Learning Circuits Blog Big Question: E-Learning

Posted by gminks in big question | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Learning Circuits Blog Big Question for October is about E-Learning, specifically:

What advice would you give to someone new to the field (of E-Learning). Where do you start?

  • Particular tools you should explore?
  • Resources you should read? Videos/screencasts you should watch?
  • What would your To Learn List look like?

I’m a current grad student in the Instructional Systems program at Florida State University. I can’t bash my program, because it’s great. ­čÖé

I also create E-Learning as a technical course developer at EMC. My list will include the things I have learned on the job as well as in my studies:

  1. Learn and practice a systems-based approach to education (work and school)
    This involves needs analysis of your audience, determining the best method of delivery, knowing how to identify learning objectives, making instruction that enables the learner to “do” whatever it is you are teaching, having a feedback loop so instruction can be updated as needed.
    Where I work, the course developers are expected to be SMEs on the technology for which they write instruction. We have a pretty good system in place for creating very solid technical instruction that meets the needs of our audiences.
    I was so impressed when I started grad school at how “by the book” (literally!) our organization is about creating instruction. The course I am taking this semester is actually like a course we developed for new developers (I wish I could have tested out of this one!!). My classes also have me studying the learning theories in depth, so I am getting a very rounded view of the field.
  2. Understand how to use tools (work)
    We use Saba, Centra, Articulate, image capturing software, image creating software (and have someone who can create nice images, especially  for people like me who are challenged in the making of nice images!), etc.
    For my job, we also have to understand how our software and hardware works and how to make labs available to audiences all over the world. We are starting to use VMware ALOT!!
    I am taking a class next semester that focuses on using Flash for building courses – so hopefully I am going to pick up some awesome new skills!
  3. Learn collaborative online learning theories (school)
    I had a great class about Computer Supported Collaborative Learning last semester. As much as I hate to admit it, I learned a lot from that class. We used tools like Diigo, wikis, Google Docs, and concept maps to collaboratively construct a class. Although some of these tools wouldn’t work in a corporate environment, there are concepts from the class I am trying to incorporate into the courses for which I am responsible.
  4. Use Collaborative “Web 2.0” tools (school, sort of)
    This is the place I am having the hardest time getting real experience. My school is starting to teach some of these concepts. At work, we’re starting to talk about how to use Learning 2.0 technologies to promote collaborative learning.
    My undergraduate degree is Information Studies, so I have a bit of training in thinking about how information flows, and how to use technology to enable information seeking behavior between groups.  I think this sort of background helps me understand how social media can be used to build and promote collaborative learning environments.

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