Design for online and blended learning

To have a successful distance learning for students, students need to have a sense of feeling immersed in the “distance learning environment”.

One thing that came to my mind is that an immersed experience through gamification might be an effective way of transfer knowledge, where course materials can be broken down into scenarios, case studies, and role-plays.

An immersed experience is also when one can feel the presence. During those days, we were still able to have face-to-face classroom time, we interact naturally with our students when we’re in the classroom together. By our smiles, eye contact, warm and friendly tone of voice, and other forms of positive non-verbal communication; or simply being in the classroom couple minutes earlier, or stay behind to chat a bit afterwards, subconsciously we gave students our encouragement and support. Yet, emotions in online learning can be an even more powerful and important tool for our student’s engagement, persistence, and successfulness. For emotions/feelings to channel through the digital world, it requires us who are the educator to create our course materials on a human level; when students can find a human element in the course content, they are likely to engage at a much higher level.

Lastly, even though COVID didn’t give us a heads up to better prepare these overnight changes, many educators are also learning how to teach remotely while teaching remotely. However, while we are focusing on teaching remotely, we cannot forget to have an inclusive environment and curriculums, especially if some of our students who have attention and learning disabilities.

Good designs not only benefit our students but also help ourselves.

Affective collaborative learning has automatically happened?

As I was preparing for this week’s topic – Learning in communities – networked collaborative learning, I came across with a quote “

“Currently, online collaborative learning tends to focus on the cognitive process by emphasizing task-oriented communication, while assuming that the social dimension will occur automatically via communicative technologies (Kreijns et al., 2003). However, individuals will not willingly share their tentative ideas or critically challenge others’ opinions unless they trust group members and feel a sense of belonging. (Kreijns et al., 2003; Rourke, 2000). Therefore, collaboration often remains shallow due to the lack of affective group support.” *

This actually made me started to think and relate it to my own practice. I’ve been practising this assumption that the social dimension of collaborative learning exist automatically and taking it for granted. Maybe it is time to take a pause and look back, by removing this assumption from our head, what needs to be done to better support our students in this digital community learning in a more natural way.

Journey continues….

Reference:

*An, H., Kim, S., & Kim, B. (2008). Teacher perspectives on online collaborative learning: Factors perceived as facilitating and impeding successful online group work. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 8(1), 65-83.

Open Learning – Sharing and Openness?

Time flies, and we are almost at the end of the Topic 2 now. In this topic we were asked to explore the benefits and challenges of openness in education and learning.

It is a very interesting topic indeed. As all educational resources, there are advantages and disadvantages to Open Education Resources. Especially when we are heading towards a trend during this “new era” nowadays, where distance education is quite common for us. Sure, by having open learning online resources, we can expand the access to knowledge from a classroom full of students to a broader audience. However, there are a couple of areas I’m still a bit unsure, and I can’t really wrap my head around it.

1. Cultural differences & barriers – The whole point for having our courses open is to approach as wider audience as possible. How are we going to deal with language issues? For example, I currently live in Sweden; many courses are only offered in Swedish when those courses are being “opened”, I think the usefulness of those course materials will be limited to non-Swedish speakers.

2. Sustainable? – Traditionally, educators have been paid and one their duties is to make sure the course materials are up to date. When it comes to “Open learning materials”, I can’t see much “incentive” in place for creators to do such thing which with “cost” normally….

I guess I will have to continue the Search & Learn Journey. 🙂

Digital literacy – Thoughts

Working in the home office hasn’t been a new thing for me, as this has been a part of my life for more than ten years. I’ve also been a life-long distance learner by taking different online courses/certifications to upgrade myself. However, it wasn’t until after two weeks of participating in a course called “Open Networked Learning”, I realized without us noticing there has a been a change in our learning environment silently. A role change between student and teacher, from a teacher-centred education to a student-centred education. Especially now, when most of the learning activities have been converted to an online-based education, the teacher and the environment are very important in this process. To have a safe environment, where teachers and students can be partners and co-learners, where balanced communication, cooperation and collaboration can exist.

Different generations have different ways of learning and spreading knowledge, and also unique ways to evaluate the accuracy of the acquired information. For those of us who grew up in the libraries with four walls and teaching in this new era, our challenge is to upgrade ourselves to be digital literacy, so we can better support students who grew up with social media and technology to navigate in the digital world and identify the accuracy of any acquired information. So we can all be prepared to be a good citizen in the digital world we are all in.

I believe the thinking process was the greatest aspect of this course during the last two weeks.