Thursday, 11 September 2014

presentation on eLearning and #mobile influences for #ICT4D

Sharing a presentation I gave for the Deutsche Welle Akademie in Bonn, Germany. It was a wonderful talk thanks to all the input and questions the attendees shared, and the wonderful facilitation provided by Holger Hank and his team.

The questions were multiple, and gladly sharing those that are posed frequently.
One of the reoccurring challenges in every type of online learning (elearning, mooc, mobile...) is:
  • motivating learners to take and keep up with the training (possible answers: use an 'earn as you learn' approach where you provide extra incentives for those who participate, only develop learning that answers a real need indicated by the trainees, build a learning community, enable offline or at least asynchronous learning - synchronous can demotivate for those learners living in unstable connected regions)
  • how to attract your intended learner audience: that is difficult an in many cases (as Holger mentioned) also the case with MOOCs, attracting the right learners is part of providing a very clear course description, sharing the learning outcomes and the prior knowledge needed. The more specific the course description is, the higher the success rate for attracting the right learner profiles. And of course let your own network promote your course, they know who you are, they know your excellence. 
  • the connected learner as superlearner: is it a myth or a reality? This is of course a difficult assumption to test, but there is a very natural way in which most of us connect to like minded, or professionally interested colleagues (connecting through old school face-to-face meet-ups). This natural flair to connect (if you are such a type of person) is reflected in the virtual environment as well. But this does not mean that the 'best learner' is indeed a networked, connected learner. It could well be that you only need to have very specific connections (limited) or even that you can be really good without having connections, but ... that remains to be proven (and yes, I intend to proof it with some of my research).  And when you live in a developing region, it can be quite tough to be a fully connected learner as well (infrastructure, life and reality), which would mean an additional digital dividing factor turns up. For me, the connected learner is a good thing to be, but then I do have specific personal traits that would set me up with favorable inclinations towards being virtually connected to attain my knowledge goals. Big Five personality traits makes up good reading for this. 
  • what is a good way to plan and test new online or mobile trainings? Planning means: working on a need before anything else, get all stakeholders around the table (participation and knowing what everyone REALLY wants), define the learning goals and learning outcomes needed with everyone, involve strong, experienced instructional designers that know with which learner/teacher dynamics these learning outcomes can be reached (and still be creative and engaging), and test it in a similar, yet safe environment (e.g. in a flipped classroom approach prior to a workshop moment, enabling you to test what you have by people you know, and get feedback in real life enabling to see their expression as they give feedback). 

These were my shared slides: