Friday, September 28, 2007

Articles of Note: Corgi Catches, Sept. 24, 2007

We dig through databases, online journals, an e-learning magazines for online learning articles of interest. In this weekly series, we present a few articles that you might find useful, thought-provoking, or simply interesting. Instead of giving you only the citation, we'll give you more. We'll provide a brief overview and synopsis of the article.

Here's an audio overview: Podcast.

We hope you find this to be helpful!

Articles that caught the Corgi’s eye this week:



Darling, C., McWey, L., Howard, S. and Olmstead, S. (2007). College student stress: The influence of interpersonal relationships on sense of coherence. Stress and Health 23: 215–229.

This paper reports the results of studies to find the relationships between college student stress on a sense of coherence. A high sense of coherence is a good predictor of college success. Investigators asked a number of questions of participants in the study, including the following: What are college student stressors? What are student perceptions of the stressors? The results of this study can be applied to online learning, and it’s an opportunity for online courses to incorporate strategies to help students develop a sense of coherence. In order to appreciate the role of coherence, one must first understand what a sense of coherence is. According to Darling, etal, coherence is a “holistic frame of mind, generally expressed by a stable and persistent feeling that one’s environment, internal and external, will be both predictable and reasonable” (Darling, etal, 2007, p. 215). The stronger the sense of coherence (SOC), the more likely the individual will be to cope with ever-present stressors – finances, work, interpersonal relationships, school, family – as well as new ones. A strong sense of coherence is important in helping individuals learn how to manage finances, embark on independent living, develop decision-making skills, etc. Some students are able to adjust to the profound challenges of college life while others struggle with the mounting stress (p. 216). The theoretical basis of the study is the Family Stress Theory (FST), which looks at people’s lives in terms of resources and their perception of their resources, which is to say that people must perceive that resources are available and adequate. Translated to e-learning, the concepts presented in this article reinforce the importance of instructional materials, a help desk, student support, instructor access, a library, and assessment practice. Also, it is worthwhile to look at the elearner’s resource base, not just in terms of family and economic support, but also in terms of software, infrastructure, access, and equipment. The authors conclude that in order to be successful, professors should “structure courses and course content to be sensitive to SOC and the management of stressor pile-up often experienced by college students” (p. 227). The authors also emphasize that it is important to give students “adaptive tools and stronger ‘I can do this’ attitudes” (p. 228).


Gobet, F. (2005) “Chunking models of expertise: implications for education.” Applied Cognitive Psychology, 19: 183–204 (2005).

The author of this study applies the concept of “chunking” to education in order to obtain new insights into the following questions: “What are the mechanisms of learning?” “What is the role of feedback in learning?” “How important is the order in which materials are presented?” This article explains that chunks are patterns, and they tend to be the cognitive short-cuts that experts use to be able to recognize key features of a problem using perceptual cues (the “professional eye”) and to maximize efficiency in problem identification and solving. The article presents a few findings about the best way to utilize the notion of “chunking” in order to optimize learning and to develop effective instructional strategies. They include the following: 1) teach from simple to complex; 2) move from the known to the unknown; 3) clearly identify elements to be learned; 4) focus on limited number of standard problems; 5) avoid distracters; 6) organize information in central filing system or database. In terms of elearning course design, the following ideas from the article could be extremely effective: 1) segment curriculum into natural components; 2) perform a task analysis and follow successful models; 3) make sure that the course includes opportunities to provide feedback. In short, chunking involves directing learner attention to important features. The article concludes by stating that a good teacher knows how to help students prioritize, organize, and identify key elements to the point that the students become adept at pattern recognition and thus can create their own schemata or “chunks.”


Anderson, M. (2007). Social networks and the cognitive motivation to realize network opportunities: a study of managers’ information gathering behaviors. Journal of organizational behavior. Accepted March 2007. In press.

The goal of this study was to look at how social networks on the Internet are being used in real-life situations to problem-solve and to gather information. The study also specifically looked at how Internet-based social networks are influencing organizational behavior. The study included 77 MBA students in an executive-level IT class in the year 2000 at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. The following questions were asked: Question 1: Do network size and tie-strength lead to more information gathering? The actual network size was measured by the number of contacts. The effective network size was the number of members who actually knew each other. Question 2: Agency and motivation question: Do some people benefit more from social capital opportunities? The goal was to link personality and social networks. The study concluded that social networking can be a great way to gather information. However, there must be 1) sufficient motivation; 2) a clear goal in mind; 3) no redundancies. Further, it is important to keep in mind that “actionable knowledge” can be derived through social networks, and, when utilized in an efficient manner, can lead to immediate progress on a current assignment or project.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Louisiana Launches Grade-Level Expectation Training, NCLB Preparedness

Louisiana will provide teachers with online (or face-to-face) training to prepare them to meet No Child Left Behind requirements and other standards-based education and assessment. The program has been developed by the Louisiana Department of Education and consists of five individual modules, the first of which will launch September 24, 2007.

The program is known as GLEEM, which is an acronym for Grade-Level Expectations Educational Model. The program was developed by the Louisiana Department of Education (http://www.louisianaschools.net/lde/index.html), and is a statewide pilot initiative which, according to its website, is designed to do the following:

---Provide participants with a deeper understanding of the Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) and the state comprehensive curriculum.

--- Enable participants to deepen their understanding of effective instructional practices by exploring research-based strategies and instructional resources.

---Broaden participants' knowledge of standards, benchmarks, GLEs, and technology by applying them in the development of standards-based lessons and assessments.

--- Explore the potential of learning communities as they relate to professional development and student learning through collaborative learning experiences.

GLEEM is offered to participants in the form of five learning modules which may be taken sequentially as a series, or standalone. Upon successful completion of each module, each of which requires approximately 2 weeks, if taken online, the student will receive credit for continuing education and professional development.

Module 1: An Introduction

Module 2: Effective Classroom Practices

Module 3: Enhancing a Standards-based Lesson Plan

Module 4: Effective Assessment Practices

Module 5: Making the GLE Connection

While the courses are offered face-to-face as well as via the internet, the online version provides individuals with an opportunity to develop a learning community. Participants may be K-12 teachers in Louisiana, or individuals who are interested in the following:

Obtaining a deeper understanding of the grade level expectations and LouisianaĆ¢€™s state comprehensive curriculum;
Increasing his/her understanding of effective instructional and assessment practices as they relate to the comprehensive curriculum; and
Obtaining a deeper knowledge of standards, benchmarks, GLEs, and instructional technology through applications in the development of standards-based lessons and assessments. (from the GLEEM website)

The GLEEM program is impressive and it correlates well with the stated goals, vision, and mission of Paul Pastorek, Louisiana State Superintendent of Schools, who articulated his commitment to teacher development in his statement issued in July 2007.

Louisiana continues to meet challenges in the post-Katrina era, and GLEEM to be an inspiration for all states facing change and challenges.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Does Our “e-Celebrity” Culture Affect e-Learning?

Online students are encouraged to interact with each other and the world, and to engage with each other in discussions and debates that meaningfully incorporate the course content and the world at large. News has always been a focal point, but what happens when celebrity gossip and scandal begin to dominate headlines? Further, what happens when the news is influenced (or even provoked) by bloggers seeking attention by performing stunts, parodies, that place them firmly in the middle of the “conversation”?

For podcast, click here.

When O.J. Simpson ("The O.J. Sideshow is Back") was arrested in Las Vegas for armed robbery and a host of other charges, his scandal pushed aside the news that France was threatening Iran with war.

When Britney Spears opened the Video Music Awards (VMA’s) for MTV, not only did the awards show, which had been in decline, enjoy a 25 percent ratings increase, the fact that her performance of her song, “Gimme More,” was universally panned as a “trainwreck,” a disaster, or even a career-ending humiliation, generated a buzz that was still going strong more than a week later ("Britney Proves Awful is the New Awesome"). Britney’s performance (stage fright? Tripping on the broken heel of boot? Impaired?) her appearance (overweight? Outfit too skimpy?) made it to all the traditional news outlets: CNN, Fox, major networks, morning shows, late night humor shows, and more. Further, Britney’s performance was the subject of debate in offices, Starbucks, beauty salons, radio talk shows, but – above all – in blogs and online videos.


Perhaps even more telling of that performance’s impact on the culture at large – even if only for its own 15 seconds of notoriety – was the fact that Britney’s video performance spawned a wide array of video responses. Chris Crocker, a 19-year-old fan, created an impassioned “Leave Britney Alone” video while in front of his webcam, which, within 4 days of being posted on YouTube, had been downloaded and played by 8 million viewers. Other videos were parodies of her outfit, her performance, her “love handles.”

When the rather odd photos of boxing champion (Oscar de la Hoya) came out, and he appeared cross-dressing in fishnet and a women’s black bikini, it was immediately viewed as a visual allusion to Spears and her sparkly black lingerie-look bikini & fishnet outfit.

Chris Crocker’s
video became an excellent example of a “viral video” – one that is disseminated throughout the web and gains enormous traffic as people e-mail the links to each other, post links on their blog, or embed the script in their social networking space (MySpace, etc.) His success even led to a contract for his own show ("Chris Crocker: From YouTube to Boob Tube").


It is every parodist’s or prankster’s dream to create a viral video. After all, there is no doubt that people will see it. The average American may not be able to tell you where Turkmenistan is, but he or she can tell you which celebrity shaved her head and brandished an umbrella at a car full of paparazzi.

In Florida, a college student was administered electrical shocks via Tazer when he became disruptive at a speech given by former presidential candidate John Kerry. The fact it was recorded by a phone / camera and instantly posted on the web provoked intense debates about free speech and police brutality. At the same time, there was a very real possibility that it was a prank, inspired by an entire spectrum of reality shows, many of which focus on playing practical jokes and pulling rather harsh set-ups, gags, and traps.



If so, the prank provoked hard news. The bloggers make the news itself. In the traditional classroom, the “world at large” included mass media, but the participatory world of blogging, sharing videos, social networking, text-messaging, instant messaging, and even e-mail did not exist. The staged-for- television rallies of the past, and the “show” villages for media visits and public relations seem primitive and their artifice seems all too penetrable today, with our awakened consciousness.

The result is that the average e-learner has very different expectations about the kind of information that is available today, and the way one can or should obtain it. “Serious” sources, such as television news, and blogs, YouTube, MySpace, may actually have identical information. Celebrity sites such at TMZ, x17online, Just Jared, dlisted, and PerezHilton have mainstreamed. In many cases, the “hard” news services rely on the blogs for their information, which can make it quite difficult for fact-checkers.

E-Learner expectations about current information and its access can be summarized as follows:

1---It has to entertain. As a result, short, engaging clips are better than long ones. They have to engage the emotions and keep the viewer interested.

2---The more spontaneous or “live” the production, the more believable or authentic the video is. Production values are not as important as the way it engages. Reality programs have conditioned viewers to believe that authenticity comes in pixelly, low-resolution videos and images obtained by handheld devices.

3---Authenticity is no longer automatically attributed to the “official” version, or a function of the perception of wealth or power behind the company producing the video. In fact, many viewers are suspicious of “big” media, since it is assumed that they often have a commercial or political agenda, which results in spin or outright fabrication of facts.

4---Viral videos have more penetration than videos disseminated via “normal” channels. Short, spontaneous videos that capture the imagination and passions of the viewers take off and then spawn, producing view statistics that increase logarithmically. The viral video is an excellent example of a “meme” in action, and demonstrates how waves and tipping points occur in the “wild.”

5—Interaction is a must. Viewers want to interact with the e-media event. They want be able to voice their opinion, and to see their posts being responded to. Celebrities provide the players in stories that individuals want to discuss.

6---Celebrities and their sagas create socialization events in the virtual world, and in a world where face-to-face socialization is becoming (seemingly) less important.

7---Elearners will not respond enthusiastically to stale discussion boards. They want to be able to relate their own experiences and discuss issues that connect to their ideas, views, and values.

8---Socialization process that informs viewers in the ways of the new communication norms. The socialization process is not just about the use of celebrity stories to express values, beliefs, and mores. Instead, the socialization process involves fashion, new vocabularies, and technology itself. What are the celebrities wearing? What words do you use to describe current events? What kind of mp3 player or cell phone do you have? Elearners learn more about current trends via the web and celebrity-driven discourse than in their non-virtual world.

The result is that elearners are expected to have discussions and interactions on the Internet that put everything out in the open. As a result, a non-interactive course that is heavily text-based is likely to bore the average learner. The average course is likely to feel like a tight, closed-in box rather than an elearning space where memes can flourish and students can engage in the kinds of real-world discussions, media events, and communication that makes them feel connected. Learning takes place only after true engagement occurs. Engagement strategies that worked in the past just will not work today, and it is important to keep this in mind.

Coming soon!

Doof -- lots of games. http://www.doof.com
Good for social networking and elearning? article coming soon.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Articles of Note: Corgi Catches, September 10, 2007

We dig through databases, online journals, an e-learning magazines for online learning articles of interest. In this weekly series, we present a few articles that you might find useful, thought-provoking, or simply interesting. Instead of giving you only the citation, we'll give you more. We'll provide a brief overview and synopsis of the article.

Here's an audio overview: Podcast.

We hope you find this to be helpful!

Articles that caught the Corgi’s eye this week:


Ayres, P. and Paas, F. (2007) Can the Cognitive Load Approach Make Instructional Animations More Effective? Applied Cognitive Psychology. 21: 811–820

This article looks closely at seven different empirical studies that focused on the use of instructional animations. The goal was to see if some of the theories used in determining how and where to use animations effectively, such as the cognitive load theory, did in fact result in achieving learning outcomes. After carefully reviewing the results of the empirical research, Ayres and Paas developed guiding principles for designing effective instructional material using animations. Ayres and Paas developed nine guiding principles, all of which are extremely clear and easy to implement. The first three are as follows:

(1) Animations will be more effective if they are segmented into smaller sections.

(2) Animations will be more effective if the learner has control over the presentation.

(3) Animations will be more effective if key information is cued or signaled. (Ayres & Paas, 2007, p. 815)

The article also addresses what Ayres and Paas perceived as fairly serious issues in the research design, and pointed out that the measure of animation efficacy was not always directly measured by looking at recall and performance on standardized tests. Further, if animation effectiveness is measured by results on tests and other performative aspects, the conclusions may be faulty. The research design must take into consideration that individual learning styles and preferences are important, as well as the kind of interactivity that is incorporated with the animations.

Kujawski, E. and Miller, G. (2007) Quantitative Risk-Based Analysis for Military Counter-Terrorism Systems. Systems Engineering, April 2007: 273-289.

You’ve made a significant investment in your online and distance learning program. Now, what happens if something catastrophic befalls it? Do you know where your vulnerabilities are? Have you prioritized them and come up with a plan to minimize your risk? You would not drive your car without liability and collision insurance, would you? So, what might happen if your server crashes, data is corrupted, or confidential information is compromised? You might be surprised how many programs do not have a coherent plan, or, have failed to identify and prioritize risk. Needless to say, they do not have an effective plan for dealing with equipment failures, problems with data, catastrophic failures, or even day-to-day operational problems. This highly technical paper may not seem to have much to do with e-learning, mobile learning, or distributed education. Basically speaking, the paper has to do with how one determines where there are vulnerabilities in the system, the likelihood of failure, and how best to protect oneself / shield oneself from risk. It’s a case for analyzing the pro’s and con’s of outsourcing key services and functions, and for building in redundancies in the system. Case in point: how many colleges and universities have found themselves essentially abandoned by the company who sold them a software program, but did not provide adequate support? How many colleges decided to outsource one or more functions, to find they have little or no control over quality of service? This article does not address e-learning per se, but the concepts definitely apply. For example, a nine-step decision tree for looking at vulnerabilities makes sense for educational providers, colleges, and university e-learning programs: 1. Identify critical assets for potential targets; 2. Analyze their vulnerabilities; 3. Characterize the adversaries; 4. Define a set of distinct threats; 5. Analyze the design-basis threat set: Determine the conditional probabilities of successful attacks . Quantify the outcomes in quantitative measures such as monetary value of damage, number and types of problems and damage, lost time, etc. 6. Decide on the need for additional protective countermeasures i. If none required, stop. ii. Else, proceed to step # 7. 7. Identify protective countermeasure options: . Develop system architecture . Develop concept of operations. 8. Evaluate the different options:- Effectiveness and robustness of threat risk reduction capability -Risk of collateral damage - Availability, flexibility, etc. Cost. 9. Select the preferred option based on the above criteria. (Kujawski & Miller, 280). Granted, it is a technical article, and much of the information may not be immediately useable for the average reader. Nevertheless, the approach to threat and risk analysis, and preparedness is extremely useful for today’s elearning programs.

Levine, S. J. (2007). The Online Discussion Board. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 113: 67-74.

The purpose of this chapter is to explain just how discussion boards “have the unique capacity to support higher constructivist learning and the development of a learning community” (Levine, 2007). Ten conditions that support the effective use of online discussions are detailed in this chapter. The findings detailed in the chapter are not unique, but are useful for individuals developing and assessing distance programs, particularly as the way in which students access collaborative learning tools (including discussion boards) expands to include smartphones and other mobile devices. Condition 1: The social climate must be supportive. It has to be a climate conducive to learning. Levine points to Knowles’ ideas on androgogy and learning. Condition 2: Introductions must be made. According to Levine, if one does not include a meaningful introduction, and does not set out rules for interaction, there can be problems as learners fail to interact in a purposeful manner. Condition 3: A guide must be involved, and the discussions should include meaningful feedback by the instructor or guide. The remaining seven guidelines are very timely and useful. Some may seem a bit obvious, but they do reinforce current practices and principles.

This Week's Blogs of Note

Jenna Sweeney's Corporate Training Blog. Excellent posts! Diverse, practical, up-to-date. http://www.cramersweeney.com/cs_id/trainingblog/

Julie Lindsay's educational technology blog. From Qatar Academy, Doha, Qatar. Functional, insightful, cutting-edge. http://123elearning.blogspot.com/

Helge Scherlund's Elearning News Blog. Very useful and current news, opinions, technologies, and applications. http://scherlund.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Family Literacy: Can It Work for E-Learning?

A distance literacy program delivered via television developed in England in the 1990s focused on family literacy. The program incorporated an interactive literacy pedagogy that asked family members to get involved in literacy-building activities (Pitt, 2000). The goal was to improve the reading and writing skills of the students in the program, generally ages 5 – 10, as well as to find a way to have a curriculum that was constantly up-to-date and which effectively created learning communities.

Click here for audio / podcast.

Television-based distance learning was an effective technique in the 1990s, but perhaps less so now. A more effective approach now might be to include multiple forms of access: television, books, podcasts, audio books, synchronous webinars, asynchronous online learning, etc.

Procedures and practices included
* Separate work with parents
* Separate work with children
* Joint activities

Underlying concepts:

* Situate learning by incorporating real-life context(s)
* Keep language and literacy instruction tied in a relevant way to actual practice in
o Home and family
o School and education
o Workplace
* Constructivist approach to learning and literacy
* Bilingual, multi-cultural accommodation to foster positive self-concept

Family Literacy Strategies Applied to Online Learning


While the program was originally delivered via television, in today’s environment new learning technologies – online and mobile learning – make it possible to revisit this program and consider adapting it for today’s students.

Online- The following applications to family learning could be employed in the following ways:

*Synchronous instruction via webinars and voice-over telephony.

*Asynchronous instruction via course website, lessons, quizzes and other activities, recorded audio and video, recorded webinars, discussions, journals, e-mail.

Mobile - Family literacy strategies could be incorporated in mobile learning in the following ways:

*Synchronous instruction via text-messaging, voice, instant messaging with video / audio, responding to prompts by text-messaging to a bulletin board or blog.

*Asynchronous via via podcasts for audio, syndicated video casts for video, reading lectures, posting to discussion board, bringing the lessons into the environment that makes the content come alive. For example, a reading assignment about algae formation in ponds could be incorporated into a visit to a pond, where the student takes photos and a journal, and records an audio file to post to a place (a blog, or a forum), where all participants have a chance to read and listen to each other’s work and to respond.

*Activities should be structured to take to the real world, with the overall purpose of asking questions, observing phenomena, describing them, reading and listening to how they are described, and map out connections between the world, the reading, and one’s personal experience with both.

However, before any of the "family literacy" approaches can be effectively incorporated in today's context, it's important to look at a few key cultural and social issues:

* Must redefine “family” – is it a birth family, or simply a community of interest and shared purpose?

* How can distance learning actually help with the formation of a “family” – which could be, for the purposes of education, a “learning community”?

* Home school as the embodiment of family literacy. This seems to be a perfect fit.

Collaborative e-Learning and Mobile Learning Activities:

Reading Together:
Share articles and links to blogs.
Read comments
Post comments
Enter information in wikis.
Encourage social networking, especially if people are posting portfolios and photos to rehumanize the learning space.

Writing Together:

Activities could focus on describing items in the world of phenomena (the world outside the textbook or the course materials), and could include journals, diaries, and logs of observations and experiences that could be shared with others.

Activities could also include how the “family” creates bonds (given that the “family” could simply be a learning community), and could include a family diary, an exploration of relationships, and a gradual evolution of a mission, vision, and overarching sense of purpose.

Listening

Comprehension is more than simply understanding the literal meaning of the words. If the context is taken into consideration, other items, such as cultural meanings and values, will enter. Cultural literacy is as much a part of this as regular “reading and writing” literacy.

Assessment

Outcomes expectations are clearly stated. Students have the opportunity to rewrite, regroup, revise, and resubmit.

Conclusion:

Specific programs in reading, writing, and communication could lend themselves
Specific programs:

* Reading
* Writing
*Listening (comprehension) and speech (communication)
* Performance (assessment and evaluation)

Aspects with positive implications for today’s contexts and challenges:
* Cross-lingual (Urdu and English in the original program in England; other languages applicable now)
* Requires time and involvement with parents or "family" (whether or virtual or real).

There are presuppositions in the original program that may need adjusting. For example, the notion that everyone has a television and that they're used to watching programming that comes on at a certain time is not really the typical mode of operation in today's just-in-time and on-demand, 24-7 access world. Further, it is a stretch to expect everyone to have a television or computer. It may be more appropriate to make the content available in multiple modes (asynchronous e-learning, downloadable content to mobile devices, smartphone, CD-ROM / DVD, etc.).

Further, the presupposition that "family" learning must incorporate the birth family is perhaps a bit narrow for today's times, where homeschooling occurs with individuals from multiple households, etc. What must be present is a cultural-appropriate, cross-cultural set of motivations / motivational strategies, as well as a deep-seated desire to work in a collaborative environment.

References:

Basic Skills Agency (1995a) Developing Family Literacy: TV programmes for teachers, and leaflet. London: Basic Skills Unit.

Hamilton, M. (1996) “Literacy and adult basic education” in R. Fieldhouse (ed.) A History of Modern Adult Education, London: National Institute for Adult Continuing Education.

Hamilton, M. (1998) “Keeping Alive Alternative Visions”, RaPAL 36: 4-14.

New London Group (1996) “A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Designing Social Futures.” Harvard Educational Review 66(1): 60-92.

Pitt, K. (2000) Family literacy: A pedagogy for the future? Situated Literacies: Reading and Writing in Context. London: Routledge: 108-124.

Vincent, C. and Tomlinson, S. (1997) “Home-School Relationships: “The Swarming of Disciplinary Mechanisms”?”, British Educational Research Association 23(3): 361-77.













Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Articles of Note: Corgi Catches, Sept. 4, 2007

We dig through databases, online journals, an e-learning magazines for online learning articles of interest. In this weekly series, we present a few articles that you might find useful, thought-provoking, or simply interesting. Instead of giving you only the citation, we'll give you more. We'll provide a brief overview and synopsis of the article.

Here's an audio overview: Podcast.

We hope you find this to be helpful!

Articles that caught the Corgi’s eye this week:



Rogan, J. (2006). How much curriculum change is appropriate? Defining a Zone of Feasible Innovation. Science Education. November 2006: pp. 439-460.

This article presents the results of a concerted effort to apply Vygotsky's notions of social learning along with the social contexts and constraints on learning in order to understand the failures of pedagogical innovation in the 1960s in Africa, where highly innovative, forward-looking, "sputnik curricula" failed to achieve the results desired. As a result, the author shows how Vygotsky's "Zone of Proximal Development" notions can help explain failures as well as successes. Rogan describes the resulting Zone of Feasible Innovation as "a collection of teaching strategies that go beyond current practices, but are feasible given the existing resources available to the teacher, or group of teachers, and the prevailing environment of the school in terms of its ability to foster and sustain innovation (Rogan, 2006, 442). The Zone of Feasible Innovation can be implemented by taking a three-tiered approach: 1) getting underperforming schools to achieve better results; 2) helping moderately successful schools achieve excellence; 3) encouraging schools that have achieved a level of excellence introduce sophisticated teaching and learning. Rogan emphasizes that to achieve innovation, one must manage expectations and be realistic about what can be achieved. After a realistic notion of outcomes has been set, Rogan discusses how coherence must be achieved, and a sequence in place. Finally, Rogan examines the nature of rewards and motivation in various settings, and points out, very insightfully, that in many cases the potential alleviation or lessening of conflict can be very motivating -- in some cases, even more so than typical intrinsic or extrinsic rewards.

Ferjencik, M. ((2007). Best starting point to comprehensive process safety education. Process Safety Progress. September 2007: 26:3. pp. 195-202.

According to this article's author, the problem with traditional safety instruction is that it tends to be inadequate because it does not address alternatives to the "canned" answers nor does it discuss multiple solutions or approaches to problems. Ferjencik presents a solution to the problems by suggesting that pedagogical improvements can be effected by emphasizing questions, encouraging creative thinking about safety, avoiding prefabricated answers. The bottom line is that a spontaneous, interactive, and engaged group of learners that have flexibility will learn more. At the same time that the author encourages innovation, he wisely maintains a notion of structure, and suggests that instructional design focal areas should stay firmly grounded in a) developing sequences of knowledge; b) developing scaffolding techniques; c) including case histories and show them how they apply to the underlying concepts; d) take a problem-solving approach to "learn from accidents." This article is clear, easy to follow, and refreshingly lucid in its presentations of lesson plans and instructional material.

Kapp, K. (2007). Tools and techniques for transfering know-how from boomers to gamers. Global Business and Organizational Excellence. July-August 2007. pp. 22-37.

This is a timely and imminently practical article that fascinates the reader with its clarity in describing the differences between the learning style preferences of baby boomers and "gamers" (post 1980 digital natives), and the implications on the workplace of tomorrow and today's need to transfer knowledge from one generation to another. The need will be come urgent soon: in the next five years, 40 percent of skilled workplace employees will retire. Kapp addresses the problems faced by many corporations that have extended the hierarchical, linear thinking and process flow to training and knowledge transfer. Kapp points out that younger workers find the text-based, linear presentation and delivery of content to be absolutely antithetical to their learning preferences, and prefer to be able to obtain information, knowledge, and skills via informal learning. Gamer learning styles are different than those of boomers. Gamers are a) not focused on books and reading; b) ignore formal instruction, c) prefer a trial and error approach; d) learn from peers; e) center on small bits of information; f) demand just-in-time information. The gamers, who were born after the 1980s, and who grew up playing the multiplayer, three dimensional, collaborative, on-demand role-playing games that gained popularity in the 1990s, are not likely to succeed in elearning courses that simply translate a traditional classroom approach to the learning management system. Kapp recommends incorporating blogs, wikis, syndication, podcasting, and IM, among other things, in order to make corporate knowledge transfer relevant to the learning styles of gamers. Although he does not mention them specifically, Kapp's points make one think that corporations and corporate training units would be well served to include social networking, mobile learning, and video.

About "Corgi Catches"

The Corgi digs through databases, online journals, an e-learning magazines for online learning articles of interest. In this weekly series, we present a few articles that you, dear reader & faithful E-Learning Queen (or King), might find useful, thought-provoking, or simply interesting. Instead of simply giving you the citation, we'll provide a brief overview and synopsis of the article.

We hope you find this to be helpful!

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