiences should be provided to each learner whether local or distant, and the expectation should be that the equivalent outcomes, rather than identical, should be expected of each learner” (2012, p. 52). The abundant availability of Web 2.0 tools provide the instructional designer the cutting edge technology needed to create instruction that is equivalent in learning outcomes.

Technology Solutions:     appropriatetech

Asynchronous learning is a student-centered teaching method that uses online learning resources to facilitate information sharing outside the constraints of time and place among a network of people Simonson, et. al., 2012).  Asynchronous learning is based on constructivist theory, a student-centered approach that emphasizes the importance of peer-to-peer interactions (Simonson, et. al., 2012).  This approach combines self-study with asynchronous interactions to promote learning in this scenario where stand alone modules are required. This combined network of learners and the electronic network in which they will communicate is clearly an asynchronous learning network.

There are many online learning resources available to support asynchronous learning. One of the two distant learning technologies that would provide the best solution for a series of safety training modules is a Learning Management System called Latitude Learning.  This tool has been developed to support online interaction, allowing users to organize discussions between the participants and their supervisors, post and reply to messages, and most importantly upload and access multimedia (Streaming audio and/or video and narrated slide shows) that could demonstrate step by step processes. The LMS allows the designer to the opportunity to develop training programs which consist of certifications and curricula with start and end date or even open-ended. Additional the program allows multiple training that can be activated at one time. Within this learning platform the designer a can define technical skills profile for safety competency levels and learners must exceed a specified performance level to prove mastery. Managers can manually assign training goals to learners using the curriculum functionality available. For example, the manager can review the competences of their workers and assign safety master curriculum to select employees (Latitude website). Integrated software learning systems can be uploaded to deliver instructional content. The effective delivery of that content can be measured, monitored, and maintained with an array of assessment and management tools that may also be part of these systems.

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Another distance learning technology tool that would deepen and create a more meaningful learning experience for the workers is an integrated blog called “EduBlog”. EduBlog was created for educational purposes. It supports student and teacher learning by facilitating reflection, questioning among each other, collaboration, and by providing contexts for engaging in higher-order thinking. As opposed to a boring online modules or even video tutorials, this integrated leaning tool is highly interactive and engaging.  It would allow the supervisors the opportunity to provide feedback as to progress and grasp of the subject matter.  Students like to have all the course materials available at all times so they can print and read or re-read the material at any time. These tools will deliver the content in this course in a variety of ways to help students retain the material, through bulletin board discussions,, integrate video and/or audio clips along with the printed notes to emphasize important content.

Primrose school is one of the nation’s leader in providing child care experiences in more than 260 schools across 17 states.  Clearly any successful learning solution would be primarily require distance learning because of the geographical challenges.  The company needed ongoing professional development for teachers, staff and affiliates. Achieving these goals required a scalable an adaptive approach in order to improve the company’s training capacity. Primrose Schools chose Latitude Learning for its specific ability to deliver online learning strategies and their exceptional client reputation and robust product features.  The company elected a technology based approach and partnered with Latitude Learning to launch a customized LMS portal with the capacity for e-Learning, instructor- lead and CD-ROM training.  The LMS includes virtual classroom support for up to 100 users at the same time.  The customized Primrose Schools LMS contains learning content delivered through multiple channels including instructor-lead webinars, virtual classrooms, and on-demand training material (Primrose case study). They also currently use the Latitude LMS to schedule various training courses. This method has simplified enrollment and allowed administrators to automatically generate rosters to verify attendance. Those taking training are able to receive credit for course attendance (Primrose School case study).

By developing a customized LMS implementation which addressed their specific training needs, Primrose Schools has been equipped with the tools for ongoing training success. They are now capable of providing high quality learning experiences. Some of the benefits enjoyed by Primrose Schools, its staff and Franchise Owners included the ability to track student progress and course completion, higher rates of user adoption, and high user satisfaction scores for training content and delivery (Primrose School case study)

Edublog is popular among teachers, specifically high school.  Paul an English teacher uses Edublog as an English class website. Paul feels that EduBlog is importance as a learning tool because his students grew in leaps and bounds each month since he started its use. Each of Paul’s students have their own blog so that they may publish work and receive valuable feedback from peers and others that belong to the blog community. He believes that Edublogs allowed his students to be more careful and deliberate when writing essays and smaller assignment.  They tend to take better care of their work because they are more considerate of unknown audience and it is not the same old routine between themselves and a single reader, the teacher (Paul Turtola blog post).

Reference:

Latitude Learning Management System. Retrieved from: http://www.latitudelearning.com/LearningManagementSystemFreeLMS.aspx

Primrose Schools LMS Case Study. Retrieved from http://www.latitudelearning.com/Blog/tabid/1761/Article/1358793/primrose-schools-lms-case-study.aspx

Paul Turtola – Joseph A. Foran HSPRetrieved from: http://edublogs.org/testimonials/

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvack, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

 

 

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Defining Distance Learning

distant learning

Distant learning has certainly come a long way, from its early beginning as correspondence courses to what we now know as e-learning. The history of distance learning dates back to 1833 when European newspapers offered civil service examination courses through mail correspondence (Laureate Education Inc., n.d.). Fifty-six years after the first distance education was offered in Europe, the University of Chicago initiated the first university course to be taken by mail (Laureate Education Inc., n.d.).  The demand for distant learning has also increased two fold since its inception.  Adult learners seem to be the driving force in the evolution and increased demand for distance learning.  If we look at corporations and educational institutions today, we can’t help but notice the rapid expansion in the market for distance education. I believe the expansion is fueled by the desire for lifelong learning among adults and the growth in student populations throughout the world.

Despite distance learning long history, the definition of the term is still evolving.  I believe the definition changed when computers were introduced, and continues to change with the rapid advancement of technology.  Correspondence courses were considered distant learning, because learning occurred where the learner is absent from the institution or educational site. I must admit that prior to my enrollment in a University online course, my understanding and definition was limited to a course taken online, with no consideration for the design, environment, tools and techniques involved. My definition would have been: Learning that take place at a distance from the traditional educational institution and the instructor. The learning would occur online with some communication and interaction with the instructor and classmates.  The course would utilize the computer, to enable the instructor and learner who are separated by distance to communicate synchronously (real time) or asynchronously (delayed).

Today distant learners can now access learning opportunities at anytime, anyplace, and at any pace that suits their individual needs, lifestyle and learning preference.  As a student at Walden University, my current definition of distance education is a method of delivering instruction using a variety of communication technological tools to transfer information to the learner.  These tools enable the instructor to assign group project, collect assignment, offer opportunities for interaction between students and teacher in real time or delayed via video feed, blogs wiki, social media and much more.

My definition of distance learning has evolved even further, after reviewing this week’s resources and discussion. I have learned that Distance education must be institutionally based. My new definition is now: An institution based, formal education in which a learning group is separated geographically.  The course utilizes a learning management system with embedded interactive technology to submit and collect assignments. Instructor and student interaction is encouraged through discussion boards and blogs.

According to this week’s resources, it has been argued that distant education has the potential to transform or replace traditional institutions and ultimately lead to the reduction of educational quality.  As a current distant learner, I can attest to the fact that distant education has offered me a rich alternative to the traditional residential institution.  Distant education has given me access to a challenging learning environment with real world application, that I would otherwise missed due to my currents work/life situation. “Distance education has evolved for almost 200 years and will continue to progress in meeting the needs of societies both in the United States and abroad” (Tracey and Richey, 2005, p. 21). According to Dr.  Simonson, distant learning will never replace the traditional institution, and I believe that it poses no threat to our current educational institutions, but will continue to work alongside it to broaden the population of students with access to an education.

My vision for distant learning is to see more movement in the direction of K-12 education.  Such a development can offer a radical new direction for Instructional Designer, teachers and learners.  This could create a whole new world of flexibility and open learning methods as well as modified and specially created learning resources that could serve students when they are away from school.

Distance Learning MindMap:

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References:

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). Distance learning timeline continuum. Retrieved from: http://sylvan.live.ecollege.com

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., Albright, M., & Zvacek, S. (2012). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (5th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.

Tracey, M., & Richey, R. (2005). The evolution of distance education. Distance Learning, 2(6), 17–21. Education Research Complete database.

 

 

 

 

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Reflection

The thing I found the most striking is the complexity of the brain and the processes that take place to facilitate learning. I especially found the comparison between the computer and the human brain interesting. Unlike the computer the human brain will recall a best friend’s phone number by bringing to mind the friend’s face, a pleasant conversation that occurred, and the title of the movie that the two might be going to see. While computer memories are discrete and informationally simple, human memories are tangled together and informationally complex. I learned that there are several theories and countless research done on how we learn. Over time the theories have been extensively reviewed and analyzed, but continue to be useful tools in understanding human learning.  Surprisingly, none of these theories are conclusive and there are many differences in opinion among them.  After extensive research, I have concluded that they are not all completely correct but there are underlying truths in each.  I was intrigued by the fact I can affect my own learning by knowing how to learn or thinking how to think. I found it interesting that an understanding of metacognition creates an awareness of ones strengths and weaknesses, the task hand, and the available strategies that can be utilized to enhance learning.  Flavell defined metacognition as knowledge about cognition and control of cognition. The knowledge component encompasses what one knows about cognition, including knowledge about oneself as a learner, about aspects of the task at hand, and about strategies needed to carry out the task effectively. The control component encompasses the strategies one uses to make cognitive progress, such as planning how to approach a task, evaluating progress as the task is being completed, and changing tactics if difficulties arise Flavell, J. H. (1976).

Technology and modern advancements have changed the way we learn over the years. Instructors are encouraged to learn how information processing occurs within the brain. Cognitivism is the belief that learning is a complex information processing system, and that it occurs internally and through social interaction. I think it is impossible to ever truly understand what goes on in the brain due to its complexity and diversity.   However, I believe that all the theories presented in this class will always play a relevant role in the learning process. 

Exposure to the Learning theories and styles have deepened my understanding of my own learning process in many way. After developing my own mind map I realized that I have created a network for learning that supports the idea that learning and knowledge include diverse connections between humans and technology. I learned that my learning process fall within the connectivist theory.  Connectivism is a learning theory, in which knowledge exists outside of the learner, and the learner makes connections between information to build knowledge. The connections that learners make help them create their own learning network. Through this connected web, learners are able to stay up-to-date with content as it changes (Siemens, 2005). Social-networking tools play a vital role in my learning process. Internet communication such as blogs and podcasts are just a few of the sources that offer me radically new ways to research, create, and learn new information. The RSS feeds on my blog page is a powerful toll that I now use to gain and learn new information.  With these resource I have built a learning network that is constantly growing.

 In the past I struggled to retain information read in text books, I didn’t memorize information well and had trouble committing new information to long term memory. I utilized various strategies, such as note-taking and using mnemonic devices, to help me learn the information long enough to take the test. I later realized that I need to hear it experience and apply it to learn it. This makes me a visual and auditory learner. An awareness of my learning style has given the knowledge needed to analyze the task at hand and to choose the appropriate strategies to enhance my learning.  When leaning theories, styles, technology and motivation are connected, they ignite the kind of learning that is meaningful, relevant and engaging.  It is imperative that instructional designers consider them when designing courses for all learners. 

This course has given me the foundation needed to become a successful instructional Designer. Without a foundation or an understanding of the underlying premise of instructional design, leaning cannot be achieved successfully.  The best techniques with all the bells and whistles are not enough without a deep understanding of the various learning theories, the audience’s learning styles and what motivates them. In my quest to provide the highest quality of instruction, it will be extremely important to understand how my audience learn. I will seek out different strategies to teach different concepts.  I will make a conscious effort to understand and consider students learning styles to find solutions for training issues and create successful courses.

 

References:

Flavell, J. H. (1976). Metacognitive aspects of problem solving. In L. B. Resnick (Ed.), The nature of intelligence (pp. 231–235). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum

Armstrong, T. (2000). Multiple intelligences in the classroom (2nd ed.). Alexandra, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Ertmer, P. A., & Newby, T. J. (1993). Behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism: Comparing critical features from an

Siemens, G. (2005, January). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, Retrieved November 03, 2008, from http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Jan_05/article01.htm

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Fitting the Pieces Together

I remember struggling with the simple question, how do you learn? Well, no longer do I feel clueless and I now understand the implications of not knowing the answer.   I have always considered myself an auditory and visual learner, because I must hear it, see it and experience it to absorb it. I just didn’t make the connections between learning styles and how they affect learning.  Gaining a deeper knowledge and understanding of the different learning theories and styles did not change my view on how I learn, but it has broaden my awareness of how I can influence my own learning with the appropriate strategies applied at the right time. Frankly, it has eased my worries about my own intelligence.  Amy Cherwin put it simply when she said that learning style is the way we tend to learn best. It involves the preferred method of taking in, organizing, and making sense of information. Learning styles do not tell us about a person’s abilities or intelligence, but they can help us understand why some task seem easier for us than others (Amy Cherwin 2013).

 I have learned that there are three dominant learning styles, visual, auditory, kinesthetic. Most importantly and to my surprise, most people possess multiple learning style, and these styles will fluctuate depending on the context or lesson. It is imperative to know that one learning style is not the only learning style that is dominant with respect to an individual or discipline.  It is known, that one person can have several learning styles relative to a specific course or subject (Dunn et al., 1994).  Knowing my preferred learning style has afforded me the opportunity to learn new study habits and gain knowledge of how to plan appropriate strategies for the different learning challenges I will face in the future. I believe that an understanding of all learning styles will allow me to stretch beyond by my own preference and develop a more balanced approach to learning.  This will effectively improve my learning and will expose me to many different ways of perceiving new information. There are several benefits of thinking about and understanding my learning preference: people learn most effectively when strategies used are closely matched with their preferred learning style, learning can improve by knowing what our strengths are and then doing more of what works. Different situation and learning environments require different learning strategies, so it is best to have a large repertoire from which to draw.

Technology has influenced my learning in many ways. Social-networking tools such as the iPad and smartphone play a vital role in my learning process. I search and record needed information on a daily basis using search engines.  Internet communication such as blogs and podcasts are just a few of the sources that offer me radically new ways to research, create, and learn new information. The RSS feeds on my blog page is powerful toll that I use to follow organizations, link to certain sites, search videos and much more. With all these resource available, I have built a learning network that is constantly growing, which allows me access to the most up-to-date information on any topic.  The school database allow me the opportunity to easily access academic information and its source. Technology has also placed in a   Connectivist learning environment where I am able to learn independently, away from the educational institution and be engaged in aggregating, relating, creating, and sharing activities.

 

References:

Mind Tool blog site http://www.mindtools.com/mnemlsty.html

Student Development Centre, The University of Western Ontario

Web Article: Gardner, H. (2003, April 21). Multiple intelligences

American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL. Retrieved from http://www.consorzionettuno.it/materiali/B/697/773/16/Testi/Gardner/Gardner_multiple_intelligent.p

Web Article: Gilbert, J., & Swanier, C. (2008). Learning styles: How do they fluctuate? Institute for Learning Styles Journal [Vol. l]. Retrieved from http://www.auburn.edu/~witteje/ilsrj/Journal%20Volumes/Fall%202008%20Volume%201%20PDFs/Learning%20Styles%20How%20do%20They%20Fluctuate.pdf

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Connectivism

Connectivism

I believe technology has been a positive force in the way I learn today. I find that I must process and use information in very different ways and at a faster pace than I‘ve ever had to in the past. In the world of technology, information is everywhere and I feel like I am in a constant state of learning. Gone are the days, when I would have to go to the library to read about something I wanted to learn. Like most adult learners, I have adapted and now coexist in the world of Connectivism. Connectivism is a learning theory, in which knowledge exists outside of the learner, and the learner makes connections between information to build knowledge. The connections that learners make help them create their own learning network. Through this connected web, learners are able to stay up-to-date with content as it changes (Siemens, 2004). As a result of the changes in how we learn today, we can no longer personally experience what we want to learn. We must create networks which are defined as learning connections between people, technology, social structures and systems. In these learning communities we can share ideas with others, thereby, cross pollinating the learning environment (Siemens, 2005, para 21).
My learning network clearly supports the idea that learning and knowledge include diverse opinions, connect information sources and reside in human and non-human appliances. Social-networking tools play a vital role in my learning process. Internet communication such as blogs and podcasts are just a few of the sources that offer me radically new ways to research, create, and learn new information. The RSS feeds on my blog page is powerful toll that I use to follow organizations, link to certain sites, search videos and much more. With all these resource available, I have built a learning network that is constantly growing, which allows me access to the most up-to-date information on any topic.
References:
Grids, etc. – learning communities can share their ideas with others, thereby “cross-pollinating” the learning environment (Siemens, 2005, para. 21).
Blog: Connectivism Blog: http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?journal=3174
Web Site: elearnspace: http://www.elearnspace.org/

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Connectivism

Connectivism

Learning connections

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Remembering and Forgetting.

I recently read an article about how we remember and why we forget on the website Brain Connection. http://brainconnection.positscience.com/how-we-remember-and-why-we-forget/.  In this article the author had and interesting view on memory.  The author explored how experiences become memories, and examined whether the way that we create and store memories can influence the way we learn.  The author believes that understanding of memory allows us to understand the role of experience in shaping our lives, which is a critical tool for effective learning. The article describes the how memory is divided into categories based on the amount of time the memory lasts: the shortest memories lasting only milliseconds are called immediate memories, memories lasting about a minute are called working memories, and memories lasting anywhere from an hour to many years are called long-term memories. I especially found the comparison between the computer and the human brain interesting. Unlike the computer the human brain will recall a best friend’s phone number by bringing to mind the friend’s face, a pleasant conversation that occurred, and the title of the movie that the two might be going to see. While computer memories are discrete and informationally simple, human memories are tangled together and informationally complex.   Great article and good website to explore in the future to gain more understanding of the brain (Ashish Ranpura).

 Ashish Ranpura earned his bachelor’s degree in neuroscience at Yale University, where he studied the cellular basis of learning and memory. He began his career in science journalism at National Public Radio’s “Science Friday,” and continues to be deeply interested in promoting public understanding of science. He is currently conducting research on cognitive development underlying number perception and arithmetical skills.

 

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