(While I try to speak without bias, I should note that I have a Western Mind model and come from the Euro-American cultural background. I welcome any comments to discuss these ideas in greater depth as I find this topic very fascinating and relevant to what we need to be discussing in this day and age. The more perspectives we can gain from others the more we learn about their culture and our own biases.)
As an instructional designer, familiarity with how to make learning material (in whatever modality) reach as many students as necessary and possible in ways they can comprehend is essential. In this pursuit, we focus on topics such as accessibility, universal design for learning (UDL), and inclusion. However, in addition to those, I have been exploring an area that could use more data—the integration of cultural understanding in learning design.
Continue reading “A Melting Pot of Learning”
We’ve all done it. A new tool gets introduced, and we find several ways it can be applicable to the lessons we teach all in the pursuit of making sure the ways we present information to our students are relevant, interesting, efficient, and current. But is this actually helpful? Do our students get a better experience when we introduce the latest programs, software, and technologies?
Continue reading “How Much Is Too Much?: A Look at Tool Use in an Online Course”
In the current day and age of learning, we find a lot of variability in how we develop and provide learning environments. Many individuals have had to rethink their teaching and learning atmospheres to accommodate societal changes. In all of those alterations, the need for assessment is one of the primary components of any learning environment that needs to be addressed. But with the consistency found in needing assessment, we still need to think through what activities and evaluations fit best with the curriculum, learners, and modality. So how do we make that decision?
Continue reading “The Brains Behind Assessment”
Many conversations addressing education lately have returned to the way various designers, instructors, learners, and stakeholders define a particular modality and its effectiveness. Some individuals focus on a modality’s apparent constraints instead of its affordances as an excuse to do less or remain stagnant, while others view the very same limitations in addition to the modalities strengths as a way to explore more options for how to reach learning goals in a new way.
Continue reading “Limited by Modality”
With the continuing growth of online learning in the past few decades, one significant argument against it has been the perceived loss of non-verbal communication and human relationships within the course. Instructors new to the modality often believe that the online delivery format is less interactive than face-to-face, and therefore assume it’s harder (if even possible) to get to know the other participants. Some university instructors even hesitate to teach online because they feel there is a lack of connection and communication, which then creates more room for misinterpretation, negative reviews of the experience, or even failure for some students. Today, I’d like to share the data behind this topic and help to point to the fact that this is not as worrisome as these instructors assume.
Continue reading “But what about nonverbal communication?—A look at interactions online”
There is a spectrum of opinion about online learning, inclusive of two polar opposite sides in the discussion: it’s either new and exciting and every course should be online, or it is a scary new technology that destroys the personal communication essential for a “good class.” As I consider this debate, something that both groups should realize is that it’s easy to fall into the trap of defining instruction through the use of a tool, rather than realizing there is an inherent separation between the instruction and the tool. Today I’ll explore the differences and how this separation impacts our design.
Continue reading “Looking Through a Learning Tool”
As someone with a recent background of scholarly writing, I had to overcome my unconscious assumptions that scholarly meant minimal “fun” or “play-based” interactions. After a few psychology and technology courses, I realized there was a smaller divide than I originally assumed. I spent a lot of time trying to find ways to investigate and discuss learning and cognition theories to fulfill my course requirements, but for a long time ignored the obvious truths behind why I wanted to study learning in the first place—witnessing learning either intentionally or unintentionally in various forms of play.
Continue reading “Playful Course Design”
Life is full of transitions. Usually they involve an alteration in the people around you, the environment, or both. Looking at this phenomenon through an instructional design lens, we can observe two things:
Continue reading “Acknowledging the Transition”