Certified in Online Learning Design

I am excited to jump onto a new path, one I have been wanting to get on since after completing my Masters in Communication and Technology in 2016. Although I took a few years off of digital projects (due to health issues) it became clear to me that I never stopped learning and discovered I am a dedicated self-directed learner who went on to advance my skills in new areas. In the past, my digital work was always geared towards marketing objectives and I lost complete interest in this work. Although I enjoyed and appreciated the majority of my clients work – their products and services, I just didn’t feel like I was reaching deep enough. Although I offer this (marketing) as a service, it’s important to understand that it’s a side effect of everything I do and so I cannot omit it from my life. Although I am happy to pair it with other work, It’s just not where I want to be focusing my energy from here on out. My goal now, is to align myself to the projects, clients, and potential employers who will find a shared kinship.

I have come to find myself almost an activist in regards to digital use and want to bring more awareness to the effects it has on our life. I have redirected how I use my digital skills, to build up important topics that matter to me, even if they don’t bring much money into my life at this time. This new direction, complete with my training in online learning, has given me fresh motivation to keep going down a digital career path. As I am always excited to learn, I will share blog posts about what I find important for online learners, and tips they can use to improve their own experiences. In addition to this, I will be building several courses of my own that will be available to purchase through my Etsy shop. The courses will range in topic but will come back to using digital technologies to produce products, as I have. Stay tuned for that.

I have a range of diverse skills and feel I’ve proven myself as a competent designer and idea person. I am now reaching out with the intent of finding others to work with. I am open to remote work only as my future trajectory is based on the nightmare of Canada’s housing market and means I cannot commit to a physical location. Fortunately, this means I am available to the global market, not just confining myself to Canada.

If you appreciate my work and find that our styles and visions align, please reach out to me. I would love to hear from you and any ideas you might have. I am open to working on a contract basis and will commit to an employer, in the elearning field. I can help clients design, develop and deliver their learning course. I can make sure your content is reaching the 8 different adult learning styles and is accessible to those with disabilities. I will use my building blocks to ensure the quality of learning content. Because I am just one person who wears many hats, my fees will reflect 25 years of schooling and professional experience. But I am open to negotiating, what will work best for both parties. To see a sample of a mini course I designed, please explore the Wellness in a Digital World course. It’s a free course I designed to help educate people on maintaining digital health and wellness. Also you can see my past design portfolio here.

Update of July 18: I am going to be traveling to Ontario and the Maritimes in the fall and will be unable to accept any work until probably late fall or early winter.

Online Learning Tips Infographic

As obvious as this may seem, it’s amazing how online learning material can still be so overwhelming. I created this very basic and simplistic infographic to drive the point home. As someone who experiences jumping text and eye rolling due to over stimulation through screen reading, I felt it was necessary to point this out. It’s generally a good idea to include a variety of learning mediums so that you can reach the different learning styles – as we all learn differently. Stay tuned for a post on the various learning styles.

Assessment & Feedback for Online Learning

Online learning assessment and feedback strategies are essential for successful learning outcomes. Assessments fall into three categories: 1. Assessment for learning – such as designing learning outcomes based on student knowledge, 2. Assessment as learning – the stage when students are engaging and active with the learning process and pulling from previous knowledge to build new knowledge and finally 3. Assessment of learning – a summative process that confirms what students have come to know and or do, and where they stand in relation to others by the end of the course.

Instructors and students can measure the learning progress and outcomes by monitoring, surveying and communicating. There are various methods of assessment used for formative (while learning) and summative (concluding) such as performance-based assessment (a real life task), that can overlap both areas. Feedback travels between peers and also between peer and instructor so that both learner and instructor can improve upon the quality of learning. For instance, a survey could capture the learner feedback about their mid way or final feedback in regards to their experience, and where improvements can be made.

Learning Management Systems (LMS) offer a variety of assessment tools such as multiple choice quizzes that are best used when testing static or technical information. LMS support the learners needs to interact with peers in forums, often provides a journal system, and social tools for sharing group and independent feedback. Effective feedback needs to follow principles that are descriptive, focused, limited, timely and peer contributed. Both peer and self assessment are effective factors for learning and are the backbone of a students learning outcomes.

Within the LMS instruction, ensure to incorporate 7 principles of assessment: 1. Support students with various needs, 2. match the learning curriculum and learning goals to match that of the interests and learning styles of all the students, 3. communication of important points are indicated at the start and throughout, 4. provide various types of assessment, 5. provided over time through multiple opportunities to reflect a full range of learning, 6. provide ongoing description feedback that is clear and timely for the means of meeting the final achievement, 7. foster students to self-assess their own learning, goals and next stages of learning (Government of Ontario, 2010).

References

Government of Ontario. (n.d.). Facilitator’s guide  – assessment for learning. http://www.edugains.ca/resourcesDI/D.I.%20Enhancement%20Package/Assessment%20for%20Learning/DI_Assessment_Gde_2009.pdf

 

The Building Blocks of Online Learning Design & Development

The following are items to be considered when designing and developing an online course for adult learners. Andragogy, founded by Malcolm Knowles, discovered the 5 assumptions of adult learners: self-concept, learner experience, readiness to learn, oriented to learning, motivated to learn. There is a lot that goes into online course development, it is not as simple as assembling information. From an academic perspective, it is a very thorough process that can involve an expert team to fulfill all the demands. I have synthesized a brief overview of what is involved when designing and developing online learning for adults. This is my best practices check list (is subject to change and grow) to ensure that key elements are present while also keeping future clients informed on decision making.

The below items can be blended and augmented however I feel the principles need strong attention. I have compiled this to simplify the academic standards for the outsider who will not know what is involved and why it is used. When choosing to design and develop a course, it’s important to begin with who the learner is and what approach to use – Andragogy (adult) or Pedagogy (child) as the two involve very different approaches. My work centres around adult learning.

Theories – understand the learner

  • Behaviouralist – learning through behavioural patterns by linking stimuli and response
  • Cognitivism – learning is internal and a result of processing and organizing new information
  • Connectivism – learning influenced through digital age technology based on accurately sourcing and accessing of information
  • Constructivist – knowledge is constructed by adapting new information based on previous experience
  • Experiential – learning through life experience, through observation and conceptualization
  • Transformative – learning through change which happens reflectively and holistically

Models – process of development

  • ADDIE – analyze, design, develop, implement, evaluate. A non-linear comprehensive model used by large organizations for company training
  • Backwards Design – setting goals first consisting of 3 stages: identify desired results, determine acceptable evidence, plan learning experiences and instruction. Good for story telling learning contexts and ESL learners
  • SAM – successive approximation model is designed for quick turn around focusing on progress over perfection, has 3 phases: preparation, iterative design, interactive development. Often used for training in IT sectors
  • 9 Events of Instruction – a linear model that predates the digital age but applies to current learning standards. Can be organized into 3 larger chunks: before, during and after the learning. See example here. Suitable for eclectic learning contexts

Principles – design enriched learning

  • Accessibility – universal design standards, cultural, ESL
  • Adult learning – involvement, experience, relevance, problem-centered
  • Assessment – performance-based, diagnostic, formative, summative
  • Content – chunked, clear, mini-module, flexible, varied media
  • Engagement – peer to content, peer to peer, peer to instructor
  • Learning Styles – individual, social, auditory, visual, concrete, abstract, logical, sensual
  • Motivation – self-directed, independent, intrinsic (personal), extrinsic (professional)

References

Bowen, R. (2017). Understanding by design. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/understanding-by-design/#template

Fairbanks, B. ( 2021, September 09). 5 educational learning theories and how to apply them. Phoenix Blog. https://www.phoenix.edu/blog/educational-learning-theories.html

Gore, E. (2022, January 4). The SAM (successive approximation model) approach to eLearning. https://elmlearning.com/blog/sam-successive-approximation-model-approach/

Gulbahar, Y., Alper, A. (2011). Learning preferences and learning styles of online adult learners. Education in A Technological World: Communicating Current and Emerging Research and Technological Efforts. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/266592841_Learning_Preferences_and_Learning_Styles_of_Online_Adult_Learners

Lin, J. (2020, July 5). Quickly implement eLearning from what you have: ADDIE model in practice. eLearning Industry. https://elearningindustry.com/implement-elearning-how-use-addie-instructional-design-model

Loveless, B. (2022, March 29). 15 Learning theories in education (a complete summary). Education Corner. https://www.educationcorner.com/learning-theories-in-education/

Pappas, C. (2013, May 9). The adult learning theory – andragogy – of Malcolm Knowles. eLearning Industry. https://elearningindustry.com/the-adult-learning-theory-andragogy-of-malcolm-knowles

University of Colorado Boulder. (n.d.). Office of the undergraduate education – backward design. https://www.colorado.edu/office-undergraduate-education/backward-design

YouTube Academy & Tips

YouTube Academy is 100% worth the time and energy if you are serious about your YouTube channel. I’m constantly amazed at how YouTube continues to grow into what I think is the most powerful platform on the Internet and it promotes a place of creativity, independence and excitement. There is also a reward in all of this, getting paid. Although getting paid is a huge benefit in running a channel, it shouldn’t be what brought you there to begin with. It starts with your passion and if you’re really tied into it, then the rest will follow. In order to become monetized you need to meet certain criteria first and it’s become harder as of recently. So ultimately it’s really best that you’re driven by your passion and not the money. As YouTube emphasizes over and over in their courses, just keep at it!

My tips for starting out:

  1. Understand your niche(s)
  2. Come up with a branding
  3. Create videos you are passionate about and be yourself
  4. Don’t produce offensive content (stick to community guidelines)
  5. Use proper meta data (titles, keywords, descriptions & thumbnails)
  6. Don’t mislead or spam viewers (including in meta data)
  7. Engage your viewers & ask them to subscribe
  8. Create an upload schedule, let your viewers know about it and stick to it
  9. Understand analytics and utilize it to steer your channel
  10. Use tools such as cards, playlists and sections to group content

Check out YouTube Academy here: https://creatoracademy.youtube.com/page/education