Learning about eLearning – EME 6414 week 2

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in eme6415 | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

I have to start by saying this: It’s hard for me to be in an eLearning course because of my technical skills. I realize that most people in my major have not created websites, administered servers and networks, etc. So I’m glad that my major has courses to get people who will be designing eLearning up to speed technically. But reading about “the wonder of TCP/IP” is so boring for me. There is no good way for me to skip those classes, since the Instructional Design part for eLearning is built into the class.

OK, enough whining, onto my review of this week’s materials.

This class so far has had lots of reading: two textbooks and links about Instructional Design. There are also podcasts of the Instructor explaining the readings. The one thing I am missing is the ability to interact with my classmates on a discussion board, via blogs, twitter SOMETHING. (darn you CCK08!!)

This week we started reading Advanced Web-Based Training Strategies: Unlocking Instructionally Sound Online Learning by Margaret Driscoll and Saul Carliner.

My instructor doesn’t think that a constructivist learning environment can be implemented; she is a behaviorist. This is probably why I am a little frustrated with the way the course has been designed: I am definitely a constructivist. I need to interact with others to pour over ideas I have read (or heard on a podcast) to try and make sense of them. I wonder what she would think about trying a connectivist approach!

This book is very interesting, it seems to me that the pragmatic approach the authors discuss is really a way of saying business needs are the most important part of instructional design. The first chapter is dismissive of the ideas of learning theory, instructional design, and educational research.

One thing I disagree with from a corporate perspective is the idea that a person’s philosophy on education will affect the way they design education. Really, the organization’s philosophy on education will dictate how an individual designs education. It is possible for your philosophy to differ from that of your organization.

Also I don’t think adult learners, especially the highly technical learners that we teach, expect to have instruction spoon-fed to them. In a technical training environment, you may have a learner who knows more about a subject than everyone else in the class. That person may just need a tech refresh (feature/functionality info), hands on training, or positioning information. They may need to know how a new product fits into an existing information management system. I can’t even imaging trying to spoon-feed information to some of our folks in the field, or even our customers for that matter.

I’ll spend time thinking about this, but what does a constructivist learning environment look like? What would a constructivist eLearning environment look like? How about learning and eLearning environments for the other types of learning theories?

5 Responses to Learning about eLearning – EME 6414 week 2

  1. Michael says:

    Great post, Gina.

    I agree with you that organizational forces, not the instructional designer’s individual philosophy, have a heavy influence on how learning is designed. I’m using the word “forces” instead of “philosophy” because corporate culture also plays an important role.

    The effectiveness of even the best corporate education philosophy is diminished if it is disconnected from the organization’s culture, values, work norms and so on. So, part of the trick is striking and maintaining a good balance between what’s practical and what’s effective.

  2. Deb Gallo says:

    Hi there,

    I think a person’s philosophy on education will always affect the way they design – even if it differs from the organization’s philosophy! Deep down you will still be guided by what you consider to be “effective adult learning”. The tricky part is when your philosophies clash with that of your ogranisation..that’s when you start producing work you don’t really feel a connection to..and the quality suffers…

    You may want to check out Schaverien’s (2007) work on Generative Theory of learning – she says that when people learn they generate ideas, test them for their value and keep those ideas that survive these tests – and she applies this well in an e-learning environment. Worth a look if you are interested in creating authentic online learning environments.

  3. Pingback: A Constructivist Approach | jennip's EDjourneys

  4. jennip says:

    Hi Gina

    I found your post very interesting. I am currently writing an online course for a university on Workplace Learning. I too am a constructivist learner and participated (in a limited fashion) in the CCK08 course.

    I am trying to design my online course so that the students do get to interact with each other (at least) and share their thoughts on the readings and to try and actively involve them in learning the material.

    An outline of what my course currently looks like is posted here…

    Note: The course is still under construction and subject to change!

  5. Pingback: Learning Enviroments I am dealing with this quarter | Adventures in Corporate Education

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