Key Summary of eLearning Principles and Processes
I’ve learned that it takes a lot more to develop an effective online course and that success off-line does not mean you will be successful. Developing an effective course comes down to engaging your students in new, interactive, fun ways using technology including video, puzzles, games and online quizzing to name a few.
But it’s not just about “engaging” but an entire theory that must be based off your quality guideline check-list. Doing an online course without a check-list is like building a car or building without a plan, it may work, but one would rather not try your unplanned creation.
I’ve learned that a successful off-line course does not equal success online. In fact, to be successful I’ve learned that we may have to rebuild the course from scratch or significantly revamp it to be e-Learning compatible.
This fits in with my first e-Learning experience, there was certainly a learning curve as I did not have more than 3 business days to put my first course online in the middle of our last term due tot he sudden COVID-19 shutdown. I was fortunate in the fact that my institution, BCIT, already had tools ready to deploy with the click of a button, however, most of us as faculty and students haven’t used them. The good aspect is that our system D2L from Brightspace (based on Moodle), is something most students and faculty were familiar with to provide assignments, feedback, marking and even quizzes. But none of us had ever experienced an actual class online until COVID-19.
E-Learning requires technical expertise and patience from all sides as many of the challenges lay in “just getting used to the technology application or LMS (Learning Management System)”. The next hurdle is just getting used to “learning completely online” and so it’s an exercise in persistence, patience and transitioning at first regardless of how well the e-Learning content is.
Part of the transition for my students was just supporting, encouraging and reassuring that we get through our course successfully. By pointing out the pros such as saving time, money and still being able to do the same presentations (possibly better and easier for them to see and hear online) there are real benefits to our forced (COVID-19) e-Learning experience.
I believe I embraced the challenge and successfully pulled it off, despite not having proper e-Learning training or a background, I was fortunate to have all of my material already in digital presentation format.
One aspect that has not been mentioned is that I felt students who were disruptive in class were more likely to do so while online. My experience suggests that classroom management can also be more difficult and even saw the same thing in my elementary school daughter’s class online. Sometimes when we are online we have to remind our students that real life rules apply because we are a real classroom with the same goals, requirements and outcomes.
I would like to keep emulating the fun way I do presentations and involve the class.
What I’d like to improve upon is taking my interactivity to the next level using tools like Kahoot. I would like to actively evaluate and test my learners as we go through the content. By doing this I believe my learners will learn faster and retain knowledge even better.
Even IT professionals with teaching experience must take the challenges and opportunities of e-Learning extremely seriously. There is much more planning as evidenced by the “e-Learning checklist” (CDC n.d.) to create a successful course. Engagement is one of the key challenges that myself as an instructor can work on and is perhaps more challenging in e-Learning. Since we can’t read their faces for cues, we have to have surefire activities that keep students attentive and interested. Let’s face it, staring at the screen can be challenging and I recognize it is up to me as the instructor to keep the students motivated and engaged.
I have several new insights into e-Learning in that it’s not that hard if you stick to the program (your check-list) and it’s really a matter of continuous improvement and adaptation. You will always have different learner preferences with each term and it’s important to have as many tools at your disposal to satisfy those needs.
I will apply my new learning by creating my own e-Learning checklist that I apply during our next PD break. I will identify all the areas within my checklist that I cannot check off, that need attention and rectify them.
Each term I will find one new tool to engage and interactively teach my students.
I’ve also really enjoyed working with MediaWiki and because of my IT background I will be creating my own server for it. I will use the Wiki to have have my students curate their own references, tips and tricks on the learning outcomes. The Wiki will help students strengthen their knowledge by teaching others, demonstrate to the industry and become a permanent and ever growing resource for future students.
I will use all my e-Learning knowledge from EDUC 4150 and apply it to my course incrementally and continue to evaluate, adapt and upgrade my skills and content.
I’m confident that this strategy will work and help me join the ranks of other e-Learning professionals.
eLearning Industry (2014, October 3). 11 Tips to Engage and Inspire Adult Learners . Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/11-tips-engage-inspire-adult-learners