Sunday, August 2, 2015

Connectivism: Reflection (Learning Network)

My learning network has changed the way I learn in a few ways. First, I am more efficient of a learner since I have several resources available with the click of a button. If I move beyond my network, out into the Internet, my resources become unlimited which is a huge benefit when following my digital pathways. My learning network has also changed my effectiveness as a learner. I am able to compare and contrast a piece of information with other sources, ensuring that I am using relevant and reliable content. This is an important aspect to my network, because my integrity could be compromised if I use information that is inaccurate or just plain wrong.

The digital tools that best facilitate learning for me include Google search, PowerPoint, YouTube, Articulate, Camtasia, and Skype. With Google search, I can type in any term, concept or idea, and 99% of the time, I get relevant links back. This provides a quick method for validating an idea or checking references. PowerPoint allows me a quick delivery method for content. I primarily use it to mock up eLearning courses prior to going into full authoring mode. YouTube has a vast amount of educational videos. I’ve learned several computer programs on my own using tutorials that I found through YouTube. Articulate has a great suite of software. I regularly use Storyline 2 for authoring. It is very intuitive and easy to create a quick course, as long as content is readily available. Camtasia is a tool that I recently began to use. It’s great for producing video clips which I then can import into Storyline to increase the impact of the courses I develop. Lastly, Skype is great for collaboration and provides a quick method for getting questions answered or leaving feedback for a team member. Private groups can be created so the conversation flows around a focused topic.

A long time ago (before 2003), when I had questions that peers couldn’t answer, I would have to go to the library to do a little research. During my first couple of years in school, I could always ask my teachers as well. As technology has evolved, my first source for answers is Google. It’s the easiest, and I admit laziest, way to start a search for answers to questions that I may have. I can still use the help of my peers through the ISD community, but I’m still using a computer to do so. I am dependent on technology to answer my questions.

My personal learning network definitely supports the central tenets of connectivism. My network relies heavily on the presence of technology as a way to collaborate and distribute knowledge. My network promotes learning at the social and external levels. The Internet is a major tool that supports connectivism, because in an instant, I can connect to an unlimited amount of resources (digital and human) throughout the world. It seems that the Internet’s primary benefit is the amount of connectivity it provides to its users.

Connectivism


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Learning, the Brain, and Information Processing Theory



This week, I had the need to find resources that provided information on the brain and learning, information processing theory, and problem-solving methods during the learning process.

One resource I found was located on education.com and focused on information processing theory. Gregory Schraw and Matthew McCrudden do a great job of breaking down the information processing model or IPM. They explore each main component of IPM, which are sensory memory, working memory, and long-term memory. They include tables and figures to illustrate the blueprint of the IPM. They do a great job of tying all of the information together and sum it all up by explaining four implications for improving learning and instruction. Definitely check out the article located here: http://www.education.com/reference/article/information-processing-theory/

Another resource I was able to locate focused on problem solving. Richard Mayer and Merlin Wittrock start by clearly defining what a problem is. This may seem obvious, but understanding the correct definition lays the groundwork for breaking down the different methods of problem solving. The authors want us to “think of problem solving as a kind of thinking.” They break down the types of problems (well-defined or ill-defined) and provide examples to reinforce the explanations. The authors go on to explain cognitive processes in problem solving and theories of problem solving. In their last section, teaching of problem solving, they explain what to teach, how to teach, where to teach, and when to teach. This simplified approach can help a person grasp larger, more complex concepts related to problem solving. For me, learning the smaller, simplified chunks makes learning seem less like work and more engaging. The article is located here: http://www.education.com/reference/article/problem-solving1/

I recommend people interested in learning to bookmark Education.com. It has a large number of relevant articles as well as endless resources pertaining to training and education for all levels of learners.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Valuable Instructional Design and Training Blogs

The Internet is chock full of resources related to education and instructional design. From universities to training development companies, the sources of the information vary greatly, but the general goal remains the same: creating impactful, relevant, timely training.

Blogs are another source that provide up-to-date and trending information on training and instructional design, along with a multitude of related areas. The good thing about blog posts is that they are written from the view of the blogger and takes into account their opinion and personal experience. Keeping a log of active educational or instructional design bloggers is a good practice to employ, because they can be a critical resource in an instructional designer’s professional development.

I found three blogs related to instructional design that could be used as beneficial resources in my workplace setting, as well as this course: blog.cathy-moore.com, nkilkenny.wordpress.com, and bozarthzone.blogspot.com.

Cathy Moore’s self-titled blog, has a tagline of Let’s Save the World From Boring Training. This is clever and one of the reasons that motivated me to look further into her blog. Cathy does a great job of sharing ideas that can help designers develop impactful and engaging materials for adult learners. In her Resources area, she provides eLearning samples. The samples include simple and advanced interactions, simulations and branching scenarios, and vendor demonstrations. I found the vendor demonstrations to be useful by allowing me to get a glimpse of what a full-fledged development company with multiple resources can create. Additionally, Cathy provides an extensive breakdown of action mapping and how to apply it while designing training.

Design for Learning, a blog ran by Natalie Laderas-Kilkenny, focuses on collaborative leadership and the use of “social learning to build an innovative workplace” (Kilkenny, n.d.) A good resource that Natalie provides is a breakdown of knowledge management. She provides a practical knowledge management concept map that can be applied within my workplace. Her blogs span the training spectrum from usability of an interface to using QR codes in learning experiences. One of the more interesting blogs I found of hers pertains to the use of an empathy map, which is a simple tool that helps to envision how people will react to front-facing content that they see. One example listed is the user interface (UI). The UI is a critical element to any training product, and applying the empathy map to the assessment can be extremely beneficial to a developer.

Bozarthzone, a blog ran by Jane Bozarth, provides insight to the training and development field with a focus “for creating and outsourcing inexpensive eLearning solutions” (Bozarth, n.d). One thing I noticed about her blog is the “Where’s Jane?” section which outlines her travels to various training conferences around the country. This is a great resource, because Jane is constantly being exposed to new training models, concepts, and tools. Keeping up-to-date with trending theories and tech tools used to create training is a definite plus for me. There is one blog in particular that caught my attention. It dealt with writing better eLearning Scripts. This is useful for me because our organization recently upped their support for eLearning products and scripts is one of the issues we are learning to handle correctly. Jane’s numerous posts and additional support areas make her blog a valuable resource.

All three of the blogs I discussed above are going to very useful to me as I continue my career as an instructional designer. This will ultimately benefit my organization, because I will be able to carry the new knowledge and insight over by applying to my immediate work on training products.

References

Bozarth, J. (n.d.). Bozarthzone. Retrieved July 5, 2015, from http://bozarthzone.blogspot.com/

Laderas-Kilkenny, N. (n.d.). Design for Learning. Retrieved July 5, 2015, from https://nkilkenny.wordpress.com/

Moore, C. (n.d.). Cathy Moore. Retrieved July 5, 2015, from http://blog.cathy-moore.com/