Designing Online Learning

Uploaded by rculatta on 13.10.2009

So I guess I would say that the main thing that I
suggest when looking at creating online learning
is to be very careful about considering the types of
interactions that are being designed in the course
so what I mean by that is that I'm just shocked by the
amount of online learning that I've seen that has just
a dump of content out to the learners
anybody who has taken a course like that just hates it
it's boring, it doesn't engage the person who is sitting
there clicking through the screens with the content
and it flies in the face of all that we know about good learning
so what do we know about good learning?
well, one of the things that we know is that it is inherently
a social activity. So people learn about content as they
interact with other people about that content - not just by
readying or watching videos about it. it's through the social
interactions that we learn about something. So when
we're developing online learning, we can't forget that
we gotta do that same sort of thing. So one of the suggestions
that I have is that I ask people to make a mental pie-chart
if you will about the three types of interactions that exist
there are three types of interactions - these come from
a respected educational researcher named Michael Moore
and he wrote an article in 1989 and said that there are three
types of interactions that needed to exist in order to have
an effective learning experience. Those interactions are:
learner >< content interactions
learner >< learner interactions
and learner >< expert interactions
So again, if you make a pie-chart in your mind
and think about the online learning that you're developing
how much of what you're doing is learner/content
how much is learner/learner, how much is learner/expert?
What I find when I ask this question is usually looks
something like this. A large percentage is just content-push
out to the learner. And then sometimes there is a small
amount of learner/expert interaction. And if ever, there is
a tiny sliver of learner/learner interaction
and so if you look it in that way, you see pretty quickly
that we need to get some other types of interaction here
in order to have it become meaningful. We know that
talking just about the tools that we use does not mean that
there are effective interactions - and that's why I like to
talk about interactions instead of just tools. You can have
a really effective online learning tool and still not have
a very interactive environment - we know that from the classroom
You can have a classroom and have a really great learning
experience, and you can have - in that same classroom - a
really awful learning experience. The classroom didn't change
it's what's happening inside that space. The same with the tools
And so when you look at developing online leearning, how
are you making sure that you're involving, bringing in social
interactions that bring students together and connects students
students to experts and not just push content out to them
Fortunately there are a lot of ways to do this. There are a lot
of great tools that are available; Facebook, Twitter, wikis
blogs - there are a whole bunch of tools that make it really
to connect people - but they have to be conscious design
decisions. If you're not deciding to do that as you develop
an online course, it very quickly becomes data/content dump
out to the students. And then you get back into the
traditional, what I call "nexter", computer-based trainings
where you hit next, next, next through and at the end you
take a little quiz and if you haven't fallen into a coma
before it's over you get some sort of credit. That's not
effective learning. And so if we keep in mind what makes
learning work, and that is social interactions, and build
that into online learning experiences, I think we'll be very
effective. And if not, then I think we're in a lot of trouble and we
need to consider what we're doing before we invest any
more money into online learning.