Thursday, July 28, 2011

Engaging Learners with New Strategies and Tools

Many of the tools that we use now within our technological world can be brought into the educational environment.  For example, social networking is now more visible than ever.  Instead of using these medias for personal use, they can instead be used within learning environments.

Blogs, wikis, LinkedIn and ConceptShare are all useful for collaboration because they allow the learners to work on an individual basis and also provide the opportunity for others to collaborate.  Communication is vital, particularly in online learning environments.  Skype, Twitter, discussion boards, conference calls and email each provide a gateway for communicating with a range of individuals.  Medias such as Moodle, Blackboard, Captivate, WebCT and the Internet provide ample opportunities to get the necessary content that is needed within a learning environment.

Each of these tools are important, student friendly, and many of them are being used regularly within our everday lives.  Having these qualities provides a smoother course for implementing them into the educational process.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Assessing Collaborative Efforts

How students are assessed has changed considerably from the memorization method that has been used in the past.  Siemens mentioned that the growth of collaboration within learning environments cause caused a new need in the area of assessments.  Some suggestions that were made were to create assessments that can be loaded into a peer environment and that  assess each other such as through rating articles.  To assist the evaluator, another method of assessment is encouraging participation in open communities with opportunities for feedback.  Contribution logs through systems such as wikis or learning management systems also provide methods of assessing in a collaborative learning community as well.  Assessments should be fair and direct, based on stated outcomes, and also equitable.  We have moved beyond marked-assessments and student growth is now considered.   

Often students who do not want to collaboration in a learning community have lost  their sense of self and they can often contribute the most.  In these situations, the evaluator must often change the assessment model based on a community type of approach and through the learners working together.  They can also provide experiences for working in a highly functioning learning community.  Blogging provides a “balanced diet” when it comes to addressing these types of learners since it’s an individual action but incorporates the community as a whole.  Another method that evaluators can use is through bringing in individuals from that industry.  Learners within the community can assist as well by ensuring that a high level of trust and connectedness is created and also by allowing those individuals to have external connections to highly knit groups.

Siemens, G. (2008). Assessment of collaborative learning. Vodocast. Laureate Education, Inc.

Siemens, G. (2008). Learning communities. Vodocast. Laureate Education, Inc.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Motivating Adult Learners Storyboard

Here's my storyboard from the video presentation.  Please send me any feedback that you may have and also all suggestions on methods to create the video, other ideas, etc.  Thanks!! 

  •        During the beginning of the video I will define what motivation is and also determine what makes someone an adult learner.

What’s the difference…?
  •        Many people think that you can address most learners in the same style, but this is indeed not true.  It’s very dependent upon the type of learner you are working with.  Following the introduction, I will discuss the differences between adult and youth learners.

Importance of Motivation in Education
  •        Understanding why motivation is vital within education is very necessary to ensure student success.  Here I will discuss its importance and focus on why it is particularly important for adult learners.

Suggestions on how to motivate adult learners
  •      There are many methods that can and should be used to keep adult learners motivated throughout their learning process.  Here I will share some methods on how this can be done successfully.


Some resources being used for this video include:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Elements of Distance Education Diffusion: Collaborative Interaction

Collaborative interaction has come a long way in distance education.  Interaction in distance education settings is generally different from the traditional classroom.  This is due to the fact that “distance teaching seems to be more effective to independent, autonomous adult learners who prefer to control their own learning situations, while traditional teaching make children's learning more comfortable” (Hailan Chen, 1998, ¶ 2). 

“The most frequent method for encouraging student interaction appears to be regular discussion questions posed by the instructor” (Jason Baker, 1999, ¶ 14).  Interaction has grown over time and has allowed more methods of collaboration.  One way that this has happen is through social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.  According to Curt Vavra, “becoming comfortable communicating in an online environment with family and friends allows people to practice and develop skills for later use in educational or business settings” (2010, ¶ 1).    

Micah Miner pointed out that another way collaborative interaction is increasing in distance education is through the use of Wikis.  According to his blog, “wikis can promote collaboration in group assignments, encourage negotiation, and make students comfortable with new generation of technology tools” (2010, ¶ 2).  We can also see this throughout programs at Walden University that involve students utilizing Wikis for courses.  As time continues to progress, we will continue to see collaborative interactions become more common and plentiful in the future.

Baker, Jason. (February 1999). Student Interaction in Online Distance Education.  Retrieved on July 2, 2011 from

Chen, Hailan. (1998). Interaction in Distance Education.  Retrieved on July 1, 2011 from

Miner, Micah. (2010). Ed Tech, Social Science Teaching, & Urban Education.   Retrieved on July 1, 2011 from…/

Vavra, Curt. (2010, September 30). Collaborative Interaction: An Important Element of Distance Education. Retrieved on July 2, 2011 from