Thursday, May 31, 2012

Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning May 31, 2012

Melissa Garlit Rizzuto I am compiling a list of online instructor competencies to use as a basis for a new online quality instructor model (for certification and training purposes). Anyone have anything they would like to share (links, docs, etc...)? Like · · Unfollow Post · May 15 at 6:10pm Holly Rae Bemis-Schurtz likes this. Bucky Dodd I found this to be quite interesting and useful. May 15 at 6:36pm via mobile · Like · 1 Vic Divecha ASTD is currently revising its competency model for Trainers (Teachers) and Instructional Designers amongst other Areas of Expertise. Here is an OLDER version. May 16 at 11:20am · Like Susie Bussmann Although the iNACOL's National Standards for Quality Online Teaching is for K-12, I suspect they'll be useful Tuesday at 10:24am · Like Stevie Rocco At Penn State, the faculty development subcommittee developed this guide: https://www.e-e Yesterday at 9:23am · Like

What are the pros and cons of online education?

What are the pros and cons of online education?

What are the positive and negative aspects of online learning?

You might find that distance learning requires more discipline and self-motivation than traditional courses that meet face-to-face.
One method to determine how well online learning might work for you is to consider its benefits and disadvantages.
To get the most from this list, consider your learning needs, professional priorities, and personal circumstances to help you decide what is best for you.
  • PROS:
  • No time spent commuting/traveling to a campus
  • No additional travel costs to add to the family budget
  • Continue working at your current job while you take classes, thus allowing you to earn a living and gain work experience, applying your course work
  • Your learning options are not constrained by your geographic location (e.g. you live in California and attend the University of Massachusetts)
  • You can learn at your own pace and study at your convenience (e.g. after the kids are asleep or before work)
  • If you prefer to express yourself in writing rather than verbally, you may find distance learning more effective
  • Classes typically centered and focused on student responses and virtual discussion rather than instructor-led lectures
  • Instruction and course work can be highly customized to your field and subject—especially computer based training (CBT)
  • Additional benefits of learning new technologies and practicing the use of the Internet, office software, etc.
  • You will meet and work with classmates from all over the United States and throughout the world
  • All students are 100 percent equal: your work will stand on merits alone, and you will not be treated differently based upon race, sex, creed, sexual orientation, religion, disability, etc.
  • Requires 100 percent participation from each and every classmate (e.g. the most outgoing students will not monopolize the discussions)
  • CONS:
  • Allow for time required to boot up computer, software programs, and connect to the Internet
  • Budget for additional high-speed Internet costs (if applicable)
  • Need the discipline not to log into your class while at work (unless your employer permits you to complete your course work at the office)
  • Plan and adjust your studying schedule around assignment due dates (e.g. you live in California your final project is due to your instructor at 5 p.m. Eastern time)
  • At times, you may experience feelings of isolation or a sense of detachment from your school
  • Lack of face-to-face interaction — especially in self-paced courses — or difficulty in developing relationships with classmates
  • Students may need to wait for feedback and responses from peers and instructors (especially if you study between the hours of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.)
  • Equipment needs of students and learning providers (e.g. generally a personal computer, office software, and an Internet connection are required)
  • May require you to learn new or enhance computer and troubleshooting skills
  • Possibility of limited local networking opportunities
  • You will be required to be able to work unsupervised (i.e. you will have to problem solve solutions independently)
  • You must be self-motivated and disciplined to progress through your program in a timely manner

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Blended Learning: Effective Instruction and Engagement Conference

July 30 - August 1, 2012 :: Atlanta, GA

Sharpen your instructional skills and learn how to engage more students in a blended course environment.
In light of the increased demand for high-quality blended courses and programs, instructional designers and course developers are facing new design challenges. To ensure effective course development and engagement for a variety of learners, course developers must effectively use the online and physical classroom environments, establishing measurable learning outcomes and the means for achieving them.
Program Brochure (pdf) | Pricing & Registration | Agenda
Join us in Atlanta as our expert instructors discuss:
  • Blended course design principles
  • Student engagement and assessment of learning
  • Instructional strategies and alignment
View the complete agenda.

The conference is structured to balance information sharing, targeted learning activities, group work, and collaboration with colleagues. Through the use of case studies and collaborative work, you will be able to directly apply the knowledge that you have gained during the conference while receiving guidance from the instructors.
For maximum benefit, consider attending the optional pre-conference workshop, Cloud-Based, Mobile, and Classroom Technology for Learning and Engagement. Find out more about the workshop and agenda here.

Register for this event online or call 720.488.6800 today. Register three people from your institution and the fourth can attend for free.
Questions? Call us to determine if this event is right for you.


Did you know you can register now for this program and choose the "invoice me" option?
pay later logo
We'll issue an invoice today and you can pay after July 1.

October Online Course
October 1, 10, 19 & 30, 2012
1:00 - 2:45 p.m. EDT
Online Course

ACADEMIC IMPRESSIONS - 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 800, Denver, Colorado 80237

Monday, May 28, 2012

Learning Technologies of Change Blog

Understanding, Fostering, and Supporting Cultures of Participation with 2 comments The current mind-set about learning, teaching, and education is dominated by a view in which a supposedly all-knowing teacher explicitly tells or shows unknowing, passive learners something they presumably know nothing about. A critical challenge is to reformulate and reconceptualize this impoverished and misleading conception. A culture-of-participation perspective for learning and education is focused not on delivering predigested information to individuals, but on providing opportunities and resources for learners to engage in authentic activities, participate in social debates and discussions, create shared understanding among diverse stakeholders, and frame and solve personally meaningful problems. It is grounded in the fundamental belief that all humans have interest and knowledge  in one or more niche domains and are eager to actively contribute in these contexts. Read Share: Twitter6 Facebook14 LinkedIn3 More Written by Giorgio Bertini 28/05/2012 at 12:00 Posted in Creativity, Participation Tagged with creativity, participation Social Creativity – Exploiting the Power of Cultures of Participation with one comment Social creativity and cultures of participation are facilitated by meta-design that allows stakeholders to act as designers, contributors, and decision makers in  personally meaningful activities.   This paper defines conceptual frameworks  and briefly describes  different applications  contexts  in gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges how to exploit the power of cultures of participation to enhance social creativity. By studying  social  creativity in specific application contexts that foster and support cultures of participation, our research activities have contributed to and  enriched conceptual framework. Achieving and supporting social creativity is not only a technical problem; it requires new cultures, new mindsets, and socio-technical environments that provide people with powerful media to express themselves and engage in personally meaningful activities. Research activities have only scratched the surface of exploiting the power of collective minds equipped with new media. The challenges of  the complex problems that we all face make this approach not a luxury, but a necessity. Read Share: Twitter4 Facebook4 LinkedIn3 More Written by Giorgio Bertini 25/05/2012 at 13:30 Posted in Creativity, Social creativity Tagged with creativity, social creativity Networked: The New Social Operating System with one comment Daily life is connected life, its rhythms driven by endless email pings and responses, the chimes and beeps of continually arriving text messages, tweets and retweets, Facebook updates, pictures and videos to post and discuss. Our perpetual connectedness gives us endless opportunities to be part of the give-and-take of networking. Some worry that this new environment makes us isolated and lonely. But in Networked, Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman show how the large, loosely knit social circles of networked individuals expand opportunities for learning, problem solving, decision making, and personal interaction. The new social operating system of “networked individualism” liberates us from the restrictions of tightly knit groups; it also requires us to develop networking skills and strategies, work on maintaining ties, and balance multiple overlapping networks. Rainie and Wellman outline the “triple revolution” that has brought on this transformation: the rise of social networking, the capacity of the Internet to empower individuals, and the always-on connectivity of mobile devices. Drawing on extensive evidence, they examine how the move to networked individualism has expanded personal relationships beyond households and neighborhoods; transformed work into less hierarchical, more team-driven enterprises; encouraged individuals to create and share content; and changed the way people obtain information. Rainie and Wellman guide us through the challenges and opportunities of living in the evolving world of networked individuals Read Share: Twitter6 Facebook5 LinkedIn2 More Written by Giorgio Bertini 21/05/2012 at 14:15 Posted in Networked society, Networking learning, Social network Tagged with networked learning, networked society, social network How Open Education Can Transform Learning with 3 comments As the open education movement grows, the ripple effects of what it means for teachers to take control of what they teach is being witnessed across all spectrums in education. Customizable content, sharing and becoming part of a community, and deconstructing entrenched ideologies about what constitutes quality learning materials — these are just a few paths that the open education movement is creating. Long is worried that all the available resources online will get into the hands of those who already have means, leaving those who don’t even further behind. “Those who have leverage, power and resources are going to pull it off, and those who don’t will be further marginalized in terms of opportunity,” Long said. If the debate is tangled around issues like “public versus private versus charter, we’re going to wake up sooner rather than later with a massive discrepancy.” Read Share: Twitter2 Facebook1 LinkedIn2 More Written by Giorgio Bertini 24/04/2012 at 14:12 Posted in Learning, Open education Tagged with blended learning, open education A Digital Library Recommendation System leave a comment » The present paper has sketched a general family of algorithms to extract meta-data about documents from the way these documents are consulted by users. Implementing such a system in a digital library would automatize much of the hard work that would otherwise need to be performed by highly trained information scientists. However, the results of this system are envisaged to complement or support traditional methods rather than fully replace them. The reason is that the proposed system focuses on otherwise difficult to formalize properties of documents, namely the subjective associations that exist in the mind of the users between their different subjects and contents. The advantage is that these associations allow us to build a system that emulates human intuition, so that it can anticipate the desires of its users and provide them with the information they would find most interesting, even when these users cannot explicitly formulate what they are looking for. This is particularly useful for multimedia documents, which do not contain any searchable keywords, and for queries that are as yet illdefined. Read Share: Twitter1 Facebook1 LinkedIn2 More Written by Giorgio Bertini 17/04/2012 at 15:00 Posted in Digital, Libraries Tagged with digital, libraries The Visual Thinking Revolution leave a comment » We are in the midst of a “Visual Thinking Revolution” and leaders in all types of organizations are embracing visual thinking as a literacy of the future. This revolution’s “tipping point” came earlier this year at the International Forum for Visual Practitioners annual conference, which drew 100 visual practitioners from across the globe. The panel I moderated with Business Models Inc. CEO Patrick van der Pijl  and Doodle Revolution’s Sunni Brown kicked off the conference with an expansive discussion on the future of visual thinking. Captured by three different graphic recorders in real time, we explored 10 significant external forces that are fueling the Visual Thinking Revolution: Read Share: Twitter10 Facebook17 LinkedIn3 More Written by Giorgio Bertini 12/04/2012 at 16:26 Posted in Visualizations Tagged with visualizations Kumu – Connect the dots. with 2 comments Create beautiful maps that bring the big picture to life, allowing you to see your data and problems more clearly. We call it 100% problem-solving complexity-busting goodness. See for yourself how Kumu can help you make a bigger impact today. Map and Connect Elements & Connections. Whether those elements are people, companies, issues, funders, or any other factors in a problem you care about — Kumu has the flexibility to handle it all. Add Context with Tags & Attributes. After building out your map, you’ll want to add rich context information to both the elements and their connections. Track whatever’s important to you. With Kumu, you’re in the driver’s seat. Bring Your Data to Life with Perspectives. Now you’re ready to create beautiful and insightful maps. Kumu makes it easy to extract insights from your data by allowing you to adjust colors, sizes, shadows, haloes, bullseyes, patterns, widths, arrows, and more (whew!) based on the underlying data. Choose whether to view all of your data, or add a filter to focus on what truly matters. Read Share: Twitter1 Facebook2 LinkedIn2 More Written by Giorgio Bertini 11/04/2012 at 18:00 Posted in Maps, Networks Tagged with maps, networks Metatrends on Education and Technology leave a comment » In January one hundred educators from around the globe were invited to Austin, Texas to mark the tenth anniversary of the New Media Consortium Horizon Project, and reflect on no less than the future of education. A Communique from the event listed 10 Major Trends that are having an impact on education globally. They were: Read Read also: Technology Trends in Education Global Trends – Technology Trends Five Trends to Watch in Educational Technology A turning point for education? Trends to watch in 2012 The Impact of Education Technology on Student Achievement Share: Twitter4 Facebook11 LinkedIn3 More Written by Giorgio Bertini 11/04/2012 at 17:30 Posted in Uncategorized “Self-Learning” is the New “Schooling” leave a comment » The idea of “student-centered learning” coupled with “networked learning” has tossed the idea that all learning should only happen through schooling. No longer do classroom walls or school schedules dictate when high-quality learning occurs. Through certain uses of networked technology programs and tools, the lines between educator and learner have become more blurred—allowing individuals to serve in both roles at different times of the day. In the past 30 years, we have gradually learned how to use technology to empower young people to be the drivers of their learning experiences—and we have also learned to expect that the “circle of institutions” surrounding those learners must work together to provide young persons with the best possible means for exploring knowledge through self-driven projects, and creating 360-degree experiences that cultivate positive and productive futures for youth. Read Share: Twitter3 Facebook8 LinkedIn2 More Written by Giorgio Bertini 11/04/2012 at 17:00 Posted in Self-directed learning Tagged with self-directed learning The Importance of Teaching Mindfulness with one comment The direction in which education orients a person, to paraphrase Plato, will determine their future in life. While educational aims should be varied, an underlying goal should be in focusing student awareness in a metacognitive direction. If schools hope to prepare students for our hyper-connected world, it reasons that training students to be proficient with digital tools is only part of the equation. Students must also be mindful of how digital tools and perpetual web connectivity are shaping their brains, perceptions and habits. To that end, several promising studies have demonstrated the power of mindfulness mediation in schools to improve executive functioning, reducing stress, anxiety and aggression. Read Share: Twitter3 Facebook18 LinkedIn3 More Written by Giorgio Bertini 10/04/2012 at 13:00 Posted in Uncategorized « Older Entries

Friday, May 25, 2012

EduDemic: 6 Pros and Cons of a Hybrid Education

Topics: blended literacy, hybrid learning, mobile learning, online learning inShare 11 This is a cross-post from by Stacey Makely. Stacey is a writer with more than 15 years of experience. She has worked at several newspapers, covering a broad spectrum of topics including technology, education and online schooling. Her articles have appeared in dozens of major newspapers and leading online news sites across the country. Hybrid Education: Is It The Best of Both Worlds? Welcome to the world of hybrid education where you can sit on your couch in your pajamas and attend a class lecture at the same time, or make a comment about the lecture to your classmates without having to utter a word. Or perhaps you have class three days a week, but only have to travel to campus one of those days. Hybrid Education, or “blended learning” is a method of education that combines classroom and online learning, allowing students to attend lectures and do much of their coursework online but still requiring regular attendance on campus for other portions of their class (such as labs). Hybrid education is efficient, convenient, has proven to be effective, and is something many professors and students are embracing. But critics are quick to note that it also has downsides, such as less frequent personal interaction than classes that are completely brick-and-mortar. If hybrid education is part of your online degree program, here are a few of the pros and cons you’ll want to know: Pros to a hybrid education: 1. A hybrid education gives students with busy schedules the flexibility they need to earn their degrees. It allows students to combine online learning with the best techniques from classroom teaching, so they get the best of both worlds. A busy mom trying to get her degree or someone with a full-time job who is pursuing a hybrid education will have the opportunities to squeeze classes into their own time-frame, but they’ll still get the benefit of hands-on labs or checking-in with their professors face-to-face each week to be sure they stay on top of assignments. 2. Even though your lectures may not take place in a packed lecture hall with dozens of other students to bounce ideas off of, today’s technology still allows you to exchange thoughts. For instance, Tweeting is a great way to share information with your virtual neighbor. It can provide an interesting “back channel” for fill-in conversation, with students Tweeting and re-Tweeting interesting points from the lecture and adding their own commentary to supplement the lecture. You still get the benefit of a classroom “discussion” without having to leave the comfort of your home or office. 3. Pursuing a hybrid education allows students to become more independent and learn important skills that can give them a head-start when they enter the workforce. Hybrid classes still require students to physically come to class on a somewhat regular basis, but much of the coursework – from tests to discussions to tutorials – is done online. The nature of this hybrid learning environment helps students gain time management, problem solving and additional computer skills that can be key when it comes to graduating from college and entering the world.   Cons to a hybrid education: 1. Doing the majority of your coursework at home may be convenient, but if all your classes are hybrid or online learning courses you will miss out on the fun of being on campus on a regular basis. As much as college is about education, it is also about the college experience – making new friends, taking on new extracurricular activities, enjoying dorm life, etc. Someone who chooses a hybrid education may not be able to do as many of these things as a full-time, brick-and-mortar student would and could lose out on the chance to meet their life-long friends in a college setting. 2. Another criticism of online lectures that are used in conjunction with hybrid education is that you lose some of the personal interaction of the traditional classroom setting. For instance, there’s no friend sitting next to you for asking questions or making comments during a lecture. While Tweeting is an option for this kind of banter in a hybrid education setting, some students find it distracting to be Tweeting and reading Tweets, as well as checking out links that the professor tweets and discusses, all while trying to focus on the lesson at hand. 3. Hybrid classes are typically more expensive than traditional online learning classes. If you’re pursuing an online education and decide to take a few hybrid classes as part of that, be sure to first find out how much it will cost. In other words, do your homework before you start your class. Don’t assume that just because you’ll be going to school online, your hybrid classes will cost the same as your traditional online classes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Finding a Home in Blended Learning - Own Your Space! Give Me 10 Good Reasons

April 18th, 2012

Give Me 10 Good Reasons 

A Little Pre-Session Music to Set the Tone

#1 Holding Course Content

#2 A Place to Interact

#3 A Place to Market Your Classes

#4 A Place to Reflect

#5 Your Resume

#6 Develop a Network and Share

#7 “You can make it Beautiful!”

#8 Improve Your Digital Literacy

#9 Become less dependent on the institution

#10 We Won’t Be Using Blackboard for the Rest of Eternity

Other Places to Inhabit

Your Own YouTube Channel

Your Own Photosharing Site

Your Own Bookmarking Site

Your Own Facebook Page Google Trains Students With Search Education [Updates]

Google has launched a free tutorial website, Search Education, which will help students learn how to better use Google Search for learning and academic research. The site is aimed at both at teachers and at individual users.
The company knows that while its many tools can be useful, not everyone understands how to use them. Student Education seeks to solve this by providing live training that anyone can access as well as lesson plans that teachers can use to teach their students about Google’s many services. There are even “A Google A Day” challenges that can be used to reinforce search skills in students.

Teachers will be pleased to find that the lessons plans are comprehensive. They include beginner, intermediate and advanced versions covering five different topics. There are also ten challenges, each of which covers a specific academic topic (such as history, biology and even math).
Individual learners are mainly encouraged to check out the live learning section, which consists of videos (some are hosted on YouTube) designed to guide individual learners through specific tasks. Some of the videos are almost an hour long. The lesson plans could also be used as personal step-by-step training, though they are obviously not perfect for that purpose.
All of the content can be reached by checking out Google’s Search Education site.

Inside Higher Ed: MOOCs and the Professoriate

May 23, 2012 - 3:00am 
Last week, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote with evangelical zeal about the arrival of Massive Online Open Courses, the free courses from top institutions available to students anywhere in the world. Not only would MOOCs be a huge industry in five years, he said, but financially strapped community colleges could use the online lectures while their own professors could work “face-to-face” with students. Friedman has been wrong before with this kind of technology related over-earnestness: In 1999, he wrote about how easy it would be for mom-and-pop online stores to compete with But even so, Friedman remains a global trend-spotter.
Also noticing and reacting to Friedman’s column last week were a bunch of faculty members who took to the blogs, complaining about his column, but worrying about their own future. A post by Mark Brown, an associate professor of government at California State University, Sacramento, criticized the notion that MOOCs could be a solution to the scarcity of public funding in higher education.
Another blog post, entitled, “Professors of the world unite. You have more to lose than just your jobs,” by Jonathan Rees, a professor of history at Colorado State University, Pueblo, said: “…the kind of technologically-induced educational and financial disaster that would make Tom Friedman cackle with glee is a lot more likely if you decide to stand silently and let other people make your university’s decisions for you without your voice being heard.”
At the campuses that have announced their participation in a MOOC, administrators have pointed to top faculty members who are on board to teach and who were consulted about the project. And officials say that they believe MOOCs, though currently not offered for credit, can provide valuable lessons about teaching and learning.
So with all this rumbling, what do the three national unions that represent faculty members think about the MOOC movement and the faculty role? So far, they are dubious at best, and say that they are studying the issues involved.
Cary Nelson, the outgoing president of the American Association of University Professors, said that online models such as Coursera – an online entity offering free courses from Stanford University, Princeton University, University of Michigan and the University of Pennsylvania – can be terrific for delivering educational materials to retirement homes, “where folks are unlikely to assume any social responsibilities for the ‘knowledge’ they have acquired.”
“But it's not education, and it's not even a reliable means for credentialing people,” Nelson said. Education calls for real interaction with faculty members and a consensus through which faculty members can design, manage and evaluate degree programs, he said. “It’s fine to put lectures online, but this plan only degrades degree programs if it plans to substitute for them.”
Martin Snyder, senior associate general secretary at the AAUP, said the organization has principles in place asserting that faculty must have control over the constitution of the curriculum and the delivery, structure and assessment of a course. “If this kind of a system takes off, you might have a situation where the very wealthy students go to a campus to interact with real professors, while the rest of the world takes online courses… what appears to be a democratization process might be more aristocratic than democratic.”
Faculty groups should be concerned with curriculum control, said Mark Smith, senior policy analyst at the National Education Association. “I think it is important to look at quality; this mode of education might be more effective for more advanced students and less so for introductory students,” he said. “Of course, we need a larger public discussion on the importance of public higher education.” Smith said students who venture into higher education through these online courses may be lost to the educational system forever if they try the courses and are unsuccessful.
Unions should strengthen contracts when it comes to curricular control and intellectual property, Smith said in an article called “Negotiating Virtual Space,” which he co-authored in 2011 for the NEA Almanac. “More important, faculty members must offer an alternative, compelling framing of work, education and quality,” the paper said.
Sandra Schroeder, chair of the American Federation of Teachers Higher Education Program and Policy Council and president of AFT Washington, said that many questions remain about “about how, when and for whom these course options are valuable, particularly about the extent to which these programs can address the needs of students who require the most help.” AFT surveys show that students desire more structure and stability in their coursework, Schroeder said. “These students are not likely to succeed without the structure of a strong and sequenced academic program,” she said.
Schroeder suggested that instead of focusing on the “latest magic bullet,” educators need to address declining investments at the state level and on instruction at individual institutions. “If it proves that MOOCs are valuable for all students, faculty will certainly consider them,” she said.
One role that faculty groups can play is to ensure that MOOCs aren’t touted as a cost-cutting device for traditional universities, said Brown, the professor at CSU Sacramento. A dangerous scenario that Brown envisions: Super professors at elite universities replacing lectures by faculty members at other universities. “That would represent a de-skilling of the faculty. It would harm faculty morale and engagement, and it would reduce the dynamism and intellectual excitement of the classroom experience for students. It would also give administrators an excuse to increase teaching loads and reduce faculty pay,” he said. And if this happened, the faculty member would be nothing but a teaching assistant for the online professor, Brown said.
Margaret Soltan, an associate professor of English at George Washington University who was the first at the university to offer a MOOC, said that organizations such as the AAUP might not have any role in the conversation at the moment. “Things are too new – a few universities are only in the last year or two beginning to look into how to incorporate this activity into their professors’ lives,” said Soltan, who is also a blogger for Inside Higher Ed.
As for those professors worrying over MOOCs threatening their livelihoods, she has one word for them: relax. “Online is clearly inferior, even if done very well, [compared to] face-to-face education and to the social rites of growing up which college represents for many, many people,” she said

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed

EduDemic: 100 (Updated) Ways To Use Facebook In Your Classroom
Posted: 22 May 2012 08:48 AM PDT
Using facebook in the classroom doesn't make sense on the surface. Or twitter for that matter. But if you look closely, there are dozens of simple ways to make it happen. Here are 100 to get started.

Posted: 22 May 2012 06:00 AM PDT
Google Chrome > Internet Explorer by many measures, but now in terms of popularity too. The grandfather of web browsers has been supplanted by a young upstart from Google according to StatCounter. StatCounter (itself a wonderful site to use directly with learners for information reading and …

Monday, May 21, 2012

Campus Technology: Educational Leaders on...Supporting Safe and Effective Digital Learning

Educational Leaders on...Supporting Safe and Effective Digital Learning

Dear Phyllis,

Online assisted learning. Collaborative learning. Remote Education.

All of these programs have three things in common: they are trending among the higher education sector; they all rely heavily on new technologies; and all of them present new security threats for institutional IT departments. How do campus administrators ensure the security of their infrastructure while fulfilling the needs of new learning initiatives?

Campus Technology interviews four thought leaders from three campuses and one vendor in, "Educational Leaders on...Supporting Safe and Effective Digital Learning" to gain insight into this growing dilemma.

Read through their answers to such questions as:

  • What does collaboration mean for today's digital learner and why is it important?
  • What is the role of anytime, anywhere learning in higher education?
  • What are the top three challenges facing colleges and universities that are to implement an effective, safe, and secure 21st century learning environment?
  • What are the biggest mistakes you've seen institutions make in securing their networks for digital learning?
  • What advice do you have for campuses wanting to create a secure infrastructure that will ensure safe and effective 21st century learning?

Download the conversation here: Educational Leaders on...Supporting Safe and Effective Digital Learning

Thank you,

Campus Technology and SonicWall

Tomorrow's Professor: Learning Theory and Online Instruction

Tomorrow's Teaching and Learning
Learning Theory and Online Instruction

A basic understanding of learning theory is an important foundation to teaching. Learning is a complex process involving mental processes that are influenced by emotional and environment factors that can support or hinder learning. Learning theories have evolved that take into consideration these complex factors in an effort to explain how learning occurs and prescribe instructional strategies to facilitate learning. If instructional strategies are not grounded in understanding of how learning occurs, they are unproductive and do little to affect learner persistence. In addition, there is an opportunity to maximize retention and transfer by linking basic research about the process of learning with instructional strategies (Tennyson & Schott, 1997). This approach is important to help learners use the skills and knowledge gained through educational experiences in the real world.

In this chapter, we look at the psychological foundations of learning, including behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism, to understand how each of these learning theories contributes to our understanding of learning and the instructional strategies we use in teaching.

Learning in the 1950s and 1960s was based on behaviorist learning theories. Behaviorism is grounded in the study of observable behavior and does not take into consideration the functions of the mind. When behaviorism was introduced, the mind was considered a black box that could not be accessed. According to behaviorism, knowledge exists outside of a person and is gained through behavior modification. The theory views learning as a change in behavior that can be conditioned using positive and negative reinforcements such as reward and punishment. There are two types of conditioning associated with behaviorism: Ivan Pavlov's classical conditioning and B. F. Skinner's operant conditioning. Pavlov used animals to discover the principles of learning based on natural reflexes that respond to stimuli. Most prominent was Pavlov's work with dogs to teach them to salivate to the sound of a bell. In his experiments, he demonstrated classical conditioning, in which an association is created between two stimuli (Pavlov, 1927). Skinner's operant conditioning experiments conditioned rats and pigeons to press or peck a lever to obtain pellets of food in an apparatus known as a Skinner Box. The experiments were based on the theory that organisms emit responses, which are gradually shaped by consequences. If a response has a reward, it is more likely to occur again and if it does not, it is less likely to occur. Skinner's operant conditioning demonstrated that associations are formed between a behavior and a consequence (Skinner, 1938).

Based on these types of experiments with animals, behaviorists proposed that learning is influenced by associations between behaviors and consequences. Behavior is conditioned by the instructor through rewards or punishment to attain the desired learning outcomes. According to behaviorists, the types of reinforcement are a critical component to learning because individual learners respond to different reinforcement based on their personal motivations. For instance, if the learner is motivated by good grades, a great reinforcement is the use of grades. Poor grades are a negative reinforcement, which provides motivation for the learner to put in more effort in order to receive a better grade.

According to Moore (as cited in Tennyson & Schott, 1997), the goal from the behaviorist perspective was the development of instruction that would enable the majority of students to achieve levels of performance predetermined by behaviorally defined objectives. Learning that involves recalling facts, defining concepts and explanations, or performing procedures are best explained by behaviorist learning strategies, which focus on attainment of specific goals or outcomes. In behaviorist theory, learners are more passive in the learning process. The learners' role is simply to respond to the learning content and demonstrate a level of performance on specific goals and objectives. Pedagogy based on behaviorism focuses on the ability to modify observable behavior to acquire knowledge or skills. The operant model of stimulus-response-reinforcenment ensures that prescribed learning outcomes are achieved. In this model, the instructor provides learners with information about the appropriateness of the behavior through frequent feedback. This feedback either reinforces learners' behavior or determines consequences in the form of corrective actions for the learner to achieve the desired performance behavior. This requires continuous monitoring and feedback from the instructor.

According to the behaviorist view of learning, objectives should be developed that focus on the level of learning desired, as well as the type of task. Behaviorists focus on "identifying small, incremental tasks, or sub skills that the learner needed to acquire for successful completion of instruction, designing specific objectives that would lead to the acquisition of those sub skills, and sequencing sub skill acquisition in the order that would most efficiently lead to successful learner outcomes" (Tennyson& Schott, 1997, p. 5).

In the late 1960s and 1970s psychology moved from the study of behavior to the study of the mind, and cognitivism emerged as a new theory of how learning occurs. According to cognitivism, knowledge is still considered to exist outside of the person; however, its focus is on understanding how human memory works to acquire knowledge and promote learning. The theory's foundation is information processes and understanding the memory structures of the mind for knowledge acquisition. In addition, the theory establishes conditions of learning and strategies to incorporate individual differences into the design of instruction, including the use of pretests and more formative assessment strategies. In cognitivism, task analysis shifts from behavioral objectives to performance; the different stages of performance extend from novice to expert (Tennyson & Schott, 1997).

The environment continues to have the greatest impact on learning; however, there is more focus on how learners acquire specific types of strategies for learning, including planning, monitoring, and evaluating, and the influence of prior knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, and values on learning (Tennyson & Schott, 1997). This theory developed a clearer understanding of how information is processed and stored, as well as how prior knowledge is stored in memory structures called schema for retrieval in an appropriate context. According to cognitivism, the transfer of knowledge to new situations is influenced by how information is presented and the relevance of the information. If information is presented poorly or too much irrelevant information is associated with relevant information, the learner may have difficulty sorting and organizing the information. This difficulty, in turn, can have an impact on storage, retrieval, and transfer?functions that are critical to adult learners
who have specific professional needs that require them to be able to transfer knowledge to real-world applications in their professional environments.

Learning outcomes that are focused on complex higher levels of learning such as problem solving are best explained by cognitivism because the focus is on breaking down complex problems into component parts and relating the content to be learned with prior knowledge to braid higher levels of understanding. Instructional strategies based on cognitive theory consider the organization of content for learning and focus on information processing, including organization, retrieval, and application.

David Ausubel (1960) developed the concept of the advance organizer (information that is presented prior to learning) and researched how use of advance organizers can scaffold the learning of new information. Advance organizers stimulate schema to help learners link prior knowledge with new information. An example of an advance organizer is a summary of the main ideas in a reading passage and explanations of content at a "higher level of abstraction, generality, and inclusiveness than the reading itself" (Ausubel, 1963, p. 81).

Robert Gagne (1985) proposed nine events of learning that correspond with specific cognitive processes. Gagne's nine events are a systematic organizational process for learning and include the following:
- Gaining the learners' attention
- Informing them of the learning objectives
- Stimulating recall of prior learning
- Presenting stimulus in the form of content to be learned
- Providing guidance
- Eliciting performance through instructional activities
- Providing feedback
- Assessing performance
- Enhancing retention and transfer

Gagne proposed that these nine events provide the conditions of learning and define the intellectual skills to be learned, as well as the sequence of instruction. He believed lessons should be organized according to these events so learners could associate new knowledge with existing structures. He also thought the nine events could provide the appropriate level of scaffolding to support learning.

According to cognitivism, learners play a more active role in learning by actively organizing the learning process. The emphasis of cognitivism is on helping learners organize information for successful processing into long-term memory and recall. Cognitive strategies focus on internal learning and thinking processes, including "problem solving, organizing information, reducing anxiety, developing self-monitoring skills, and enhancing positive attitudes" (Tennyson & Schott, 1997, p. 8). The instructor continues to determine learning outcomes and direct the learning with the additional application of specific information-processing strategies to assist the learner in acquiring knowledge. To facilitate learning, cognitivism postulates that the learning environment should be arranged to maximize learners' ability to retrieve prior knowledge relevant to the learning outcomes and organize the content to maximize information processing. Instructors should provide the appropriate context for learners to draw on prior knowledge and fit new information into existing schema. For learners with little prior knowledge, instructors need to provide opportunities to create new schema by relating the new information to something that is familiar to them.

Constructivism became popular in the 1980s. It describes learning as a process in which learners construct knowledge and meaning by integrating prior knowledge, beliefs, and experiences. According to this theory, knowledge does not exist outside of the person but is constructed based on how a person interacts with the environment and experiences the world (Tennyson & Schott, 1997). Control of the environment is not a focus of the constructivist theory of learning. Instead, it emphasizes the synthesis and integration of knowledge and skills into an individual's experiences. This theory addresses some of the limitations of other learning theories that emphasize components instead of integrated wholes.

There are two types of constructivism: cognitive constructivism and social constructivism. Cognitive constructivism focuses on the individual characteristics or attributes of the learner and their impact on learning. Social constructivism focuses on how meaning and understanding are created through social interaction. Together, they view knowledge acquisition as a means of interpreting incoming information through an individual's unique lens, which includes his or her personality, beliefs, culture, and experiences. Based on interpretations, knowledge has meaning and learners build schema to represent what they know.

Jean Piaget's (1985) theory of cognitive constructivism proposed that knowledge cannot be simply transmitted to a person but must be constructed through experience. Experiences allow individuals to construct mental models or schemas, and knowledge construction is based on a change in schema through assimilation and accommodation. If the incoming information can be associated with existing information, assimilation of the incoming information into the already formed schemas occurs and equilibrium is maintained. If the incoming information conflicts with current thinking, cognitive dissonance occurs; this is an uncomfortable feeling that stems from holding conflicting ideas at the same time. Cognitive dissonance requires a change in existing schemas to accommodate incoming information. In addition, Piaget believed that learning is based on interaction with the environment around us, so real-world practice is important.

Social constructivism emphasizes the social nature of learning. Lev Vygotsky (1978) proposed that learning could not be separated from the social context in which it occurs, nor could accommodation and assimilation occur without the active integration of the learner in a community of practice. He saw learning as a collaborative process, and he developed a theory called the zone of proximal development (ZPD) to explain the collaborative nature of learning (Vygotsky, 1978). This theory distinguishes between two levels of development. One is the level of development that a learner can reach independently. The second is the potential level of development a learner can achieve with the support of an instructor or peers. This theory argues that with help from an instructor or peers, learners can understand concepts and ideas that they cannot understand on their own. It supports an instructional strategy of providing learners just enough scaffolding or support to help them reach the next level of understanding. This scaffolding in turn allows learners to work independently until they no longer can learn without support. Instruction again is supported through the instructor or peers, and the learner continues to reach higher levels of understanding through their guidance.

According to constructivism, memory is continuously under construction as a person interacts with incoming information in unique contexts that require them to draw upon prior knowledge from different sources. Either accommodation or assimilation of new information into existing schemas occurs, which builds deeper levels of understanding and meaning. Transfer involves the use of meaningful contexts that allow the learning to be transferred to a novel situation and applied. Real-world examples, as well as opportunities to solve real-world problems, allow for the greatest opportunity for transfer.

Constructivist theories do not categorize learning into types but hold that all learning is context dependent. One of the problems with constructivist learning theories is the assumption that all learners come to the learning situation with prior knowledge and that the goal of learning is to activate prior knowledge and build additional understanding and meaning. Learners who are new to a field of study may not have prior knowledge, so building instructional strategies that require them to draw on prior knowledge and deal with ill-structured problems can be frustrating and overwhelming. For learners who do not have prior knowledge and experience, there are cognitive strategies such as the use of advance organizers and conceptual scaffolds that can be used to replace the lack of prior knowledge and experience. These strategies are addressed in more detail in Chapter 9.

From the constructivist perspective, learners are not merely passive receivers of knowledge, they are active participants in the learning process and knowledge construction. Instruction should situate the learning in authentic tasks that allow learners to understand why it is important to learn, as well as its relevance to them personally or professionally. Instructors who base their pedagogy on constructivism take on a new role of facilitator rather than lecturer by actively observing and assessing the current state of individual learners and providing learning strategies to help them interpret and understand the content. The facilitation role includes providing relevant context for learners who may not have prior knowledge and experience with the subject to help them organize the content into relevant schemas for acquiring knowledge. The instructor must develop skill in assessing the current state of learners and adapt the learning experience to support their attainment of
goals. The instructor must also have an understanding of individual learning styles to provide effective strategies to help learners plan, monitor, and evaluate their thinking during learning.

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