5 Changes Shaping The Future Of Learning Technology – Steve Lowenthal

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What Changes Are Shaping The Future Of Learning Technology

A perfect storm of disruptors is leading us all into uncharted territory. Given this uncertainty, it’s not surprising that Ambient research [1] has forecast negative 14% growth for the US LMS market over the next 5 years.

The LMS Is DEAD Or Is It?

But don’t panic, it’s not that we’re heading back to the dark ages of Excel spreadsheets and manila folders. Rather, we’re entering an era of integrated best-of-breed technologies that in the best case will work together seamlessly to deliver personalized, just-in-time learning experiences.

If you aren’t already in the process, check the following 5 changes that will help you prepare for the future:

1. Compatibility With New Learning Technology

Over the past 5 years, new learning technology products are entering the market at a record pace. This includes social tools like Yammer, AR/VR solutions, gamification platforms, and more. These products are often “self-contained solutions” that control how the user experiences them, what data is collected, and how new experiences are created.

The positive is that we now have an expanded toolset to create the best learning experience based on the content, audience, and goals. The downside is that, in the worst-case scenario, learners are logging into multiple systems, learning paths are disjointed and cumbersome, and data is spread across multiple systems. The future organization needs a guide that supports the ability to combine these disparate technologies into a unified learning experience.

2. Data Is The New Currency Of L&D

The L&D market is quickly approaching a tipping point around data analysis. We’re moving from tracking consumption—e.g. how many people finished a course—to business intelligence or BI. BI refers to technologies, applications, and practices for the collection, integration, analysis, and presentation of business information. The purpose of Business Intelligence is to support better business decision making.

BI requires data that matters—data from an LMS, from work systems—e.g. a CRM, from social apps and from all of the new learning technologies mentioned above. The future organization needs the capability to integrate and analyze data from multiple systems and sources.

3. User Experience Is King

Content is king used to be a commonly heard phrase in our industry, but today User Experience has muscled its way to the top of the list. LMS is too often an inhibitor to the great User Experience. Historically, LMS was designed as an aggregator of learning resources with the main purpose being to gatekeep, assign, and track learning.

This outdated perspective too often is at odds with providing great experiences and outcomes. The future learning organization needs to create great User Experience—this means easy-to-use, available at the point of need, and connected to other resources and people.

4. Amazon And Google Have Changed Expectations

If I have a question, I google it and expect to get the best possible matches to my query. And that simple experience has changed expectations for every one of us. At the same time, we, as learning professionals, have matured in our thinking too.

We’ve moved from thinking of learning resources as a closed loop system—if we haven’t built or vetted it we don’t want you to see it—to a realization that there’s great content available from many sources. The future learning organization needs tools that facilitate the finding and sharing resources as well as social features for users to highlight the gems and call out the lemons.

5. Make It Personal

The final change driver is personalization. Making learning personal has 3 significant benefits:

  1. It reduces the time it takes to complete training and in turn that reduces the opportunity cost of spending time on unneeded learning.
  2. It increases the impact—spending the most time on the most important things that I have the largest knowledge gap produces a better result.
  3. Finally, it makes our learner happy by respecting their time.

Check out the Personalized Learning, by Filtered (full disclosure: they are a Kineo partner and have received investment from our parent company City & Guilds) to better understand the benefits of personalization and the AI that fuels it.

The future learning organization needs tools to help employees find the most relevant and impactful learning and to avoid unnecessary time spent learning what I already know.

As an industry, we’re at the precipice of a dramatic change. Best-in-class learning organizations will be more efficient, focus on things that have the greatest impact, and have more of their activity and investment be informed by data. Who’s ready to get started?

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Calmer Children: 10 Mindfulness Ideas – Judith Aitken

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It’s all too apparent that practicing mindfulness is just as important for teachers, so to reduce any additional workload, all of these activities involve zero preparation time.

10 Mindfulness Tips

1. Breathe

As simple as it sounds, asking children to take the time to focus on nothing but their breathing will help to clear their mind. Try experimenting with breaths (breathe in for 2, exhale for 4) to allow children to find their own natural rhythm.

2. Muscle relaxation

When tensions are running high, ask your children to lie on the floor and starting from their toes, tense their muscles for 5 seconds – squeezing as tightly as they can – before releasing again. Continue all the way up the body, even scrunching their facial muscles to relieve any tension from the day.

3. Sensing the senses!

Encourage your children to tap into their senses by pausing for a moment and noticing exactly what they can see, hear and smell in that particular moment. Being in the present can help to alleviate worries that children may have had about previous lessons.

4. Noticing emotions

Mindfulness teaches children that it’s OK not to be OK. Recognizing the emotion that they are experiencing is the most important thing, as well as understanding that this emotion will fade over time.

5. Time on your hands

For those needing some breathing space, a simple yet effective exercise is asking children to hold out their hand in a high five pose, then as slowly as they can, trace round each finger with their other hand. Taking the attention away from what has made them feel frustrated or upset, even if only for a matter of seconds, might be all it takes for them to calm down.

6. Strike a pose

When thinking of mindfulness, yoga is the first exercise that springs to most peoples’ minds. Complicated downward dogs may be attempted, but a simple crossed legged position or standing tall with arms stretched out wide can help children to refocus.

7. Heartbeats

Have your pupils job on the spot for 30 seconds to release some much needed endorphins, then ask them to put their hands on their heart, noticing the speed of the beats. This simple exercise is effective in improving children’s focus.

 8. Practice gratitude

When a day or a lesson seems to have been a complete disaster for a pupil, take the time to have a quick circle time, asking the children to share one positive thing about their day. Hearing what others are grateful for will foster an environment of positivity.

 9. YouTube meditation

There are so many fantastic guided meditation channels on YouTube now, such as “Peace out”  which lead children through a relaxation sequence. Ideal for improving concentration before a long writing session.

10. The sound of music

Using a bell, tambourine or maracas, make sound for while the children close their eyes. Ask the children to open their eyes when they notice that the sound has completely gone and silence has been restored.

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure by your donations – Thank you.

 

Play Brain Games to Help Your Child Learn to Read – Judy Willis

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Reading is not a natural process for the human brain.We are born with the brain architecture ready for development of successful verbal communication, but without any blueprint guiding recognition of the printed word. Neuroimaging scans show that multiple brain regions activate during the reading process without any one isolated reading center.

The human brain is a pattern-building and detecting mechanism. Seeking patterns is the brain’s way of making sense of new information and experiences. We identify new things based on their similarities and relationships to things we already know. The development of literacy takes place in the same way all memories are constructed in the brain – by relating the new to the known.

The brain stores our learned information in long-term memory neural circuits based on commonalities or relationships. If a child had never seen a hat of any kind on a person (real or in pictures) and she is given a doll with various items of clothing, she would not know to place the hat on the doll’s head.

Memory patterns of stored related information become stronger the more frequently information they hold is recalled, used, or reviewed in a way that reinforces the relationships among the data in the memory circuit. For memory of letters and words to build, the brain must continue to link new information with related patterns that already exist in memory storage. For reading to become an acquired skill, there must be a gradual buildup of memories where new information is experienced together with related existing knowledge.

This is why children need skills of patterning and pattern recognition to develop literacy. Their patterning skills are what will allow their brains to connect letters with sounds and words with meanings. Helping young children build their patterning skills supports their future ability to recognize and remember the patterns found in letters, words, and sentence structures.

Here are some brain games you can play with your child to help boost his reading ability through recognizing, playing with, and creating patterns:

  1. Draw attention to patterns in art, nature, and daily recurrent occurrences. You can help your child build pattern recognition skills by playing “color detective” as you are out together. Have your child say “red” each time he sees a red car. Then ask him to be on the lookout for another color. You can also play “shape hunt” together, and ask your child to lead you around the house and point to all things that are circle-shaped (or square, etc.).
  2. Ask your child to categorize and sort items. The patterning skills needed for reading are further extended when your child’s brain can associate the unknown with a pattern into which it could fit. This pattern matching is what takes place when the brain predicts (based on existing memory patterns) the sound of an unfamiliar letter or the meaning of an unknown word. To work on this skill with your child, get her to sort objects into obvious categories, such as a collection of pictures or small plastic animals or vehicles, and give names to each group. (Verbalizing the name she selects for a category increases the brain’s awareness of the pattern. Ask your child why she chose the category name or what information she used when sorting items the way she did.) When she is pro?cient with this, she can move on to more subtle items to categorize. For example, make a map of the rooms of the house and place it on a table or the floor, and ask her to bring items specific to each room, and place each item in the appropriate room on the map.
  3. Look for similarities and differences between objects and photos. When your child has mastered large pattern similarities and differences such as red toys and black toys, try engaging in the following activity. While driving in the car or taking a walk together, ask him to point to cars that have four doors and those that have two or houses with flat roofs and pointy roofs. Or if you are at home, find two photographs of your child taken about a year apart and have him tell you about all the details he finds in each of them. Ask him which picture was taken when he was older and how he can tell. This game becomes more complex and expands comparison-and-contrast aspects of pattern recognition when you encourage your child to tell you other similarities and differences he notices: between two cars, houses, leaves, dogs, family photos, or photos of him at different ages.
  4. Play games of “What doesn’t belong?” This will prepare your child to identify how words and letters have shared characteristics that can be used to identify new words by seeking commonalities. Group together three items, like coins, and include one that does not belong, and ask your child to guess which one is not the same as the others. Once she masters this, create increasingly complex groupings where the “different” item is subtler in its differences (pennies with all heads up except one with tail side up). You can then move on to identification of the patterns of sequences. Line up a penny-penny-dime, penny-penny-dime, and penny-penny-dime sequence. Ask your child to choose the next coin that would fit with the pattern you set up. This builds both patterning skills for reading and sequencing skills for number sense, the basis for learning arithmetic.
  5. Try pattern matching. Pattern matching is how children connect specific letters and groups of letters with associated sounds. An example is by seeing the letter “m” and based on past experiences associating that letter with the “mmm” sound, your child is able to retrieve the memory of that sound. This “phonemic awareness” requires the brain to repeatedly experience the sound and letter together. The more frequently children are aware of this relationship between sound and letter, the more easily their brains will retrieve the correct sound to match with the letter in new words – until it becomes automatic. Children who have trouble with written symbols may learn more readily from hearing patterns emphasized in speech. You can help build these memory pathways to recognize patterns by emphasizing repeating letters, words, and sentences with changes in your voice pitch, speed, or volume emphasis as you read together with your child. If the word in the book is “hibernate” you would read and point to the “hi” and “bern” the point to the “ate”. Then have him do the same and find words with the familiar letter combinations.

Learning to read is critical for all academic success, but it is often an intimidating struggle for children. As your children’s patterning partner, you’ll be their guide to the wonderful worlds they can reach through books traveling over the rainbow and deep into the center of the earth. Your guidance will light the way and the books they enjoy when young will ignite their joy as lifelong readers.

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A New Approach To Personalized Learning Reveals 3 Valuable Teaching Insights – Thomas Arnett

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Personalized learning’s rationale has strong intuitive appeal: We can all remember feeling bored, confused, frustrated, or lost in school when our classes didn’t spark our interests or address our learning needs. But an intuitive rationale doesn’t clearly translate to effective practice. For personalized learning to actually move the needle on improving student experiences and elevating student outcomes, the question of how schools and teachers personalize is just as important as why.

So how do schools effectively personalize learning? Is it through online learning? mastery-based learning? project-based learning? exploratory learning? Each of these common approaches offers a unique dimension of “personalization.” Yet one of the most important ways to personalize learning may be easily overlooked in the quest for new and novel approaches to instruction.

Across the K–12 education landscape, teachers have by far the biggest impact on student learning and student experiences. Even in classrooms with the latest adaptive learning technology, an expert teachers’ professional intuition is still the best way to understand and address the myriad cognitive, non-cognitive, social, emotional, and academic factors that affect students’ achievement.

Additionally, one of the most valuable forms of personalization is authentic, personal relationships between students and teachers. It therefore makes sense that any school looking to offer personalized learning should not only explore new technologies and instructional practices, but also think carefully about how to increase students’ connections with great educators.

To that end, over the past year, The Clayton Christensen Institute partnered with Public Impact to study the intersection between personalized learning and school staffing. Our aim was to observe how schools might be using new staffing arrangements to better meet the individual learning needs of their students. Initially, we tapped into our knowledge of schools (via the BLU_ school directory and Public Impact’s Opportunity Culture schools) and recommendations from personalized learning thought leaders to identify schools that were working to personalize learning using both blended learning and innovative staffing arrangements.

We then narrowed our list down to eight pioneering schools and school networks—including district, charter, and private schools—whose practices we documented in a series of case studies. Our latest report, “Innovative staffing to personalize learning: How new teaching roles and blended learning help students succeed,” released last week, documents the findings from this research. Below are brief snippets on three of our most interesting insights.

Team teaching increases supportive relationships

The most common theme across the schools we studied was a shift from one teacher per classroom to teams of educators collaborating to support larger-than-normal classes. At one school, classes of 60 students learned together in a large, open learning space with three team teachers at a time for ELA and math. At another school, students spent part of their day with co-teachers and part of their day in seven- to 12-person groups supported by a teaching fellow.

At a third school, students rotated through in-class stations where they worked part of the time with a teacher and part of the time with a small group instructor. With these new staffing arrangements, schools found that having many eyes on each student helped keep students from falling through the cracks; increased students’ chances of forming a strong, positive connection with at least one adult; and decreased the odds that a student risked going through a year with just one “really bad fit” teacher.

Support staff help schools personalize through small group instruction

At the schools we studied, teaching teams included not only teachers, but also other support staff, such as tutors, teaching fellows, or small-group instructors. These support staff members played a critical role in helping the schools offer their students frequent opportunities for personalized learning in small groups. As one teacher explained, “That small group is meant to look at each student and identify their personal needs and assist them.”

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Another teacher at a different school said that, “Sometimes tutors make awesome relationships with students, and the students can’t wait for the tutor to come for that day; so then, I use [the tutors] also to make sure that students know that they’re being watched and that they can always ask for help.” Small groups gave students individualized support and relationships that helped them see success is possible.

Blended learning complements innovative staffing

As schools used new staffing arrangements to personalize their instruction, blended learning gave them increased flexibility in how to best use their educators’ time and talents. By letting online learning provide some instruction, educator teams could focus more on coaching students and addressing their individual needs instead of worrying about covering their course content.

Software also gave educator teams data on student progress that allowed them to make their planning and interventions more targeted to students’ needs. Some schools also used software that recommended student groupings and lesson plans for small group instruction.

All too often, schools may be trying to personalize learning while treating one of their most crucial assets—human capital—as fixed. But as the findings from this report illustrate, many pioneering schools see personalized learning and teacher quality not as separate strategies, but as complementary levers within their broader efforts to better serve their students.

In that light, the findings from this report are a bellwether to the field for showing the alignment between personalized learning and human capital approaches that improve access to quality teaching.

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Learning By Teaching Others Is Extremely Effective – Christian Jarrett

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The learning-by-teaching effect has been demonstrated in many studies. Students who spend time teaching what they’ve learned go on to show better understanding and knowledge retention than students who simply spend the same time re-studying. What remains unresolved, however, is exactly why teaching helps the teacher better understand and retain what they’ve learned.

For a new study in Applied Cognitive Psychology researchers led by Aloysius Wei Lun Koh set out to test their theory that teaching improves the teacher’s learning because it compels the teacher to retrieve what they’ve previously studied. In other words, they believe the learning benefit of teaching is simply another manifestation of the well-known “testing effect” – the way that bringing to mind what we’ve previously studied leads to deeper and longer-lasting acquisition of that information than more time spent passively re-studying.

The researchers recruited 124 students and asked them spend ten minutes studying a text, with accompanying figures, about the Doppler Effect and soundwaves – a topic about which none of them had any previous knowledge – with a view to teaching the material themselves afterwards without notes. Participants were told they could take notes while studying but not keep them for the next stage.

After the study phase, the participants were divided into four groups. In one group participants spent five minutes being filmed alone while they stood and delivered a lesson on the study material without notes (they could use a blank flip chart to draw figures if they wanted).

The other groups either spent the same time completing multiplication arithmetic; standing up and teaching verbatim from a set script (including making reference to pre-drawn figures on a white board); or writing down all they could remember from the text (i.e. a form of retrieval practice designed to induce the testing effect).

A week later, all the participants returned to the lab for a surprise test of their knowledge and comprehension of the original study text in the form of six free-response questions that required them to explain key concepts from the study materials.

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The critical finding is that the teaching-without-notes group outperformed the group that had spent the same time completing arithmetic problems and the group that had taught from a script, but so too did the group who simply spent the same time retrieving what they’d learned. In fact, the final comprehension performance of the teaching-without-notes group and the retrieval-practice group was comparable.

The researchers said their results suggest that “the benefits of the learning-by-teaching strategy are attributable to retrieval practice; that is, the robust learning-by-teaching strategy works but only when the teaching involves retrieving the taught materials.”

The new findings don’t undermine the notion of teaching as an effect learning method, but they have practical implications for how the learning-by-teaching approach is applied in education and training. “In order to insure that students and tutors learn and retain the educational material that they have prepared and presented in class, they ought to internalize the to-be-presented material prior to communicating it to an audience, rather than rely on study notes during the presentation process”, the researchers said.

Critical readers may take issue with the lack of realism in the study – there was no audience of learners in either of the teaching conditions and therefore no interaction, which surely also plays a part in the learning benefits of teaching. Also, participants in all groups were originally primed to expect to have to teach the material, which may have had learning benefits in itself – perhaps the retrieval group would not have matched the comprehension of the teaching-without-notes group without being primed in this way.

Lun Koh and colleagues acknowledged some of these issues and they called on further research to “assess the importance of retrieval practice across a variety of teaching scenarios and activities.”

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure by your donations – Thank you.

How To Transform Learning with Google Tools – Miguel Guhlin

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Teachers often struggle during professional development sessions, wondering how to make connections between how-to at the workshop and classroom learning. Diana Benner, Peggy Reimers, and I did some napkin PD planning and came up with a solution.

Here’s a chance to get hands-on Google experience with six different project stations that offer the opportunity to explore lesser-known Google tools. These tools enhance critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration.

Developing PD on a napkin with Diana Benner, Peggy Reimers, and Miguel Guhlin. Let’s explore these ideas in more detail.

Essential Elements

Before we jump into the project stations, let’s review a few components common to each. Each project station includes three components:

  • Explore
  • Adapt/Create
  • Share

In the Explore portion, participants develop background knowledge in the key concept shared. In the Adapt/Create, they make connections between their own experiences as learners. Two ways to accomplish this include adapting an existing work in light of new information. The second way is to create a new product. After they create or adapt, they share that online with a global audience. An additional component is listing what Google tools will be used.

Project Station #1: Inquiry-Based Learning Developers

In this station, participants will explore inquiry-based learning (IBL). Why continue to introduce IBL in professional learning? IBL creates engagement in both teachers and learners. Research has shown it has several benefits. It can:

  • Boost students’ learning in inter-disciplinary studies
  • Motivate students to learn, developing flexible, real-life, problem-solving strategies
  • Deepen critical thinking skills
  • Use of knowledge in new areas (Source)

Learning to ask the right questions and then finding answers that work remain critical to the work of educators and their students. To that end, it’s important to scaffold the use of IBL in the context of modern tools. Not unlike Dr. Bernie Dodge’s and Tom March’s webquest activity, new approaches adapt IBL for modern technology.

  • Explore: In this station, participants are given twenty minutes.
  • Adapt/Create: Participants, having explored hyperdoc exemplars, rely on a template to develop their own hyperdoc.
  • Share: Participants share their hyperdoc creation or modification with others via a sharing space, such as Google Forms tied into a Google Sheet or link their hyperdoc in an existing Google Doc created for that purpose.
  • Tools: Google Docs, Google Slides

Project Station #2: Research Explorers

One of the first uses of the internet for teachers involves encouraging students to use it for research. It’s important to clarify expectations for research-based activities. While research should be embedded in the context of an inquiry-based learning lesson, some additional expectations can be set. Students can be expected to:

  • Craft a research question
  • Locate and gather appropriate sources
  • Consider and assess the quality of the sources
  • Seek patterns in the data
  • Develop a position about the research

Given that the internet is a deep ocean of information, it’s important to assist students to engage in content curation using frameworks like the Big 6, Super 3, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). While there are many online research tools that could be introduced, one of note is Google Scholar.

“I usually start with Google Scholar or Google just to figure out what the topic is. Once I have a better idea, I’ll go deeper,” says Leslie Harris O’Hanlon. “For example, if it’s a history paper, I’ll use the online library catalog, or sometimes there are e-books online through the university” (Source).

  • Explore: Participants experience the power of Google Scholar as a tool to find journals, save document sources in a personal space, and obtain citations. First, participants go through the process of developing a research question using the infographic from UC San Diego Library as a guide. Then they complete the steps.
  • Adapt/Create: Participants begin with a general topic, then narrow the topic down with How and Why questions, not unlike what is shown in the image below:
  • Share: Once participants have identified a topic using Google Scholar to identify research and information, they can create a Google Slides PDF ebook or Google Docs.
  • Tools: Google Scholar, Google Docs ePub export or Google Slides PDF ebook

Project Station #3: Multimedia Tour Builders

Mix up learning for your students. Create engaging and relevant learning experiences for students with Google Tour Builder. Better yet, turn students loose to create their own multimedia tours of relevant content. Tour Builder enables students to create a virtual tour of their research data, adding photos, text, and video as needed. This map-based approach enables students to organize their research according to location and impact, which is appropriate for various topics. Students combine research, life stories, images, and video to make a compelling case for their research thesis.

  • Explore: Encourage participants to explore existing Google Tours available and then reflect on how current content in their curriculum goals could be aligned.
  • Adapt/Create: Using a simple storyboard template, participants use Google Tour Builder to create a multimedia tour relevant to an area of study.
  • Share: Once participants have completed their tour, they make it available via a Google Form or common space or backchannel (e.g. Tozzl in lieu of Padlet).
  • Tools: Google Tour-Builder, Maps 3D

Project Station #4: Toontastic Reporters

Whether you have students synthesizing information from a variety of sources and then reporting it in front of a green screen (read tips about setting up your own inexpensive green screen, as well as see examples) or creating reports with Toontastic, students can learn quite a bit. Putting students in the role of journalists has a powerful impact on their own ability to curate and construct knowledge. Consider the following benefits:

  • Students develop the critical thinking skills needed to be smarter, frequent, transliterate consumers (and creators) of information
  • Students learn to tell between fact and opinion
  • Learners explore how to become better-informed citizens and voters (Source: The News Literacy Project)

One approach to achieve this involves presenting a problem and then inviting students to create a report that presents facts.

Wait, There’s More

Ready to get going with these project stations? Consider adding two more, if time allows. Two more final project stations include casting teachers in the roles of Flipped Learning Creators and Digital Breakout Artists.

In the former, flipped learning is explored. Participants learn to create screencasts, embed assessments with EdPuzzle, or engage in post-reflection activities with Google Forms. In the Digital Breakout Artists project station, participants learn how to create engaging activities that involve clue finding and problem solving.

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure by your donations – Thank you.

Constructivism And Behaviorism In Designing Online Learning Programs – Theodosis Karageorgakis

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Behaviorism

The basic principle of Behaviorism is that learning is the result of a person’s response to a stimulus. The student does not work independently on the environment but on the contrary, the behavior is controlled by environmental factors, thus not having the control of the learning or the time it takes to achieve it (Technology in Education, n.d).

All the objectives are predetermined, while the student is tasked with absorbing the offered knowledge so that in the final stage it may present desired and predetermined behaviors. The student is individually assessed and controlled if his behaviors and performances can state that he has acquired the new knowledge according to the criteria the teacher has set the right response (Weegar & Pacis, 2012).

Thus, the teacher is at the center of learning, trying to find ways to elicit the desired behaviors by providing the appropriate stimuli without taking into account the social-cultural context of the learners as well as their needs, ultimately failing to contribute to the acquisition of a higher level of competence or those skills that require deeper processing (Technology in Education, nd; Kostaditidis, 2005).

Constructivism

On the other side, another predominant learning theory is constructivism, which asserts that learning is an active procedure as students enter the process of building knowledge by trying to clarify the events of the world environment (Technology in Education, n.d.).

Constructivists believe that learning only happens when there is active processing of information and so they ask students to create their own motifs by linking new knowledge to those motives. As a result, this enables them to constantly undergo the cultivation of their post-cognitive skills (Technology in Education, nd; Kostaditidis, 2005).

Constructivists do not share the stance of behaviorists who claim that knowledge is independent of the mind and believe that the mind is the internal representation of the outside world. This way they believe that students are forced to construct their own knowledge through personal experiences and real events (Weegar & Pacis, 2012).

Actions in the constructivist model enhance the ability to solve the problems of those involved and the ability to conduct research and work within a group. At the same time, the educator plays the role of the assistant-supporter of the learning process and his students, encouraging them to formulate their own ideas and conclusions (Weegar & Pacis, 2012).

Which One Is Better To Use When Designing eLearning Courses?

The creation and the need to adopt a technological approach to the internet learning stems from the theory of constructivism. In an article by Vrasidas, Zebbys, and Petros, Vygotsky’s theories of self-regulating and reflective knowledge express the inseparably linked nature of those theories with new approaches in the field of education (Vrasidas, Zebbys & Petros, 2005).

 As a result, teaching is driven to its peak, as the teacher is now invited to combine both pedagogical approaches and technological applications and new teaching approaches, effectively designing an authentic learning environment where the learners will benefit the most. (Erben, Ban & Casta ~ neda, 2009; Medina & Alvarez, 2014).

Unfortunately, most applications and tools that are available neglect the need for cooperation between the participants focusing solely on individuality. It is crucial for eLearning designers to add meaningful activities that promote communication and teamwork. This is a win-win solution since at the same time the intrinsic motivation of users is increased because of the interest in those activities.

Despite their differences, these 2 learning theories are well suited to the design of online learning today. Although the various technological tools are primarily designed in the context of behaviorist theories, most teachers choose to use a combination of behavioral and constructionist design patterns, perceiving the dynamics of both theories in order to satisfy the educational peculiarities of each student (Weegar & Pacis, 2012).

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $5, you can donate us – Thank you.

What Are The Benefits of Blended Learning

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Blended learning, which mixes traditional face-to-face education with technology, has become increasingly popular in educational institutions over the years. This style of learning provides a way for faculty to engage students through visuals and online interaction.

In fact, 77% of academic leaders claim that online education is either the same or superior to face-to-face education and can be executed for a fraction of the cost.

So, how can blended learning benefit faculty and students alike?

Benefits to faculty

Change can be difficult, especially for faculty who have taught using traditional methods for years. But, as blended learning becomes more commonplace in educational institutions, the benefits are becoming more obvious – making the adoption rate higher.

 1. Track and improve engagement 

 

Blended learning provides the opportunity to make a clear roadmap for students, such as what is expected of each student and requirements to reach the final goal — or grade —are. With blended learning, teachers can visualize and track each student’s progress. This process can make it easier to identify signs of a student struggling or educational strengths and act upon them accordingly.

For instance, educators can analyze metrics to see what programs and modules students are engaging with. By understanding where each student’s passion lies, it becomes easier to cater to and adjust to each student’s learning behaviors. If students are falling behind, it becomes easier for an instructor to identify the issue, and step in earlier.

Take the Commonwealth Connections Academy as an example. By pulling reports from their online learning platform instructors could analyze test scores, course activities and portfolio assignments. If a student is falling behind in a particular area, they are advised to attend a drop-in center which gives students extra face-to-face time with their instructor. Teachers and students agree that the center is a useful way to zero in on a student’s learning barriers and provide custom instruction for improvement. Sometimes the solutions are as simple as providing better organizational skills.

2. Enhance communication

Young people today are growing up with more technology than ever. We’ve already seen shifts in communication patterns, starting with millennials. Observing a generation who became saturated in the digital world can show how communication is evolving.

A study from LivePerson, found that in the US and the UK, about 75% of internet users surveyed said rather than communicating in person, they were more likely to communicate digitally via:

  • Email
  • Text message
  • Social media

The findings may be an indicator that blended learning, which has an emphasis on technology, reaches students better than traditional methods.

By catering to a student’s preferred method of communication, online forums can connect lecturers with students more effectively.

3. Enables edtech

 Enables edtech

By combining new technology like AR and VR with traditional education methods, students are getting a more inclusive learning experience.

A study by EdTechReview shows that AR and VR technology has mass appeal, too. Consumers value AR products 33% higher than non-AR offerings.

Google Expeditions and Titans of Space are two great examples of AR and VR in the classroom. Both provide virtual field trips like tours of the solar system to improve science lessons. These adventures are both engaging and valuable ways to teach.

The growth of edtech means that teaching online is becoming more effective and easier.

4. Personalization 

In the U.S. the student-to-teacher ratio has risen to nearly 30 students per teacher. With class sizes this large, it can be difficult to personalize lessons or understand the individual needs of each student.

Blended learning provides the opportunity to change this.

Student-centric, blended learning makes it easier to individualize learning modules based on competency. Students within one classroom can move at different paces, and teachers can see more easily, which students either express more interest in a particular area or show the need for extra attention in a particular subject.

5. Reduces cost 

Blended learning saves educators money in several ways. For instance:

  1. Repurposing content decreasing and money spent for course preparation.
  2. Virtual tutoring can help to eliminate employee and venue costs.

paper by the Fordham Institute found that national average for per-pupil costs for traditional learning in K-12 was about $10,000

Virtual schools costs were $5,500 to $7,100 per student, while blended learning costs started at $7,600. Rates could rise to around $10,200 per student depending on how much face-to-face education is emphasized in the plan.

By implementing blended learning strategically, an institution could reduce costs by nearly 50%.

Benefits to students

Faculty members aren’t the only ones to benefit from blended learning. Perhaps more importantly, students are given a more comprehensive educational experience that can boost retention and engagement.

1. Peer support 

Peer support

In Aspden and Helm’s study ‘Making the connection in a blended learning environment’, they found that online communication, through a blended learning environment, improved social aspects of students. Specifically, they stated that blended learning allowed students to make and maintain connections with other students, and their learning institution, even when off campus.

By offering online discussions in real time, or in an asynchronous model like discussion boards or chat rooms, open dialogue is always accessible. The consistency of conversation enables a 24/7, community-style support system which means continuous peer support.

2. Easy access and flexibility

By having resources online, students can access material with no constraints including schedule conflicts.

Online materials can be found on smartphones, tablets, and desktops which is technology we’re already using, daily. In fact, GlobalWebIndex found that on a typical day, internet users ages 18 to 34 spend 3 hours, 38 minutes surfing the web via their smartphones alone.

Additionally, many students in the United States fail to complete school. As many as 7% of high school students drop out before graduation. Worse still, nearly half of the students who start college don’t finish within six years.

One conclusion is that the majority of students who start college and don’t finish are part-time enrollments, which can suggest that students are juggling study with work and personal commitments. Because blended learning platforms are available at any time, it is convenient for those who are trying to complete schooling while taking on other responsibilities like working or parenting.

3. Enhanced retention 

Blended learning may have the ability to teach students more effectively than traditional face-to-face schooling.

The English department at Long Island University (LIU) Brooklyn is currently testing blended learning as a way to improve retention for their students.

To begin, LIU offered iPads for all its incoming students. The hope is that by incorporating technological components into their lessons, it will help change the way students think about their writing.

The data LIU has collected, though mostly qualitative, is starting to paint the picture that blended learning has a positive impact on retention. Other studies indicate that learning online can increase retention rates from between 25-60% compared to only 8-10% for face-to-face learning.

Students today prefer to have a variety of ways to learn. As digital natives, many young students are familiar with an online environment and actually prefer it. The varied formats of education also serve a purpose outside of student entertainment and satisfaction; it also may be a more effective way for students to learn, too.

Blended learning encourages self-learning, where students are forced to look for information online independently, rather than just sitting in a classroom setting and relying on a lecturer.

In the book  Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education, the authors argue that blended learning is effective because unlike the traditional lecture-based teaching model, blended learning opens classroom time to focus on more active and meaningful activities which can lead to improved effectiveness.

5. Boosts soft skills

Boosts soft skills

Soft skills or skills that are required in the workplace for professional success are naturally fostered in an online learning space.

Specifically, skills like relating well to others, time management, critical thinking and team cooperation are nurtured in a blended model.

A study published by Elsevier tested a group of calculus students to see how a blended learning model impacted soft skills. The conclusion of their study was that the ability to communicate via email or online improved participation. And that because students were actively discussing and vocalizing their understanding of concepts, blended learning helped build confidence and success. It was concluded that communication skills changed favorably with a blended learning course.

It’s clear that blended learning provides new ways for educators to engage and connect with students.

With falling enrollments and the challenge of the digital landscape putting pressure on systems, faculty and syllabus, introducing blended learning could help tap inot a new cohort of students and create a new revenue stream.

If everyone who reads our articles and likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $5, you can donate us – Thank you.

Education Can Change The World (5 Ways Tech) – Tae Yoo

Twenty years ago, Cisco recognized a shift toward a knowledge-based economy. We felt it was important that everyone have an opportunity to participate in this economy—and that education, combined with technology, would have the power to achieve that. From this, Cisco Networking Academy was born.

What began as an act of community turned into a global movement as schools, students, and teachers were inspired to harness the power of technology to provide the skills people and businesses need to thrive in the digital economy.

Today, we look back at how this IT-and-career-skills-building program has reached 7.8 million students in 180 countries since 1997 and highlight best practices and lessons we’ve learned along the way.

1. Adapt to technology trends and ensure programs are digital, flexible, hands on, and relevant.

Technology is transforming the nature of jobs and continuously evolving the needs of today’s employers. New technologies are connecting everything, intuitively adapting, and better protecting users and their data. Research from Gartner shows that 1.4 million full time employees will be needed to deliver application and business services for the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2020, and education programs must prepare students for these changing needs.

Today, we provide students a more personalized and flexible education experience, as well as the opportunity to build deeper knowledge through collaboration and experiential learning. In addition to classroom-based, face-to-face instruction, we also offer a portion of our curricula directly to students for those who want to learn at their own pace.

From the start, students are encouraged to solve real-world problems on their own or in groups, just as they will in the workplace. For example, Cisco’s Packet Tracer, a network simulation and visualization tool, allows for student-directed, open-ended network building.

It facilitates the teaching and learning of complex technology concepts and promotes the development of essential career skills, such as teamwork, critical thinking, and creative problem solving. Additionally, hackathons and hands-on lab challenges allow students to create solutions together.

2. Continuously introduce new digital skills.

Changes in the technology landscape mean students need to continuously master new digital skills. Technical education programs today must include areas of study such as security, machine learning, and programming, and evolve as technology does.

We partner with in-house experts, governments, educational institutions, and employers, and use research to ensure our curricula portfolio remains relevant over the long term. Networking Academy builds a solid digital foundation through courses like Cybersecurity Training Essentials and Programming Essentials in C, and students can also acquire career-ready skills that prepare them for entry-level jobs in networking and cybersecurity.

We regularly develop new courses that cover big data, analytics, and device connectivity, some of the fastest-growing job areas. Our learning portfolio strategy, the material we create and teach, has recently been broadened to include cloud security, automation, and machine learning to better prepare our students for today’s digital workforce.

Additionally, Networking Academy builds the capacity of instructors through instructor training centers and ongoing professional development. Based on survey feedback, instructors said that their involvement with Networking Academy has helped them become better educators, broaden their careers, and develop professional relationships.

3. Build an inclusive program.

By leveraging both traditional and non-traditional education channels, education programs can reach a more diverse set of students. Current education cost models can be prohibitively expensive, and we must focus on programs that provide affordable and accessible education to all, regardless of socio-economic background, geographic location, gender, or life stage.

Networking Academy courses are offered at high schools, universities, and community colleges, and through partnerships with governments and ministries of education. We target individuals looking to launch their careers, re-skill, or find new jobs.

We reach traditionally underserved communities such as remote populations and people with diverse abilities. Over the past decade, more than 3,000 students with disabilities have benefited from Networking Academy courses.

4. Scale impact through public-private partnerships.

Effective and strategic public-private partnerships between business, government, and academia are critical in providing access to and support for instructors, reaching students at scale, and ensuring curricula is providing relevant skills for today’s workforce.

While educational partners can provide instructors, classrooms, lab equipment, and help attract students to the program, business partners can enhance the program with curricula, online assessments, a learning management system, hands-on labs and competitions, instructor professional development, and connections to job opportunities.

Networking Academy’s global reach depends on the 22,000 instructors at more than 10,400 educational institutions who deliver our curricula worldwide. Our partners are at the forefront of new teaching methods and resources, delivering not only technical training, but also the problem-solving and entrepreneurial skills students need to get a job or start a business.

Technology—specifically a cloud-scale platform—has been critical to achieving a wide reach as well. Using the latest technologies and architecture drives performance and provides a rich experience for students, instructors, and administrators.

5. Set students up for career success.

There is currently a mismatch between the skills employees have and the skills companies need. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6.7 million people across the country are unemployed, though 5.8 million unfilled jobs were available.

Nearly half of U.S. employers can’t find qualified candidates, with many citing a lack of technical skills as a top reason. In the IT industry that number is worse, with 86 percent of hiring managers challenged to find people with the right skills. Connecting student to employers is a vital step in closing this gap.

Networking Academy provides students with a range of career support services—from webinars to career advice to career-pathway options. Cisco has a strong ecosystem of 60,000 global partners, and for the past 20 years our students have found jobs with many of them.

We recently began pilot testing a talent-matching engine to more easily connect students with partner employment opportunities. More than 70 percent of our students who complete advanced courses go on to obtain a new or better job, increased responsibilities, and/or higher pay.

Networking Academy not only equips students with digital skills, it empowers students to become global problem solvers. Our program is designed to enable students to innovate as technologists, think as entrepreneurs, and act as social change agents. They are prepared to help businesses grow and flourish, but also to start their own businesses or address pressing global challenges.

We hope that our students’ inspirational stories incite others to harness the power of technology and become global problem solvers.

If everyone who reads our articles, who likes it, helps fund it, our future would be much more secure. For as little as $5, you can donate us – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.