This week I read several articles and watched some videos regarding Learning Theories and how they correlate to an online learning environment. Fortunately, this is not something that is too foreign to me. As the Digital Learning Coach/Blended Learning Lead, I am familiar with online learning and how different learning theories can be applied. Our goal in this class is to create an online course. Since I was a participant in 5318 for one week in October, I was lucky enough to get the heads’ up on this particular goal. I have been working on creating a blended Professional Development course for secondary teachers introducing them to blended learning using Schoology. This week was more of an organization of thoughts for me as I prepare to polish off my course creation. Below is a link to my assignment for the week.
This week I focused on further creating and tweaking my blended learning course. As I had known the creation of an online course was going to be in my future, I’ve been working on developing my blended learning course for some time. Because of this, I really am able to focus on making sure the flow of the course is exactly what I want instead of having to create the items. Here is the link to my assignment for this week and the outline for the first 50% of my course.
This week I’ve started collecting all of the citations for my resources. I would also like to create a PlayPosit instruction page but have had difficulty doing that since there are so many tools to use within the platform. Typically, I do a face to face training with PlayPosit that lasts at least 45 minutes. I need to try to figure out how to utilize that or whether just inserting the “help section” links is sufficient. In reading the discussion posts I also wondered if I should create an intro video about myself and how to navigate Schoology. I don’t think I am going to however, as all teachers in my district now participate in Professional Development through Schoology so they are familiar with the platform from the student side. My first class is also Face to Face so an intro video seems superfluous.
Here is the link to my assignment for this week and the outline for the last 50% of my course.
This week I wrapped up the rest of my course and created citations for the 3 required readings. I am very happy with what I’ve created and hope that it finds a niche in our Professional Development courses. We were also asked to determine 2 new courses that we could turn into a blended or online.
With all of the new information that we’ve discussed and read during this course I think there are two potential courses that I could create/modify during the 2017-2018 school year.
- Our leadership team is currently in the process of developing some Professional Development around the Peer to Peer aspect of blended learning. We have been provided some resources from the consulting firm that we use, Education Elements. Using these resources as a start we could create a blended PD course around strategies for properly implementing P2P in the classroom. This would be geared towards teachers who were already fairly proficient in their P2P lessons and just needed to use a higher DOK. The face to face time would be based around our student-centered coaching model while building in reflection and peer feedback. The online part would be more personalized for the needs of the teacher.
- The second course would be to change the beginning of the year “Nuts and Bolts” PD to completely online. We have already changed our bloodborne pathogen training to online with great feedback from the teachers. This course would allow teachers to complete the beginning of the year monotonous stuff on their own time during the first week of school.
This week we were asked to complete a reflection about our learning. Here are my thoughts:
One of the biggest challenges for me as I designed this course was to make sure I addressed all the needs of my learners. My learners are going to be teachers at the secondary level. For this reason, I felt that a constructivist view was best as I designed my course. It is imperative that my learners can draw from their experiences in their classrooms since they will need to determine how a blended learning model can best suit their content and grade level. Some other learning theories that were useful to keep in mind included cognitivism and connectivism as teachers need to be provided with some context regarding blended learning as well as connect with other educators throughout the course.
Another important item when building my course was to be very intentional in following my UbD plan. While important in all courses, I feel it is especially important to understand the pathway for learners in a blended environment. All stations must follow each other appropriately in order to make sure the foundational knowledge has been built before moving forward with application. It is also important to make sure my learners are following their own UbD while creating a blended unit so I want to make sure to discuss this throughout the course.
Moving forward in the education world I think more and more courses will be shifted towards a blended or online format. Personalization is a huge buzzword in today’s society and online/blended environments are giving us a pathway to allow for personalization. It is also important from a College and Career Readiness perspective. Many employers use online training programs to onboard employees or keep employees properly up-to-date on certifications. Students need exposure to this type of learning environment prior to graduating. For me, online courses have been the only avenue to pursue higher education opportunities. As a working, single mother I never would have been able to attend face-to-face classes. I know many other adults are in the same boat in regards to pursuing higher education.
My biggest takeaway from the past month is to really focus on my learners’ needs when creating a course. It will be important to know what type of student will be taking the course (tech-savvy, experienced, novice, etc) and how I can help scaffold it appropriately to meet their needs. I feel like I am much better prepared to create online courses now than I was 5 weeks ago.