I have been teaching and designing training for faculty for over 20 years. Despite that, this series of courses I’m taking at UW-Stout has given me a more in-depth background that has proved invaluable to my growth as a professional. My formal education was in teaching; however, I’ve ended up as an instructional designer. My first job was teaching 5th grade in a public school. Since I had an interest in computers and how they could help teaching and learning I was asked to take a new position that had just been created as an instructional technologist. I then began coaching K-12 teachers on how to integrate technology into their curriculum (word processing to spreadsheets, databases, PowerPoint, paint and draw programs, web design, etc.)
I learned a great deal about how teachers learn new things, how to motivate them and how to design and deliver workshops. That being said, learning the formal theory and research behind instruction, knowledge has become very important. I have learned about my potential learners, understand their motivation and making sure they have the opportunity to discover the value of the content, practice its utility and apply it in their own teaching to be effective.
The RLO in this unit will partially replace a 1-hour face-to-face workshop where I introduced the new add-on to Moodle called Google Course Kit. This enables the instructor to create an assignment in Moodle which is fully integrated with Google Drive. The module can be completed more than once until mastery is attained. It’s not graded, but is meant to be a self-paced module for the learner to guide their own learning.
The RLO will use direct instruction to introduce Google Course Kit along with its primary function, benefits and suggested use. Each slide will include narration by me that coincides with the content on the slide. After a few slides, there will be a knowledge check. Feedback will be presented to the learner to encourage completion and retrial, if necessary. Multiple attempts will be allowed until student can get the correct answer. After the first knowledge check, there will a few more inserted at key points in the module for the learner to apply what they’ve learned with feedback.
Design considerations included the amount of information that the learner needs to know to be able to fully use Google Course Kit. Special attention was paid to cognitive load theory to ensure that extraneous information was omitted and graphics and narrations were in simple, easy to understand language – no technical jargon. The narration of content with navigation buttons on each slide will help the learner flow through it in an easy fashion.
Using Horton’s model of different activities: absorb, do and connect – I designed the materials so that students could review the content as many times as they felt necessary. I encourage them to practice with an actual Moodle course so they could apply their knowledge right away.
I found the usability test valuable because after engaging with the RLO over time, I really wasn’t seeing it with fresh eyes like my partner was able to do. I think the feedback she gave me not only allowed me the opportunity to polish up the rough edges, it gave me a great overview to evaluate the decisions I’d made and make sure that the module was doing the job I had designed it to do.
While I have found the entire series of courses valuable, this particular course on Designing Computer-based Training has been impactful for my work. I am responsible for designing faculty workshops. My practice has been to maintain a website with documentation that I change out frequently, have handouts during workshops, and video tutorials, etc. to cover different preferences of learning. While I’ve done screen casting using QuickTime extensively for both formal tutorials as well as quicker ones, creating an RLO wasn’t something I had any experience with. I have published a lot of documentation, but never measured its effectiveness. After taking this course and designing this module to replace just one small piece of my instruction, I am interested in evaluating my other content to see what can be chunked, packaged, repackaged and explore different ways to perform knowledge checks for learners. Offering this content in face-to-face workshops is nice, but having modules you can offer online to work through prior to the workshop, or review after the workshop is great.
I look forward to exploring other tools to see how I can incorporate more modules like this RLO into my practice here at Colgate University.