Comments and redirection from 5 December 2019 design review

After the entire BLS team had a chance to absorb the deliverables from the 5 December meeting, we had a small session on 16 December 2019, with two pedagogical project leads to discuss their reactions.

The most significant bit of feedback was that the team had already wedded in their minds to the existing design they had put together in edX Studio. I had been under the impression that this was just a concept and they would be willing to consider a fresh approach. It became clear in this session that I am given leeway to only design two modules and include these into what already exists: Prepare for course production: Process overview and Course Design.

They outlined what the original design intents of the “primer” course were:

  • The learners can be: new MOOC instructors, teaching assistants or new BLS team members, however the MOOC instructor is the priority.
  • The learner should have no idea at all of what a MOOC is previously
  • The level of detail should be sort of like a “studiebesök” (study visit) taster
  • The learner should need no more than two hours to complete it
  • Content should be suitable to use as a reference later
We agreed that many of the ideas in my first design were consistent with what the team had drafted in edX Studio, however my first design would definitely take longer than two hours to complete.
The meeting concluded with a commitment to design the given modules, with a view to designing a second, longer “Onboarding” e-learning and potentially design workshop agenda once this was completed.

 

First design review 5 December 2019

The team and I that I would present my findings and an initial concept at a meeting 5 December 2019.

Accordingly, I prepared this presentation to guide the discussion. It summarises all of my findings from the survey, edX materials, and the literature review into the ADDIE model for challenges, best practices and benchmarks.

Stubbs, Martin and Endlar (2006) recommend that any learning design team should establish a set of course design principles which are more or less inviolable. This seems like a sensible recommendation for any design project! Therefore I drafted some Design Principles for discussion:

  • Support a 70/20/10 approach for the learner.
  • Employ the constructive alignment design approach consistent with edX’s format. The learning activities will always be designed to drive project deliverables forward, not necessarily to purely demonstrate comprehension.
  • Support the learner at each stage of the project just-in-time, with an appropriate balance of immediately relevant content, followed by an activity.
  • Be informed by literature, the experience of ChalmersX veterans, and edX best practices.
  • Prioritise use of existing materials from EdX, either in original form or repurposed.
  • Include decision “gateways” when the instructor is explicitly asked for commitment to continue to the next stage of the project.

During the meeting, we ran out of time to explicitly agree on these and there still seems to be some disagreement on prioritising use of existing materials from edX, which I need to work out before moving to the prototype phase.

I presented first design concept using the MURAL tool, which was based purely on my readings as a “greenfield design.” We reviewed the concept at the meeting but ran out of time to discuss it in detail. One very important thing I tried to do here is leverage the same constructive alignment learning design as edX promotes. This approach requires a very well-defined learning objective and some type of “exercise” or activity which activates the learner to demonstrate comprehension.

There were some key members of the BLS team who could not attend, so we agreed they would review the materials and we would discuss them at our next meeting. We also agreed we would work together on a weekly basis, when I will sit in the team’s office.

Clarifications and recommendations gathered during this meeting:

  • A major learning objective of the Onboarding phase is for the instructor to experience the culture of designing and producing a MOOC.
  • The “Design problem” is to spread out production effort more smoothly and evenly rather than the customary chaos today, which increases closer to the go-live date.
  • Using the ADDIE taxonomy makes sense for the literature review. The thesis supervisor recommends to contrast the literature with what the survey results say in each section so contrast literature with ChalmersX real life.
  • Make more clearly that the MetaMOOC Onboarding supports the learner up to the end of the Onboarding phase, we would need another course for the rest.
  • They don’t see requiring edX 101 course during the Onboarding phase as any conflict.
  • Instructors actually want MORE templates and firm guidelines about what to do! In the past the BLS team has taken a “respectful” approach but this hasn’t worked very well.
  • They were fine with using MURAL for storyboarding.
  • The thesis supervisor recommends also to include the Stanford exercise library as a resource at some stage.
  • The team recommends as a prework activity to creating the course outline, to have the instructor research existing content offered by others in their field. We can also do this to help the instructor get over the common “writer’s block.”

Reference:

Stubbs, M., Martin, I. and Endlar, L. (2006). The structuration of blending learning: putting holistic design principles into practice. British Journal of Educational Technology, 37 (2): 163–75.

MetaMOOC: Documenting the Literature Review and Survey Results

After the 3 November 2019 meeting I did the following to expand my understanding of first, the experiences of ChalmersX instructor veterans and second, how well did this correspond to trends I could find in the literature.

The instructor veterans had several suggestions but the most common challenges expressed were:

  • Understanding the expectations of them before commencing the project, including the time commitment
  • Editing a 50-minute lecture into the short video format expected in the xMOOC format
  • Discomfort in front of a camera
  • Designing a suitable course structure and plan when they had never experienced a MOOC as a student themselves
  • Insecurity about creating good exercises, the time and creativity required to do so
  • A desire for firmer guidance and project management, even a “how to get started guide.”

I began my literature review by considering these questions:

1. What are the typical challenges of transition or redesigning classroom instruction to fit a MOOC or e-learning experience?
2. What are some proven best practices of onboarding instructors to MOOC?

Then used GU library Supersearch with the following criteria:

Any field contains challenge AND Any field contains redesign AND Any field contains classroom AND Any field contains MOOC
SCOPE: Default / Everything
Publication Date: 10-YEAR; Publication type: Articles ;Publication type: conference proceedings ;Publication type: newspaper articles ;Language: English

This produced enough results that I selected a few good papers, read these, and selected papers referenced in them. As of January 2020 I need to read a bit more, but so far I have considered approximately 25 publications.

None of the papers used an established theoretical framework to structure the ideas– rather they used more of a project management mindset, often collecting ideas under headings of: motivations for creating a MOOC, preparing, developing, delivering, and evaluating. I chose the ADDIE model as a good framework for collecting ideas. You can see here how I am documenting my literature review and cataloguing ideas for both challenges and best practice suggestions. See the tabs Challenge Framework, Best Practice Framework, and Benchmarks to see how I am organising the ideas and from which sources they came.

 

MetaMOOC project at ChalmersX: Initial Concept

If you can’t tell from the edX courses I have been documenting in this portfolio, I am exploring the idea of becoming a learning designer. At the same time I’m studying, I’ve been working as a Training Manager at an automotive company, which I was hoping would lead to a good project to study for my Master’s Thesis. Unfortunately there was no suitable learning technology project available so I approached Chalmers Learning Services to inquire whether there was a project I could become involved with. Chalmers University has currently successfully delivered over 20 MOOCs on the edX platform.

We agreed after a couple of discussions (18 Sep 2019, 3 Nov 2019) that I could assist with the design of what the Blended Learning Services (BLS) team is terming a “MetaMOOC” course, which would be delivered on the edX platform. This course is intended to be a primer for new MOOC instructors and project team members, to help them understand how MOOCs work, what is expected of them in such a project, and to give them a “feeling that this is do-able.”

At the 3 November meeting we agreed that the problem statements were:

1. Onboarding educators to an online learning solution and
2. Translating classroom learning to an online environment

I requested that BLS send me the results of a survey the team had sent out earlier in 2019 as well as any method templates the team was generally using. I committed to bring to the next meeting:

  • A summary of initial literature review as well as any conclusions from the survey results
  • A proposed workplan

I received the survey results and a standard edX presentation on how to run a course Design Workshop. I prefer not to upload these documents because they are not licensed for sharing.

Editing with Camtasia: it’s a journey

It’s “good enough for now!”

This week we had to storyboard and shoot a video. I chose to do one for my final assignment and on further reflection it was a good first attempt but I’ll have to re-do it later.

For interest, here is what I planned with the storyboard. It was a good exercise to do the storyboard because it forced me to think about what I would do and say rather than just “winging it.”

The learning objectives are:

  1. The student will evaluate, based on a demonstration of defined features, whether LinkedIn is the right tool for him or her to create a digital transcript or learning history.
  2. Based on the evaluation, the student will have enough information to proceed to the final assignment or review another tool.

I wanted to experiment with Screencast-o-matic so I recorded the video with that, you’ll see the watermark. Then I edited it in Camtasia, adding some transitions and cutting out a lot.

For my next attempt, I want to re-record using a generic LinkedIn profile (not my own) and rehearse more than once so that the video isn’t so long. Right now it is 10 minutes and I need it to be half that. Also I need to figure out how to get the starter image I have set up to be the one that appears when you see the video, not some random screen in the middle of the video.

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Week 3: Alt text and manipulating images

Powerpoint screen steps to curve text

OMG did you know how to curve text using Powerpoint? NOW I do!

For this week’s assignment I created a flyer for a work event we have coming up this Friday. It’s a team-building meet-and-greet following the Swedish tradition of afternoon coffee and cake, or “fika.” We have three teams, one of which is new, who will need to collaborate closely in the future. Currently they sit in two buildings so it’s helpful if they can meet face-to-face until the facilities are renovated and they can sit together.

Here you can see my flyer: Invitation to Fika this Friday

I did so much image mashing from Pixabay, using both Snag-It and Powerpoint. First I got this picture of delicious cake and coffee but I would prefer to have whipped cream on it. I separated the white whipped cream from another picture, removed the background and pasted it in the photo, all in Snag-It. The colouring sadly doesn’t match the photo too well but maybe with Photoshop I could work on that. Also for the coffee bean background, I downloaded an image of brown coffee beans, made them grey, and blurred them in Snag-It.

For my logo, I took an icon with several images from Pixabay, cropped out the ones I wanted and changed the colour from black to dark blue. In Powerpoint, I learned how to curve text around the image! This is a life-changing skill and I was really excited! I then added a border, a text box and my Creative Commons license.

I used the Accessibility checker in Powerpoint to add alt text and control the order of when it would be read. The alt text doesn’t render when you simply mouse over it. Finally I created a PDF out of the entire thing but the alt text does not work not work unless you download it, open in Adobe Acrobat and select View-> Read Out Loud.

Please see the Digital Media Checklist for this assignment here.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Optional attributions from Pixabay:

Image by Lolame from Pixabay

Image by haidi2002 from Pixabay

Image by Mary Pahlke from Pixabay

Week 2: Digital Transcript Comparison Matrix

comparison matrix of digital transcripts

First version of the matrix for fully-sighted learners

This week’s assignment is to create an educational visual aid, incorporating aspects of good visual design. You can view my submission here.

I chose to refine a concept for my original signature assignment idea about lifelong digital transcripts. This would be an asset which is available for the student to download and print out once my video explains the different features of digital CVs. I used Microsoft PowerPoint to create this asset because I am comfortable with this tool and can compose documents easily with it.

The first matrix generally follows the example in the picture although I have also a set of written directions at the top. Once I evaluated it critically, I wanted to make it more obvious what the learner is meant to do without having to read the instructions, so I added the 1, 2, 3 and the arrows for the steps. I was going for clarity of what is expected from the learner and thought the red, yellow, green would be very obvious that these are “traffic light” ratings of that feature for that tool. I added texture to the traffic light ratings to make them more visually attractive.

Visual design elements: The first one leverages line, shape, colour, and texture.

Visual design principles: I believe I incorporated unity, balance, and similarity.

After completing the first matrix, I considered that colour-blind people would have difficulty distinguishing the red from the green buttons. I then added the black and white icons instead, with black equivalent to green and white equivalent to red. Is this obvious? Could I remove the instructions? PowerPoint also has an Accessibility check and it said my grey text boxes were difficult to read, so I changed them to black with white text for more contrast. The check also said I needed to add the ability to have the text boxes read out, although I’m not sure how well this would work when transferring over to pdf.

After showing this to some classmates I got feedback that they preferred the accessible version, but they didn’t understand what the circles meant. Also they didn’t find the column where you had to mark an X useful. My teacher said, “accessible design means it becomes better for everyone!” So here we have DigitalTranscriptComparisonMatrixV2.

We also have a requirement to evaluate our artifact using our digital media checklist. Please see here for my self-evaluation.

Creative Commons Licence
This matrix document is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

PDA 676: Behavioural “Nudges” in Learning Technology

EducationNudgingMaturityModel

My nod of respect to Josh Bersin: my Behavioural Nudges in Education Maturity Model

For the course on Digital Literacy, we had to do another literature review paper on a topic of our choice. Lately I’ve been intrigued by the idea of Nudge Theory popularised by Drs. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. Essentially the idea of a “Nudge” is to introduce ways to incentivise people to make a choice more beneficial to him or her. These can take many forms, which I won’t summarise here. My favourite example is a school cafeteria which provides precut fruit and places it at eye- or reach-level, whilst sugary dessert is placed in a harder-to-reach spot. The fruit is easy to obtain and has the benefit of already being cut up– easy to eat! The sugary dessert is still available but you have to work just that tiny bit harder to get it.

I looked at what behavioural nudges are available in learning technologies, and what type of behaviour they might be trying to encourage in students. I then categorised the examples into the proposed Maturity Model above. I found that there isn’t much available, and that most research in this area is coming out of the United States. Furthermore that most institutions of higher learning struggle to even implement the basics with their Learning Management Systems (LMS) (Level 1). There are some very interesting programmes out there, though, getting into using more data, combining rudimentary predictive analytics with personal coaching to help university students successfully graduate (Level 3).

I didn’t find any case studies at the highest level of maturity, true predictive nudging. Nudging strategies at this level, were they to exist, would acknowledge that student success is not solely reliant on academic achievement. Furthermore, the data to flag correlations lives in other systems outside the LMS and beyond algorithms based on historically successful students. I propose universities look at the student as a whole person, factors about how the university is organised, and better data about why students drop out as potential additions to a predictive analytics algorithm and nudging model.

Read my final paper here.

 

PDA 675: Factors Driving Business Value in Learning

This paper is my final assignment in the course on learning theories. We had to do a literature review on any topic of our choice. I’ve always been interested in how to achieve more value in learning interventions and the programme is centred on IT and Learning. I reviewed research around the Technology Acceptance Model (popular in the IT world), and how factors of each seem to affect the levels of learning effectiveness evaluation proposed by the the Kirkpatrick model (popular in corporate learning).

TAM_Kirkpatrick_Relationship

Learning leaders have a wealth of indicative variables available to leverage in their design and delivery of learning programmes. Some recommendations one can take from them in terms of learning technology:

  • An impression of user-friendliness is important for a positive reaction, but it is not as important as Perceived Usefulness. Look to how to maximise the organisational and social factors which can convince learners that a training intervention will benefit them, and they will tolerate useability challenges to get their expected reward.
  • One cannot assume that even computer-savvy learners are comfortable with learning systems, and Computer Self-Efficacy powerfully predicts whether they will have a positive experience. Although it’s always desirable to make a system as user-friendly as possible, some aspects of a user interface may be outside the organisation’s control. It is therefore sensible to always include content orienting the learner to the systems they will need to master in order to complete their training.
  • If a learner who has completed a training intervention still believes the subject matter was difficult, it is highly unlikely the training intervention will have been worth the investment. A question on the end-of-course quiz will help trainers to identify these learners and offer additional coaching.
  • Organisational and social support variables have a consistent positive impact all the way through to transfer of learning on the job. As a learning professional one can’t micromanage every single line manager or colleague, but one can require proof of learner conversations with their leadership as part of the instructional design. For example, a standard guideline for a post-training one-to-one with the manager could include planning for opportunities to practice the new skill, to share with the rest of the team, and defining how the team can support the learner going forward.

One disappointing aspect of all the literature in this domain was that it was based on self-reporting by learners. No study endeavored to compare user acceptance or transfer using empirical data based on behaviour.

Here is my final detailed paper.

Week 1: Evaluating Open Educational Resources and Creative Commons assets

EndNoteVideoScreenshot

Click to watch the short introductory video to EndNote which I evaluated

This first concept of my signature assignment is inspired by the e-learning course I reviewed for the assignment (see below), as well as the work I did in the edX 200x course.

This week’s assignment was first, to develop a checklist of criteria to evaluate Open Educational Resources.  The second half was to find a suitable resource and evaluate it with the checklist, and  finally to reflect on the exercise.

I started my checklist and used inspiration from my classmates. I expect the checklist will evolve as I evaluate more assets and get feedback from them. I created it as a Google Sheet, which I can copy digitally in seconds and re-use. I don’t see a need to plan for using paper in such an exercise, when the course is about digital media. Please see my checklist template here.

My signature assignment is to design an overview on correct referencing and tools for fellow students in my Master’s programme. There is already plenty of good material out there to start with and tie together. It will be interesting to provide one video as well on how to use the referencing software EndNote in the context of our university library’s search engine. I evaluated a short video available on YouTube, “How to use EndNote in Six Minutes,” which I watched myself when I first installed the application. Please see my evaluation of the video using my checklist here.

For fun and to ensure I really have something reflecting my own brand, I also created my own Swedish Nerd Brand Avatar using Creative Commons assets, you can see what she looks like here on the home page.