Wednesday 26 March 2014

Free research articles from JOLT: self-regulated learning, online learning, tutor support

Vol. 9, No. 4 of the MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (JOLT at has been published and is available online. The contents of the issue are listed below. In this issue you will find 12 articles concerned with various aspects of online learning and teaching. 

It is a nice set of articles, embracing social media for online learning, gender-based barriers for men in online nursing (nice twist), student preference for asynchronous content delivery ...
The one article that immediately caught my attention - because it is related to my own research - was the paper by Rowe and Rafferty on self-regulated learning (SRL), and especially how instructors and learning designers might tweak their online courses in order to enhance or support self-regulated learning. The authors also share an instrument they used for SRL (nice).
From the abstract of the paper: 
      "Theories and models about self-regulated learning are important to educators attempting to understand why some learners succeed and others have difficulty in academic settings. Understanding self-regulation in e-learning environments is critical because there is much agreement in the literature that e-learning requires a higher degree of self-regulation than face-to-face learning. Furthermore, empirical studies of the effects of self-regulated learning intervention on learning outcomes of students in elearning environments indicate that support for self-regulated learning fosters significantly higher academic outcomes. In this paper, the authors will focus on: (1) what educators should know about the different types of self-regulated learning interventions that have been studied; and (2) how educators might apply self-regulated learning interventions to the design of e-learning environments in order to support self-regulated learning processes."

JOLT is a nice journal, so for those interested in getting the new issues in their mailbox, you can subscribe online here:

CONTENTS – Vol. 9, No. 4

Research Papers
A Longitudinal Comparison of Course Delivery Modes of an Introductory Information Systems Course and the Subsequent Information Systems Course
Kathleen Burns, Mary "Mimi" Duncan, Donald C. Sweeney II, Jeremy W. North, and William A. Ellegood
453 – 467

Students' Perceptions of Social Presence: Rhetorical and Relational Goals Across Three Mediated Instructional Designs
Brandi N. Frisby, Anthony M. Limperos, Rachael A. Record, Edward P. Downs, and Sarah E. Kercsmar
468 – 480

Perceptions of Gender-Based Barriers for Men in an Online Nursing Completion Program Compared to Traditional On-Campus Nursing Programs
John R. Kirk, Chad E. O’Lynn, and Michael K. Ponton                                                 
481 – 488

Listening to the Learner: Graduate Teacher Education Students' Preferences for Asynchronous Content Delivery
Douglas W. Smith                                                                                                     
489 - 499

Teaching Social Studies Online: An Exemplar for Examining the Broader Implications of Online Methods Courses in Teacher Education
Christina M. Tschida and Brian Sevier                                                                        
500 – 514

Foreign Language Learners' Use and Perception of Online Dictionaries: A Survey Study
Li Jin and Elizabeth Deifell                                                                                         
515 - 533

It Can Be Taught: Explorations into Teaching the Foundations for Multicultural Effectiveness
Randall E. Osborne, Paul Kriese, and John M. Davis                                                   
534 - 533

Case Studies
Changing the Conversation: Facebook as a Venue for Online Class Discussion in Higher Education
Mike Kent                                                                                                                 
546 - 565

Integrating Social Media in an Online Graduate Youth Development Course
Kimberly Allen and Dede Nelson                                                                                 
566 - 574

Incorporating the Experiential Learning Cycle into Online Classes
Undrahbuyan Baasanjav                                                                                            
575 - 589

Position Paper
Instructional Design Interventions for Supporting Self-Regulated Learning: Enhancing Academic Outcomes in Postsecondary E-Learning Environments
Frances A. Rowe and Jennifer A. Rafferty                                                                   
590 - 601

Digital Critical Dialogue: A Process for Implementing Transformative Discussion Practices within Online Courses in Higher Education
Jason T. Hilton                                                                                                         
602 - 601

Wednesday 19 March 2014

#LScon Redefining #training via technology perspectives

Live blogging notes learning solutions  conference 2014: short notes of the ideas that were shared during this panel session.

Session on redefining training via technology perspectives
David Kelly, Jane Bozarth, Carl Kapp, Molly Petroff, Richard Russell

innovations: big data needs to be meaningful
enormous potential for user generated content (mobile)

implementation: risk of repeating what has been done - try to use the real affordances that we use in training
Learning / training needs to be taken out of the 'school concept'
We need to refined the idea that learning can be a multitude of that, forget autofils, get people the piece of information they need to move on.

We have hard time specifying the performance relation to training and relating that to instructional design: provide solutions based on proven cases.

Mindset of clients => change management, and if you are brought in as a consultant, you need to take them on a changing journey.

Think in consumer/production training: and adaptable training.
Adaptive learning: depending on the answer to a question the system adapts and provides you a more taylored learning journey.

The business objective is crucial to understand what training success will look like (outcomes)

Technology offers new options, but it is the mindset that needs to be changed. Also difficult to keep on top on good software training solutions.
Do the handson trial yourself, with show and tell: will learners want to sit down and test it and provide you with feedback?
And we - as EdTech experts also need to keep changing our mindset.

Make learning contextual, make it effective. Make sure the new tech is intuitive, simple.

Create a personal learning network, personal learning environment. Identify people that can help you professionally, personally.

Note to self (Inge): look up videoscribe whiteboard tool

Look for things that solve a problem, where your learners are and what they are looking for.

Figuring out who to follow, for what reason, ... curation rules.

Figure out what works and implement only that. Look for longterm, durable learning solutions, no hype. A simple piece of software is more likely to work.
Find champions for each new technology you want to implement.

If a new software is out: ask or look for the feedback/bugs discussion forum. If that is alive, and the vendor answers immediately, develops solutions... that software becomes more interesting, as those builders believe in improvement.

We cannot forsee the future tools, but in order to implement them intelligently, we need to understand that new tool and its affordances critically.

Big data is of interest IF it is put to good and critical use.

Fixing the system is key, we should not have to adapt the learner to the environment, but the environment to the learner.

Best example for training solving a business problem:
A job aid on how to make coffee making in the office: so the secretary did not have to explain it for the X'th time. Responding to some need, even if it is not a formal assignment.
Learning on a daily basis: platform that is easily accessed, repetition / spaced learning - but should not overused timewise.
Immersive environments to prepare people for real life experience.
Camtasia provides a good bang for the buck: short videos on how-to's. Leading by teaching.
Train nurses that would go into caring patients in the intensive unit: 40 hour course for nurses, and by the time the unit opened the nurses knew the unit, but not the caring. Years later a new course was made which focused on caring, the specific skills that nurses will need to do, background information: 12 hours of training, and the nurses were really prepared due to the change in approach.

#LScon Merging social media, #mobile and #MOOC learning options

During the Learning Solutions conference 2014 I thought it would be fun to try and map out which learning affordances and decisions might be related to different learning technologies. Hopefully providing some direction for creating a multi-technology training environment.

Now... dashing off to join my fellow eLearners in the conference....

Tuesday 11 March 2014

The #MOOC of One, massive is not important ONE is

To be one is to be YOU concludes Stephen Downes in his latest slideshare of a presentation given at the 8th conference of International Technology, Education and Development or INTED2014 in Valencia, Spain. When stating that concluding idea, Stephen once again proves that all things beautiful are simple and that enlightenment is often a case of reversing an idea that lived for some time. In this 28 slide presentation Stephen examine the transition from the idea of the Massive in MOOC to the idea of the personal learning environment.

I like this idea, as the more I delve into research on self-directed and self-regulated learning in MOOCs, the more I feel it is about the individual and how they manage (or are willing to manage) their learning that makes MOOCs important.

The proceedings of prior INTED conferences can be viewed or searched for free online here.   

Thursday 6 March 2014

#MOOC to get staff into online learning @gillysalmon

Gilly Salmon , a pioneer in strong eLearning and interaction design, will head her first MOOC in co-facilitation with Janet Gregory and Kulari Lokuge Dona from the Swinburne University in Australia. This MOOC will cover the learning design called Carpe Diem, and the MOOC starts on Monday 10 March 2014 until 17 april 2014 (course load: estimated 3 - 4 hours a week) and it will be on learning design for Higher Ed staff. The model she will explain and ask all registered participants to have a go at is the Carpe Diem model which started as a learning design that could be transmitted to Higher Ed staff starting with two workshop days with a follow up. Nice article on latest insights, especially need to develop staff knowledge in learning design here. Gilly Salmon and her colleagues wrote a handy and clear 26 page booklet on the Carpe Diem workshop approach. So reading it to start with the MOOC on Carpe Diem. This model is a work in progress and it started to take shape as early as 2000 (a good amount of reflection has gone into it) and it looks at changing staff's knowledge to provide strong learning design fitted for future online learning.

So I have enrolled in this MOOC which is happening in the Blackboard LMS (coursesites), so nice change from the MOOC platforms build from scratch. This did mean I had to grant access to blackboard for various details I share on the web (makes me wonder why I have to bother with research ethics related to privacy, in this world where if you do not allow your data to be openly available you just do not get access to software options).

From the article by Salmon and Phemie Wright (2014) "Online and technology-enabled learning, whether entirely digital or combined with physical environments for learning, is no longer considered a sideline focus of Higher Education (HE). Growth of online learning in all modes is fast becoming "the most pressing and rapidly changing issue faced by faculty members and administration in higher education" [1] (p. 87). Institutions are now faced with a critical shift as students engage in more informal learning outside of the classroom, access free and open courses, and constantly use devices connected to the web to surf the net, download apps, and read articles [2]. Educating learners on how to decipher credible resources and aggregate content has become imperative, and there is a great need for university educators to fulfill the position of guides in the learning process [3].
Creating a sense of urgency among a large group of people is a critical factor in successfully achieving desirable change. Even when there are highly capable and committed academics working in universities with sufficient resources, without a fast and effective plan to deliver outcomes, results are frequently dismal [4].
All educators face the pressures of adapting their current teaching ideologies and practice to align with rapidly expanding digital tools and expectations for learning and teaching [5]. "

Robert McGuire from the MOOC news and reviews interviewed Gilly and shared some nice insights into learning design, needs and mooc.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Plan to move from #quantified self to Qualified self

My ultimate scientific breakthrough dream would be the Qualified Self in the analogy of the Quantified Self. The Qualified Self as a state of being, enabling to be a more qualified human. All the gathered data would gather data on: emotions, creativity, understanding, progress, personal character... data and characteristics that occur in most humans from all areas and backgrounds. And with Utopia on my mind, I would love to become a member of the Qualified Self movement, if this is a movement build on accepting the differences that we all have. It is a natural thing, each of our brains has neurons connected in different ways, nevertheless we all have emotions and maybe once the Qualified Self movement is at full speed and development, we - humanity - will realize we are all just the same as we are all different, and that is a good thing. War would end, conviviality will be natural, equality in difference will be achieved for all genders, races, and abilities. And while achieving this, we will have learned from each other, from the qualified data that will be available and from the actions we must all undertake in order to reach all the benefits coming out of the qualified data and establish a society that is prosperous.

Maybe this sounds a tiny bit unrealistic, but hey, it might happen! So here is my plan!

Quantified self as a starting point
So I am looking at what is available (quantified self), and build upon this to start the qualified self option.
With Big Data pushing its way into every niche of society, one of the more individually lived experience with big data is the Quantified Self (QS). The quantified self movement is a movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on aspects of a person's daily life in terms of inputs (e.g. food consumed, quality of surrounding air), states (e.g. mood, arousal, blood oxygen levels), and performance (mental and physical). Such self-monitoring and self-sensing, which combines wearable sensors (EEG, ECG, video, etc.) and wearable computing, is also known as lifelogging (Wikipedia, 2014). The quantified self movement proclaims that the data will ensure a better (physical) world for everyone. Who knows, the ideas and hopes of the Quantified Self will be realized: better health for all (e.g. Ari Meisel who learned how to control his Crohn's disease through the use of data), a better sleeping pattern for all (for those interested in tools look at this list, or the tools provided on the QS website (one section is on mood)), or in general getting a better understanding of the human physical body and world.  But at the end of the day it is just quantity, it is not about Quality and to me

My quantified life as a diabetic
As I am a diabetic type 1 (insulin dependent) I have a bit of experience with logging some part of my physical being. With an average of measuring my blood sugar 6 times a day, I track my blood glucose. I did use a continued glucose meter (CGM) in the past, and the constant, live streaming detail surely made my life easier keeping track and understanding the impact of various food intakes. But as the CGM was quite expensive, I switched back to strips and blood sampling to keep on top of my blood-sugar levels. Does this measuring improve my life? Yes, it surely does. And this results in a better quality of life as well, but ... measuring physical data only goes so far. I am more than my body, I am mind. So I want to understand more.

Shifting from quantity to quality
There is also an interesting development based on statistics coming from the Quantified Self embedded in the professional workspace. One such example is Fitbit data, a Japanese experiment to map workplace relationships (professional relationships that is) by providing pedometers to workers and analysing the data coming from those pedometers.
And although efficiency sounds wonderful, it does not necessarily align with the thought of life's quality. And it is that quality of life I am interested in. For let's be honest, if technology keeps moving forward, automation will take over most jobs as accounted by many articles and experts, and in the end we - as a society - will have to rethink work, financial transaction, leisure time and getting

Setting up first trial for qualified or qualtified self instrument for measuring learning
So the first step I want to take to make use of the technology for a more qualified self improvement, is to build a mobile research instrument that measures learning. I need it, as I am investigating all the factors that influence self-directed learning in MOOCs for learners using multiple devices and engaged in individual/collaborative learning. I hope to come up with a mobile app that will make it easier for the learners to share their learning track and ... keep track. I know there are personal learning lockers out there, but still I want to see what I can come up with, ideally something so simple it becomes beautiful (quality yes).

Stephen Downes added a more appropriate word for the instrument: the qualtified self. I can see this as a next step between quantified self and qualified self, and due to the human difficulty to surpass the wish/need/capacity for metrics instead of matrix.

A critical lens on the quantified self
After doing some initial exploring, I stumbled upon an article with solid critique on the challenges of the qualified self as it is designed now. The article was "A dream of a feminist data future", a great essay written by Amelia Abreu in whch she puts wonderful, intelligent questionmarks on each step of the quantified self movement saying that Women’s lives have been subjected to quantification for decades, and how this is not always for the good of womankind. Amelia takes the reader through history of data handling (mostly a women's job at first) and puts an important factor into the equation (also raised in software development): "The Quantified Self movement searches for universal points and scores and payoffs, but doesn't acknowledge the systems behind how those are valued, who chooses them, what they mean, and who they leave out -- often the already overlooked and marginalized, like caregivers and other low-wage workers."
Amelia concludes with the question whether "we can ever reach a point where sensor technology and data-mining can be accessible and successful, flexible enough to be genuinely empowering, allowing users to control their own narratives".

So Amelia's article provides me with an additional point of interest. Will try to honor it and find an empowering angle to my app, at least it will be used to track learning, which to me is part of anyone empowering themselves. As always ideas are welcomed and joining hands are appreciated.