E-learning Curve Blog at Edublogs

E-learning Curve Blog is Michael Hanley's elearning blog about skills, knowledge, and organizational development using web-based training and technology in education

Entries Tagged as 'collaboration tools'

Streaming Media for E-Learning: A Primer

July 8, 2009 by Michael Hanley · 2 Comments · asynchronous, collaboration tools, content delivery, e-learning, elearning content, learning on demand, multiple channels, online learning, online presentation tool, synchronous, technology in education, web based training, web-based learning

I’m preparing a series of blog articles on the topic E-Learning Using Collaboration Platforms. In the series I will discuss:

  • Collaboration Platform Technology
  • Synchronous Delivery
  • Asynchronous Delivery
  • Overview of Products on the Market
  • Production Considerations
  • What works (and what doesn’t work)
  • The Online Instructor
  • Mentoring
  • Integrating Collaboration Solutions and Other E-Learning Channels

This is an area of technology in education that I’m especially interested in, so I’m really looking forward to bringing this set of blog posts to you here on the E-Learning Curve Blog. As the series is still under development, there’s an opportunity to request an article on an aspect of this topic that you might like to see covered: let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

In the meantime, I thought I’d give you a ‘heads up’ by discussing some of the fundamentals surrounding using collaboration solutions: streaming media.

Until about five years ago, Web-based audio and video – or digital – media was primarily a download-and-play technology. Users had to download an entire media file before it could be played back. If you’re over 30, you’ll  remember those postage stamp-sized video clips (usually in ASF or MOV format) that took forever to load over your dial-up connection (and were hardly worth the wait). Because digital media files are usually very large and take a long time to download, the only content found on the Web was short, low motion clips. Even these files could take 20 minutes or longer to download.

How video used to look – Marc J. Rosenberg discusses personalized learning
[Click to play video]

With the increasing availability of high-speed internet access, streaming digital media has YouTube_logobecome more prevalent. In the consumer market, this has led to the rise in popularity of  services like YouTube, and the current emergence of video-on-demand (VOD) solutions like Hulu, as well as ustream and for lifecasting and live video streaming of events online.

hulu_logo Streaming media works almost instantaneously: other than a short delay before the requested file starts to play, you don’t have to wait to start watching, no matter if the file lasts thirty seconds or thirty minutes in duration.

Broadly speaking, there are two way of delivering streaming digital media content over the ustreamlogoWeb. The first method uses a standard HTTP Web server to deliver the audio and video data  to a media player. The second approach uses a separate streaming media server designed specifically to stream digital media. Using a streaming server is more efficient and flexible, provides a better user experience, and is more secure than HTTP streaming.

Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, and I will begin to look at these tomorrow.

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Phases of the 3PD Approach: Discovering Instructional Design 15

June 16, 2009 by Michael Hanley · Comments Off · ADDIE, collaboration tools, constructivist learning, e-learning, elearning research and development, instructional design, ISD, Kirkpatrick, learning channel, learning outcomes, learning strategy, learning styles, modes of learning, online learning

The intent of the Three-Phase Development (3PD) Model was to provide a new focus for the end-to-end learning content and evaluation development process, especially for Web-based teaching and learning. As discussed yesterday, a central tenet of 3PD was that course creation could not be viewed as a short-term development process, but rather as a long-term collaborative process which would

generate and evolve into focused communities of practice with shared understanding and a philosophy of continuous improvement

(Sims & Jones, 2003 , p. 18) 

Three-Phase Design is configured to elicit learning content through a three-step process of developing functionality, evaluating, elaborating, and enhancing and maintaining materials, rather than the more traditional systems approach of analyze, design, develop, implement, evaluate. The approach also aims to align the "three essential competency sets" for courseware development – course design, subject matter exposition, and content production – in an integrated fashion rather than as a set of uncoordinated activities.

Rather than process driving development, it is the context of the educational components which determine the members of development teams in a targeted and effective manner. Ideally, these teams would remain for the duration of the project, potentially over a number of semesters.

(Sims, 2008 p.3)

To achieve this goal, 3PD specifies a series of "baselines" (2008 p.4) that align with implementation iterations – the first focusing on building functional and essential course components, the second on enhancement or interactivity, and the third to ongoing maintenance of the courseware (see Figure 1). These three phases of development integrate systems-based methodological approaches to content development, scaffolding of contributors, and quality assurance.

3PD_Baselines

Figure 1: Three-Phase Design & Scaffolding (after Sims & Jones, 2003)
[Click to enlarge]

According to Sims and Jones, Phase 1 is a predelivery mode, which involves the gathering and preparation of web-based teaching resources, learning channel, specifying assessment-based outcomes, preferred teaching modality, and learning/learner activities designed to attain the prescribed outcomes. Three-phase Design enables a teacher with minimal experience in Web-based  training and learning environments to access "functional learning structures" (Sims, 2008 p.4) and in-team expertise from the Developers and the Educational Designers in the group.

Phase 2 (Enhancement) is the delivery stage in 3PD. The asynchronisity of digital network supported learning, and the object-oriented nature of e-learning is such that modifications can be implemented in courseware on an ongoing basis (for example to take account of new learning materials or new knowledge) to enhance the student’s ability to achieve the learning objectives. The second phase can be in this way to take place during course delivery, with Kirkpatrick Level 1 and Level 2-style feedback from both instructors and learners being used to modify and/or enhance delivery either continuously. or in a staged manner. For example modifications may be implemented before the beginning of each new semester, based upon the reactions of learners who took the course during the previous semester.

The third stage of 3PD – the maintenance phase – occurs during the "main sequence" (to borrow a term form astronomy) of the course lifecycle. In time, a course will attain a stable state where the teaching strategies and learning activities are working effectively, it’s materials are up-to-date, and the course is taken by sufficient number of learners to make delivery and maintenance cost-effective for the host institution.

Sims (2008) considers that:

The implications of applying the 3PD model is that the original functional system will always be subject to change, and that development environments need to schedule resources for the life-time of that course. The continual process of gathering and incorporating evaluation data caters for the sustainability of the course.

(p.6)

Phase 3 provides an opportunity for a rigorous quality assurance process to be undertaken, and for stakeholders in the course development project to consolidate the instructional design and collaborative skills acquired during the 3PD process: ideally these skills are then applied to the development of a new learning program, where they continue to be refined, with remediation taking place as necessary.
___________

References:

Sims, R. (2006). Beyond instructional design: Making learning design a reality.Journal of Learning Design, 1(2), 1-7. Internet: Available from: http://www.jld.qut.edu.au/ Accessed 3 June 2009.

Sims, R., & Jones, D. (2002). Continuous Improvement Through Shared Understanding: Reconceptualising Instructional Design for Online Learning. Proceedings of the 2002 ascilite conference: winds of change in the sea of learning: charting the course of digital education. Internet: Available from: http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/auckland02/proceedings/papers/162.pdf Accessed 3 June 2009

Sims, R., & Jones, D. (2003). Where practice informs theory: Reshaping instructional design for academic communities of practice in online teaching and learning. Information Technology, Education and Society, 4(1), 3-20.

Sims, R. (2008). From three-phase to proactive learning design: Creating effective online teaching and learning environments, in J. Willis (Ed), Constructivist Instructional Design (C-ID): Foundations, Models, and Practical Examples.

Sims, R. Analysis of Three Instructional Design Models. Internet: Available from: http://www.de-research.com/PhDFinalPapers/CT_3IDModels.pdf Accessed 1 June 2009

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Integrating Audio into E-Learning Courseware: eLearning Guild Online Forum

June 2, 2009 by Michael Hanley · Comments Off · audio editor, benefits of e-learning, collaboration tools, conference, constructivist learning environment, eLearning Guild, integrating audio, online forum, rapid e-learning, seminar

The eLearning Guild’s next Online Forum taking place on June 4th & 5th is called Lights, Camera, Action: Using Media to Engage the Learner.

Here’s what the Forum will cover:

It wasn’t long ago that e-Learning developers thought that putting a simple Flash animation and a small sound file into their e-Learning offerings was really leading-edge stuff. But today much more advanced technology, like higher bandwidth, gaming, and ELG-OF immersive learning techniques, is easily available. And, ever-more-sophisticated learners, who are demanding more effective and absorbing e-Learning programs, are pushing for adoption of advanced media techniques.

This Online Forum will show you how to use audio, video, animation, and other technologies to enhance the engagement and “stickyness” of your e-Learning offerings. You’ll see real-life examples, and learn various design approaches for effectively using media. This Online Forum is your best chance to focus on improving the e-Learning you create for your organization, and to…

  • EXPLORE how using different media tools and processes can enhance your e-Learning offerings,
  • DISCOVER how better use of media enhances a wide variety of topics and formats,
  • EXAMINE the design and development of media-use techniques to achieve specific goals,
  • LEARN how other organizations are using media to build engagement into their e-Learning programs, and
  • ENSURE that your e-Learning meets both your learners’ and your organizations’ goals.

I’m pleased to announce that I will be presenting the Forum session on using ELG_Preview audio in e-learning. Called Integrating Audio into E-Learning Courseware, session participants will learn the audio production lifecycle, see examples and demonstrations, and get hints, tips, and tricks-of-the-trade to enable you to produce high-quality audio for your courseware. You’ll learn how recording subject matter experts as they describe a process, task, or activity, when well-recorded and produced can, in most cases, be integrated into courseware without taking the extra steps of hiring a professional voice-over artist to re-record the narration. This can lead to considerable savings in time and money, as well as reduce the time-to-market of courseware.

In this session, you will learn:

  • Why use audio in e-Learning?
  • The uses of non-linear editing tools
  • How to record audio
  • How to produce audio
  • How to integrate audio into commonly-used rapid e-Learning applications and podcasts

When learning with multimedia, research shows that visual imagery is better retained when accompanied by verbal information; that learners are better able to integrate information via multi-modal instruction. Called the Six Principles of Learning, it describes how information encoded and transmitted using both visual and auditory channels reduces the cognitive load on the learner, so their working memory can process information more effectively.

However, most e-learning professionals perceive that creating and integrating high-quality audio is a highly-specialized activity outside of their expertise. But now more than ever, e-learning technology and content production skills are a key requirement for learning professionals who wish to interact with their audience.

So join me on Thursday by clicking here to register for the event. if you haven’t already registered, I’ll be delighted to see you there.

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Educate: An E-Learning iPhone App with Potential

May 20, 2009 by Michael Hanley · 1 Comment · collaboration tools, constructivist learning environment, e-learning, e-learning ecosystem, elearning content, iPhone

iKonstruct got in touch with me yesterday to let me know about the launch of Educate; an iPhone/iTouch app for teachers.

Here’s what they say about Educate:

Featuring inbuilt lesson planning, student tracking, teaching strategies and eLearning tools, Educate provides teachers with a holistic approach to engaging students in 21st century learning environments. 

While the iApp is not yet available via the iTunes Store, you can check out their website for more information about Educate in action. 

According to their website, Educate’s key features include:

educate1 Lesson planning Educate’s inbuilt weekly planner keeps all your planning in one place. Personalize your weekly timetable and plan for individual lessons all from a single interface
educate2 Effective teaching strategy implementation Access easy to follow strategies for engaging students in your lessons. Choose from a variety of individual or collaborative activities directly aimed at improving learning outcomes.
educate3 Student attendance and progress monitoring Quickly and easily track student attendance or performance in all your classes via ready made scales. Update records as you teach and export to your PC, Mac or Learning Management System
educate4 Collaboration with other Educate users Use your Facebook account to connect with other Educate users to discuss pedagogical practice, suggest application features and seek support
educate5 Engage with eLearning Post content to your Moodle learning space, anytime, anywhere. Also, access critical tools such as a voice recorder for anecdotal notes, a camera that allows you to tag images and a stopwatch for time-critical tasks

This short video outlines the product’s features.

(Alternatively the video is available on YouTube here)

I think that this app has a lot of potential for educators, and I’ll be following its progress with interest. I’ll certainly review it when it becomes available.

More on instructional design tomorrow.

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100 Helpful Web Tools for Every Kind of Learner

June 13, 2008 by Michael Hanley · Comments Off · collaboration tools, College Education, Features, learning styles, mind tools, Productivity, VAK

As you’ll know if you viewed my post on Jane Hart’s Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4PT) I feel that the more exposure learning professionals have to the range of tools at our disposal, the more effectively we can develop effective learning solutions for our customers.

In a similar vein, I’ve just received a nice e-mail from Fiona King at College@Home about a similar list of tools.

I’ll let herself explain:

I realize this is out of the blue, but we just posted an article, “100 Helpful Web Tools for Every Kind of Learner.” I thought I’d bring it to your attention in case you think your readers would find it interesting.

If you follow the link to the web page, you’ll see that Fiona has arranged the tools according to VAK learning style and by tool type:

  • Visual Learners
    • Mind Mapping
    • Charting and Diagrams
    • Videos and Photos
  • Auditory Learners
    • Podcasts
    • Presentation Tools
    • Audio Tools
    • Text Readers
    • Audio Books
  • Kinaesthetic Learners
    • Note Taking Tools
    • Bookmarking
    • Interaction
    • Collaboration

I have to state at this point that in my view I would question the effectiveness of the VAK-type learning style approach – see Coffield’s article Learning styles and pedagogy in post-16 learning (link below) evidence for further information, but as a set of sensory categories for Fiona’s purpose, they work just fine.

I think that even for those among us who would be familiar with a lot of the tools here (many of the “usual suspects” are on the list), there will be one or two new tools, and even useful new information about old favourites; did you know that Adobe Acrobat 8 has a text-to-speech reader, for example?

Me neither.

But I do now.

_____________

Links:

100 Helpful Web Tools for Every Kind of Learner

_____________

References:

Coffield, F., Moseley, D., Hall, E., Ecclestone, K. (2004). Learning styles and pedagogy in post-16 learning. A systematic and critical review [Internet] Available from: http://www.lsda.org.uk/files/PDF/1543.pdf Accessed 12 June 2008

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100 Helpful Web Tools for Every Kind of Learner

June 13, 2008 by Michael Hanley · Comments Off · collaboration tools, College Education, Features, learning styles, mind tools, Productivity, VAK

As you’ll know if you viewed my post on Jane Hart’s Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4PT) I feel that the more exposure learning professionals have to the range of tools at our disposal, the more effectively we can develop effective learning solutions for our customers.

In a similar vein, I’ve just received a nice e-mail from Fiona King at College@Home about a similar list of tools.

I’ll let herself explain:

I realize this is out of the blue, but we just posted an article, “100 Helpful Web Tools for Every Kind of Learner.” I thought I’d bring it to your attention in case you think your readers would find it interesting.

If you follow the link to the web page, you’ll see that Fiona has arranged the tools according to VAK learning style and by tool type:

  • Visual Learners
    • Mind Mapping
    • Charting and Diagrams
    • Videos and Photos
  • Auditory Learners
    • Podcasts
    • Presentation Tools
    • Audio Tools
    • Text Readers
    • Audio Books
  • Kinaesthetic Learners
    • Note Taking Tools
    • Bookmarking
    • Interaction
    • Collaboration

I have to state at this point that in my view I would question the effectiveness of the VAK-type learning style approach – see Coffield’s article Learning styles and pedagogy in post-16 learning (link below) evidence for further information, but as a set of sensory categories for Fiona’s purpose, they work just fine.

I think that even for those among us who would be familiar with a lot of the tools here (many of the “usual suspects” are on the list), there will be one or two new tools, and even useful new information about old favourites; did you know that Adobe Acrobat 8 has a text-to-speech reader, for example?

Me neither.

But I do now.

_____________

Links:

100 Helpful Web Tools for Every Kind of Learner

_____________

References:

Coffield, F., Moseley, D., Hall, E., Ecclestone, K. (2004). Learning styles and pedagogy in post-16 learning. A systematic and critical review [Internet] Available from: http://www.lsda.org.uk/files/PDF/1543.pdf Accessed 12 June 2008

[Read more →]