Usability Study of a Simplified eLearning Design that Integrates Google@UH Apps and the Laulima LMS by Koran Munafo (Featured Learning Design & Technology Master Student)

written by Youxin Zhang (2016 TCC Guest Blogger)

Ms. Munafo is one of the graduate students from UH Manoa LTEC (Learning Design and Technology) and COLT (Certificate in Online Learning and Teaching) program.

Ms. Munafo had dealt with e-learning over thousand of hours in the past. Her recent two-year long e-learning experience in this program inspired her to generate a great interest in simplified user-centered e-learning design, particularly access from different devices, platforms and locations.

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Ms. Munafo’s presentation title was “Usability Study of a Simplified eLearning Design that Integrates Google@UH Apps and the Laulima LMS.” Ms. Munafo’s conference session was organized with 4 major themes (The Experience, The Design, Usability Process, Reflection). In general, Ms. Munafo shared us with the process in terms of how she developed a simplified user-centered design that integrated the use of the Google@UH services with the Laulima LMS, and how she came up with major revisions to the original prototype based on participant’s evaluations.

It was an engaging and interactive conference session that allowed me to generate a great deal of interest in this usability study and follow the presenter’s mind to look into this study with details, as well as understand what happened during the developing process. Ms. Munafo gave us a virtual orientation of her course at the very beginning of her speech. I felt like this strategy truly narrowed the physical distance between us although one of the primary obstacles in e-learning was the feeling of isolation reported by learners in studies. Ms. Munafo had an excellent speech and presentation skill to make you feel like you were sitting in her classroom and listening to her just like she was standing in front of you. Her moderate speed of talking and articulation gave you enough time to catch her each single word clearly which are important to online learners to a certain extent.

To me, the most interesting part was to hear about the findings and analysis results on user perception, efficiency and ease of use of this e-learning course design from learner’s perspective. Among all factors, Ms. Munafo found that learners like a simplified home page with minimal text, graphic links created with universal icons. A animated course “features” video was applicable to help student orient the course with a clear picture.

Another piece that interested me most was the conceptual framework part that Ms. Munafo highlighted in her lecture. There were six models (CASA, CRAP, Backwards Design, Intuitive Design Principles, Mobile Design Principles, Rapid Prototyping) that Ms. Munafo adopted to guide her study this time. Honestly speaking, I hardly knew most of them. I felt it was a worthwhile experience for me to get to know these new concepts through her presentation as a starting point. We might have been convinced by the principle “learning by doing” in our daily life, but I learned from her presentation that “learning by listening from others’ story” was another good source to construct our knowledge as well.

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Presenter’s contact: Koran Munafo, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hawaii, USA, koran@hawaii.edu

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Role of the Learner, Teacher, and Curriculum in Online Courses by Ana Cristina Pratas (Regional Speaker)

written by Diana Thompson (2016 TCC Guest Blogger)

It’s time to think outside of the box.  We already know that preparing an online course is different from preparing a traditional face to face lecture. But let’s take it a step further, and help our students more, by more accurately defining the role of the learner, the teacher, and the curriculum of online courses.

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Ana Cristina Pratas, who has taught all over the world, calls herself a practitioner who finds herself in a research position when she wishes to solve a problem. In some cases the problem comes from how we idealize our online learners, rather than accept and accommodate those who may struggle with the skills that they need. I loved that she addressed that online learners are often busy people with many other responsibilities outside of just their role as a student. How do we as teachers, or we as course designers, accommodate for the needs of these students?

One of my favorite tips was providing a form of orientation that would be available to students prior to the beginning of the course. This improves their odds of succeeding in the classroom. Even better yet, integrate a social component to help keep students motivated, engaged, and critically thinking throughout the duration of the course.

Read more of Pratas’ ideas on her award-winning blog, cristinaskybox.blogspot.ae. You may also contact her at acristina111@gmail.com.

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No Nā Hale: Developing an Interactive iBook to Promote Learning for the Hawaiian Immersion Lower Elementary Classroom by Ku’ulei Belveal (Featured Learning Design & Technology Master Student)

written by Yahna Kawa’a (2016 TCC Guest Blogger)

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Mrs. Ku’ulei Belveal is a student, researcher and a Hawaiian Language Immersion Teacher. Her inquiry led to the design and development of an interactive ebook for dual-language learners (Hawaiian and English). A unique product, her digital book, No Na Hale, helps students learn sentence patterns and vocabulary in a fun and engaging way on an iPad. Like the Hawaiian language newspapers that are being digitized today, readers access to the content on a screen. However, this ebook takes the process a step further, affording users the opportunity to listen to the story, see images and search the glossary using a friendly little green caterpillar.

I really enjoyed listening to her presentation and look forward to seeing her Hawaiian Language iBook (and many more) in the iBook Store soon. If you missed her presentation but are still interested in learning more, please contact Ku’ulei at lbelveal@hawaii.edu.

Lyn Kuʻulei Belveal is a Master’s student in the Department of Learning Design and Technology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

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Into the Great Beyond: Next Generation Digital Learning Environments by Malcolm Brown & Veronica Diaz (Keynote Speakers)

written by Tuyet Hayes (2016 TCC Guest Blogger)

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Anyone who uses or is frustrated, fascinated, or confused about the learning management system (LMS) at their institution might find this presentation of interest to watch.  While you may not be able to join the active and engaging chat session live, you will still walk away understanding more about the possibilities and limitations of current LMS and what the Next Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE) might look like.

Brown and Diaz share their prior research and the insights they learned from speaking with faculty and students about their concerns with current LMS and what would be on their wish lists.  The 56 wish list items were categorized into five main domains about which Brown and Diaz go into greater detail.

  • Interoperability & integration
  • Analytics, advising, assessment
  • Personalization & customization
  • Collaboration & inter/intra community sharing
  • Accessibility and Universal design

For me the highlight of this presentation was the suggestion that we break away from the notion of a one-size fit all uber application and instead use a patchworked, best-practices approach that combines different tools and options to create our ideal, customized solution for our situations and contexts.

With well-chosen visuals (cute kitties!) and two audience participation exercises, they drew the audience in to become active participants in the discussion and encouraged greater feedback.  For those who want to further engage in this conversation, they encourage further discussions at the institutional level and community sharing at their next focus group event:

What:    ELI Online Focus Session:  Exploring the Next-Generation Digital Learning Environment

When:    April 27-28, 2016, Noon-3:30 p.m. (ET)

Where:  Register and attend online

Why:  To explore the opportunities and challenges of NGDLE
Malcolm Brown can be reached at mbrown@educause.edu; Veronica Diaz can be reached at vdiaz@educause.edu.

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Using and Integrating Educational Technology: Capacities, Challenges and Changes for Higher Education in the Philippines by Dr. Danilo M. Baylen (Regional Speaker)

written by Alicia Barghout (2016 TCC Guest Blogger)

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Dr. Danilo Baylen, who has been living in the United States for the last 25 years, went back home to the Philippines last year.  Pressuring Danilo by telling him, “You need to get a Facebook account!” was a popular topic of conversation among his family members.  Dr. Baylen finally gave in and created his first account.  This was an eye-opening experience for someone who migrated to the U.S. and who had been away from home for so long.  Social networking is extremely popular in the Philippines.  Besides seeing relatives and other familiar faces during his time home, he was part of an important initiative: Phase One of the Fostering Digital Literacy Project.  While there are three phases of this project, he was most heavily involved in Phase One.  Dr. Baylen worked at West Visayas State University (WVSU) on the island of Panay in the Philippines.

Phase One involved planning, designing, and delivering training modules on Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) integration skills.  Dr. Baylen did not know that he would be a part of this project, so when he got there he was surprised to hear something along the lines of, “Oh, I forgot to tell you…we’d like you to be the consultant for this literacy project.”  He agreed, and from his engaging presentation, it is obvious that he had an important role.

During Dr. Danilo’s time in the Philippines he became aware of obstacles that get in the way of integrating technology into the higher education system.  He shared about how the average professor teaches 6 courses per semester.  This makes their ability to learn new things, such as the integration of different technology resources, very restricted.  Another obstacle includes the fact that very few faculty have specialties in educational technology or instructional technology.  The available books on technology are old, and updating to get the most recent books and resources is difficult.  Even the databases that are available to students and faculty are extremely limited. In fact, ProQuest is the only database that can be accessed.  Things that are rarely thought of as hindrances in the U.S., such as electrical power, are more frequently experienced as setbacks in the Philippines.  For example, during his most recent time in the Philippines, Dr. Baylen was teaching about technology, and the power went out. That session was definitely over for the day!

Time goes by quickly when viewing Dr. Baylen’s presentation because it is packed with interesting information that is relevant to anybody interested in bettering people’s lives with the use of technology.   The highlight of Dr. Danilo Baylen’s session is his passion to use technology to improve the educational system in his sphere of influence, whether in the U.S. or back in the Philippines.

Contact Dr. Danilo M. Baylen
Professor, Instructional Technology
Department of Educational Technology and Foundations
College of Education, University of West Georgia
Email: dbaylen@westga.edu

 

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Incorporating Instructional Design Theory into an Online Graduate Program (Japan) by Dr. Katsuaki Suzuki (Regional Speaker)

By Helen Torigoe (2016 TCC Guest Blogger)

Photo of Dr. Suzuki

Dr. Katsuaki Suzuki

Kumamoto University is in the southern island of Kyushu in Japan, where strong earthquakes last week caused much damage.  As a result, Kumamoto University is currently closed and is being used as a shelter for displaced nearby residents.  Nevertheless, Dr. Suzuki signed in from Sendai, Japan to present to the lucky attendees of TCC 2016.

“Online is not a secondary mean to provide education, but it serves a wider audience in a better environment for learning.”  — Dr. Katsuaki Suzuki

When Dr. Suzuki was tasked with redesigning Japan’s first and only totally online graduate program that trains eLearning specialists, he looked to innovative learning models and selected story-centered curriculum (SCC).  Based on Goal-Based Scenarios (GBS) model which saw much success in corporate training in the 1990’s, SCC is an authentic learning model with reality-context, to give students in educational settings “meaningful and motivating roles.”

In SCC, the program begins with a “cover story” — a  real-life scenario with a “Boss” who requests work orders (i.e. course tasks) that need to be completed throughout the semester.  Students would focus on one course at a time and complete tasks with similar themes, thereby completing the objectives of several courses in sequence rather than working on several courses in parallel.  This cohesive sequence of events/tasks resembles the real-life work environment that the students will eventually graduate into.

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Results of the first trial of SCC showed:

  • More realistic reports for the course assignments
  • Less delays in completion of assignments
  • A survey of the participating students showed positive perception of the SCC model over the traditional model.

The implication of this innovative learning model at Kumamoto University naturally leads to his initial question — “Can we have a different architecture for online schools?”  Dr. Suzuki proved why he is considered one of the pioneers of eLearning in  Japan.  Actually, he may be leading the way for any higher education institution around the world considering redesigning their online programs.

Contact Dr. Katsuaki Suzuki
Professor and Chair of Instructional Systems Program
Graduate School of Social and Cultural Sciences
Kumamoto University
086-8555 JAPAN
E-mail: ksuzuki@kumamoto-u.ac.jp

Editor’s note:

A recording of Dr. Suzuki’s presentation may be view online at:

Regional Speakers

Click the RECORDING link.

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The Distributed Teacher by Dr. Jon Dron (Keynote Speaker)

by Kurt Rutter (2016 TCC Guest Blogger)

Photo of Dr. Jon Dron

Dr. Jon Dron

Dr. Jon Dron is co-author with Dr. Terry Anderson  of Teaching Crowds: Learning and  Social Media (AU Press), an OER text on the origins and impact of social media on learning,  the rise of collective learning spaces, and the disruptive effect that is having on the traditional industrial model of education (Dron & Anderson, 2014). Dr. Dron discussed the meaning of “distributed learning” and what it really means to be a teacher in a true distributed learning environment.

So, what is distributed learning?

Distributed Learning is defined in different ways. Some authors describe any online course as “distributed” while others refer only to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as distributed courses, while others consider using Open Educational Resources (OER) to be the hallmark of a distributed course (Jones et al., 2014; Skrypnyk et al., 2015; Kim, Lee, Lee, & Shon, 2015). To Dr. Dron, distributed learning is learning that is not centered on one person but is in fact distributed throughout our environment in the social and physical artifacts of our society. Dron uses the example of the Boeing passenger aircraft that was safely crash landed in the Hudson River without injury to passengers or crew after the plane flew into a flock of Geese. Pilot Chesley Sullenberger landed the plane, but it was not just him. An array of inventions, devices, and people, most of whom are unaware of each other, who made it possible. Anyone who had anything to do with the aircraft development, manufacture, navigation, or service also played a crucial role in making this happen, including all the times it did not work out so well. Likewise, learning occurs in an environment with good examples, bad examples, successes and failures.

Extrinsic motivation crowds out Intrinsic motivation

A developer of learning management systems (LMSs), Dron asks why we are making learning management systems that simulate a bricks and mortar classroom, and then enforcing most of the same constraints that we have traditionally applied, because we at one time had no choice? At one time there were boundaries in space and time – the distance that a human voice can carry was the size a class could be. Originally the term “Lecturer” just meant someone who could read one of the very scarce books, as opposed to everyone else who could not. That is not the world we live in today. A majority of courses today are out of step with the learning needs of the community. The community needs to learn in an environment of cooperative freedoms, a conceptual framework developed originally by Morten Paulsen. Self determination in learning  figures centrally in Dr. Dron’s conception of learning frameworks  and he referenced  a website for more information, selfdeterminationtheory.org

S. Barrett recommended and Dr. Dron endorsed Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn,about ways of manipulating behavior that destroy the potential for real learning.

Typical online courses today give freedom in place and time (for asynchronous courses), this is not true distributed learning but only a grudging accommodation. The true role of a teacher in a fully distributed course is

  • Co-traveller
  • Friend
  • Adversary
  • Inspiration
  • Role Model
  • Anti-model
  • Cartographer
  • Path-clearer
  • Trendsetter
  • Thought leader
  • Fool

An example of a step along the road to achieving the cooperative freedoms is Athabasca Landing- developed by the community of Athabasca University from the ground up rather than the top down, which created a rich, if somewhat mash-upped, site that blends informal and formal learning and social interaction.

References

Dron, J., & Anderson, T. (2014). Teaching Crowds: Learning and Social Media. Edmonton, AB: AU Press. doi: 10.15215/aupress/9781927356807.01

Jones, G., Warren, S. J., Ennis-Cole, D., Knezek, G., Lin, L., & Norris, C. (2014). Transforming the Doctorate from Residential to Online: A Distributed PhD Learning Technologies. TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, 58(4), 19–26.

Kim, B. W., Lee, W. G., Lee, B. R., & Shon, J. G. (2015). Influencing Factors in OER Usage of Adult Learners in Korea. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(2), 1–17.

Paulsen, M. (n.d.). Cooperative Online Education. International Journal of Media, Technology & Lifelong Learning (Online Journal), 4(2). Retrieved from http://seminar.net/index.php/volume-4-issue-2-2008-previousissuesmeny-124/100-cooperative-online-education

Skrypnyk, O., Joksimovic, S., Kovanovic, V., Gasevic, D., & Dawson, S. (2015). Roles of Course Facilitators, Learners, and Technology in the Flow of Information of a cMOOC. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(3), 188–217.

Kim, B. W., Lee, W. G., Lee, B. R., & Shon, J. G. (2015). Influencing Factors in OER Usage of Adult Learners in Korea. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(2), 1–17.

Editor’s note:

A recording of Dr. Dron’s presentation may be viewed online at:

Keynotes

Click RECORDING link.

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