25 Years of OU: 2008 – SocialLearn

Wieder ein Puzzleteil aus den Erinnerungen von Martin Weller (Open University). 2008, das war die Zeit, als man an verschiedenen Stellen versuchte, Social Media in Bildungsprojekte und Lernumgebungen zu integrieren. Lernplattformen versuchten,  sich mit Wikis und Blogs als „LMS 2.0“ zu präsentieren. Und Bildungsanbieter wie die Open University wollten ein „Facebook fürs Lernen“ werden.

Martin Weller schreibt, dass das Projekt „SocialLearn“ nach einiger Zeit aufgegeben wurde. Aber dass sie gelernt hätten: über die Bedeutung von Communities, des informellen Lernens und dass man bestimmte, neue Projekte besser nicht in den Organisationen selbst, sondern lieber auf der grünen Wiese ansiedelt.
Martin Weller, The EdTechie, 12. Oktober 2020

Bildquelle: Clemens Löcker (flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Instructional Design for a New Generation

instructional design for a new generation

Ok…I’m not sure that’s the right title. I’m working on a presentation that covers instructional design challenges and wanted to share a few points to consider about course design and how we need to move past the way many of today’s courses are constructed.

Technology has changed the landscape for today’s course designers

instructional design content owners

Years ago, someone other than the learner controlled access to content. We were all beholden to the subject matter experts and their walled gardens. We saw this in universities. We saw this in organizations. Subject matter experts owned content and they determined how it was packaged and delivered. Organizations created their learning management systems and determined who had access to what and when. Their quizzes determined who was smart enough.

But a lot of that has changed.

instructional design learners

The internet and mobile devices give us access to everything we need to know, and mostly at a point when we need to know it. It doesn’t make us deep experts, but it makes us experts enough.

Need to repair sheetrock gone bad? Find a YouTube video. I won’t be quitting my job to build sheetrock walls, but I can learn to do what I need to do when I need to do it.

If I know something and want to share it. I’ll join a community. I can create a video (or some other asset) and make that available for others who want to learn what I know. The people who want to learn can find what they need when they need it. And they can find some comfort in the personal connection to an expert. They won’t feel sold to or manipulated. It’s a community and not a place worried about optics and spinning the meaning of every word.

instructional design today's learner

Course designers need to embrace a new role

It’s not enough to build a course and upload to a learning management system. This forces all of the content behind a wall. We should start to see our role evolve.

Today’s learner has access to what they need. They can get it when it makes the most sense to them. It’s usually in context. And it’s not overwhelming.

However, they may not always know what they need or how much of it. And they may not know what’s most critical or what’s best for meeting objectives. They may also waste a lot of time on irrelevant content.

traditional instructional designer

This is where we step in. Instead of just being traditional course creators, we should become both curator and connector.

Curating resources helps sort through the noise and package what’s most important to meeting objectives.

Connecting is all about facilitating a learning community and connecting experts with novices. It allows the content to live and breathe. The community has a knack for sorting value.

evolving instructional design

There will always be a place for formal course design and delivery. Government regulations and the fear of lawsuits will ensure that. However, if learning is really the goal, then how we make content available and help people succeed must be more than just putting together a bunch of online presentations and quizzes. Look at the way you learn things today and where you go to learn them. Find ways to make that part of your instructional design, too.


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Book Review: Social Media in Higher Education

I was aware of Chris Rowell’s call to action over a year ago, asking for interest in contributions to an idea he had, an academic text highlighting the benefits, techniques, results, and possible pitfalls on using ‘social media’ as part of online or classroom-based instruction.

At the time I didn’t have the time to submit a contribution myself, although the will was definitely there, I was active in sharing Chris’s progress as he worked with the contributors and navigating the world of self-publishing. I am really happy to say Chris has completed the project and has just sent me a copy as a ‘thank you’ and for a review.

“How does social media affect working life in Higher Education? The diverse and expert contributors analyse the many ways social media can be used to enhance teaching and learning, research, professional practice, leadership, networking and career development. The impact of social media is evaluated critically, with an eye both to the benefits and the problems of using these new forms of digital communication.” Chris Rowell

From the start of the book you feel right at home and comfortable. Chris has opened the book with a great narrative and explanation on why this book, and why now. Despite the changing nature of social media and the global setting of how it is and can be used (since publication, a global pandemic has forced many facets of education into a fully-online delivery) the chapters and themes they are categorised in work well and support each other.

Some of the contributory authors I’m familiar with, some I know well and have had the honour of working with. Some of the contributory authors are new to me and have given me a new insight into aspects of HE and SoMe, how these platforms can (and should?) be used together to successfully integrate the digital and networked student (‘always on‘) into the modern, digital and socially-connected university.

Split into six broad themes, Chris has laid the chapters out to maximise the ability of the reader to use this for reference, dipping in for what you need and have more besides when you want it. From themes of leadership to innovation or building networks, from professional practice to teaching & learning and reflections on a personal journey, the chapters are written for the casual reader (blogger) and the more advanced researcher.

One further key theme of the book is using and incorporating the student voice/body as a co-creator and collaborator in their learning. Let’s also not forget that staff and colleagues can be the ‘student’ in some of these cases, that those we work with are also learning, from learning about new techniques or tools, or new approaches to how we use the existing tools. We’ve allowed social media to ingratiate themselves in many areas of our lives, for some including them as part of their work is a new and possibly uncomfortable experience.

I can’t begin to pretend I’ve read the whole book in the short time since I received it, but I have dipped into the topics and areas of social media that interest me most at the moment. There is much more here than one can digest in just one reading, this is one of those books that you’ll keep coming back to – it will stand the test of time (until the 2nd edition!) and can be enhanced as our understanding of the benefits of social media in higher education grows, as with the growth of platforms and their accessibility (and trustworthiness?) for student-faculty interaction.

Social Media and Higher Education is essential reading for any professional working in higher education, including lecturers teaching education courses. It is also significant for researchers looking at more recent developments in the field and what it means to work in a modern higher education environment.” Chris Rowell

And finally, the plug … get your copy here: ‘Social Media in Higher Education: Case Studies, Reflections and Analysis‘ (OpenBook Publishers) – all formats considered and available, incl. paperback, hardback, eBook, PUB, PDF, MOBI, XML.

Image source: David Hopkins (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Implementing Personalized Learning: 5 Must-Have LMS Features When Training Millennials

To implement an effective eLearning strategy, organizations must first select a Learning Management System that has the right features to support personalized learning. Choosing an LMS that does not have the right features could become costly or decrease the effectiveness of the training program and learner experience.

This post was first published on eLearning Industry.