Technology and multimedia have become common place in online learning environments. In and of itself “technology can provide more efficStreaming Mediaient instructions, it does not necessarily provide more effective instruction” (Morrison, Ross, Kalman & Kemp, 2013, p. 224). Technology allows for the insertion of simulations, games and other interactions designed to engage and challenge learners. The drawback of the use of these tools is they are often inserted without the benefit of good instructional design (Morrison et al., 2013). In addition, the technologies introduces may not be in line with the course objectives and goals (Laureate Education, 2010).

Before implementing technology the instructor must determine the value of the technology in alignment with the course objectives and goals. If the technology or use of multimedia is not the best way to accomplish these objectives, it should be left out (Laureate Education, 2010). In addition the learning experience you are trying to achieve should match the appropriate technology (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Zvacek, 2012). The instructor should be comfortable with any technology prior to implementing it into a course (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). Instructors that are intimidated or fearful of technology are going to struggle in the online environment (Adams, 2009).Internet Technology

The other considerations one should make prior to adding technology and multimedia tools to a course is the student. The skills level of the student will dictate the tools one should incorporate (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). You will want to provide opportunities for students to expand in the skill and knowledge of different tools. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, via a tutorial, peer to peer learning, learning activities prior to the course, and others (Boettcher & Conrad, 2010). The other consideration in using technology tools is the bandwidth available to house the tools you would like to use at your location, and the location of the students and their access to these tools. For instance if you are using tools that require a high-speed connection and you have students in remote or rural areas they may not be able to access the necessary tools (Laureate Education, 2010).

Accessibility

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Defining Online Learning

Posted: 01/12/2015 in Assignments

Defining Distance Learning

I would say in the past my definition of distance education , was more ‘a method by which required information and resources were made available by an accredited university to gain understanding and knowledge regarding a specific topic; demonstrate understanding of this topic through writing a scholarly paper or successfully passing a test on the topic’. This definition was based mostly on my experience as an undergraduate completing my Bachelor’s degree through an online university.

During my undergrad experience the burden of learning was placed on the learner/student, through reading textbooks and writing papers showing understanding and application of the materials. Many of the courses contained tests and quizzes to test knowledge. The majority of these were multiple choice which “test higher-order learning, including conceptual reasoning” (Morrison, Ross, Kalman, & Kemp, 2013, p. 281). Course work included, course readings, individual research, weekly discussion question(s), team assignments, individual assignments, quizzes and tests.

Since starting this course (EDUC 6135) and others at Walden my definition of distance learning is now best describe as “an educational process in which a significant proportion of the teaching is conducted by someone removed in space and/or time from the learner” (Simonson, Smaldino, Albright, & Svacek, S., 2012, p. 34). The difference to me is the interaction and two-way communication between student-teacher and student-student. The instructors at Walden have made it a learning experience not a self-education process. Feedback in the past was minimal, especially on the tests and quizzes, you were only supplied with the question number you got wrong, and not why your response was wrong.

Based on what I have learned this week I have received both instruction, assessment, and personal feedback through two-way communication with instructors and fellow students creating a learning experience (Simonson et al., 2012). This has changed my definition. I am learning from an instructor who has a vested interest in my success, I have received constructive feedback to improve my skills, and I am applying my knowledge in a practical manner critical to the skills needed for my field. I can now “discriminate between well-designed and poorly-designed e-learning” (Moller, Forshay, & Huett, 2008, p. 71).

I can see if the right methods are undertaken to improve and set standards for e-learning, there are opportunities for new strategies and potential means for further personalization of learning experiences far surpassing what is available in a traditional classroom environment (Moller et al., 2008). I do not believe the traditional classroom will disappear. Rather, e-learning will become inclusive to the traditional classroom, and will continue to gain more acceptance as an alternate and effective method for learning. I hope to see the day where an online degree has equal footing as its brick and mortar counterpart in both the academia and the corporate world.

References

Moller, L., Foshay, W., & Huett, J. (2008). The evolution of distance education: Implications for instructional design on the potential of the web (Part 1: Training and development). Tech Trends, 52(3) 70-75.

Morrison G.R., Ross, S.M., Kalman, H.K., & Kemp, J.E. (2013). Designing effective instruction (7th ed.) Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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

 

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Distance Learning MindMap

Distance Learning MindMap