Week 2: Reflections on designing a blended learning approach

Hi there blendkit2014 readers

In week 2 we have explored the design of a blended learning approach.

I found this really neat little video that compared strawberries and ice-cream to blended learning, an interesting analogy to say the least.

This week’s reading encouraged us to consider a quote from Dziuban, C.D., Hartman, J.L., and Mehaffy, G.L. (2014) “link the best technological solutions for teaching and learning with the best human resources“. This is so true.  No matter how you define blended learning, no matter what the context our goal is to have the best teaching strategies in place to support learners and to provide an environment that supports and facilitates learning.

The role of the educator in a blended environment was also explored.

Atelier Learning (this was very new to me).  Checkout http://www.johnseelybrown.com/CJKoh.pdf  if you want to know more. In model learners learn in full view of other similar to that of an art studio.  The master of learning can then observe practice, inform and guide.  The use of blogs is said to be very suitable to this type of learning.

Network Administrator where students are placed at the centre of a personal learning network. Checkout Fisher, C. (n.d.). Teacher as Network Administrator. Retrieved from http://www.evenfromhere.org/?p=374 to find out more.

Concierge learning where the educator directs learners to resources and learning opportunities. More information on Concierge learning can be found at Bonk, C. (2007). USA Today Leads to Tomorrow: Teachers as online concierges and can Facebook pioneer save face? Retrieved from http://travelinedman.blogspot.com/2007/10/usa-today-leads-to-tomorrow-teachers-as.html.

Curational learning under the guidance of a curational map.Siemens, G. (2007). 10 minute lecture – curatorial teaching. Retrieved from http://learnonline.wordpress.com/2007/09/20/10-minute-lecture-george-siemens-curatorial-teaching. A great online tool to help learners curate content is Pinterest.  If you are interested please feel free to watch my Connect recording on how to use Pinterest in Education.

Are these terms familiar to you?



Blended Interactions Second Edition  Edited by Kelvin Thompson, Ed.D. “New Learners? New Educators? New Skills? “ in the Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning by George Siemens and Peter Tittenberger

Dziuban, C.D., Hartman, J.L., and Mehaffy, G.L. (2014). Blending it all together, In A. Picciano, C. Dziuban, and C. Graham (Eds.), Blended learning: Research perspectives, volume 2. NY: Routledge.


#EDCMOOC The first YouTube – Bendito Machine III

Our first film to watch is Bendito Machine III. Now those of you who know me will know that this type of animation doesn’t really appeal to me. So I am now feeling just a little out of my comfort zone. Anyway enough about me.

The animation is said to be about technological development through the eyes of ritual and worship. I guess this is quite funny and many out there will love it.

While I watched I could see the relevance of technological worship and addiction. To relate it to today, you only have to look at Apple products how they are marketed and sought after to see cult following and then if you consider social media… well you can clearly see addiction in some of us. At times the scary thing is that title could easily fit me. I love all things e-learning, especially social media.

Another interesting thing about this animation is how quickly they replaced their idol… not that much different to us today. We are asked to consider the question “Do the film’s characters have any choice in relation to their technologies?”. My simple answer is ‘No’. Someone in a position of influence guided the choice and chose when the idol was popular and when it was not and what would be the replacement.

As I continued to watch the film my thoughts turned to the influence technology has on educating and informing the masses. TV advertising today is a great example of how we use technology to influence potential buyers. The message is often if you buy this or wear this or consume this you will be … beautiful, youthful, popular, accepted etc and of course we fall for it. To me the animation was an example of social learning (if you are not sure go back and watch the part where they were watching tv and were now sitting on chairs with empty bottles at their feet). This was different to their previous behaviour of worship and adoration.

Social learning can loosely be defined as a learning opportunity where the learner observes the behaviours and attitudes of others and modifies their own behaviour based on the consequences observed.

Just in case you are not familiar, social learning is a theory often associated with Albert Bandura. Other notable theorists include Vgotsky, Lave and Wenger.

The concept of social learning is probably not that new to you. As a teacher you know that learners learn from their classmates all the time. Social learning can happen in face to face environments as well as digital environments. The animation was still locked into a traditional face to face environment but what happens if we consider this type of learning in the digital space?

When we consider the e-learning environment e-learning designers and facilitators incorporate social learning activities into their programs using a range of tools but in particular those offered by social media. In this post I will stick to education rather than the use of social media to influence the masses.

Social media allows educators to plan opportunities for feedback from both teachers and other learners in the learning environment; it encourages collaboration and group work; and if planned appropriately can facilitate relationships where learners have access to content experts, mentors and coaches. Many of these activities occur in virtual environments such as online discussion forums and virtual meeting rooms.

As the theme of this week’s content is Utopias and Dystopias I think the animation is an example of dystopia – the negative behaviours of those who worship technology. What do you think? Even if you are not part of the EDCMOOC I invite you to watch the animation and post your thoughts on the ritualistic nature of the animation and its purpose.

Yay E-Learning and Digital Cultures MOOC starts soon!

For those of you who have read my earlier posts you will know I enrolled in a MOOC last year that was kind of a non-event. I recently decided to give it another go and enrol in one through the University of Edinburgh. This MOOC is an exploration of e-learning and digital cultures. If you are interested in knowing more you can check out the site at https://www.coursera.org/#course/edc. Tweets about the MOOC have already started to be populated on twitter via the hashtag #edcmooc.

This morning I received my first email with a whole heap of pre-MOOC activities….. how exciting :-).  One of which was to put my location on a Google Map… surprisingly there are people enrolled from all over the world. If you want to find me… check out Australia.

Anyway, I will post more about my experiences once the MOOC begins. If you are still unsure what a MOOC is you might find this short YouTube helpful.

Just found this great infographic on connected learning


This graphic comes from the Connected Learning Website

I think the connected learning model sets the scene very nicely for 2013 as it proposes a new model for learning as well as emphasing the power and creativity of the technologies available and the users who use them.

The challenge in 2013 continues for some educators to be their ability to embrace the use of technologies in education as well as acquiring the skills to use them. Technology and the Internet offers new ways of learning that can enhance a learning program if they are used in the right way. You only need to explore social learning and mobile learning opportunities to realise that the way we source information (including news, entertainment and how we keep up to date with our friends) has changed.

A simple example of how we might acquire learning outside of a traditional class environment is the way we use and interact with social media sites. Have you heard of the term social TV viewers? Social TV viewers use social media to talk about what they are watching on TV. As a teaching tool this offers some interesting possibilities. Recent media studies suggest that interacting on a second screen makes users more engaged with the program they are watching (visit http://adage.com/article/media/social-tv-viewers-engaged/235739/ and read the article by AdAge media news, it is a very interesting read). If you haven’t participated in this type of activity, watch QandA on ABC and during the show tweet about what you are watching using the hash tag #qanda…. in fact if you search on this tag you will find a multitude of posts.

Do you currently participate in online discussions using LinkedIn or similar platforms? If so, think about what you have learnt just by lurking or participating in these conversation? Personally I have learnt a lot about the use of e-learning in educational settings just by drawing on the comments and expertise of other practitioners who are very happy to share their knowledge and expertise. So the challenge here is how do we build these learning opportunities into our training programs? Should we recognise this learning in our training programs? If so how and how much? I would love to have this conversation with you, so please if you have stopped by, take a moment to post and let’s get this conversation going?

Take care and have a wonderful 2013.

Just took a personal DNA test online

Well the end of the year quickly crept up on me and it is now the end of the holiday period for me. Hopefully I can pick up my blogging again in 2013 and make it count.

I don’t know about you, but at this time of year I start to think and plan and yes dare I say it …. plan that new year resolution. Things have changed so much in 2012 and I feel I have changed a bit too, so I decided to start with an online personality test to see how much I have changed.

Surprisingly…. I am still the same, fancy that. This is my online DNA…. quite cool really.

So why is it important to start the year with a renewed understanding of our individual personality? I think it helps because your personality type helps you identify your own behaviours and attitudes. Knowing this gives you the means to understand your actions and where necessary balance or avoid those actions. It can also help you to highlight your strengths and weaknesses and if we are going to make a new year’s resolution provide you with some areas that you might want to work on.

So in terms of a pesonal resolution I will work on how and what I commit to – this should be easy! Next I will let myself dream a little…. now that won’t be easy as you might think….. time wasting is not really in my DNA 🙂 but I will give it a try.

Understanding yourself, helps you to better understand others and their behaviours and actions. As an educator this is important. Understanding the personality of our learners and how they might respond to learning activities, group work, role plays etc is crucial to their learning success and your success as a teacher/ facilitator of learning…. so maybe I should work on this too. What will you work on in 2013?

The Australian Vet Workforce

Did you know there are nearly 5000 Registered training organisations delivering VET qualifications nationally?

This includes approximately 73,900 TAFE employees and up to 541, 000 employees working in the non-TAFE sector. Employees included in these figures are a mix of trainers/facilitators, assessors, and other professionals and general staff across the public and private sectors.

VET trainers/facilitators and assessors are dual qualified possessing both industry and educational qualifications.

The VET sector plays a major role in the economic development of Australian workplaces. For this reason I will commence research into the impact technology has on the VET sector (educational staff) and non-vet sector (such as Australian workplaces) to determine its role in workforce capability and organisational learning and development.

According to data available through the Productivity Commission the most frequently studied VET qualification in 2009 was at Certificate III level. The most popular courses of study were management and engineering. These statistics are intriguing.

Initially TAFE was a major receiver of the public funds available but over the years this has changed dramatically. Public funds for VET studies are also available to schools, the private sector, not for profit organisations, enterprise training providers and of course the university sector.

Changing student demographics, skill shortages experienced at a local and national level and of course economic and policy factors are just some of the reasons why the role of the VET teacher has changed. Future posts will consider the changing role of teachers, the ever changing needs of their students and the new and emerging skills required by this sector.

So in brief…. watch this space

E-learning takes planning well before your course commences

Like everything we do e-learning takes planning and commitment and this process should be started well before your course or learners commence.

I once read an article that compared an online community to a vegetable garden. I thought that was quite an interesting take and thought we could do the same by comparing our e-learning strategy with a flower garden.

Would you just dig a hole in any spot on your lawn and then plant your seed? I don’t believe that you would. Likewise you don’t just plant a seed and immediately expect flowers. Well before you see any flowers you need to:
* prepare the garden bed
* make sure you have purchased good quality seeds
* and that you are using quality soil & fertilisers that are appropriate to the plants you are planting.

This is exactly the same for your e-learning strategy. There are things that must be in place well before your learners commence their e-learning journey.

Once the seeds are planted in your flower garden you don’t just leave them in the ground and hope they grow. Seeds (like learners) need to be monitored, supported, helped (gardens are fertilised aren’t they?)and given navigation cues to help them make their way.

If you do all of this you should have a much better success rate and in terms of our gardens would expect a bumper crop.

Another thing you need to do with your garden to make sure it produces a bumper crop is to remove any weeds. Once a course is created should it stay the same? Do you simply create it once and offer it in the same format forever?

Of course, the answer is no. If you are using links to websites they need to be reviewed regularly. We all know that websites can be here one day and gone the next.

Sometimes your content must be updated to reflect changes – such as legislative changes, new versions of software etc.

So on a regular basis review your course and remove or update activities, content, links to make sure you are offering a quality program for your learners.

If you would like to continue this analogy or present one of your own please feel free to post your thoughts and contribute to this discussion.