Archive for the ‘Adult Learning Principles’ Category
Monday, November 3rd, 2014
We’ve all been there. We sign up for an online class with every intention of completing the class, but somewhere along the way things get in the way and we don’t finish the class. They call it the U-Shaped Curve: “Novelty and enthusiasm produce high drive at the beginning, but it drops off sharply thereafter, only increasing when the end of the course is in sight.”
Here are a few suggestions for course builders to keep motivation and interest up:
- Offer Choice: Break content into smaller modules and allow students to choose only those modules that are most important to them.
- Within the smaller modules, offer even more options to access the material. For example, you can include a short video, hands-on exercises, a follow-along tutorial. Bite-sized lessons allow students to get a sense of accomplishment, which in turn may spur them on to do more work.
- Provide feedback; because cyberspace can be lonely and we never really know what happened to that homework we uploaded. As the instructor, set a goal for yourself: I will grade and respond to students within X amount of days. Turn this goal into a class policy and include it in the “about this course” section.
Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
Have you heard of Universal Design for Learning? At the Annual Conference for Distance Teaching and Learning, I attended a few session with a focus on this principle. Here’s a primer video on Universal Design for Learning that will help you become acquainted. If you want to learn more, check out cast.org
Monday, April 14th, 2014
From SHIFT’s eLearning blog: Designing for Motivation: Three Theories eLearning Designers Can Use
1) Self-Determination Theory
This theory operates on the premise that learners are motivated by an inner belief that learning, in and of itself, is important. In this theory, learners tend to want some degree of control over their learning experience.
Applied to course design: Provide choices, opportunities to succeed and interaction options.
2) Flow Theory
Student motivation is intrinsic and drives learner behavior.
Applied to course design: Consistent and user-friendly course format; state clear objectives so learner can feel sense of achievement, reduce confusion so students can focus on the essentials.
3) Path-Goal Theory
In this theory, the teacher develops a user-friendly course that provides a path to success. The teacher provides student support and creates opportunities for the student to participate with meaningful content that encourages the student to persevere.
Applied to course design: Provide clear instructions; create a blueprint for students to follow to achieve success.
Read the full article here: http://ow.ly/vyDs5
Monday, February 24th, 2014
Technology; most of us have a love/hate relationship with it. But wouldn’t it be great if we had a love/love relationship with technology? Specifically, love for an online course we might take or even develop. Karla Gutierrez of SHIFT’s eLearning Blog recently posted an article titled: Bridging the Gap Between Human Learners and eLearning Technology. Gutierrez pointed to 4 “human factors” to consider when designing an online class. Also, as students, we intrinsically want these factors to be present.
I’ve pulled some excerpts from Gutierrez’s article. Just reading about human centered design made me feel more at ease.
1) The human brain prefers to recognize, not recall. Learners should not have to spend more time trying to remember how to navigate from one page to another, than they do engaging in learning the material.
2) The human brain likes chunking by seven. Requiring learners to grasp too many concepts at one time can cause them to “drop” that information.
3) The human brain likes to organize information.The proper placement of information can help learners recall knowledge when they need it.
4) The human brain likes patterns. Use consistent screen design.
The U.S. government has a website about user experience design principles called: http://www.usability.gov
Here is a link to a section called User Experience Basics: http://www.usability.gov/what-and-why/user-experience.html
Read the entire article here: http://goo.gl/MVvsLt
Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
What are some effective teaching behaviors that we can incorporate into our classes for learners of all types? A post from the “Tomorrow’s Professor” mailing list, sponsored by the Stanford Center for Teaching and Learning, discussed eight behaviors to consider. The behaviors that particularly intrigued me were:
“Teach for Understanding Rather Than Exposure”: determine the “big ideas” behind the class
“Explicit Instruction”: Tell students what they are going to learn, the rationale for learning the material, and how new material relates to what they already learned.
“Scaffolded Instruction”: The three stages of scaffolded instruction are: 1) Students watch the teacher perform a task; 2) teacher and student do the task together; 3) student does it alone.
“Errorless Learning”: Present the material using smaller steps so that students can achieve success without errors.
You can read the full article here.
Thursday, January 9th, 2014
The flipped classroom has been all over education news for the past few years, but a recent study presents a new finding on flipping the classroom.
In the current model of a flipped classroom, students read or watch videos about a topic and then apply what they learned to solve problems or complete projects. A new study from the Stanford Graduate School of Education says that we might just have that backwards. In this study of graduate and undergraduate students, half the students first read about the neuroscience of vision, while the other half first used a simulation tool to manipulate and explore neural networks. Then, each group of students did the other task. At the end, the students took a test and researchers found at 25-percent increase in performance in those who had the opportunity for exploration first.
Paulo Blikstein, one of the study authors, says, “”We are showing that exploration, inquiry and problem solving are not just ‘nice to have’ things in classrooms. They are powerful learning mechanisms that increase performance by every measure we have.”
What do you think? Have you ever considered starting a class with some open-ended exploration? How did it work?
Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
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Wednesday, October 16th, 2013
Recently, the Shift eLearning Blog had a post entitled “Understanding People is the Most Important Thing in eLearning Design.”
I think that many of their tips can be applied to both online and face-to-face environments. Below are a few of my take-aways, but the full post is linked above if you’d like to click over to it.
Their first principle is: people like people. They suggest that in designing e-learning, you should incorporate images or videos of people to make the lesson more engaging. I think whenever possible, we should go further and try to provide opportunities for people to interact with each other. When I think about the last class or conference I attended, one of my favorites aspects is talking with others about new techniques or ways to solve problems. You might add discussion or polls to your classes to take advantage of this principle.
Secondly, people like stories. This is probably not a surprise if you reflect on presenters you’ve seen – it always seems more memorable if they’ve used a story to illustrate an important idea. Can you create a realistic scenario or recall a story to make the message stick in your classes? Maybe you have a story about a time research changed a diagnosis or treatment decision? Consider adding stories like these to your classes to make the content of the class easier to understand or recall.
Shift also states that people like both organization and surprises. At first, this might seem a bit contradictory. The overall course should have a clear and logical flow, but an occasional surprise can be fun and really help information to stick. Like a plot twist in a great novel, a surprise can re-engage the learner and show a novel way to look at the information, especially if it’s something they may have encountered previously. Thinking about something you often teach, how can you incorporate something unexpected?
Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
I said it just the other day…Sorry, I didn’t catch what you said, I was multitasking. Well, I guess I wasn’t doing a very good job of it, or else I would have heard what the other person said. And now, after testing my multitasking skills [http://stephanieevergreen.com/your-brain-on-slideshows/], I am here to report that there will be no more multitasking for me. The test was an eye opener. I highly recommend it.
Also, take a look at the April 13, 2013 Time magazine article titled: Don’t Multitask: Your Brain Will Thank You [http://business.time.com/2013/04/17/dont-multitask-your-brain-will-thank-you]
Thursday, April 25th, 2013
What does it mean to be a “networked student” in today’s learning environment? How can students use technology to connect with others? Watch this fun video (5 minutes 10 seconds) to follow along with a student as he builds his knowledge base through tools like Google Scholar, social bookmarking, blog posts, RSS readers, podcasts, and video conferencing with experts around the world. Along the way he must evaluate the information he finds and then share his “virtual textbook” with others.
(Thanks to Jessi Van Der Volgen for pointing out this video).