In my last post I talked about the learning environments (LEs) we as developers create for students, and the Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) students create to situate themselves so that they can master the course objectives. In this post I want to explore the instructor’s role in helping students get over barriers they have to meeting course objectives, and if this role is still critical to eLearning.
Instructional designers provide course prerequisites and course objectives. They they create course LEs based on this information.
Learners come into a course with barriers to learning. Some examples of barriers to learning are:
- Not meeting the course prerequisites
- Not wanting to be in the course (attitude)
- Thinking the course was going to cover something it won’t cover
- Not devoting their full attention to the course (we get this alot — field personnel who get customer calls during class. Guess what takes precedence..)
- A disability
- A language barrier
- Personality conflicts (don’t like the instructor, don’t like the other students in the class…)
Good instructors try to identify these barriers right away, and compensate for them during the course. They may slow the course pace if the students don’t have the prerequisite knowledge, they may try to provide the information the learner thought they would learn, they may try to make accommodations for any disabilities. I think a good instructor tries to knock down any barriers a student has as low as they can go so the student can construct their own PLE and master the learning objectives.
Most of the instructors (and course developers) at EMC have their Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) certification. To get this certification you must prove your ability to put students first so they are able to master course objectives.
My new question is: what happens if you move a course that was formally 100% instructor-led to eLearning? This is actually an important question, since travel is being restricted. People can’t travel to training, more requests are coming in for eLearning. Here are some questions I have:
- If you make the courses completely asynchronous, who does the work of helping lower the students’ barriers to learning?
- If you do synchronous eLearning, are the LEs designed differently? Do instructors need to do things differently to help students navigate their learning barriers?
- Can you simply port courses designed for instructor-led learning to an eLearning environment? Are there best practices for converting these courses for eLearning, or do the courses need to be redesigned from scratch?
I would love to hear from other people who are facing this same situation. I’d also like to hear from anyone who has taken the CTT for the Virtual Classroom Trainer exam.