DevLearn Conference 2015

I just got back from the Dev Learn Conference in Las Vegas. It was an amazing conference with hundreds of presentations. Most of the time there were 10 to 20 sessions running at the same time, making it was difficult deciding which session to attend. The presenters were professional and informative. The learning was deep and I highly recommend it. Dev Learn was hosted by the eLearning Guild. http://www.elearningguild.com/

The Growth Mindset

Yesterday I read an article by Sal Khan that began with how he praises his son for persevering at difficult tasks rather than tasks he is already good at. Sal is following the teaching of researchers that have found that our brains grow the more we use it. Our intelligence is not fixed! We can make it grow. Sometimes I wonder about my brain but I am encouraged, yet again, that I can keep sharp if I continue to explore new things and to work hard to “grow my brain.”

And then I read the line that really stuck with me:

The internet is a dream for someone with a growth mindset.

It is so true, you can learn almost anything from the internet, not because you get a grade, but because you want to!  I’ve watched videos on Khan Academy! I never did well in Algebra and I ran from it as far as I could go. Then, one day, I thought, this is stupid. I can learn Algebra, and if you aren’t good in math, so can you! And guess what, you can learn for free on Khan Academy, and not just math either.

Plus, there is so much other stuff on the internet, mostly for free. Don’t know how to do something, search YouTube! Don’t know how to take down that big tree in your yard, search YouTube. Don’t know how to write a learning objective, search YouTube. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Want to go deeper, sign up for a massive open online course called a MOOC. I am a MOOC junkie! Last month I took a MOOC on Learning to Learn, this month I’m taking a MOOC on digital storytelling. Next month I’m signed up for a MOOC on entrepreneurship. How cools is that!

Happy Learning!

(To read the full article by Sal Khan, visit )

 

Learning to Learn

I’m taking a MOOC called Learning to Learn*. This is an amazing MOOC. I recommend it to anyone, young or old, who would like to become a better learner. This course is well thought out, professionally done, and Dr. Barbara Oakley has done an amazing job making sure her lectures are clear, engaging, and useful. Please share it.

Do not be shy about sharing this MOOC  with learners, young and old, around you who may make good grades as well those who struggle. Perhaps the A students aren’t really learning the material, just memorizing until the test, as I did so many years ago. I wanted to be a good student; I just didn’t know how. There isn’t a reason not to know how today. The MOOC is freely available to anyone who would like to learn. The next offering is October 5, 2014.

*You can find the MOOC on on Coursera (https://www.coursera.org/) by the UC San Diego. Dr. Barbara Oakley, the is the main instructor. Dr. Terrence Sejnowski also lectures.

Making a Difference

I don’t know about you, but I want to make a difference in the world. It is one of they reasons why I became an instructional designer. In my mind, when I guide a developer to create a stellar course, I am making a difference for the students enrolled. My ultimate goal would be to inspire an instructor to create a course that is not only engaging, but that gives students work that matters–to them and to people around them.  Will Richardson says it best:  http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/04/what-if-we-assigned-students-work-that-matters-outside-of-school/

2014 Higher Education Horizon Report: 6 Key Trends

The higher education Horizon attempts to identify and describe emerging trends in higher education within the next five years. It then to takes a look at the potential impact these technologies have on teaching and learning.  A expert panel is selected and a wiki is used for collaboration and open to make their findings transparent. You can find the wiki at horizon.wiki.nmc.org and the complete report at http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2014-nmc-horizon-report-he-EN.pdf

Not swayed by the shinny new thing, the principal measure for inclusion into the report is its pertinence to teaching and learning and creative inquiry in higher education. See the innovative pedagogical practices chart below.

chart illustrating 28 Innovative Pedagogical Practices
Innovative Pedagogical Practices

6 Key Trends

1. Growing ubiquity of Social Media

According to the report (quoting Business Insider), 40% of the world population regularly use social media and 70% of faculty and the general population use social media in their personal lives. Not only that but “today’s web users are prolific creators of content, and they upload photographs, audio, and video to the cloud by the billions. Producing, commenting, and classifying these media have become just as important as the more passive tasks of searching, reading, watching, and listening.”(p. 8)

Plus, social media isn’t just for the young. The largest growth is in the 45+ age group! As an instructional designer, I find the combination of age and ubiquity exciting because most of the learners in post secondary education are working adults. The bottom line is that instructors can integrate social media into their courses without the implications of non technical users…cool beans.

2. Integration of Online, Hybrid, and Collaborative Learning

“The tremendous interest in the academic and popular press in new forms of online learning over the past few years has also heightened use of discussion forums, embedded videos, and digital assessments in more traditional classes, with the intention of making better use of class time. An increasing number of universities are incorporating online environments into courses of all kinds, which is making the content more dynamic, flexible, and accessible to a larger number of students. These hybrid-learning settings are engaging students in creative learning activities that often demand more peer-to-peer collaboration than traditional courses.” (p. 10)

Yeah. Need I say more?

3.  Rise of Data-Driven Learning and Assessment

I knew that adaptive learning software could be used to mine information so that learners comprehension is monitored and instruction is adapted to the learner’s need. I stink at math and Khan Academy leads me down the path to competence and I work my through the levels.

I never thought before about the collection of data from learning management systems to improve teaching and learning by tracking trends and student data to help students at risk and to personalize the learning experience. This data also helps academia as a whole as tracking trends may help predict why some some students drop out more than others.

4.  Shift from Students as Consumers to Students as Creators

I am so happy that students are moving from consumers to creators. I remember in high school, so long ago, that the teacher’s idea of engaging students was to require them to produce a poster or perhaps book cover as part of a project. I can’t draw and felt it was simply busy work. How can drawing a book cover possibly help me remember the content?

Today, students as creators means students learn by making rather than as consuming content. Yeah. Hurray. It’s about time. The reason I write this blog is that it helps me learn the content. I have to process the information in this report and tell it in my own words. Yet, it is public; anyone can see it so I am extra careful about word choice (a struggle), spelling, and grammar. If I summarize and internalize the report I am no longer consuming the information, I’m creating something from it.

Besides, will we be writing papers in the business world, unless we are education or some areas of business commerce, not likely. But we may have to pitch our ideas to the boss and engage our audiences in a way that an essay can’t do. I realize that writing well is important, very important, but surely there are other ways of expressing ourselves so that every assignment isn’t to read text and then write a paper.

5.  Agile Approaches to Change

This long range trend involves institutions that are “increasingly experimenting with
progressive approaches to teaching and learning that mimic technology startups. …universities around the country are nurturing entrepreneurship within their
infrastructure and teaching practices….[There is] a growing emphasis on both formal and informal programs that build students’ interests in solving social and global problems, creating products.”  (p. 16) Now we are thinking. After students add up this massive amount of debt, they are going to need the skills not only to get a job but to create one!

6.  Evolution of Online Learning

As online learning garners increasing interest among learners, higher education institutions are developing more online courses to both replace and supplement existing courses. According to a study by the Babson Survey Research Group published at the beginning of 2013, more than 6.7 million students, or 32% of total higher education enrollment in the United States, took at least one online course in Fall 2011 — an increase of more than half a million students from the prior year. As such, the design of these online experiences has become paramount.

Okay now I’m really excited because as an instructional designer, much of my time is spent developing online courses. And not only is this finding job security for me, it is exciting that in order for this trend to grow, more institutions will equip faculty with the skills and tools to be quality online learning facilitators. What an exciting time for students. I think online courses have the potential to be even better than face-to-face classes because faculty and institutions are beginning to see the value in additional instructional design support.

Summary

I see an exciting future for learners everywhere. Higher educations is moving, abet ever so slowly, from a Socrates learning environment to an environment of movement and change.

Reference
Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., Freeman, A. (2014). NMC
Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New
Media Consortium.