Sunday, August 29, 2004

E-Learning Blogs This Month: Part 2

contributed by Susan Smith Nash

Four more e-learning blogs profiled, ranging from the chatty and personable Michael Feldstein's e-literate to Jane Knight's e-program lifesaver, the e-learningcentre, to overwhelmingly encyclopedic e-learningguru and elearnopedia. All are outstanding and a huge service to the community. They encourage the sharing of knowledge and collaborations. Now, if I could only keep my "marketing brain-flashes" to myself (!). Oh well.

elearnopedia -- outstanding resources are available here. The articles on effective online instruction are both well-researched and accessible. The articles are neatly arranged by category: Academic Researchers, Educators, Developers, General Interest, and Content Managers. The articles are easy to access and useful. For example, in "Educators," I found Marc Miller, Kelly Rainer, and Ken Corley's "Predictors of Engagement and Participation in an Online Course" to be very useful, particularly from a behaviorist perspective, with a view to self-efficacy, motivation, and perceived relevancy of course materials. It did not measure the perceived difficulty of access or comfort level with modes of content delivery, which, although it would have complicated the picture, would have incorporated a realistic factor. I would be interested in seeing how entertaining, aesthetically pleasing, or otherwise semiotically compelling icons and other visual elements promote engagement. A major flaw: The citation does not appear in the portal, nor does the URL to the direct link. Marketing Brain-Flash: Slug-fest it! Add slugs (citations, URLs, author names).

e-learningguru -- This is an amazingly content-rich site, with numerous pages and nicely organized sets of links. In addition to links to articles, weblogs, and white papers, there is a useful glossary. There is a bit of information overload, and I would enjoy seeing how our wise elearning guru (Kevin Kruse) would rate the articles - perhaps not stars, or otherwise pedestrian qualitative evaluations, but by yoga poses to indicate how it makes the reader stretch. Kevin Kruse's "Blog Roll" features unique and often-overlooked weblogs dealing with all aspects of elearning. Now, what are Kevin's thoughts and insights? I, for one, would love to read a daily op-ed piece or analysis. Marketing Brain-Flash: Kevin, tell us what you're thinking!

e-literate - Michael Feldstein's e-literate has everything I love in a blog - a sense of the person behind the blog, an engaging tone, great links, articles about all sorts of things, articulate commentary, and lively ways of classifying and thinking about e-cognition, e-learning, and emerging technologies. His "site themes" give one a sense of where he is coming from: "Aggregation Sciences," "Blogo-Eroticism and Other Hype," "Open Source, Open Content," "Tools, Toys, and Technology (Oh My!)" to name just a few. His Blogroll has some of the often-featured blogs, but also a few unique ones - Surfin' Safari and Chatterbots are wonderful. Marketing Brain-Flash: Icons for the Blog-eroticism and other eye-catching categories.

e-learning centre - Jane Knight's e-learning Center has been operational since 1994. The site is well-organized, functional and loads quickly (although some of the ads on the portal page are a bit distracting). The practicality and functionally of this site cannot be overstated. It is marvelous - the little things really do count. For example, I appreciate the "Reviewer's Note" at the end of each article lead-in. It is one of the best sites I have seen for individuals who either need to organize an e-learning program or completely overhaul the one they have. She provides links and information to guide individuals along each step of the way. Granted, when perusing her site one gets the sense of a giant box under the Christmas tree labeled, "Some Assembly Required" - but, thankfully, you're not alone. If you're lacking the proper tools or the expertise, consulting services are available as well. Marketing Brain-Flash: Jane has a very friendly presence. We want more! More pictures of Jane working on projects, with clients, leading workshops.

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