Engage your Learners with Interactive Video

“In addition to enhancing learning, video can also reduce training time. It’s easier and takes less time to watch a well-made video than it does to read through pages of dense text or complicated diagrams to grasp a concept.”

Andy Cole (Via Brainshark; originally included in The Benefits of Video in eLearning)

Mobile Video
Via Pexels.

In my last post, we explored some benefits of using scenarios in eLearning. Today, we will examine the value of learning with interactive videos using PlayPosit. If you’re not familiar with PlayPosit, it’s an online environment used to create and share interactive video lessons.

PlayPosit Logo
via PlayPosit.

According to Raptivity (2015), interaction occurs in an interactive video when “the learner is shown a video that pauses at set intervals to reveal either additional information or questions to test knowledge. It actively involves learners during a video and gives them feedback whenever required.”

Our team had the opportunity to create an interactive video for an eLearning module we developed for a presentation at the 2017 Michigan OER Summit. Our module used open educational resources (OER) to help learners discover the importance of APA style and how to apply it to their writing.

We used PlayPosit to build an interactive video. A library had shared the original video about APA Style under a Creative Commons (CC) License. The content was fantastic and covered the criteria that we planned to examine in our module. As a result, we were able to create the questions that we wanted to infuse in the PlayPosit to test learner’s knowledge.

Screenshot of one of our interactive questions created with PlayPosit.

After the video showed pertinent information about APA, the video prompted learners to pause and answer a question to test their knowledge.

Interactive Video and Learning Theory

Interactive video learning is anchored in two learning theories: Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) and vicarious learning. SCT is the foundation of interactive video learning and the basis of situated learning, which is where scenario based learning comes from. Vicarious learning means we observe a skill or watch information and then we have a chance to test our knowledge or apply the skill that we’ve learned.

As professionals committed to helping others learn, we want our learners to feel engaged with the content presented to them. We hope that learners will discover the need, value, and relevance of what they learn and then apply it to their lives.

These ideas are the focus of Malcolm Knowles’ Adult Learning Theory, which we applied in the eLearning example about interactive video. The following andragogic principles are also present in our example:

  • Learners have the opportunity to absorb information in the context of figuring out a problem.
  • Learners are immersed in activities that enable them to tie the subject matter to the application.

The benefits to using interactive video for learning, especially in higher education, include:

  • It facilitates active learning.
  • It engages by grabbing and retaining the learner’s attention.
  • It more clearly displays complex subject matter.
  • It supplies learners with immediate feedback.
  • It easily presents simulations.
  • It’s easier for learners to identify and discuss gaps/problems with peers.

Based on these advantages, it’s clearly valuable to use interactive video for learning.

Interactive Video Using PlayPosit

As an educator, you can sign up and take advantage of PlayPosit’s free options including Multiple Choice and Pause and Play. Here are a few ways that you can get started with interactive videos for learning:

  • Turn an existing static PowerPoint into an engaging narration. The narration can then be turned into an interactive video.
  • Search the Public Domain and OER repositories for content your learners need to know. Look for content with a CCO license, which allows you to modify the content.

PlayPosit is a great tool for creating your first interactive video. Why not give it a try?

Are you a learning theory addict? Do you use interactive videos in your eLearning? Have you ever used PlayPosit to engage your learners? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below.

References

Cournoyer, B. (2017). 12 quotes on why video works for eLearning. Brainshark.

Creative Commons. (2017). “No Rights Reserved”. [online] Available at: https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/

Culatta, R. (2015). Situated Learning (J. Lave). Instructional Design.org

PlayPosit. (2017). highered. [online] Available at: https://www.playposit.com/learn/highered

Learning by watching: Social cognitive theory and vicarious learning. (2015). [Blog] Origin Learning. Available at: http://www.elearninglearning.com/learning-theory/interactive/?open-article-id=3359362&article-title=learning-by-watching–social-cognitive-theory-and-vicarious-learning&blog-domain=originlearning.com&blog-title=origin-learning

Pappas, C. (2017). The Adult Learning Theory – Andragogy – of Malcolm Knowles. [online] eLearning Industry. Available at: https://elearningindustry.com/the-adult-learning-theory-andragogy-of-malcolm-knowles

What is OER? (2017). [Blog] Education Week. Available at: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/03/29/what-is-oer-5-questions-about-open-oer.html

Apply Game Design Principles to Your Courses

Earlier, you heard from Michelle about the lessons she took from the world of broadcasting and applied to Instructional Design. Today, we’re going to discuss lessons that can be learned from a field adjacent to Instructional Design—game design.

While significant research surrounds adding gamification elements to eLearning courses, implementing it means devoting a large amount of resources. What then, can we learn if we look at it from the flip side? What fundamental game design principles translate to Instructional Design? Continue reading “Apply Game Design Principles to Your Courses”

Who is Your Audience?

Instructional designers agree on one fundamental concept of course design: you must know your audience. This article focuses on an emerging audience and proposes a not-so-new strategy for designing eLearning that works for it.

Audience_082417
This royalty free image comes from pexels.com.

WHAT WE KNOW
Today, we consult a large body of research dedicated to the design of online learning. We have come to know this audience of learners fairly well—including three distinct subgroups: K-12, adults working full-time, and post bachelor students. Research consistently points to interactivity and student engagement as key components for successful online learning—and instructional designers get that. A 2007 article states:

The success of an online course depends greatly on how actively engaged students are with the instructor, with their classmates, with the content, with technology, and with course management tools. (Mingsheng Dai, Online Cl@ssroom).

Businesses hire instructional designers to develop onboard training and incremental training that features libraries of topics designed to help employees do their jobs well. According to one eLearning blogger, for eLearning to be effective with an audience of employees, it has to “look and sound great,” “be real,” and “flexible.” (Young, Meghan, July 29, 2013, eLearning Industry).

Leaders recognize that eLearning has found momentum and led to an increase in material learned, retention rates, revenue, and savings. (Karla Gutierrez, 2016, April 7, SH!FT). Course designers have tailored eLearning to the student and employee audiences at a 900% growth rate since 2000. Are you ready to meet the needs of an even newer audience?

WHAT’S EMERGING
Early in 2017, Julie and Kenneth Kendall, Rutgers University, published an article stating that more and more executives are “being groomed to serve as organizational leaders.” Their study shows that executives make up a slightly different audience from the learner/employee audience that we see featured in most eLearning research. (p. 62). Now, the Kendalls are calling for a new kind of online learning, one that reaches an “executive” audience. These folks are seasoned professionals, rising to leadership roles in corporations, and have had success in their companies, with loads of real-life experience. Sounds like a new twist on what we understand the “learner” to be.

THEY HAVE STORIES TO TELL
Taking what we already know about eLearning design and tailoring it to an executive audience, the Kendalls discover from their research that executives engage well with story. They have stories to tell. They know the ins and outs of how the business runs. They know how to set company standards, and can give you a list of best practices from memory (and experience).

The Kendalls propose incorporating storytelling to innovatively enhance executive education. By addressing the following elements in every great story, learners can engage by telling their own stories, while others discover new learning or validate their own experiences.

  • The call to adventure
  • The quest
  • The struggle
  • The transformation
  • The resolution
  • The moral
  • The epilogue

By now you’re thinking: storytelling is nothing new! But incorporating story as a method/strategy for course design to reach professionals who have valuable experience strikes me as innovative and fresh. Kudos to the Kendalls for featuring this emerging audience and finding a strategy that works!

Can you even imagine what could be accomplished with story? I’m going to spend some time figuring that out. Be sure to come back here for more!

Have you been looking for a way to make executive education work for your client? Have you discovered strategies that work well? Do you expect to be designing executive education in the future? I’d love some feedback.

author-gwen

References:

Dai, Mingsheng (2007, December). 10 ways to engage students in an online course. Online Cl@ssroom, Retrieved from https://www.hartnell.edu/sites/default/files/llark/online_classroom_newsletter.pdf

Gutierrez, K. (2016 April). Facts and stats that reveal the power of eLearning [Infographic]. Retrieved from http://info.shiftelearning.com/blog/bid/301248/15-facts-and-stats-that-reveal-the-power-of-elearning

Kendall, J. E. & Kendall, K. E. (2017). Enhancing online executive education using storytelling: An approach to strengthening online social presence. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 15, 62-81.

Young, Meghan (2013, July). E-learning and employee onboarding: Designing the right blend from start to finish. eLearning Industry, Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/e-learning-and-employee-onboarding-designing-the-right-blend-from-start-to-finish

Instructional Design Team to the Rescue!

Have you noticed the dark cloud in the corner of your office? That agent of doom that keeps saying: “blended instruction is just a phase,” “you don’t have time and resources to get started with blended,” or “what’s the big deal about blended anyway?”

 

Comic-Kapow

You are a professornot an agent of doom.

You care about your students and want the very best learning experiences for them. Why then do you listen to that dark cloud’s pessimism and remain immovable?

Shannon Tipton, in her article, “Go Make Something Happen,” explains that we don’t get started on something new (like blended instruction) because “…we are scaredy cats.” She insists we hold back for these reasons:

  • We are scared of failure. Scared of looking bad. Scared of losing credibility.
  • We don’t know where to start.
  • We are overwhelmed.
  • We don’t like the topic.

Do you see yourself in that picture? If so, you can move out of the dark cloud and get started with an instructional design team—a rescue squad equipped to take the scary out of the project.

Reach out to your instructional design team.

Join with other minds to brainstorm, identify problems that need solutions, and share perspectives from a variety of angles. Working with a team does not mean that you are placing the learning of your students into someone else’s hands. It truly takes a team to create a successful blended course.

Say goodbye to the dark cloud in the corner and start increasing learning value for your students. Stop letting fear keep you back from providing blended instruction, and start a conversation with us!

  • Don’t be scared. We will help you look good.
  • Together, we’ll determine the best place to start.
  • Let us do some of the heavy lifting.
  • We focus on learning. We don’t want you to lose those game-winning home runs.

Together, we will find a way through the blended maze. 

Bang Public Domain File

References

Tipton, S. (January, 2016). Go make something happen. https://learningrebels.com/2016/01/31/go-make-something-happen/

Image credits: adapted from images used with permission (creative commons; public domain.

author-gary

 

Three Ways to Become Student-Centered

Our eLearning Team is moving toward student-centered learning in our courses. This approach is often miles away from how the course existed in the past, or how the subject matter expert envisions the online course to be.

I have found three ways to help our team and SMEs move toward becoming student-centered in all of our course development projects.

First, provide onboard training for online/blended instructors. Next, build interaction into every course. And finally, establish and sustain teacher presence while facilitating the course.

1. Step into their shoes.

shoes_public-domain-pictures-1494403416XaB
Image used with a creative commons license.

At the conclusion of the faculty training course that I facilitate for my university, participants consistently express value gained from “being a student” in the course. This constructive approach to training creates a safe space for future instructors to experience the nitty-gritty challenges that their students will also face. This is what they tell me:

  • Initially they are faced with their own misconceptions about online education and are forced to make time management decisions during the first week of training.
  • They experience gratification that comes from timely instructor feedback and encouragement.
  • They discover asynchronous momentum that develops in the discussion forum, and begin to research, practice, and develop strategies to create and sustain this kind of phenomenon in their own courses.
  • They experience tools within the LMS for the first time, and recognize the value of a Wiki activity, a Reflection journal, and publishing a video reflection in the Blog.

Being a student helps them understand the reasons for decisions made in the course design, and highlights strategies they must employ for students to have a successful online experience.

2. Design interaction.

ARE YOU THERE
Created using Adobe Photoshop.

 

Researchers find that designing the course to include social presence is a sure way to become student-centered. Creating opportunities for interaction and communication among members leads the way for social presence, which Richardson and Swan (2003) describe as: “The degree to which a person is perceived as ‘real’ in mediated communication. (p 70).

Julie and Kenneth Kendall, from the School of Business-Camden at Rutgers University, believe that storytelling works well to enhance social presence in an online course. When designing an online or blended course, consider presenting a scenario, a story, or case study through video, audio, or text. Then, ask students to share their perceptions, and interact with one another over them.

The Kendall’s found that four highly valuable functions result from this type of interaction in an online course:

  • members get a feeling for what has happened (experiential),
  • the decisions made and consequences that follow are explained (explanatory),
  • concepts, policies and strategies are validated (validation), and members are guided to a preferred outcome leading to success (prescriptive). (Kendall & Kendall, p. 68).

When designing an online/blended course, be upfront about why you are student-centered and make every decision accordingly.

3. Work hard at communicating.

Adobe Spark(3)
Meme created using Adobe Spark; quote attributed to Roy Williams.

Lala Hajibayova, writes in “Student’s Viewpoint: What Constitutes Presence in an Online Classroom?” that the Community of Inquiry framework informs presence in a practical way by recognizing that both instructor and student contribute to learning. Three types of presence work together in the COI framework: cognitive presence, social presence, and teacher presence.

Hajibayova believes that teacher presence buoys both cognitive and social presence, holding all three together for a strong student-centered online environment. She discovered that students perceive teacher presence when they receive regular communication through varying channels. Think engagement in discussion forums, email messages, course announcements, timely feedback on assignments, and thoughtful responses to questions they have asked. (Hajibayova, p. 22).

It takes considerable time in the first week of a course to establish instructor presence. You will stay busy answering questions via email, posting announcements to clarify expectations, involving yourself in the first discussion forum to model the type of activity students will need to embrace. Once students can trust that you are there, you can ease off a bit and rely on key instructor functions built into the course, like grading, feedback, facilitating discussion, and interacting with students in the private journal. As one training participant in my course put it:

“Teaching online is not a weekend job.”

These are just three strategies for becoming student-centered when designing online and blended courses—of course there are many more!

Our team would like to hear from you – what strategies have you found to be successful, and why do you think they worked so well? Do you have a story to share about teacher presence? Interaction? Putting yourself in your student’s shoes? Leave a comment to start the conversation!

References

Hajibayova, L. (2016). Students’ viewpoint: What constitutes presence in an online classroom? Cataloging & Classification Quarterly, 55:(1), 12-25.

Kendall, J. E. & Kendall, K. E. (2017). Enhancing online executive education using storytelling: An approach to strengthening online presence. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 15(1), 62-81.

Richardson, J., & Swan, K. (2003). Examining social presence in online courses
in relation to students’ perceived learning and satisfaction. Journal of Asynchronous
Learning Networks, 7(1), 68–88.

author-gwen

Form an Online Connection: Part 2

This post is the second in a series titled, Form an Online Connection. Part 1 was published March 9, 2017. 

In my last post, Form an Online Connection, Part 1, you read about using your voice to connect with students. This time, the focus is on using your eyes. In a face-to-face course, students have the benefit of being in the same room with the instructor. This makes it possible to observe body language, vocal tone, and facial expressions. Valuable connections are made as the professor looks into each student’s eyes and allows them to return the gaze.

Open your eyes.

Bhat, Chinprutthiwond, and Perry (2015) hypothesized that videos allowing students to have eye contact with the instructor and to view non-verbal signals contribute to better student engagement in the online environment.

It’s true; direct eye contact can be very captivating. In the online speech course I teach, I post “coaching” videos to demonstrate certain speaking techniques. Not only does this allow me to model the expected behavior for my students, it gives me the opportunity to make one-on-one eye contact with each learner. Students are often quite apprehensive about giving speeches, so with my first video (posted below), I try to alleviate their fears, give them solid tips, and connect with them on a personal level.

Use a free tool.

Instructors may conveniently record from their webcam, phone, or another device. The recording can then be uploaded to YouTube and a link embedded in the course. In addition to appearing on camera, a professor may find value in sharing what is on their computer screen (think: documents, websites, images, PowerPoint slides). Screencast-o-Matic is free software that allows anyone to record up to 15-minutes of content.

HERE ARE A FEW TIPS ON WHAT TO DO AND HOW TO DO IT:

What kind of videos can you share with students? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

IDEA 1: Provide a brief review of the prior week’s learning.

  • Recap the highlights of the week by emphasizing key concepts.
  • Clarify topics with which students may have struggled.

IDEA 2: Model how students are to implement a particular concept and/or complete an assignment.

  • Visually demonstrate the steps students need to take in order to be successful.
  • Appear on camera, but also use screen-sharing software so you can illustrate with examples.
  • Record yourself doing the task. If it’s a speech class, give a speech. If it’s a math course, solve a problem.

The main thing to keep in mind is to appear relaxed and personable.

Look directly into the lens of the camera. While it may feel awkward to you, your students will perceive that you are looking into their eyes.

Smile and use good vocal variety. Speak as though you are having a one-on-one conversation.

Keep your recording short and sweet. If it’s too brief, students won’t see the value; if it’s too long, they will tune out.

Although personal interaction may seem easier in the traditional classroom than it does in cyberspace, a little creativity and planning can result in a valuable online connection between the instructor and student through the use of video.

References

Bhat, S., Chinprutthiwong, P., Perry, M., & International Educational Data Mining, S. (2015). Seeing the Instructor in Two Video Styles: Preferences and Patterns.

Boling, E., Hough, M., Krinsky, H., Saleem, H., & Stevens, M. (2012). Cutting the distance in distance education: Perspectives on what promotes positive, online learning experiences. The Internet And Higher Education, 15(Special issue of the American Educational Research Association’s online teaching and learning special interest group), 118-126. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2011.11.006

El Mansour, B., & Mupinga, D. M. (2007). Students’ Positive and Negative Experiences in Hybrid and Online Classes. College Student Journal, 41(1), 242-248.

Wolff-Hilliard, D. d., & Baethe, B. b. (2013). Using Digital and Audio Annotations to Reinvent Critical Feedback with Online Adult Students. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, 80(2), 40-44.

author-michelle

Visual Tools: Convert Your Content into a Format That Pops

Are you an instructor who’s thought, “I have all this content that my students need to know—why aren’t they getting it”? Have you considered converting that bland text into a format that pops? Let’s discuss why you should consider using visual tools to bring your information to life.

Why would you want to use a visual tool like an infographic? According to Educause, an “infographic” displays a lot of data and ideas with images from simple to complex in a visually appealing online format that can be interactive.

Converting your content requires the following steps:

  1. Start by analyzing your content to determine what format you are going to use. You want to make sure that it is meaningful and relevant to the topic at hand.
  2. Ask yourself: “what are the instructional objectives?” Are students required to remember facts and concepts to build a foundation so that they can later connect, elaborate, synthesize, and apply it to other information? This was my situation when I created the history infographic below. Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy is a useful tool for considering instructional objectives. Bannister (2002) also provides useful tools for Developing Objectives and Relating them to Assessment.
  3. Finally, what format will you convert the information into? Your answers to Question #2 will help you determine the format that you will use. An infographic is best to present facts and concepts; if you want to use embedded audio or video, an interactive presentation works better.

Two easy-to-use infographic tools are Emaze and Piktochart. You can sign up for a free account, but keep in mind that it only gives you access to certain templates. You can still create some cool visual presentations and interactions with the free templates.

Below, I’ve shared two examples that I created using these free tools. In the first example, I created an infographic using a Piktochart. In my Black Political Thought infographic, I asked learners to connect how black ideologies and politics shape current American events and culture.

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 10.49.55 AM

In the second example, I presented Great Peacemakers to the Trailblazers Toastmasters club. Rather than sharing handouts with globs of text, I used Emaze to create an interactive visual presentation to engage my audience throughout my presentation.

https://app.emaze.com/@AOCTQZWW/tnmj_tm8Powered by emaze

My audience gave me great feedback with meaningful Glows and Grows (a reflection and assessment strategy meant to improve presentations).

This time you might use an infographic or interactive visual; the next time you may want to transition your content into an eLearning activity. In my next post, I’ll discuss how to use PowerPoint to create an interactive scenario.

References

Bannister, S. (2002). Developing Objectives and Relating them to Assessment. The Center for Teaching and Learning.

7 Things You Should Know About Infographic Creation Tools | EDUCAUSE CONNECT (01 February 2013) by Educause_learning_initiative

author-tara