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How I Learn December 20, 2009

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My view on how I learn has changed slightly from seven weeks ago due to the knowledge I have gained from other learning theories. The cognitive theory of multimedia includes auditory and visual (words and pictures/video, etc.) and is also known as the dual-coding theory. I believe the majority of learners including myself learn best this way. After all we are a visually stimulated society. We play video games (Wii bowling), watch 3D movies (Avatar), are socially networked through numerous sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twine, etc. I text on my 3G smart phones, blog, and chat online. Multimedia, the digital age, is the way I learn best. It is the Adult Learning Theory. So it, therefore, contains all the theories I have learned:

• Behavioral – by repeating what we see visually with auditory
• Cognitive – by using sensory, short-term, and long-term memory
• Constructivist – collaborative and social
• Social Learning – group participation and learning through social networking
• Connectivism – digital online access to information, exists in networks
• Adult Learning – networked learning for the digital age

Since I develop online, web-based training I see advantages to the digital way of learning and also have gained insight into how all the above listed learning theories work together to help engage not only me, but my learners. Incorporating these theories helps to assure that all learners, no matter how they learn best as individuals, can become engaged in learning. Whether I am training virtually, face to face in a classroom, or through web-based training; technology can only better the way the information is presented and received by learners.

I use technology to perform research using not only search engines, but also social networking sites, blogs, wikis and podcasts. Creating training is also done electronically through tools such as Captivate, Flash, Photoshop, uPerform, digital video recording, Google apps and Microsoft Office apps. Recording information electronically using the previous mentioned tools allows me to create reusable learning objects (RLO) that can be reused in other training courses. Examples of RLOs that I have used include online course navigation, login and logout of an application that has multiple courses, splash (opening screen) screens to each course, course completions, and so on.

Of course, there are many other learning theories out there http://www. learning-theories.com/ but what I learned from the list of theories above has taught me that as an instructional designer there is a wealth of information to tap into to better the learner’s experience.

New Technology December 16, 2009

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Semantic-Aware Applications, I believe, will be utilized within the next five years. “New web applications are allowing meaning to be inferred from content and context. The promise of these semantic-aware applications is to help us see connections that already exist, but that are invisible to current search algorithms because they are embedded in the context of the information on the web.” Semantic-Aware Apps, The Horizon Project (2008)

Seymour Papert, an MIT mathematician, says to engage students with concrete, real-world examples to keep them motivated. He suggests that teachers start with engineering, then abstract out physics, then from that abstract out ideas of calculus and eventually pure mathematics. Real-World Issues Motivate Students, Edutopia

Semantic-aware apps will help educators to understand and motivate digital learners. Diane Hamstra, a teacher at Park Tudor School, in Indianapolis, found a way to get her tenth-grade students to dive enthusiastically into the nineteenth-century dark thicket of language of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Using a software tool called DyKnow Vision, she asked them to analyze certain passages. Then she asked them to do the same with pen and paper. She was startled at how focused and more indepth the analysis was using software tool. She called it a generational thing. Connecting the 21st Century Student, Edutopia

The Educational Semantic Web is based on three fundamental affordances. The first is the capacity for effective information storage and retrieval. The second is the Journal of Interactive Media in Education, capacity for nonhuman autonomous agents to augment the learning and information retrieval and processing power of human beings. The third affordance is the capacity of the Internet to support, extend and expand communications capabilities of humans in multiple formats across the bounds of time and space. (An affordance is a quality of an object, or an environment, that allows an individual to perform an action.)

This all points to the Constructivist theory of learning for implementing this new technology. Another digital technology I think will also be of value is the Geo-Everything.

In http://idlethink.wordpress.com/2008/08/31/indulgence-sin/ The Travels of Marco Polo contains text, photographos of the places, annotation, and links.

The University of Florida is using a two-dimensional web-based transparent reality simulation engine to teach medical students how to operate medical equipment for several years. All I can say is WOW! This would help me solve how to train mill workers on the various machines when there is turnover. We are having that problem now in Houston as many mill workers (experienced subject matter experts) are leaving to work in the oil industry which has seen a resurgence.

I also have to give mention to smart objects. An example I found was:

Sustainable cardboard PC – tagged results for greener gadgets.

I actually think all of the technologies mentioned in the Horizon Project (2009 Edition) would be valid to enhance instructional design.

As we know, Information Design began before our time and is not a new communication technique. The below historic examples, from campaigns for social change, show information design applied to analysis and advocacy respectively. In both cases, information design was used to tell a powerful, persuasive story on behalf of a cause.

Thomas Clarkson’s 1786 “Essay on the Slavery and Commerce of Human Species” influenced the abolition movement in England. This drawing shows how hundreds of enslaved Africans were crammed into ships. The image and accompanying description of the conditions shocked and appalled readers. The slave trade was abolished in British empire by the Slave Trade Act in 1807.

In 1859, physician John Snow mapped deaths from a devastating cholera outbreak in London to determine its cause. Snow gathered data by talking to local residents. His map revealed a pattern of infections around the Broad Street water pump. Despite skepticism, he collected enough evidence to prompt officials to shut down the pump, after which the epidemic quickly ended. Snow’s work promoting the idea that the disease was spread through contaminated water became a major turning point in the history of public health.

Connectivism December 7, 2009

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Online learning has enabled me to learn in faster ways in that it has opened global horizons to learn in, work in, and create in. I have been able to learn from coworkers across the world not only using applications such as Ready Talk and Skype, but collaborate on projects using Google Apps such as Google docs. Facebook has allowed me to stay in touch and learn from family and friends, and total strangers who have shared their world with me. I have also been able to share and teach others. I hope my blog will grow and reach out to a network of other instructional designers whereby we can teach each other and share ideas. Reading other blogs in the field of instructional design has been an eye opening experience presenting me with new ways to look at elearning. Linkedin has given me contacts in the business world and I have been able to learn from others through their posts on Linkedin. I also like to use YouTube to research new ideas in instructional design and what others are doing in the field.

When I have questions, researching the Internet using Google, Bing, and YouTube has helped me to learn and find more information much faster than in the old days of going to the library and using the card catalog and Reference Desk. University libraries are online and information can be obtained in a few clicks of the keyboard. I also do research using professional organizations like ASTD (American Society for Training and Development) and the eLearning Guild.

According to Siemens, “connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired and the ability to draw distinctions between important and unimportant information is vital. Also critical is the ability to recognize when new information alters the landscape based on decisions made yesterday” (Siemens, 2005, para. 24). This is what online learning is all about. It allows the learner to quickly acquire up-to-date information and helps them recognize when that information has changed in order to make sound business decisions. Therefore, connectivism helps me also as a learner to acquire additional information about what I’m learning in a course, at work, and in my field as an instructional designer.

Mindmap December 2, 2009

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http://mywebspiration.com/view/275831a2a4d4

The Brain and Learning November 15, 2009

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The blog Funderstanding http://www.funderstanding.com/content/brain-based-learning is staffed by research and cognitive scientists as well as educators and marketers. The article/post on brain-based learning speaks of 12 core principles of brain-based learning. It goes on to explain that there are two types of memory spatial and rote. It states we understand best when facts are embedded in natural, spatial memory. I view this as equating to long-term memory and encoding.

The instructional techniques used for brain-based learning are:
1. Orchestrated Immersion
2. Relaxed alertness
3. Active processing

These techniques, I view, are the building blocks of all instruction:
1. Fully immerse the learners in an educational experience
2. Make the environment challenging but not fearful
3. Allow the learner to process the information

It goes on to explain how brain-based learning impacts Education, how three interactive elements are essential to brain-based learning, and other views of the process; my favorite being “The best problem solvers are those that laugh”.

In the article The Information Processing Approach to Cognition by W. Huitt (2003), http://chiron.valdosta.edu/whuitt/col/cogsys/infoproc.html it states “Even though there are widely varying views within cognitive psychology, there are a few basic principles that most cognitive psychologists agree with”.

These principles generally state:
1. There is a limit to the amount of information that can be processed and these bottlenecks are seen at very specific points
2. A control mechanism is required in processing information
3. A two-way flow of information that involves our senses and what is stored in our memory
4. That the brain has been genetically engineered to process information in specific ways

This article discusses the stage theory of the study of memory which is based on the work of Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968). This theory proposes that information is processed and stored in three stages; sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory.

What I found interesting was the chart found at the end of the article.

eLearning Guild November 8, 2009

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The elearningguild.com offers a wealth of information. As an associate member, which is free, I have access to their Learning Solutions eMagazine. I’ve recently read two articles which were very interesting. One article was Revolutionizing eLearning: Innovation through Social Networking Tools. This article gives examples of and links to learner-centric, collaborative design. It also talks about three platforms (tools) of what the next evolution of eLearning may look like. One of the links points to a video by a cultural anthropology professor on The Machine is Us/sing Us. He introduces us to collaborative technology. This video was originally posted in 2007. The platforms or tools mentioned in the article “place collaborators in close contact and provide content based on user’s preferences.” These three tools are Interactyx, Twine, and ELGG. These tools use the “best elements of the LMS (Learning Management System) world and combined them with the latest social networking tools to provide the most collaborative, easy-to-use learning environment possible.”

The other article ARGS Leverage Intelligence: Improving Performance through Collaborative Play. ARGS or Alternate Reality Games can help facilitate learning and maintain the motivation to learn, according to the article. “ARGs enable players to engage both in physical and virtual environments to learn skills, perform tasks, collaborate with peers to earn an achievement,
and share information. ARGs can create experiences that facilitate collaboration and add greater authenticity and interest to training interventions.” In a business setting ARGS can “allow players to assume different roles than the ones inherently dictated by their job titles, and let previously unidentified group dynamics and soft skills emerge.” The article continues to discuss how to create an ARG, what team members are needed, and provides a case study for knowledge strategy. Web 3.0 technology is on the horizon based on tihs model.

A blog I found interested was Instructional Design and Development Blog. One post spoke was called Beyond YouTube: finding videos for your online course. Very informative.

Hope you found this post interesting and educational.

Jay Cross Blog November 8, 2009

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internettime.com gives us information about the recent Enterprise 2.0 Conference.

This is my first blog. November 3, 2009

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Welcome to eLearning Innovations. I hope to bring you new information about Instructional Design. If not new, then at least information that will refresh your memory.