Planning

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Articulate Your Learning Objectives

Writing clear learning objectives is important to the foundation of how a lesson plan is constructed, yet it’s something that often gets glossed over in pursuit of moving onto the more exciting pieces such as content and medium. I enjoyed how this article breaks down the different components to consider when creating learning objectives, the list of action verbs, and samples that are broken down into categories. It has made me consider what I have been doing incorrectly (being too vague, for example) when writing objectives and has given me the steps to follow to ensure that objectives are relevant.

Instructional Process/Strategies

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8 ideas to close your training session

I chose to research ways to close a learning session, to avoid having an awkward ending to a presentation.  I looked at ways to reinforce the learning from the day and having the participants leave on a positive note, feeling like their time has been put to good use.  I believe that using some of the suggestions in this article will improve the closure of my presentations as there will be opportunity to review what was learned throughout the session and hopefully the participants will be thinking of ways that their new learning can be utilized as they leave the session.

Characteristics of Adult Learners

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Ten Characteristics of Adults as Learners

I really like how this article breaks down the characteristics into ten easy to read topics.  With each characteristic, there are accompanying implications which gives the reader ideas on what things need to be considered to address each point.  My experience in facilitating training so far has been in delivering already prepared material, and I hadn’t considered many of the points here.  The suggestions outlined give me a much better understanding of what some of the participants are going through when they attend a class, and I plan to use the ideas here to incorporate some changes into my delivery.

 

Creating a Positive Learning Environment

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Creating the Ideal Learning Environment

This website appeals to me because it categorizes creating a positive learning environment into three separate articles.  The commentaries reflect on the emotional (building trust and a friendly atmosphere), intellectual (interest, clarity, and learner preferences), and physical (air quality and comfort) aspects of the learner’s environment, and each one contains a list of suggestions to consider.   I had not previously thought about environment as encompassing so many different factors, so this will definitely guide me to contemplate how these many things can go into making the classroom experience a positive one.

 

Motivational Techniques

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Get Your Audience Pumped

I like this article as it provides numerous tips on engaging adult learners without being too wordy.  It’s to the point and an easy read, yet still contains a lot of very helpful information.  The article is specifically directed towards e-Learning, but most of the tips can be used for any format of adult learning.  I think it will be great to use this article as checklist to ensure that at least some of the ideas are being incorporated into any lesson plans that are being developed, depending on the medium being used and feasibility.

Working on assignments together

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I recently had the opportunity to work with two of my co-workers on a PIDP assignment.  I feel fortunate to have had the chance to work with them both on something outside of our work environment.  Although we work closely together in the same department, we are often all working in different areas of the business, so we don’t get to collaborate often.  For me, this allowed a level of comfort, working with people I know, and whose backgrounds and experience I’m familiar with.  Having reflected on this, I think it would have been beneficial to work with someone unknown to me.  While the experience was great, one of my personal challenges working in this field is being a bit of an introvert.  I think part of being a great facilitator is having the ability to work with a diversity of individuals, but also working with and instructing people you may have never met, and with whom you have no history with.  Working on an assignment with an unknown participant may have been uncomfortable for me initially, but probably would have been valuable to my personal growth.  Also, with my colleagues being so familiar to me, it was much easier to put off getting together due to the busyness we all experience in our lives.  With someone you don’t know it would be more difficult to postpone meeting.

I did learn a lot from my co-workers while discussing our research together.  They actually interpreted the assignment differently than I did, so there was a lot of conversation around how we should actually be collaborating.   I take a much more simplistic view of things, and therefore I feel that the articles I chose to use in our conversation were very specific in nature, while they articles they chose were longer and covered more information.  Our talk was quite detailed around many things pertaining to our overall topic.  There was a lot of content to digest, yet it was all pretty interesting.   There was some overlap in our research, but interesting to see how our views on things differed or were similar.  I learned that all points of view need to be considered and the importance of each member of a team understanding the desired outcome of a project prior to getting started.

Trends in e-Learning

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There are many emerging trends in e-Learning that are really interesting and exciting to learn about.  These are some of the developments that I think would be beneficial to be used in financial services, my field of work.

  • MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) – Many universities are providing MOOCs on a wide variety of topics, and often there is no cost involved. These courses take advantage of forums and social media to have students discuss what is being learned with other students.  The option to have learners take courses outside of the curriculum regularly offered by the employer at no cost would be a win/win for both the employee and the employer.  A few employees within our company have taken courses this way and enjoyed their experiences.
  • Advanced analytics – Online learning and e-Learning are being enhanced to capture data such learner assessments, which parts of the learning are most effective, where learners spend the most time, what type of device is being used, the time of day the information is being accessed, etc.  This data can be used to give the learner the information they specifically require, as opposed to providing a lot of information they don’t need, as well as deliver the content at the time the learner needs it.  This type of analytics would save the learners (the employees) time which is beneficial to the employer as well, and this would also provide the company with useful information on trends.
  • Lifestyle learning – With the use of technology, lifestyle learning is the notion of having the ability to learn in a way that works in conjunction with the learner’s other commitments. Many employers express the importance of having a good work/life balance and giving employees the option to learn when and where they want would enhance their experience.  We are seeing this emerging more as people access their company’s LMS (learning management system) outside of work hours at times that work for them.
  • Video-based learning – While using videos for instruction is hardly new, the number of cooking and do-it-yourself videos on my Facebook feed recently tells me that the use of video is becoming popular again. With a major decrease in production cost (most people have access to video with their phones and easy to use editing apps) and the ease of distributing through social media, videos could be a welcome enhancement to existing e-Learning or for using to communicate smaller chunks of information instead of one long session.
  • Gamification – Using games to enhance learning and retention is a trend that my employer has started to use. Learners work through the content and gain points for answering questions correctly or working through levels.  There can be online “badges” awarded for completing sections so that the learner can see their progress.  This type of learning appeals to the competitive nature of some individuals, but even for the non-competitive types it can make some of the less exciting but required topics more interesting.

With advances in technology and our striving to make the learning environment the best it can be, keeping an open mind and being receptive to trying new things are imperative to our success as educators.

 

A couple of other trends that I don’t necessarily think are going to be used by myself in the near future but I find really intriguing are the following:

  • Wearable e-Learning – The concept of using a wearable device using sensors that would alert the learner when they are completing a process incorrectly or perhaps to be uses as an interactive, virtual coaching session.
  • Augmented reality – Using technology that would enable the learner to interact with 3D or holographic videos, pictures, or other objects.