On-line teaching: The important issues and what I am doing about them
By Dr. Stephanie A. Burns
First distinction I want to make is that the issue we need to pay attention is not really on-line learning, instead it is on-line teaching methods. The quality of learning for the participant is a given if the teaching methods work. This would be no different than if we were discussing any other teaching model. However, on-line learning is the catch phrase of the day and I will use it here until the perspective in the industry is caused to shift.
Getting on-line learning right is important because I believe that the Internet can, if used properly, provide an unprecedented level of educational opportunity.
I believe that poor quality learning is NOT better than no learning. It can have insidious, debilitating effects on motivation and confidence in adult learners. Adult learners blame themselves and become resistant to engaging in future on-line learning opportunities - even if the next one is good.
The more poor on-line learning courses adults are exposed to, the harder and more expensive it will be to bring them back to the table when good quality events are made available. Excellent trainers and consultants have confronted this throughout their careers (the "I've already done a leadership course and didn't learn anything phenomenon"). The difference with on-line learning is that we can switch off millions of people in one fell swoop!.
most salient feature of my on-line learning experience in the "Who's
Driving the Bus" course has been the way in which daily learning experiences
can be effectively woven into my very hectic schedule.
I am a psychologist with a very busy private practice and organisational consulting business which often leaves me with little time for self reflection and learning about myself.
The methodology of the "bus" style of on-line teaching provides an initial brief concept and focus for the day that can be integrated into whatever I am doing. Directions from "the tour- guide" then compels me to reflect in a space of time that is realistic.
I can't think of another way of learning that I am able to so efficiently integrate into my lifestyle. I've also found that I've had a few laughs as well as a few moments of feeling quite challenged."
Doing design projects for the sake of advancing my own knowledge has kept me very busy since 2000. When I reach the end of this phase of study I plan to dedicate time to writing a book centering on human behaviour and the Internet and tackling this issue of on-line learning and teaching. The topics below form a small part of the Table of Contents for this new work.
love coming in to work in the morning and looking at the day's assignment,
there is that sense of anticipation every time. I also enjoy the convenience
of "coming to class" when it suits me, i.e.. get onto the website when I
have the time, and then leave when I've got the information I need. Communicating
learning experiences through the driver's manual is very comfortable: you
can go over what you typed until you're happy with it. As a result I find
I'm being a lot more open than I would be in a traditional classroom.
And I'm surprised how easy it is to do the assignments. I've tried correspondence, self-paced courses before and found it quite difficult to do whatever exercises I was given. Oh, and I love the little funny bits, like getting lost, being on a navy ship and now the canoes."
"I'm really enjoying the experience of on-line learning the way you are doing it. I can do it in my own time, there is plenty of time for me to think about my answers to questions or write about what I've done or think about things so my brain doesn't go blank like it can in a classroom type situation when having to think and answer on the spot.
For me personally, I have probably contributed more than I would ever have been able to in a classroom situation and have liked the opportunity to say what I want to say, how I want to say it, in the time I want to say it without any restrictions of time or opinions. Equally, being able to read my co-traveller's comments, thoughts and experiences has enabled me to see this learning from so many different angles, which I think adds more depth to the learning.
Lastly, although I've been pretty religious in my reporting in each day, I also know it is no big deal if I can't one day and can catch it up. At the same time, the way we get the info of what to do in the morning and then report back at night has really suited me. Doing it in chunk's is so much easier, this again takes the pressure off. . . . . "
I am right now (early-2003) in the process of delivering the first training to teach other trainers how to design courses using the methods I have developed. The success of this program may see it offered to others in the 2nd half of 2003.
I also plan to continue to apply these methods to my own content. Next on the list is tackling the Training To Train materials.
In closing ...
This is just the tip of the iceberg for me on this subject.
I am still having fun as a teacher in this new environment. For all the wonder of a 'live' event, I always missed feeling part of the participant's experience. Now I feel I am right there with every student. I do not just hear the comments or questions from the few students who happen to raise their hands, or for whom I have time to call on. Every student on-line communicates every day. I touch everyone of those communications. I know what is happening at the time it is happening.
I am becoming a better teacher! How about that!
Information about any aspect related to Stephanie's work in the area of on-line teaching or on-line design can be found in the Design Service subsite which is accessed via the Crystal Ball. This includes information about upcoming training events where Stephanie teaches the principles of on-line teaching to others.
You may use the image below to be taken directly to the Design Service subsite.
|Copyright 1999-2017 Navybridge Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.|