Selecting Distance Learning Technologies

If working for a company such as a major corporation that purchased automated software to integrate between six regional offices where the staff is located throughout and unable to meet at the same time or location I first want to make sure the material that needed to be covered in the training was outlined and what technology they had in mind first for the automated system to work such as are there classrooms that have technology in them at each location or is this disseminate materials to everyone and they collaborate based off the materials. This would let me know how communication is going to take place. In distance education, it is imperative that educators think about how communication will occur and how to apply experiences that will promote effective and efficient learning (Simonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek, 2015).

Then I would ensure that the different locations had access to Web 2.0 tools. These tools would include a document sharing location where they could upload screen shares or videos as well as a communications tool such as a wiki where threads could be started based off the topics and people could collaborate based off what is needed. I would also create modules that would contain the information in handouts that would be required for each part of the training.

By creating these modules and giving the employees access to these different tools they would be able to load files so each other could view them and collaborate on specific objectives or topics that are important. An example of one way a document sharing can be used is at the college where I work. They use a document sharing location for each department. This location allows them to upload files that can be shared by their offsite campus location. These files are video files for people to watch over how to do specific tasks, documentation to follow on what they do in their specific jobs as well as policies so they always have access to the most up to date version.

Another use of tools is used by CORT business solutions. This company is using wikis and blogs to help foster internal collaboration across different departments and to manage the workflow for its e-commerce site, which rents out home and office furniture and helps companies relocate employees to new locations (Lynch, 2007). This would be one of the ways I would propose to use wikis for this scenario.

References

Lynch, C. (2007, May 24). How One Company Is Using Wikis and Blogs to Unclog E-mail Boxes. Retrieved from CIO: How One Company Is Using Wikis and Blogs to Unclog E-mail Boxes

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education (6th ed.) Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

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Distance Learning

When starting this course I felt I had a pretty good understanding of distance learning. This is partially due to working in Distance Education at a university I used to work. I would have to say my initial definition is right on with what the book states except of the interactive telecommunication aspects. This was due to taking correspondence courses in the past. And also being familiar with location in where distance learning is used through TV and radio broadcasts.

Distance learning is something that will always be changing. According to Simsonson, Smaldino, & Zvacek distance education is defined as institutional-based, formal education where the learning group is separated, and where interactive telecommunication systems are used to connect learners, resources, and instructors. This definition has changed through time and will continue to change in the future. This is due to the changes that take place in our society. Years ago before technology was advanced as it is today distance learning was conducted by correspondence courses. These were courses you got in the mail finished then sent back in using the mail. When I first signed up to do these types of courses I remember the excitement of being told I was participating in distance learning. Now looking back it is nothing compared to what is offered today or what will come as times change and new advances in society become available.

Since in today’s world it seems that the changes are driven by technological change, this will be what causes advancements. I would have to say that the types of changes that will happen in the near future will be based off of technological upgrades and by people in Instructional Design working with technology. These individuals I believe will be the ones spearheading the changes that will come.

I have to say that my definition of distance learning is any type of learning that takes place without the person teaching being in the same location as the students and involves technology. I work with classes on regular bases that are connected by teleconference units. These classes meet both synchronous and also have videos that are recorded and can be played asynchronous. The fact that the students are in different location than the instructor is what I feel distance learning is and starts in explanation.

Since distance learning is always going to be advancing and the definition always changing it is important to remember that regardless of what a current definition is that as an Instructional Designer we are doing what we can to ensure the content we design is of quality, meets the standards we are asked to accomplish, and that it is able to be used through what ever new means is developed.

References

Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Teaching and learning at a distance: Foundations of distance education

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Fitting the Pieces Together

Taking this course has given me a deeper understanding of different learning theories and learning styles. With having a deeper understanding of the different learning theories and learning styles I would have to say that I now know that how I learn encompasses a lot more than I had previous thought. I know understand that I am more of a constructivist learner. The main thing I think that helps me learn is when I can relate the information to things that have meaning to me. I am always trying to figure out how to relate new things I learn to things I already have prior knowledge on but never realized before that this is actually related to a learning theory and style. Prior to taking this course and finding out about different learning theories and styles I thought that when people talked about these points they were talking about being a visual, auditory, or hands on learner and that these were the different learning styles. Since I have read about the different learning theories and styles I now understand that there is a lot of information that I had not known about when it came to classification of these areas.

When it comes to learning I not only like to relate things to prior knowledge but also like to work in groups. I also like to investigate certain things and find out more information about topics that to see find out how I can use that knowledge in my day to day life or in my current position at work. I also like to use online resources when doing this investigation. When doing this investigation I work with technology to a lot. When using technology I do internet searches, reach out to people whom I have networked with that are in the same field as me and also communication with co-workers.

Finding out more information about the different learning theories and learning styles has helped me know to have a better understanding of how people learn and can be used when I am teaching or when I get to a position where I can use instructional design and develop curriculum. This knowledge will help me be able to meet the needs of the learners that I am teaching and designing for and help me to ensure their success of mastering the concepts being taught.

Connectivism Reflection

Learning is an important part of everyday life. When it comes to learning part of the answer is have people who you can learn from and be able to ask question of. These people can be found by networking. Networking is an important thing especially when it comes to learning. Networking is now easier with the use of technology. With the aid of technology I know have several different types of connections that I am able to rely on, that I would not have without it, when it comes to learning. These connections are nice when it comes to learning new things and when it comes to figuring out problems that I encounter whether they be of a technical aspect or something that arises in everyday life or my job.

My networking consists of people that I come in contact with through work and classes and technology based sites. The technology of today has allowed me to expand my networks to sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. It has also allowed me to take online classes and be able to connect with people throughout the world that are also taking classes I am in. These sites have given me connection to people and companies that I never would have known if not for friends of friends and the ability to conduct searches of these sites looking for people and corporations that have common interests.

When it comes to learning ways I can do this is by being able to see things that people post that I might not know I can also ask questions and easily have those questions go out to multiple people who could give me an answer. The site linked in has allowed me to connect to Cisco Systems which was able to help me greatly in learning when in my undergrad and taking course on Cisco. These connections allowed me to ask questions and be able to get responses from people who knew the software. They were also able to give me advice that made understanding the work easier.

Evaluating and Identifying Online Resources

When it comes to the brain and learning it is very interesting to learn how the brain works and how complex it is. The way the brain works is something that amazes me. When doing research related to learning processes I discovered an article that relates to different things that the brain needs to be able to function. In order to function at full capacity the brain needs change and breaks, a relaxed atmosphere (no stress), with fun and laughter, challenge and motivation, fresh air, plenty of oxygen and movement, music, good diet and sleep, and water (Laboria, 2013). Without spending time to ensure all of these basic needs are met the brain is not able to learn to its full potential. As an Instructional Designer these are things that we need to take into count when we are training people and when we are designing curriculum to ensure that ample needs for the learners can be met to get the best possible learning environment possible.

Another topic I researched was problem solving and how it is related to learning processes. Problem solving is a skill and task that we all use in everyday life. Since we are always running into situations that arise problem solving is an important aspect to learning. When working with problem solving it is important to understand the underlying skill sets that problem solvers need to apply, a detailed understanding of the conception of the problem, how it drives the interactions, and how it places specific demands on the problem solver would be helpful (Greiff, Holt, & Funke, 2013). These skill sets are found in everyone and differ in everyone based on the knowledge that they have. This knowledge can be increased and developed based off learning that takes place when new problems arise and methods to solve them have been accomplished.

Both of these references contain important information about the learning processes and aspects of that process. Whether its understanding what is needed by the brain for it to function at full capacity or when looking at how problem solving works and what is needed for it to take place. The information I found here I feel has been very valuable to me when looking at it from an Instructional Designer aspect in allowing me to develop curriculum and train colleagues.

References

Greiff, S., Holt, D. V., & Funke, J. (2013). Perspectives on Problem Solving in Educational Assessment: Analytical, Interactive, and Collaborative Problem Solving. Journal Of Problem Solving, 5(2), 71-91. doi:10.7771/1932-6246.1153

Laboria, G. Brain-Based Learning–Revisited., retrieved from http://www.apac.es/publications/documents/geraldine.pdf, November 22, 2013

Instructional Design Blog

This is my first blog and being used to technology I figured this would be extremely easy but found out this is actually difficult for me. I visited many different blog sites before I realized I needed to narrow down my search. I decided to narrow down my search to blogs that pertained to what I do in my current positions and in the position that I hope to obtain once I have finished this degree.

The first site I chose was a site that involves both technology and teaching. This blog site is http://www.iddblog.org/

This site talks about a few of the different teaching styles that teachers use. The other thing it talks about are different student learning aspects. I think it is important when talking about learning methods to recognize some of the different approaches that are taken and reactions to them. It also has posts that are technology based.The thing that made this one interesting to me is that I work in a technology department for a college, am an adjunct professor, and since I am a student I can relate to some of the things posted here.

The second site I chose is http://www.upsidelearning.com/blog/index.php/2010/05/20/30-top-online-resources-for-instructional-designers-to-keep-up/

This site was chosen due to the information it contains about instructional design. I found it interesting that it talks about how instructional design is changing where as many of the other sites I visited just talked about what instructional design was. It also contains links at the bottom to other sites of the different technological aspects that an instructional designer should be aware of.

The next blog site is http://blog.blackboard.com/ensuring-student-success-through-best-practices-in-instructional-design/

I chose this site due to it talking about knowing your audience and being able to develop content that will help students. It talks about doing this with online learning which I find good due to this degree having an emphasis in online learning. I also like the fact it talks about different generations when it discusses audiences so it relates to learning methods in that aspect.